The purpose of the"Finish It!" challenge is to encourage the participants to extend themselves, their talents and creativity, beyond the limitations of a single set of instructions and create pieces uniquely their own. Each contest has resulted in a wealth of beautiful and original artistic expressions, and I expect this one will produce no less the amount of brilliance. You have all amazed me with, not only your exuberance and enthusiasm, but your results as well, and I’m excited to see what this contest will inspire within you. Here’s the gist: At the bottom of this post is a link to a tutorial only 9 pages long, and ending abruptly halfway through the instruction. Your job is to create a piece beginning with the steps, as explained in the file, but ending with your own imagination! And blowing my mind... that's part of your job too. And you can do it, because it's been done every single time I've held one of these contests. If you are in doubt... just you wait... you'll surprise yourself.
“Group Favorite” will win my completed version of this project and any ten tutorials of their choice.
A “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (who are not participating in the contest), will also receive any ten tutorials of their choice.
Every contestant will receive the finished version of this tutorial simply for participating. This tutorial will arrive as a reply to your submission email, so check your spam folder if you do not receive it by the end of August. Also, be sure your email host will accept incoming attachments. I've had many emails rejected (especially from AOL and hotmail accounts) because the mail box was full, or security settings do not allow attachments.
Happy weaving everyone, and I hope you have fun!
Note: Please access this file via a laptop or desktop computer. Some mobile devices are uncooperative with PDF downloads (I'm looking at you, iPad!), and I may not be able to address requests for manual email delivery of this file in a timely manner (thus using up your submission time).
Good luck everyone and happy weaving!
2016 Jewelry Trends
I know... we're more than halfway through the year and I'm only now discussing jewelry trends? Sometimes, though, you have to wait and see what sticks before you can really form an opinion on its popularity.
This year, the ever renowned Vogue has stated tiaras were the romantic runway accessory for spring. InStyle Magazine has specified bangles and ear cuffs as popular summer looks. Harpers Bazaar adamantly believes pearls will be the fall fashion to watch for. I have a feeling crystals might take the cake for winter. And if they don't, everyone is wrong.
some celebrity or fashion icon. Jewelry... accessories in general.... are such wonderful tools of expression. And who wants their expression dictated to by a runway?
"Fashion is about dressing according to what's fashionable. Style is more about being yourself."
Oscar de la Renta
So, embrace your own style, your own inner icon. Be who you are and express that in all the ways you want, even if that means you are a walking chandelier of Swarovski crystals, wire and gemstones. Wear it boldly and proud. Be the best chandelier you can be!
"Clarity comes from engagement,
not thought." ~Marie Forleo
I'm often asked how I devise my designs, how the planning process works. As I've discussed in my post on Spontaneous Creativity, I very rarely plan anything. My designs happen as organically as possible by sitting down with random cuts of wires and a pair of pliers and getting to work. So, what is the simplest answer regarding designing, planning and discovering your aesthetic? Action.
The act of doing.
Act every day. Create every day. Use tutorials if you have them, if inspiration eludes you (and it eludes the best of us on the best of days), but just act. Even if you don't know where to go with it, even if it turns into a hot, tangled mess, just do something. The more you make and don't like, the closer you get to discovering your own creative voice, your own aesthetic, no matter what craft, hobby or skill in which you invest yourself.
It is okay to fail. As Edison once said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work". And the same is true for your artistic experiments. You have to have tried something to know it doesn't fit your aesthetic, or the design is flawed. Without action, you have only a vague idea about the direction of your work.
Even if you understand design, movement, flow... even if you've discovered your own aesthetic, all of it is useless and wandering, thought without action, vision without results. To gain clarity, you must act.
Tools & Metal Findings
Tools: Rio Grande
Chains: Rio Grande & Monster Slayer
Metal Blanks & Cuffs: Bopper (Etsy)
All Wire & Metal Findings (Seriously, ALL): Rio Grande
Cabochons & Gemstones
Gemstone Cabochons: JimsCabochons (Etsy)
Gemstone Cabochons: EnterTheEarth (Etsy)
Gemstone Cabochons: LexxStones (Etsy)
Bone Cabochons: stonz4u (Etsy)
Bone Cabochons: Balibagus (Etsy)
Glass & Lampwork
Lampwork Beads: skyvalleybeads (Etsy)
Lampwork Beads: Helen G Beads (Etsy)
Lampwork Beads: Jacqueline Parkes
Glass Beads: SpawnOfFlame (Etsy)
Glass Bead Sets: loribeads (Etsy)
Glass Cabochons: Glaze Ranch Jewelry
Glass Eye Cabochons: The Twisted Eye (Etsy)
Porcelain Cabochons: Laura Mears Designs
Glass Ripple Beads: Silver Gypsy
All Beads: Vintagebeadgirl (Etsy)
Gemstone Beads: Luxbeads (Etsy)
Gemstone Beads: Neatothings (Etsy)
Seed Beads: tamarascottdesigns (Etsy)
Seed Beads: Whimbeads
In the post Wire Wrapping IS "Real" Jewelry, I suggested that it's entirely unnecessary to expand your skill set to reach any social expectations, nor to justify the work you do, or the job title you give yourself. That "your work is worth something no matter what it entails beyond the heart you invest in it" and that you don't owe the world any investment into classes or tutorials or new tools in order to call yourself a jeweler or artist or photographer, or whatever your poison may be. And I say this because I truly believe a single skill, any single skill (in this case, wire wrapping) can provide an endless array of possibilities from which to draw and evoke in our work. I stand by this belief and I'll say it often. A film photographer can never touch a digital camera and still produce new, amazing images every single day. A painter can only use acrylics their entire lives and entrance us with their imagination. And that's really what it's all about, right? The power of our own creativity and imagination.
So why expand your skill set at all? Why add more tools to your tool box? I imagine there might never be any reason at all beyond an endless curiosity.
utilize wire to express my creative goals. I never need to learn soldering or fold forming or cold connections. But, they are cool and I have an insatiable desire to learn, to always be learning, to never know all of anything.
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever."
~ Mahatma Gandhi
It is not about how that skill can increase sales or improve my business or get me noticed or validate my work to society. For me, it's about nothing beyond what the journey with it can teach me.... teach me about myself and my art and my self-expression. If you learn a new skill, learn it for you. Grow from it. Enjoy it. But know that you don't owe it to anyone to do so. That it does not make you a better artist or jeweler or photographer or writer. It just makes you a different one. And what you do with that newness, my friend, is a whole other story.
That's right. I said it. You may not agree, and that's fine. Opinions like this are just as subjective as the statements which spawn them and we can only decide for ourselves what we believe to be true.
How do we define "mastery"? This doesn't have to relate to jewelry, of course, but any creative or artistic endeavor, skill or trade. And more importantly, who defines it? Who, I wonder, is so versed in anything that they can declare themselves or anyone else a master of it? These are the questions I ask myself and put before you, dear reader. I don't have an answer. I've never met a master of anything and would definitely not consider myself one.
I think, on some level, there is this idea that being a master of some skill somehow means there is nothing left to learn. That all the world can teach us has been absorbed. One definition of the term mastery is "control or superiority over someone or something" and I'm not sure how anyone could possibly ever control the creative flow that results in artistic work. I'm not sure I like to box the idea of creativity into something tangible enough to be mastered at all.
Can you have skill? Of course. And skill can be learned. Skill can be honed and perfected. But I'm not sure that, for me, equates to a mastery over something, especially not a creative endeavor when often its success or failure is entirely dependent upon our own (or others) interaction with the endeavor... the opinions we form about it. And we all know what they say about opinions.....
"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions."
~Leonardo da Vinci
So I ask you, and would love to hear your opinions below, how do you define mastery? Do you believe it's attainable? And if it is, should it be? I've never considered myself a master of anything and, for me, that's not a bad thing. It's not a judgment against myself. I could make jewelry, draw, photograph, paint, write for the next 20 years and still never be a master of any one of them. I'm not sure I'd want to be. Somehow, for me, there is a loneliness there... in the idea of mastery. I'd much rather surround myself with the joy of failures, of endless discovery and I always.... forever....want my art to teach me something new every day. I always want to be its student. How about you??
25 Inspirational Quotes
1. "To be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself." `Marie Forleo (Check out her YouTube channel here).
2. "Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm" ~Winston Churchill
3. “Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.” -- Brian Tracy
5. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -- Henry David Thoreau
6. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” — Earl Nightingale
7. “I never dream of success. I worked for it.” — Estee Lauder
8. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover." –Mark Twain
9. "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any." –Alice Walker
11. "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." –Christopher Columbus
12. "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me." –Erma Bombeck
13. "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." –Leonardo da Vinci
14. "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it." –Chinese Proverb
15. "Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning". –Gloria Steinem
16. "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." –Henry Ford
18. “There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.” -Henry Ford
19. “Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so. For glory gives herself only to those who have always dreamed of her.” –Charles De Gaulle
20. "If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough." —Oprah Winfrey
21. "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." —Amelia Earhart
22. "What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." —Bob Dylan
23. "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." —Anne Frank
24. "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples." —Mother Teresa
25. "Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it." —Charles Swindoll
I have a newsletter!
That's right.... big changes are afoot!
Okay, maybe more like mildly noteworthy, but I promise I'm doing things to make other things easier for you! After all these years of owning and operating my own website, I have finally set up a newsletter subscription option (note the sidebar). Sure, fumbling my way through MailChimp was a laughable exercise in patience (or my lack of it), but I'm figuring it out, managed to release one whole newsletter without melting into fits of frustration, and I didn't even throw anything in technology-induced rage, so I'm calling it a win!
And I've made myself (and you, who sign up) a promise... I wont abuse your inbox. That's right, I'm getting straight to the heart of the matter. These days, in a world of promotions and advertisements, we have to be careful when, how and to who we release our email address. We're often promised a great (temporary) perk and all we have to do is sign over our inbox. Then we get an email every day, every time a new product is released, for every new sale, discount, event, promotion. And before we know it... we're just deleting these emails upon receipt. And soon enough, unsubscribing all together.
I'm going to save all of us the heartache, to change the end of this sad love story before it begins, and promise right here and now that you'll only receive bi-monthly updates, so you know what's new without cumbersome daily or weekly notifications. This way, if you miss a social media update, event announcement, new product release or blog post, you can find a link to these things all in one simple email! And, in case you missed the sign-up form, I've got you covered.....
And there's reason to sign-up and stay tuned, because I've got "Finish It!" contests coming in August and November, my Instagram giveaway is still underway (though closing in on the required 5000 followers). I'm also on the hunt for a Michigan venue to host a US wire weaving workshop or weekend retreat which I hope to plan for the 2017 calendar year. I've got new videos coming on my Go Art Yourself YouTube channel (including a hand-flower bracelet and hair comb), and I wouldn't want you to miss either.
Changes are definitely afoot, and I hope you're along for the ride!
This. Was. Insane. The amount of talent seriously blew me away and I still get loads of inspiration and all that warm giddy gladness just viewing every single one of the entries.
View the GALLERY OF ENTRIES.
And when I narrowed down the top three favorites in each category, I was seriously saddened that I didn't have a prize for each and every person who gave it their all in submitting an entry. You all never cease to amaze and delight with your skills, innovation and dedication to your craft. I'm honored to have seen it in action, to have received those emails with your entries. It was a pure privilege.
Before I announce the winners, here's a rundown of their prizes:
Wire Weaving Winner:
Cabochons & Un-drilled Gemstones Winner:
I mean, really..... these are incredible.
And to the winners, stay tuned because you'll be receiving an email from me shortly requesting your shipping information so I can send your goodies off to you!
Thank you so much everyone who participated. Thank you for gracing me with your time, your energy, your creations. Thank you for voting and showing support to your fellow contestants. We had over 70 amazing entries and they each deserve a hearty round of applause. I hope to see an entry from you all in the upcoming "Finish It!" contest, beginning August 1st.
Until then.... weave on my good and gentle friends. Weave on!
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