The following is a guest blog post from Emily of the blog A Pop of Red detailing the creative process she used while working on our collaboration from last month’s accessory challenge. Thanks, Emily.
I’m Emily from A Pop of Red, a blog full of recipe and craft ideas! Last month, I joined Dawn on her Design Challenge and you all voted for me to create a lovely pair of tail light earrings to go with her black and grey swirl jacket. Normally, I would share a tutorial for how to make the earrings, but that will not be the case (see why in the post below). Instead, I am sharing the stages of creating a new craft project with examples from me creating the tail light earrings. So give a read and get creating!
Before you can get to making anything, you have to dream it up! You don’t have to envision an entire project, in fact, I find the littlest things are the most inspiring. A flash of colour, an interesting shape, a special word or phrase. Anything can be the inspiration behind a new creation.
For the tail light jewelry, I was inspired by a piece of jewelry I saw someone else wearing. From afar, it had this amazing red gloss look to it, but upon closer inspection, it was just a painted stone. The shine was from the paint and up close it just looked boring.
With that glossy colour and iridescence as my inspiration, I set out to make some jewelry that would really shine.
Next, you need to design what you will make. In this case: earrings. What goes together to make an earring? Something to attach it to your ear, something to make it dangle, and the statement piece – tail lights.
I never get too detailed at this stage. I decide on the pieces, colours and shapes. That is it. When you stop at this point, you have time to let the idea evolve in your mind.
When I attended the BConnected conference for the first time, I took away a bunch of tips. Of those, one stood out and has become my go-to strategy for anything creative.
“Make a list, turn it into a quest, then add your twist” – Vanessa Chiasson of Turnipseed Travels
The structure stage is the making a list (determining the elements) and a quest (how to put them together). So the next logical stage from this quote is to add a twist!
If you took that extra time I mentioned to let the idea evolve, you may have found your twist already. A twist is a challenge to the norm, a cause for surprise, or a personal touch. For the earrings, the twist is they are made from tail lights. Since this is such a rare material to be used, I didn’t feel like any more twisting was necessary. Plus, people stop and comment on the tail light bracelet and necklace, so I know it challenges the norm.
Now onto the planning phase. This is where you decide when and how to tackle this project. Will you do it all in one day? A little bit each evening? Does any stage of the creation require drying time? Will you need a break?
For the tail lights, I planned to first break off the main pieces of the tail light. I expected this to take one evening. Then, I needed to cut out the 4 smaller pieces that would become the earrings. I knew this would take a while, so I set aside a week of evenings. I was able to save some time by using a drill instead of manually chiseling away the plastic.
The last two stages for tail light jewelry are sanding the pieces into their final shapes and adding the necessary jewelry attachments. Sanding I booked another week for, and jewelry making just one night as it is a quick process when it comes to earrings.
You now get to start making things, hooray! At the testing stage, you want to try out your craft or design to work out any kinks in the plan. Maybe you will try different fabrics, glues, tools, etc. Doing tests will help the finished project look cleaner and give you piece of mind that you used the best possible materials and methods that you could.
Because I had made two items from tail lights before, I didn’t really do much for testing.
Follow your plan and get creating!
And this is where I put in my confession: no pictures of the finished earrings will appear…because they do not exist. I didn’t finish.
I ran into problems with the sanding. Apparently sanding the pieces into the required shapes took longer than I thought it did from my past tail light jewelry pieces. After a few days of minimal progress with regular sand paper, I went to the hardware store and picked up a large file, a drill bit sander, and a manual palm sander thinking these would speed things up. I went at the sanding again, but progress was very slow!
After some consideration, and acknowledging I was already well overdue for Dawn Design Challenge, I decided it was best for me to throw in the towel. Making these earrings was becoming stressful and I just could not see them being finished anytime soon.
So no finished pictures, and no tail light earrings to pair with Dawn’s fun black and grey swirl jacket, but I hope this post will be of use to some of you in your own creations. Perhaps if I didn’t skip that testing phase I would not be the example of work undone.
Emily from A Pop of Red