After years of being awestruck at the beautiful handmade jewelry I’d see at arts and crafts festivals, I decided I would learn how to make jewelry. I took my first class through community adult education, and then discovered the world of classes offered through the local bead store.
Once you’ve learned the basics of earring and necklace construction—how to wrap wire and anchor clasps—you can pretty much create whatever designs you can imagine. Experimenting with different sizes and colors of beads, gemstones, crystals, and metals is all part of the fun. Our local bead store (http://www.beadinspirations.com) held a Customer Design Challenge in February to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The challenge was to create a piece of jewelry that embodies “Love Is in the Air”. The pieces would be posted on the website and the public could vote for 5 days and then the winner would be announced. I pulled out my tools and supplies and made a pair of earrings for the design challenge. It was a fun exercise and it really didn’t even bother me that my design received the fewest votes of the challenge—at least someone out there besides my family had voted for my design!
There are many other types of jewelry making techniques besides basic earring and necklace construction. I’ve enjoyed taking a pile of jump rings and turning them into chain maille bracelets of varying complexity. With the aid of magnification and bright lighting I’ve woven tiny seed beads into larger beads which then are strung or wrapped as embellishments. I haven’t yet tackled soldering or metal stamping or a variety of other jewelry-making techniques—maybe I’ll take those classes next.