I'm not always aware of the trends in beaded jewelry; while I do read several trade publications, and I attend a few shows, sometimes I miss smaller trends entirely.
Not so with steampunk! One of my good friends, Melanie from Earthenwood Studio, has been creating amazing steampunk components and jewelry for some time now. Strangely enough, I'd heard of the steampunk concept years ago, through a Neil Gaiman-inspired graphic novel about a steam-powered robot. I never read it, but I was intrigued by the concept, and when Melanie began exploring steampunk, I remembered it.
My own style has always been beads, wire, flexible beading wire, and sterling silver or goldfill components, so when I started to notice steampunk jewelry appearing in Etsy shops and blogs, I didn't see how I could adapt it to my own style. The use of found objects and copper and brass was a bit daunting.
After some thought about it, and some encouragement from a couple of designer friends, I decided to take a trip down the steampunk path. I picked up an assortment of jump rings, headpins, French hooks, and gear stampings in brass and copper while I was in WI for the Bead & Button Show. I've been so busy that I didn't have time to experiment...until yesterday.
At first, I assembled the basic components for several different earrings. French hooks, a gear or two, and jump rings. Fortunately, I've done chain maille before, so working with jump rings was familiar.
After I had the basic components put together, I began to embellish them. This was the fun part; I could match different stones to the look of the metal and bring together different, larger jump rings. I changed things around as I was making them, adding elements and subtracting elements, exchanging colors of jump rings, until I had a fun set of earrings.
It was a very fun experiment, and I look forward to creating more steampunk jewelry!