Friday, May 27, 2016

Using Jewelry Components in Non-Jewelry Work

One of my goals for 2016 involved learning mixed media techniques outside of the realm of jewelry. To accomplish this goal, I signed up for the yearlong class called Wanderlust because the price was right (I signed up early enough to get a discount) and it didn't feel too new age-y to me (I don't do new age-y's just not for me). Plus, with all the classes able to be downloaded and saved forever, lots of teaching about products, and all the different teachers sharing their style of art, it sounded like a great class for a clueless beginner. 

I don't know about you, but whenever I sign up for an online class, I have the best of intentions. However, when it comes down to it, I never actually do the class. Sigh. So much wasted money over the years. I decided I would NOT let that happen this time. And I've done ok. Not stellar, but I've watched every video put out so far, and done a couple of the exercises. I'm finding that my lack of supplies is seriously hindering me. I didn't even have the basics like paint, gesso, or really anything except lots of papers, some found objects, and a few other random bits and pieces.

I guess that is why I latched onto the tutorial by Finnabair. I had the canvas, paper, and the bits and pieces to glue to the canvas. I did have to pick up a few other supplies. I started by making the base layer on the canvas. While that dried, I gathered random found objects, broken jewelry pieces, old toys, etc. Realizing I really didn't have enough stuff, I started gathering bits from my bead boxes. After realizing that STILL wasn't enough, I thought of using rejected beads, seconds from other artists, etc. 

How many of you have a box of beads or components that you were going to use, then forgot, etc and now it's like "why did I even buy (or make) this thing?" Or maybe you made something you think is a little on the wonky side? Those are good candidates for a project like this because they are painted in black gesso, you never see them after the gesso step and everything gets tied together. 

Let's take a tour of what I used before I paint over it. 

First up you can see my focal in the lower left of the photo with the old pocket watch innards with other pieces attached to it. If you look at the pencil to the right, above it is a bead I really love, but the bead release got stuck to the end making it unusable. I thought it might add some interesting texture, so I glued it on.

In the photo below, the filigree flowers are from a mangled necklace I got at a flea market. The brass heart is from a bead shop now out of business, and the flattened penny from a vacation on the North Carolina Outer Banks almost 6 years ago. 

The black ceramic piece is a shank button made by Lisa Peters. It was considered "seconds" and Lisa was offering them up for things like mosaics. The texture is great, so I added it into the canvas. 

The below compass is a Tim Holtz collection piece. The glass ball in the center was a headpin until I mangled it and had to cut off the wire. Now it is glued in place. 

In the next photo you can see a Vintaj butterfly, a piece of cork from a bottle of wine we drank, another Lisa Peters Art ceramic piece, and lots of found objects. 

I thought the most difficult part would be finding enough fun stuff to add to the canvas to create a good texture and interesting composition. But no. That was NOT the most difficult part. The hardest part was painting over all that stuff, which was super scary. 

I happened to start this project on my 23rd wedding anniversary weekend, so I incorporated several items which symbolize something about our lives together. 

I wanted to have this piece completely finished before I wrote about it here, but the truth is, I don't have the correct types of paint to start adding color. However, I do have  mica powder now and will try to make my own. And honestly, at this point, it feels like a toddler's glued pasta picture. We'll see if it gets any better. But even if it doesn't, it's been a learning experience for sure and I found a new way to use jewelry components and beads. 

Have you used jewelry components in work OTHER than jewelry? What was it? How did it turn out? Share a link if you have one for it so we can all see it too. 


  1. I have some stuff I could use in this way --certainly I have beads where I bought a larger amount and now have too many of the same thing. I would imagine that painting all that interesting stuff black was hard! I clicked through to the tutorial to see what a finished product might look like --I hope you do take the time to add the color, since it looks very interesting.

  2. A work in progress. Why not just try to distress some of the paint? Try using some nail polish as well.

  3. I hope you do a follow-up so we can see it when you're finished. Here is my last non-jewelry thing (at the bottom). I think I should do it more often; maybe when my jewelry muse take a break.

  4. Jen, this was an interesting piece. I can't wait to see it finished. I don't know it I would have the nerve to paint over it all. I kind of liked the way it looked before you painted it. So I will be waiting to see what happens next.

  5. Please finish this piece it is very interesting. The last non jewelry thing I did was polymer clay on a mint box top. I added tube beads and crystal rondelles to it. I am pleased with how it came out.

  6. I joined Wanderlust too after reading your blog entry :)


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.