I always feel a tad guilty when I make jewelry from a kit. After making jewelry for so many years and seeing firsthand how much work goes into the planning and design stages of each piece, I feel like I am cheating when I use a kit to skip over those steps. On the other hand, I feel like there is something to be said for giving yourself a break every now and then and breezing through an easy project.
I studied German in college and before big tests I liked to take a break from my flashcards and pick out an easy assignment to do from the chapters I had already learned. While it didn't hurt to brush up on my basics, I think the most useful part of this exercise was that it always gave me a little ego boost--it reminded me how much I had already learned and gave me the motivation to keep working at it. This strategy can be applied to any skill that you are trying to develop--including jewelry making! The next time you find yourself in a designing rut, consider whipping up a copy of a project you have already made and really loved, or working through a simple jewelry kit. It just might be enough to bump you out of your rut and get your creative juices flowing again!
A few days ago we got a shipment of Weave Got Maille's latest kits. I haven't had time to do much designing lately, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to get out my pliers and play with beads for a few minutes. Each kit comes with everything you will need to make up either a bracelet or a pair of earrings except for a few pairs of flat-nose pliers. I went with their Sedona Shaggy Loops Bracelet kit (its blue/brass color palette is one of my favorites!). As I worked through the pattern I stopped to snap a few in-progress shots:
It was a really pleasant way to spend a few minutes on a stressful afternoon! While the technique was familiar and this bracelet went pretty quickly, I was also reminded that there is something to be learned from every project (no matter how simple): I opened up all of my jump rings before I started constructing the bracelet and as I was putting it together I realized I opened them a bit too far. Next time I am going to save myself some work and be a little less zealous with my pliers. I also learned that a chain maille project isn't the best way to break in a new set of pliers with a stiff spring--my hand was cramping up halfway through!
Do you ever pick up beading kits for yourself? Or do you have other tricks for overcoming creative ruts?