New Media. Contemporary Media. Mixed Media. What all these and many more terms are trying to describe, is jewelry design that encompasses materials other than metal. As the markets continue to soar, everyone’s pockets seem to get smaller by the day. The state of our economy is making it harder and harder to work in precious metals, so what’s next?
Like so many other jewelry designers and metalsmiths, you should consider trying your hand at different media. Metal is a unique material, with a variety of properties that are unlike any other material. Yet, adornment is not limited to metal, nor does your work have to be! Instead of letting the rising market get you down, think of the high price of metal as a kick start for your creativity. Your materials are now unlimited!
Some of the “new” or mixed media that has been gaining momentum includes (but not limited to!): resins, glass, wood, found objects, paper, and various textiles. To help fuel your ideas, we have pulled some project ideas to get you started!
Resins & Epoxy. Both epoxy and resin can be used to fill a space. The exciting part about these 2 part polymers is that you can put almost anything in them! You can suspend small objects, paint, oils, and colored powders, almost anything! Epoxy, resin, and epoxy resins all work in the same way. Some popular kinds are DeVcon Epoxy, Cast N’Craft Resin, and Marine grade resins. The main variations in epoxy or resin are the curing and setting times and their mixing ratios. I have found that working with a 1:1 part epoxy is the easiest to measure, but you may find that you prefer different resins and epoxies for different projects.
Pictured up to the right are earrings that were made from candy molds. The resin was mixed with glitter and food dye. Here on the left are a few cuffs that have dye and objects in them. The resin was poured into a mold and the rough edges were sanded with 300 Grit sandpaper.
Seattle is a hub for glass of all sorts! Pratt Fine Arts Center is among many of the excellent educational institutions where glass blowing classes and many others are available. Lamp working and enameling are more traditional techniques that can be easily combined with metal for stunning effects! Here are a few examples:
Paper & Textiles are wonderful materials to work with since they can be folded, molded, cut and more. Paper and fabric can be found in a variety of shops. Stamping and screen printing techniques can be used to replicate images cost effectively. Check out these projects:
All the above materials can be used in combination with metal and with each other. Mixed Metal Mania by Kim St. Jean has an excellent assortment of projects and project ideas to get you started expanding on your techniques and materials. Kim St. Jean is well known for her experimental media and excellent teaching skills. Her book is a must read!
Wishing you happy experimenting! Check back later this week for more tips and tricks from Seattle Findings!