A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Name is Keirsten and I'm a Tutaholic

It all started, I think, with Barb Lewis' "Painting with Fire" tutorial. The instant gratification (I wish ALL online purchases could be emailed), the new (largely theoretical) vistas opening up...After that it was Shannon LeVart's "Color Drenched Metal" and "Hand Formed Links." And that softened me up pretty good for the next email I got from Eni Oken Jewelry Lessons--by now I had an unquenchable thirst for tutorials, even if I wasn't even going to do them (indeed, I have no immediate plans to do enamel, I just wanted the tut)--and I stumbled headlong into the Jewelry Lessons site like a broke drunk who just found a fiver on the sidewalk stumbles into a liquor store and started snapping up whatever I could find that seemed remotely do-able.

Well, that's maybe an overstatement, I bought two. I bought one on making wire-wrapped briolette flowers, because I was so inspired by Melissa Meman's gorgeous flower earrings but couldn't figure out how to do it (I don't have the engineering gene), and one on how to make little calla lily-shaped beadcaps out of thin metal sheet. (And then of course I had to buy the metal sheet). And somewhere in there I also acquired a tut on making kidney earwires from Natalie Girard, a Canadian jewelry artist on AtrFire. I've wanted to do those too but didn't have the patience to figure it out on my own. Sometimes I just like to be spoon-fed. Especially about measuring things.

So this was my fourth (or fifth?) attempt at the briolette flower. (I was a little alarmed with attempt no. 3 because I seemed to be getting WORSE with practice, but I stopped and thought about where I was going wrong and kept trying). I've had these kyanite spears FOREVER, they were one of the first things I bought when I started making jewelry but they didn't fit into my initial designs and I didn't know what to do with them after that.

This one below is also using the briolette wrapping technique (mine is still kind of messy, can't figure out how Melissa gets hers so perfect! Have to keep experimenting. I got a little wild with the one below and forgot where I was at with the over and under). Little sea opal drops and rounds, with copper rollo chain, and some great tiny ladder chain in antiqued copper. I can't remember where I got either chain--it was either Ornamentea or Lima Beads.

I'm pretty excited, this means I will have a way to use all those top drilled teardrop beads I keep buying but don't know what to do with. I have PILES of such beads so you will be seeing lots and lots of flowers. I may open a second shop called "All Flowers, Every Day, All Day Long."

This last thing didn't require any new tuts at all, just knots. A casually-shaped cube of boro lampwork glass by Bebesglassbeads on Etsy in "Ocean and Sand" hangs from cold-forged copper rings and a strand of knotted matte denim glass beads, with a few amber glass beads thrown in to tie into the lampwork. Front closure toggle clasp with hand-forged toggle bar.

Well, that's all I got. I got through about half my to-do list this weekend. And oh, gee, it looks like I didn't get to the icky stuff. Golly darnit anyhow.


  1. Oh my goodness! I'm in love with those flowers you've made!! And, I'm a tutaholic too- I have collected tons of tutes that are on a plan to do someday. Luckily I went through a phase of buying teardrops and brio's, so guess who might try to make a flower pendant too. Those http://www.jewelrylessons.com/ are very nice, she does make very good tutorials.

  2. Very cool pendants! Now I understand what you were referring to getting worse with practice instead of better. Lovely! I do relate to tutaholism...i LOVE tutorials and jewelry books and magazines. :-)

  3. ::giggle:: I have been catching up w/ your blog this evening and still say you inspire me! :O) I've started w/ the wire & tutorial obsession recently and have a couple that I really want to try. I struggle with ... am I a metal clay artist or a jewelry maker... and whether or not I can let myself be both. I have to get past thinking "but I didnt really make it if I didn't MAKE the pieces." But like I got over my fear of other people's textures - I have to keep thinking it's like when you design clothes - you may not make the material but you still designed and made that dress. Dear lord I'm rambling - maybe I need to update MY blog... :O)

    Thanks for the ongoing inspiration! :o)

  4. Thanks for the shout out and the flower love! I think yours are "perty nigh on" perfect. Love all these and your new blog look as well :)

  5. So beautiful! And thank you for sharing that tutorial site! I know what to do with my next paycheck :P

  6. Those flowers are amazing. I've been buying tutes for awhile now...just getting in wire working and love it. For me...it's having the time while working full time. :( Do a little bit of everything right now until I find my niche...all of it has become my passion. Really enjoy it. Have a PMC class coming up...dying to get my hands into that as well. Keep the inspiration going everyone...lots of fabulous artists out there I've discovered and the nicest group of people.

  7. wow. WoW. And more WOW! I love the new blog look. Very cool. And those briolettes are stunning. I have only dipped my toe in the water of tutes. Sounds like you are splashing around just fine!
    Enjoy the day!

    P.S. I saw this piece posted on facebook... not that I like facebook all the much, but how do you do that?

  8. Very cool new blog look!
    Love the flowers! But what really has me drooling are your links on the last necklace. Girl - you do them sooo well.

  9. Wow, I like your new designs, following tutorials or not. Your jewelry is just gorgeous. (I'm personally not a tutorial person, and I like to get in "trouble" doing my new designs.) New blog look is great, too.

  10. Some great tutorials and you're making some fantastic progress putting the techniques into action!

  11. So you're saying there may be hope for me yet? I loved when you said you were "alarmed" -- to say *I* was alarmed when I failed utterly would be putting it mildly! You've given me hope now!

    And as always, I'd wear anything you made!

  12. Digging the paisley goodness :) (and the jewelry is pretty darn awesome too!)

  13. awesome! and i am so happy you are hooked - i have to pace myself otherwise i get overstimulated and my brain begins to short circuit... i need things to simmer a bit... but it is really exciting...
    ok, so i am not going to tell you about another cool one i saw... :0)
    barbara's and shannon's tutorials are my favorites - filled with info and so well written...
    i love the kyanite flower - it's funny, it feels 'different' to you now, but it will all come and work into that perfectly 'you' look that we love...

  14. You're funny! I think it is awesome how much new stuff you have learned! I want to see the flowers, all shapes and sizes, enameled and patina-ted!