Learning how to make jewelry isn’t just a process of learning the techniques… it’s a process of self-discovery, too! It tests the limits of your creativity, problem-solving, willingness to learn… and your patience, of course.
I had to learn the basics, make sure I had the correct tools, spend time learning to make the perfect loop, work with wire, and of course, learn it was ok to take something apart when I was not happy with it and start over.
And it goes beyond just learning the techniques; you learn to decide which materials you need for which projects. Most of the time, when I go to bead shows and shops, I am looking for items I had not seen before, but just as often, I have an idea in mind. Sometimes I just stare at all that I have in my (very organized) bins and pick one or two colors and then decide what I will make with those and what else I need.
Once you have your materials, it doesn’t end there! You develop an eye for which materials complement each other and how to combine them in the best way. For wrap bracelets, I pick a color of leather, then the beads and then the stringing material. And of course, the button for the closure. By just changing the pattern of the beads and using a different button, I get a totally different look.
And all of this combined results in the unique, one-of-a-kind pieces you see displayed here!
WHAT GOES INTO HANDCRAFTED JEWELRY ?
- Beads, gems, metal components, stringing materials, chain, jump rings, closures, all the myriad tiny items that go into connecting parts that end up being a true labor of love and a piece to be proud of.
- Planning the design – or just going with whatever inspires me at the moment. I might see one tiny bead and decide that will become a wrap bracelet or a pair of earrings.
- No short cuts. I make sure each piece is finished correctly.
- Time. A lot of time.
- Good bead organization, a good light with a magnifier.
- A husband who understands that the dining room table is my design/work table. Doesn’t everyone have bins of bead supplies lining the dining room? Since I am organized, I can put everything away and stash it in another room so the dining table can be used just for that!