I think earrings are sometimes treated as an afterthought by the jewelry world. They don't get their own tutorials in beading magazines, they are sidelined as addenda to larger projects like necklaces, they are portrayed as beginner's fodder—simple, quick and easy.
They can be and should be considered perfect little artworks on their own. Tiny, yet powerful, they hang close to our faces, enhancing our smiles, flirting with our hair or staking claim to the attention of everyone we speak to. More than merely ear adornment, they are powerful indicators of our mood, our style, our color preferences or our point of view. Whether we feel whimsical or centered, extravagant or tailored-- earrings deserve our design consideration and attention to detail just as much as any other piece of jewelry.
Often my earrings begin as leftover pieces of clay that I can't bear just to chuck into the scrap pile, since most of my mokume gane is very labor-intensive. I usually piece the scraps into mosaic-- another example of a technique born of accident and opportunity-- and the size usually dictates the use so-- voila! we have earrings! Mine tend to be larger and longish, providing more space for the mokume patterns to be seen. But then how to embellish without adding more length?
Found objects frequently come to my rescue, those precious little bits of flotsam and jetsam that I repurpose for ornamentation. One of my best finds was a length of ornate stamped brass molding that probably trimmed the metal ceiling in a turn-of-the-century bar in New York City. Flattened, cut into pieces, cleaned up and sanded, I've dangled and glued many a piece to a pair of earrings. All these bits and bobs tell a story and—after all-- that's what I'm about! Many pieces of my old earrings have been reborn into a new life as a completely redesigned pair. I like to think that whatever I spent on them was well worth it-- first, to be worn as a favorite for so many years and now to grace the lobes of a stranger who picked those particular ones out of hundreds of choices available to buyers. Kismet, as they say.
As the season of Yule is upon us, celebrate the power of small artwork by making a pair of earrings for someone special! Really take some time to make them unique, hunt down some unusual findings or some tiny bit of bling, dig through your old issues of beading magazines for inspiration and your boxes of old jewelry for supplies. You might find yourself, as I did, spending an enjoyable afternoon making--just earrings.Serengeti Earrings - Available in my Etsy shop
Kyoto Earrings - also beads, all available in my Etsy shop