Thursday, November 30, 2017

Make a Plan That Works for You!

What kind of creating system do you have? No matter where you are on the expertise level - pro, amateur or beginner- if you make jewelry, then you follow some kind of a procedure.

Yes, at times you pick up a piece of wire and start twisting and adding beads or you put a length of leather through a gorgeous slider you just found and, with a clasp...voila! You have a pretty one-of-a-kind bracelet that you didn't plan at all.

But there is almost always a series of steps that leads you to the final, finished product, especially if it is a deliberate and purposeful effort. Of course, depending on your personal style, your routine is fashioned by the way you work and that in itself will ensure the finished product is original and unique to your inspiration, imagination and talent. In my opinion, these are the four steps in the creative process that, in my experience, are fairly common.

Step 1 - Make a Plan. Get inspired. Whether it be by the person who'll receive your creation as a gift and what they like, or a cause that captures your interest or a memory from your childhood, you can be inspired by the tiniest speck to the universe around us. Will it be simple or extravagant? What elements and colors will most represent what you want it to say? How much time do you want to invest? Then devise a plan to pull all that creative thought into a tangible piece of jewelry.

Step 2 - Put It on Paper (literally or figuratively). This step will let you see your design. Sketch it on paper or use one of the available computer programs and bring your ideas together so you can see an image of your final piece. It doesn't matter how you draw it as long as you understand it, but the more detail you add in this step, the less chance there will be for design hiccups when you are doing the actual work. Here is where you can move elements and focal points, re-position beads or change the style or types of closures, etc. This would also be a good time to make a list of all the materials you will need for your design. If you are using a pendant, decide how you will attach it. How many beads do you plan to use and what lengths of chain will you need? The more information you list now, the more efficiently your work will go.

Step 3 - Prepare and Organize. This is when to get yourself, your tools and supplies organized. Believe me, there is nothing worse than holding a tiny chain link in the perfect position and then realizing you don't have a crimp. Your surroundings are important when planning a successful project, too. Set aside a block of time when you will not be disturbed, someplace without a lot of distractions. Light an aromatic candle, turn on some music you like and put yourself in a calm and assertive mind set to work. Especially if you are making jewelry as a business, this is an important step to promote productivity in any way that works for you.

Step 4 - Just Do It! Be guided by your plan and your original inspiration. Refer to your design, but remember, you can alter it as needed while doing the actual work. If it's a time-consuming project, take an occasional break to avoid cramps or tired-induced frustration. Take pictures, especially if you are in business or you're going to sell your pieces online. Shots of the different phases of your system will tell the story of the finished piece and stories sell product. Pictures of your finished pieces are a must for your portfolio, which every designer should have.

And most importantly, enjoy the process!

So, what do you think? Do you have a similar system or a different procedure altogether? I would love to hear your story. Anything you offer can help your jewelry-making colleagues and is appreciated by all of us.

If you need inspiration, Antelope Beads has a variety of suggestions and how-to's on the website. Browse through our samples to find ideas to make, remarks from the designer and a list of components.
Click Here!

Thanks, Everyone! I'm glad you're on our team.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box

"The most important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them." – Sir William Bragg

Recently, one of our designers said to me, "Today I made a new design... I have never done one like this before, but I was trying to think outside the box!". That, along with the above quote, is so closely related to making jewelry that I thought I would share some thoughts with you.

The saying "think outside the box" originated in the 60's, and since then has been used as a successful marketing catch phrase for a variety of merchandising campaigns, almost to the point of becoming cliché. But when you relate it to your own personal creative instincts, it may very well be a beneficial reminder of just how important your imagination is to you.

It's often a constant challenge to create new and exciting pieces when you are designing your own jewelry. If you're in business, you know that the competition can be overwhelming, so it’s imperative to stand out from the crowd, possibly by spotlighting an original, one-of-a-kind item to catch the eye of a potential customer.

As referenced in the quote by Sir William Bragg, there are seldom new elements, as with facts, to use to make your design unique. A wide variety of chain, leather, fabric, sliders, pendants and closures is available, but not much that isn't being used by every other jewelry designer on the face of the earth. So what do you do?

Say, for example, you want to make a necklace to add to your online inventory. The first basic step is to look for inspiration anywhere you can find it. Once you have an idea in mind, then analyze it a while. Look with your mind's eye at all angles, in reverse, changing colors and maybe even twisting elements into new shapes. Is a necklace always a necklace, or can it morph into a bracelet like our Eucalyptus Etude Convertible Necklace/Bracelet?
Check out how to make this beauty here: Eucalyptus Etude Convertible Necklace/Bracelet
And remember that you can always use different styles and colors of chain, findings and beads that will fit better into your or your gift recipient’s lifestyle.

Believe in yourself! Never be afraid to let your imagination out of the box.

Find fresh, innovative and trending ideas on our Facebook page...and while you’re there, please like it.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Incredible Chain

Chain! Long and chunky, short and delicate in a menagerie of sizes, textures and colors, chain is unimaginably versatile and incredibly timeless. Antelope Beads has just added a huge new inventory of chain styles and finishes, and you’re going to love all the creative possibilities it offers!

Chain always has been and will be in the forefront of the jewelry fashion world. Here are some takeaways from the 2017- 2018 jewelry trends we’ve reviewed:

Vogue’s report on jewelry runway trends shows, among other styles, a focus on bold, statement designs. Our new multi-circle chain is a perfect way to achieve this look, worn by itself or doubled or even tripled, and, of course, embellished in any number of ways. The Lavish Links necklace shows just one of endless possibilities!

Chandelier and chain/metal based focal earrings are also on trend. Making statement earrings can be as simple as attaching an interesting chain to an ear wire. Take a look at our Rotating Rings Earrings or Chain Cascade Earrings for some inspiration! Tassels are still very much in style, and chain is a great way to create instant tassels for both earrings and necklaces. For instance, these On the Fringe Earrings make use of our Figaro Triple Strand Chain. This basic design is so flexible! Try mixing chain with different finishes, adding additional chain sections, or trimming the chain to different lengths!

Of course, leather and chain always work wonderfully together! Our Mix It Up Bracelet makes use of a variety of leather sizes and colors as well as different chain styles to achieve a unisex design. With just a little thought you can conceive any number of combinations, each of which renders a completely different look!

Chain is perfect for delicate and minimalist designs as well. Just couple a delicate chain, like our 2mm Rolo Chain or Oval Link Chain, with one of our designer components or your favorite charm and you have a minimalist creation.  Our Dorabeth Mixed Metal Trio is an example of endless possibilities.

 Feeling romantic? Check out our Golden Garden Necklace – perfect for a special occasion and easy to modify to incorporate a variety of colors.

Check out our amazing collection of chain, in a myriad of finishes at and create your own style!