Sometimes the best way to learn a new technique, or try a new style of beading, is to recreate something that’s already been done. Many beaders start out by making the designs featured in magazines, and then move on to designing their own unique creations. Some weavers take existing images and transform them into intricate patterns for flat bead weaving like peyote stitch and Ndebele weave.
When it comes to mimicking the unique style of vintage costume jewelry, it would be difficult to copy most designs without the use of some serious metal working tools. Although the exact style is a little advanced, it’s easy to use the concepts found in costume jewelry to create stunning modern works of wearable art.
I recently picked up a copy of Julia C. Carroll’s Collecting Costume Jewelry 101. I was amazed by not only the wealth of information for collectors, but by the stunning array of vintage and collectible jewelry. The gorgeous pieces in the photographs could provide a wealth of inspiration to the creative eye. Although the designs don’t suite many modern tastes, the jewelry itself could easily be transformed into something new. Anyone lucky enough to have some costume jewelry that isn’t too valuable or sentimental has probably had the idea to update or upcycle some of their more interesting pieces.
Probably the most valuable inspirations are the patterns and shapes used in many designs, which would make for excellent bead embroidery. With a little creativity, almost any costume piece could be recaptured with a modern twist.
If you’d like to make some fun mixed media designs with your own vintage components, try these easy tutorials for ideas: