The theme for the July Challenge is Beautiful Butterflies, Birds and Bugs.
All jewelry design projects are a challenge, and many begin this way: first playing with components on a work surface, gathering more, trying this, then trying that.
It's even easier when you have a clear idea, a THEME, of what you want to do first. That's why we have our design challenges every month at B'sue Boutiques .....it can provide you with direction, impetus, new and better outside-the-box thinking.
Our B'sue Boutiques Design Team (find them here: http://www.bsueboutiques.com/Articles.asp?ID=289 ) now actually plans a path for all twelve months of the year. I'm now announcing three months ahead what the challenges will be at the B'sue Boutiques Creative Group so you can plan further.
It's also good for me a supplier, since I can check that list and be certain that we have the sorts of things you'll be wanting to go down that path with us!
TO PARTICIPATE: If you are not on the Creative Group, why not join us?
If that's not for you at this time, I'll be posting the themes here on this blog and you may view it as a personal challenge....see what YOU can come up with. Perhaps it will lead to you to a whole new line!
Susan Killam from Killam Creative participated in the BUILD A LINE CHALLENGE last winter, and her design line theme was built around a hummingbird stamping which she named Fancy:
Over the course of a few months (that challenge was a special one, apart from the monthly challenges) she formed a line all around Fancy:
Generally, though, you'll have more impetus as a maker/designer if you join a group who is involved in a similar effort, so my fond hope is that you WILL come and join us at Facebook. Post photos, bounce your ideas off the others, ask questions.
You may also post your photos at our Challenge Board at Pinterest:
At the end of the month there is a random number generator drawing from among those who participated and pinned their work, and nice gift of goodies from B'sue Boutiques is sent out, wrapped up pretty and made very special.
For this challenge there are not a lot of rules.
Simply create a piece of jewelry---can be anything, earrings, bracelet, necklace, hair jewelry, brooch, or better still a set of jewelry---or for the ambitious, a small line of jewelry like Susan made!
Your piece must feature some goodies from the B'sue Boutiques website but you can mix them in with found items, things you already have, fiber, polymer clay, paper, metal bits, however it works out for you.
Put your heart in it if you can. Dig your heels in and tell yourself, I'm not doing this just to get something done....I'm doing this to find a new path, have a happy accident, discover something about myself or my abilities....GROW.
To get you started, I can't think of anything better than to just offer you a bunch of photos of great pieces created by members of the Group from our Galley of Inspiration that feature butterflies, bugs and birds!
From Judy Jones King of Apt to Wander (and a Design Team Member):
From Cynthia Wainscott, also a Design Team member, featuring a lovely dragonfly:
From Cindy Peterson, of Howling Dog Jewelry at Etsy, a prolific polymer clay and assemblage artist.....she's featured a colorized dragonfly cameo:
Harry Wood made this amazing OWL brooch some time ago, in fact there is even a tutorial on our website on how YOU can make one:
Robin Taylor Delargy crafted this amazing chatelaine brooch (a favorite jewelry style of mine, that!) along with accompanying tac pin:
I made the following beetle brooch quite some time ago. It's fun yet the pretty vintage style still holds up nicely! We still carry the beetle stamping as well as many malleable brass flowers that you can form around and about it.
Cuffs will figure big in Fall Fashion, I've read. Here is a beautiful one of layered filigree made by Joan Williams of Lil Ruby at Etsy. What a great idea to cover the cuff with lace first! The butterfly and filigree are still available at B'sue Boutiques
Look closely at Joan's design and you will discover that she has etched the INSIDE of the cuff, too.
Your design can and should blend with other elements to make it pop. For those of us that design to sell, this will get your pieces out there and into collectors' hands sooner!
Look at how Cynthia Wainscott of Exotic Peru (and B'sue Design Team member) has done that with the addition of a little hummingbird charm inside a pie crust bezel surrounded by colorized maple leaves, all from B'sue Boutiques
It's an honor and a responsibility to be a handmade jewelry maker, and our challenges are designed to bring out the best of your abilities while using quality products combined with your own creativity.
They say that jewelry lines can no longer be profitable if made in the US. That is why almost all of the commercial lines we knew as quality are gone from US manufacture. They do not use quality US made product anymore, and the history as well as soul have gone out of them.
They have simply become throw-away jewelry, not jewelry that endures and can be collected, as the vintage lines were.
Our responsibility as handmade artists who design is to show this notion to be false. We use our ingenuity to make something with life and light inside it. Those who choose our jewelry will appreciate the difference between it, and something not grabbed off a rack in the mall.
Our pieces are our hearts and our energy, the best of our constantly-improving techniques. Make your pieces to last, use the GOOD STUFF to craft them, and be clever. There is still a fine market for quality handmade jewelry out there. Start with a great new design, give it everything you've got....
And see where the road takes you. You may surprise yourself this month when you meet the challenge! A new window may open for you!
Just like a bird, you may find yourself FLYING!