See Yourself as a Creative Thinker-Part IV By Karen Meador, PhD

By on September 27, 2017
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Wire Jewelry Article for September 27th, 2017



If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of the series you can click here.

We occasionally need a little help in making our brainstorming as productive as possible. There have been times when I wanted to be fluent, flexible, original, and elaborative, but it just didn’t happen. Luckily, tools like SCAMPER, discussed herein, can help get the creative juices flowing. SCAMPER is an acronym put together by Bob Eberle based largely on the brainstorming work of Alex Osborn. Each letter indicates something we can consider when trying to develop a new idea or improve upon an existing one.

If you have interest, you can Google SCAMPER and find the questions Eberle suggested to help us generate ideas. I’ve “jewelry-smithed” those questions to try to make them more applicable to what we do, and am including examples of how I have used SCAMPER in making links for handmade chain. It’s one of my favorite tools and although I seldom use all the letters of SCAMPER on a single project, I have used each of them from time to time. It seems the words from the tools pop in to my mind when I’m struggling to figure out what to do.

I’ve been making my own wire chain for a very long time and occasionally I just want something a little different. I commonly make “S” links and connect them to each other or join them with jump rings as shown in the photo below. The finished piece shows that I also use beaded links with the other wire connectors.

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SCAMPER is a good technique to help me generate new ideas for my chains and the questions encourage me to think in different directions.


What other materials, such as metal, wire, fiber, etc., can be substituted to enhance the piece?

Can the color or texture of the piece be changed?

Is there an idea used on another piece that can be substituted to improve this piece?

I substituted different types of wire for the round wire I most commonly use. The photo show links made with square wire and with mirror lines copper wire (H26-11A). I might have also used different silver, nickel or brass wire for a change.

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Digging around in my copper bead stash, I unearthed some decorative rings and some cut copper tubing that could work as links.

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What parts, ideas or materials could be combined in this piece?

What could result if you combined this piece with another one to develop something new?

Can you combine the elements of the piece in a different manner?

My first thought for combining elements was to put wire on wire. You can see below that I wrapped a lighter gauge wire on the “S” link. I could also attach a bead to the wire in a similar manner.


I’ve previously combined several jump rings in sequence in a chain, but wondered if there was another way to combine there. This led me to the possibility of just hanging some jump rings from one of the other links.



Is there an idea you can get from some other piece that could be adapted for this one?

I’ve been making multi-strand necklaces and I wondered if a multi-chain piece would work for this project. I’ll try that out soon.

I live on a ranch and have all sorts of interesting creatures about. Therefore, I’m always on the lookout for what nature can share. I adapted one idea from an insect I found following the exterminator’s last visit. I don’t know if these links would work very well, but they are definitely different and I know that while I’m brainstorming, I shouldn’t criticize my own ideas.

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Modify, Magnify, Minify

Can you change any part of the piece to enhance it?

Can you think of ways to modify the shape, appearance, or color of the piece?

What can you add to change this piece?

What can you magnify (enhance) or minify (subdue) to make the piece more interesting?

What would happen if you enlarged part or all of the piece?

What would happen if you duplicated something within the piece.

This is my favorite SCAMPER letter and I use it all the time. The photos show various size modifications for the lengths.


Also, I thought I could modify the tube link idea by making it longer or by letting a tube hang from another link:


Put to Another Use

How would you change this if it were to be worn by someone different from your intended audience?

Could you recycle this piece for use on another piece?

What are the other ways you could use part or all of this piece?

I could put the chain idea to use on earrings or make a multi-chain bracelet with interesting links.

If I were making a chain for different audience, such as a biker, I would want to use stronger wire.


How might you simplify the piece?

What needs to be toned down?

What would happen if you removed part of the piece?

How can you make the piece lighter or smaller?

Would the piece be better if you broke it into parts?

It was important for me to consider this SCAMPER word because I think if I tried to put all these ideas into one chain it might be over the top. Therefore, I considered what might need to be toned down. One of the last photos herein shows all the parts put together. Ultimately, I probably will simplify it by removing some of the links that seem out of place.

Rearrange or reverse

What can you turn inside-out, upside-down or backwards?

Is there a part of the piece that might go a different direction?

Can you exchange the negatives for positives and vice versa?

What is another layout or pattern can you use?

How can you rearrange the parts of the piece?

What would happen if you turned it upside down?

How might you get the opposite effect (color, texture, etc.) on the piece?

My links usually turn in one direction and stop; so, I played with the option of crossing the wire to create more dimension.


I rearranged the look of some of the lengths by hammering on specific spots providing a new texture and look. I also changed an “S” shape by adding zig zags.

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I rearranged the link I made after examining that bug and pushed the swirls together. This made a very different look that has possibilities. You can see in the photo that I also rearranged the shape of part of this link. Now it doesn’t even resemble my first idea and that’s OK.


I put the links together in order to see what might work in my new chain. It will be modified depending on what parts I like and what I feel needs to be removed.


With SCAMPER, as with any brainstorming, if you get one really good, unique and usable idea, be happy! As I’ve mentioned before in other parts of this series, brainstorming can lead us to the understanding that our first or our old idea was actually the best. If so, at the very least, we resisted premature closure and explored other options.

This SCAMPER adventure leaves me with at least two very usable ideas. I’m rather enamored with the mirror lines wire links and can see creating an entire necklace with just these.


I also believe that the bug link has possibilities and I’ll be manipulating that shape a bit more to see what hatches.

I hope you will try all or parts of SCAMPER even though thinking about it may seem a bit uncomfortable at first. Don’t worry about whether your idea actually fits under “substitute” or another category. We just want to hatch some ideas. The more we try SCAMPER, the easier it should become. Familiarity should yield ideas even when you aren’t consciously thinking about SCAMPER. I hope it works for you and that you See Yourself as a Creative Thinker.

Happy Wrapping!


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