April 9, 2009

Lava, Mud, and Bugs

Some people get involved with jewelry making to work with beautiful shiny materials like gold, and sparkly gemstones, and rich pearls. Sure, I like all of those things too, but I have always been more drawn to earth tones and raw materials instead of highly polished things. I use a little bit of everything, I have sort of trained myself to work with almost any bead I can get my hands on. Part of this came from working in bead and jewelry stores for so many years, making things that the customers requested and desired. This included many bridal pieces, filled with so many crystals that it made my eyes hurt from the sparkle. But I learned to be well versed in what people wanted, and knew how to make those things to suit their needs.

Now that I work for myself, I am a bit more likely to embrace the things that I like best, and seek to find customers who also like these things. Actually that is one of my business philosophies, I guess. I try to explore my own creativity and engross myself in the things that I love, without worrying too much about how they will be received. I have had enough experience in my career to know that I will find an audience, somewhere and somehow, if I follow my own creative voice and keep making new and original things to the best of my ability.

I am reflecting on these thoughts after opening my surprise package from Rings and Things, which had some lovely and colorful new very pretty Swarovski crystal colors. But what I really got excited about was the pile of chunky, earthy brown lava beads shown above. MMM beads that look like lava and mud! What more can a potter ask for? I can't wait to work with them... I am seriously delighted! I think they will work well with one of my dark earthy scarabs, like the one above. But I have other ideas too, and I am eagerly awaiting the time when I can spend an afternoon playing with them. Hopefully soon!


  1. I'm a fan of lava beads too! When I design, I like to think about the qualities of the materials and how best to set off their attributes. Usually its the opposite. The rough brings out the shiny and vice versa. The coarse brings out the polished and the sparkly the dull. Playing with textures and finishes is a great way of adding richness and depth to a piece.

    So, I don't think it has to be one way or another. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.

  2. That is very true, Andrew. I like to work with contrasts too. While I do enjoy the challenges of working with things that I might not usually pick up, there sure was a big *squee* when I got my hands on those Lava Beads! I was instantly in love with them. There are just some earthy things that I am drawn to over all the sparkle and sheen

  3. Those Lava Beads are downright yummy! They look like chunks of un frosted chocolate cake. Mmmm. I've got to get my hands on some of those babies!

  4. Very cool! I bought some big honkin' black lava ovals to gem show. I like how all the little bubbles in them make them lighter than their size would suggest.

    Someone on my bead forum made an awesome necklace with them (Mauna Loa):

  5. Joy,
    Yeah they do look chocolatey, too! mmm

    That is a great piece that you linked to, and it has that great sense of contrast that Andrew was talking about, the pretty detailed flowers mixed with the chunky lava rock. fun!

  6. I'm heartened by your encouragement about following your own creative vision and making things that YOU like. There's a constant tension between scratching your own creative itch and making some money. What if people seem to be buying things that I don't find appealing? Am I going to have to start making that kind of stuff? (Hurts me!) I've sort of felt that there's no point making anything at all if you're going to do that, and your comment reaffirms that for me. Thanks.

  7. lunedreams,
    you are welcome. This is actually really important to me, especially lately. I plan to write more about this soon... creativity and originality and the importance of exploring your own voice.

    It seems that every time I have tried specifically to design towards what is popular or for a mass audience, I do not succeed. When I go with my gut, and do what I love, I am always more successful. For instance, the steampunk influence was pretty questionable at first when I started, I thought it would be too strange for anyone but a handful of people to enjoy. Now that it is so popular, I have sort of moved on to new ideas. I find when I question things the most but am passionate...it is usually a good sign for me, as opposed to when I think i have the next million dollar idea, but my heart isn't in it.

  8. I love the little brown rocks! What a great idea. I'll have to try to incorporate more natural stuff in my work. Thanks

  9. What beautiful lave beads... I've never heard of them before! My boyfriend has a collection of lava rocks that i often stare at longingly, but they are sadly too large for jewelry. However, i plan on going for a visit to the volcanic Jeju island later this year... i'll get my own perfectly sized volcanic rocks!!! I can't wait. In the meantime, i am perculating some ideas of what to do with them. I am looking forward to seeing what you do with them!