I’ve been playing with jewelry making since high school. I don’t know what started it. Maybe just some creative drive. My dad brought copper wire home from work and it was transformed into pendants and more. At that time, I was sewing, too. One of my favorite materials was leather; I remember a pink suede skirt and vest, a dark brown suede skirt – where are they now? I used scraps from these projects to make chokers, which were popular then.
In college, I continued playing with jewelry. Antique Chinese coins were worked into necklaces. Beads of different sizes were strung together to make bead network necklaces. I sold them at a hippie store near campus. All are long gone, no photos taken, except for one of the old suede chokers.
Jewelry was one of the courses we in the wonderful cancer survivor art classes some years ago. Our teacher was very patient, trying to teach us a variety of techniques. We started with simply stringing beads. We knotted pearls – I made a bracelet. She taught us to make wire beads – that bracelet was sent to Gsbf (Grad School Best Friend).
About that time, a co-worker from the museum moved away and generously gifted me with her bead collections – some very nice stuff. Primarily, I make necklaces; my wire twists are sloppy so I don’t make earrings. Selling is not a thing for me, what I make usually is gifted or just accumulates in my own collection which I wear.
Another cancer survivor art class introduced us to fimo/polymer clay. Our first project was making little animals. I made a cat (given to a cat-loving friend) and an armadillo. Next we made beads including flower beads. We never ventured to make the amazing millefiori or cane beads. I’ve bought a few books, but again lack the patience for such detail.
Recently I pulled out the clay and tried some new flowers. They are pretty crude, but look nice. Combined with some glass beads from the collection, they make a bright and colorful necklace.
And back to trade show swag. One item given to me by a Moroccan vendor was a wooden key ring with a huge tassel. I’m not fond of tassels, so I took the item apart. The cats enjoy batting around the tassel. I reviewed my bead collection and found some red and white glass beads I bought in Morocco in the early 70s. They always reminded me of candy and were never used. After some weeks of sitting with the pieces in front of me, I assembled a short, asymmetrical necklace. This and the flower fimo clay necklace have garnered a number of complements! That felt very nice.
I recently tried my hand in an ill-fated ceramics class. One day, I’ll bore you with the outcome of that venture – including some pieces I hope to incorporate into jewelry. They all sit in the kiln as I write. I’ll see what color they turned in class next week!