I like to say that I'm a self-taught crafter. And, in many ways, I am. I've had very few arts and craft teachers, but I learn easily from books and magazines. When I get a new craft magazine or book, I pore over it, first looking at all the pictures, then going back and reading the directions. I tend to do this several times, putting it away for awhile, then bringing it back out and going over it again. Then, I put it on my shelf and, when I'm in a lull in my designing, I take out a stack of magazines and flip through them for inspiration. There's always some new color combination or technique variation that jump starts my own creativity.
I made a comment on Margot Potter's blog recently, and in a random drawing, won a copy of her new book, Bead Chic.
It's full of on-trend jewelry ideas that will fit right in with today's styles, but it's also has a good layout of the elements of designing jewelry. Margot details how elements like scale, color and texture can change the a design into something that looks totally different. There are lots of beautiful examples, both hers and guest designers. There is also a great section with photos on all the basic jewelry techniques.
This is a great book to use as a springboard to create your own unique creations. I'm going to create my own version of the Talisman bracelet on page 97. I've always wanted to make a bracelet like that!