Ruth Rae’s Inspiration: Mixed-Media Jewelry


I’m thrilled that artist and author Ruth Rae has a new set of mixed media videos out! I have admired Ruth’s work for years, and working with her on this project has been a pleasure and an honor. Her four videos include Fabric Collage, Dimensional Collage on Wood, an Art Dress, and Mixed-Media Etched Jewelry. It’s definitely a perk to be able to see the videos as soon as they’re edited, and right after I watched one I wanted to make the project.

After watching her Mixed-Media Etched Jewelry video┬áI raced home to start working on a bracelet. One of the great things about Ruth’s videos is that she makes every technique look incredibly easy, taking all the fear away and replacing it with confidence. With step-by-step instructions that she explains so well, there’s really no way you can go wrong. For this piece I learned bead crochet, just from watching the video. Another great thing about her videos is that you can try all of the techniques or just some, incorporating what you like into your art.

For this bracelet I decided to focus on the resin bezel technique and bead crochet. I’ve worked with resin before, but hadn’t tried Ruth’s technique of embedding pearls into the resin to make the bezel dimensional. I worked with ICE Resin, which is the most amazing thing ever. I poured it into the pearl-filled bezel, then added a few more pearls on top. Everyone I’ve shown the bracelet to loves that focal piece.

Ruth recommends C-Lon thread for the bead crochet, but says you can also used waxed linen thread. I have so much waxed linen I use for bookbinding, I thought I’d give that a try. I loaded up a strand with some glass pearls, made a slip knot, and started crocheting. After a couple of tries you get a feel for how the tension should be, and the crocheting goes very quickly. It went so quickly that I decided to make another strand in another color of waxed linen thread, this time adding some aqua glass beads.

I attached the strands to the bezel, added a closure, and thought I was done. But looking at it, the bracelet needed one more element. In the video, Ruth shows how to incorporate ribbon strips into her necklace. I spotted a scrap of sari ribbon and thought it might work–and it did! I tried it around the end of the strands and frayed the edges with my fingers (another of Ruth’s technique).

I’ve gotten so many compliments on the bracelet, and I can’t wait to make a necklace now, and try my hand at wire wrapping. This video, and all of her others, are so filled with techniques and ideas that you’ll be busy for a long time. And don’t forget–the holidays are coming up! Who wouldn’t love a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry? Ruth has a new book out too, with fellow artist and friend Kristen Robinson: Explore Mixed Media Collage. If you like collage, you will fall in love with this book.

I’m on a mission to challenge myself to learn new techniques. Are you? Ruth’s videos and book are the perfect place to start. ~ Jeannine



Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry


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