On Jewelry Design

After posting a few pics, some folks in my online circles wondered where I get my ideas from. After suffering from metal allergies, I started designing jewelry in college using regular stringing methods and some basic wire work. Then, when I found out there were classes and kits available at my local bead store, I’ve been focused on bead embroidery and bead weaving. Some magazines and books, too, provide patterns that allow me to create pieces like this:

A Twist in Grey

Since I’ve been making more pieces, I’ve also been able to take on my own designs or heavily modify existing patterns. This bracelet started out as something else, but I lost the pattern so the embellishment is my own. As you learn patterns, you’ll pick up what size of beads will work for which projects–and what cut as well.

Harlequin Bracelet

In addition to your local bead store, there are a ton of resources online you can visit to learn more about beadweaving and wirework. To get you started, here’s a list of five websites you can visit for more information.

The thing I like about making handmade jewelry, is that it’s uniquely satisfying to create something from scratch. Plus, there’s a mathematical component to jewelry design that lies underneath the surface of the artistry, similar to knitting, crocheting, or sewing. Add in levels of complexity, too, and over time you’ll notice your progress (and confidence) improve as you start with something simple and increase your skill set.

    Mood: Blargh
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Three-ish
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: A short walk
    In My Ears: RED 2
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Book Last Read: Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: RED 2
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!

On Day 18, It’s a Squee for Spring!

Soundwave Avatar

I LOVE Fall, but I also enjoy the ability to get the most out of every season. This Spring butterfly I learned how to make in class and it’s part of a wedding present. So much fun to make this! And the wings flap! Totally going to experiment with a bat!

Spring Butterfly


    Mood: Swamped, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I maintained the balance of the Force.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Son of a biscuit…
    In My Ears: A meeting. (I’m cheating!)
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: The Crimson Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
    Movie Last Viewed: Machete Kills Again
    Latest Artistic Project: You’re looking at it!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing. See also: need to write more flipping comics and exercise my art skillz again. Feh.
    Latest Game Release: Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.

New Shinies Sans Sniffles

Sephiroth Avatar

…and I’m back for the next segment of “My Life as a Writer.” For ten minutes, at least, since I am STILL dealing with the worst kind of con crud imaginable. Yes well, I whine. What can I say? That’s what gets me through it. Hee.

Anyway, trying for fresh air today and I thought I’d give a brief update about Oscar Wilde, Stud Cat. Oscar has been given a clean bill of health, and he’s going up for adoption this weekend. There are currently 17 cats available for adoption; the staff really likes him and I’ll share a link when that goes live. If you’re considering rescue, please think about it. I found out just how common pet abandonment is, and a lot of time landlords don’t know a pet has been left behind right away. This is just not cool.

I’m good, really. Behind, but sane. I had a great time at WisCon last weekend, mostly because I was able to see people I knew and meet new interesting people. Haven’t gotten the chance to follow up with a living soul, though, because the way my week’s been going. For me, WisCon is the type of show that works well, when I have people to see already. Media-based shows, like a GenCon or NYCC and what-have-you, those I can fare well on my own because there’s always something for me to do, even outside panels. And here? I’m not sure what my contribution would be to a show like this, other than to boost the signal of the folk who are already there. That’s more being self-analytical than anything else, as I’ve pulled back from promoting for the sake of promoting–I don’t have a novel out just yet. Perhaps when that happens, I can talk to some trusted friends, and figure out what folks might be interested in. I suppose that’s every writer’s worst fear, right? Oh, you want to meet me? Um… Hopefully, I’m fabulous in person. Hopefully.

On that note, I’m planning an event for ConText 27 in Ohio that I hope will be the first of many. More on that later! But, for now? I want to share more of the jewelry I’ve been making. They’re clickable, so you can check out each one if you so desire. Shiny!

Vintage-Inspired Necklace

Helm Bracelet

Netted Bracelet

Wire Wrapped Pendants

Pocket of Posies Bracelet

Crystal and Leather Bracelet

    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Well? HAH.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Up down left right up up down down.
    In My Ears: A computer fan. How droll.
    Game Last Played: Samurai vs. Zombies and Samurai vs. Zombies 2
    Book Last Read: *eyebrow raise* There was something…
    Movie Last Viewed: Antz Why? I really don’t know.
    Latest Artistic Project: You’re looking at it.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Mortal Remains
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, short stories, and novels.

Steampunk Emporium eBook Review

Steampunk Emporium

In honor of National Craft Month, I thought I’d review one of my beading e-books, Steampunk Emporium. Now, for bead books I prefer a PDF downloadable format. I don’t feel that beading instructions can be correctly relayed with text only in an ePub file. The file does come with chapter bookmarks, but isn’t broken down further than that and the page numbers aren’t clickable. For ease-of-use, it’s best to read the Table of Contents then go to the appropriate chapter. A more hierarchical breakdown would be ideal for me.

Steampunk Emporium is a book that offers five main themes for jewelry-making: Atlantis Expedition, Zeppelin Pirate Attack!, Absinthe Fairy Interlude, Jurassic Valley Exploration, and Clockwork Tea Party. Within each of these categories, there are four or five projects ranging from mixed media designs to wirework. The skills required to make each piece also vary. For example, the Azure Cog Earrings employ simpler wireworking skills than the Adventurer’s Fob Watch, which definitely necessitates a familiarity with polymer clay.

So who do I feel would best benefit from this book? I think anyone who is involved in steampunk costuming would really like the variety of designs. For the average beader, the materials required are a little more involved. The components required for these pieces are not inexpensive, but the plus side to this is that each piece is unique and every step is outlined with a photo. Even if your polymer smiley faces, so to speak, wind up like Dali-esque melty faces, the photos will help, so I don’t think you’d be buying materials for the sake of having them.

The author, Jema Emilly Ladybird Hewitt, thought of everything. There is flash fiction at the beginning of each chapter, an explanation describing what steampunk is, additional resources to explore with clickable links to websites, a glossary, and a guide to working with vintage items that includes taking watches apart. It is themed very specifically to steampunk.

If you’re into steampunk — especially costuming — I do think this 130 page eBook worth a buy for the ideas that aren’t run-of-the-mill. Just keep in mind that the digital functionality of the PDF isn’t optimal.

Steampunk Emporium is available at DriveThruFiction.com.

National Craft Month! First Three Pieces

Yuna Final Fantasy X-2

March did its best to roar like a Lannister on Saturday. Here’s hoping it’ll whimper on its way out like a House that the Targaryens toasted a few hundred years ago. This weekend, I kicked off National Craft Month with a pledge to create a new art piece every day. My only stipulation was that I focus on something new that I haven’t done before. As I have trouble disciplining my cats, Rimmon kept a watchful eye waiting for the needle and thread to come out — so I opted for wirework instead and took inspiration from my writing.

I have a ton of these little dice beads so I picked out three colors that made me think of Firefly. This is what I came up with, an ear cuff modified off of this design.

Firefly RPG-themed Dice Cuff

Since I already had steampunk on the brain, I created a pendant. This one is a little more Alice in Wonderland than what I had written and submitted, but you know? For being a completely freeform piece, I like the way it turned out.

Steampunk Pendant

This pair of earrings is inspired by the story I submitted in the blind. Though the plot was set in modern day times, I wrote the piece in a Victorian style. Which, if you’ve read my work, means that’s also part of the plot. We shall see! I’ll keep you posted.

Steampunk Earrings

You can see how the earring hangs, here. I wish I could say I tried to make good use of negative space, but in all honesty this design was a total accident. I had a silver gear that was perfect to go with the other one, but I lost it as I was working on it. Yep, I’m that talented. It has gone into the abyss, where lost socks wander aimlessly, leaving behind a trail of yarn. Or tears. Whatever.

Steampunk Earring

    Mood: I refuse to be defeated. Winter will end!
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: I should have gone to the gym. Instead, I hang my head in shame.
    In My Ears: Monday morning shuffle.
    Game Last Played: Sonic All Star Racing Transformed
    Book Last Read: Lovecraft’s Monsters anthology
    Movie Last Viewed: THOR: A Dark World
    Latest Artistic Project: You’re looking at it.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Freedom Flyer
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.

Next Posts

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Subscribe to Monica’s Newsletter

* indicates required


Back to Top