Monday, September 10, 2012

Adventures in Contrast...

Glass Pearls, Crystals, Antique Skeleton Keys,
and Hanforged Copper Chain
What do you think of when you hear the word “contrast”? I bet the first thing that popped into your mind was how colors contrast with each other. And, of course, that is a very valid definition for the term.

But contrast runs far beyond color. Personally, I thrive on playing with contrasting materials. I enjoy wearing pretty, frilly tops with “distressed” (ie, holey!!) jeans and rugged riding boots.
Crystal Cupchain, Faceted Fire Polished Beads, Heat-Treated
Copper, Handmade Brass Beads on Waxed Cotton
And, when it comes to jewelry, I love working sparkly, refined crystals and glass pearls together with rustic cords and hand-forged metals. Or, I’ll pick a pair of crystal earrings – you know, the kind you’d normally wear to a formal event - to wear with those holey jeans and rugged boots. I find the play between these sorts of materials to be so visually pleasing, satisfying, and – truth be told – empowering, because it’s verging on being rebellious. And this form of rebellion is probably the most fun, because it’s subtle – it keeps people guessing about you and your personal style!


I like to encourage my customers to take a walk down the adventurous road of contrasting materials. There is so much exploring to do, so many materials to work with, and when it comes to jewelry, there’s a reason we’re into making it ourselves rather than buying it at generic chain departments stores: because we, as bead people, have a unique sense of style, and we have a need to express it in our own way. By working contrasting and unexpected materials together into a single piece, you are busting your beading world wide up…you’ve just magnified the possibilities manifold!

Vintage Glass Pearls, Handforged Silver Rings, Faceted
Green and Red Garnet, and Hilltribe Silver

If you’re not used to working in contrasting materials, finding a starting point can seem intimidating, but it’s not…really, I promise! The first suggestion I always make to people is to stop thinking all together, and just “do”. I’ve found that the more I think about something, the harder it becomes, the less inspired it is, and I generally don’t end up loving the results. Some of my most favorite projects (and outfits) have come together in a very brief time frame.

Glass Pearls Overwrapped With Sterling Wire,
Handforged Silver Rings

Yes, it seems counter-productive to NOT put much thought into a project, but give it a try! I’m betting you’ll be thrilled with the results…with both your finished piece of jewelry, and the liberation you’ll feel from just letting your mind run free. It's not something we get to do very often in life, so we might as well grab a little fun anywhere we can!

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