Learning to SEE; Designing More Creative Jewelry

I am always looking for jewelry design inspiration, how about you? Do you try to come up with ideas for creating unique jewelry designs, thinking “out of the box”? One thing that I have learned is that inspiration is EVERYWHERE! It is as easy as learning to open your eyes and really see what is around you. I ride the bus to work and am constantly looking. The shapes, lines and colors of cars we pass, a raindrop hitting the window, a plant growing up through cement. The juxtaposition of organic and man-made materials is always amazing to me. Look at what people are wearing. Can you alter an existing design to make it more interesting? Think of a particular person and imagine a piece jewelry you would make that would express their individuality. Think of a word and try to translate it into a piece of jewelry. For example, design a piece of jewelry around the word “fascination”. I’ll bet you can come up with something amazing for this one. Go for a walk outdoors. Study nature and see what she offers in the way of design. There is inspiration in leaves and nuts or in the shape of a particular plant. The beach offers shells, patterns in sand, rocks and amazing colors. One of my favorite jewelry designs came from finding a tiny dried starfish. I had it cast in sterling silver and used it like a bead cap. Making a unique art piece that stands out is not as difficult as you think! Gather together a selection of jewelry components, close your eyes, and randomly place them next to one another. Open your eyes. Does anything inspire you? Even the most commonly used jewelry findings, like jump rings can surprise you with a completely new idea and a gorgeous look. Look at the tools you have, or pick up some new ones, creativity jumps when you have the right tools. Make your environment conductive to creativity, sit next to window and play whatever music stimulates you. Surround yourself with art objects that you love from all over the world and all time periods. Let your design space be your refuge from the rest of the world a place where you can freely express your creative ideas. Take classes to learn techniques for expressing your creativity. If you don’t know how to do a particular jewelry design technique, you can’t put your inner vision into practice. Look at our Education Center to help find a school near you. Visit museums and art galleries, I go alone to immerse my mind in the experience. Go to arts and craft festivals, look at street artists. Stretch your mind and design talents by making collages. This is a great way to remove barriers to creativity. Seattle Findings carries a book that is incredibly inspiring: Jewelry Design Challenge by Linda Kopp. They took nine very basic materials: wire, sheet, tubing, sent them to 30 different artists, let them add a wild card element and ended up with 30 very different, very amazing projects! The book talks about their inspiration and gives step by step instructions. The point is there are sources of creative jewelry design all around you. Once you learn to really SEE these sources and open your mind to them. You’ll be rewarded with more inspiration than you ever thought possible.

torch work!Hi! My name is Leah Alden Jaswal and I am the manager here at Seattle Findings. For me creating jewelry is an expression of art. And why does jewelry as art speak to me? For the sense of accomplishment I have when I remember that this was once “just” a piece of metal. Because with every new piece created you learn something new. For jewelry’s diversity and the thoughts and emotions it evokes. For when I find myself lost in my work, deep in “The Zone”, but I must admit mainly for the absolute joy it brings me to create.

Having been with the company for nearly 10 years I have worked with students, kitchen table-top jewelers, bench jewelers with huge jewelry chains and all most every combination in between. I cannot express what an amazing experience it has been and how much I have learned from so many diverse Individuals. I look forward to creating more and sharing what I learn.



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