Beading, wires, clasps, pliers (how many different kinds are there?!?).... the whole jewelry-making experience has been one that I have been wanting to jump right into; but was afraid to. Maybe "afraid" is not the right choice of words... more like "I think I really, really suck at it, because everytime I pick up one of those plier thingies, I break out in hives." hmmmm.
I have dabbled a bit. Enough to know that I don't have a "natural" aptitude for it. It will take Work - lots of it - for me to become skillful with the pliers. I love the beading, the actual designing of the piece (after all, repurposing vintage jewelry into newer pieces has always been at the back of my mind when I purchase them).... but getting from A (materials) to Z (finished piece) is where I have some issues.
Lucky Me has had the opportunity to attend Karla's BirdSong event twice now. Both times, we've had a project which involved jewelry-making. Last year, I was fortunate to meet and sit next to the loveliest and most patient of all ladies, Lee, who held my hand along the way and never tired of explaining things to me. Don't get me wrong - the instructors for the classes were fabulous - the issue was on my end. Somehow, my hands couldn't perform the simple turning and twisting techniques that are required to produce a decent piece of jewelry. Oh, and did I mention that when I finally managed to finish something, the wiring seems to look a bit worse-for-wear? Not my proudest moment, for sure.
This past June, I attended BirdSong 4, and once again, a jewelry project was on the agenda. This time, a gorgeous bracelet designed by the incredibly talented Andrea Singarella. Talk about raising the bar!
I decided to stop being such a baby.... I mean, how many chances does one get to take a class from Andrea? So I took a deep breath.... and jumped in. I survived, thanks to Andrea's instructions, encouragement, and help from my table companions.
The end result was a wearable bracelet. Maybe not perfect - but definitely wearable and maybe (even) beautiful.
I was beaming and feeling just a tiny bit proud of myself.
So, dear friends, where does the story end?
The good news is that it doesn't end. I have been playing with pliers, wires and beads... and while I'm still very much a Novice, my hands are getting better at the twisting and turning techniques.
Here are a couple of my "novice" projects for your enjoyment.
..a necklace I have been working on...most of it is re-purposed sections from vintage pieces.
..a bracelet I made for my daughter. My inspiration was the bracelet we made at BirdSong4... this one combines newer and vintage pieces/beads.
Something else I discovered on this adventure.... photographing jewelry is really tough! The lighting has to be just right, and capturing the details is tricky.
My paper, textile, and mixed media projects have taken a back burner. My work table has been completely taken over by jewelry making. And the best part is that I no longer break out in hives when I see pliers....