Every year, I take off about 2 weeks from work around Christmas and New Years to refresh and reinvigorate myself. During my last vacation, at the beginning of 2011, I decided to use that time to learn some new jewelry techniques. I had been reading magazines like “Bead and Button” and “Bead Unique”, and admiring what people were doing with weaving, stitching and crocheting seed beads and crystal. I loved the look of many of these pieces, and wanted to learn all these methods of creating jewelry.
I bought a beginning loom kit. It was really cheesy, made of plastic, and came with horrible thread. Looking back, and now that I have used quality thread, I’m amazed I was able to complete anything! This was my first bracelet, and I learned a valuable lesson about keeping track of my stitches-if you look closely, you’ll see where I was off a bit.
I bought a great book by Lesley Weiss, “Stitching Beaded Jewelry.” This book is so well written, and well illustrated that I was able to learn several stitches just by using this book. The first project in the book is a basic cross weave necklace, and I’ve already sold two of these.
Shortly after that I was contacted by Brenda Sue Lansdowne, owner of B’sue Boutiques, and invited to join her Facebook Fan page. Brenda not only sells jewelry components, but she is a great teacher and mentor, with several You Tube videos to her credit. Brenda was in the process of defining “Five and Dime” style jewelry, and was sponsoring design challenges in the Five and Dime style.
This was scary for me. I had previously done only beading. I hadn’t worked with metals, fiber, or paint-materials that are an integral part of the lessons learned from Brenda. But, I knew that the only way I would grow as an artist would be to learn from experienced professional jewelry artists-and Brenda knows many of them. Time to get brave and jump in!
For the first challenge, I did a brooch and earring set. I bought all the metals from B’sue, and used acrylic paints and sealant that I had on hand. Since that time, I’ve purchased better jewelry quality materials from B’sue. I”ve become a big fan of Lumiere paints, Diamond Glaze, and I’m just beginning to learn how to use ICE resin. This is my first Five and Dime Challenge piece.
I have spent the year 2011 continuing to “hang out” with Brenda Sue and other talented people. I have participated in several of Brenda’s challenges, as well as the Mostly Metal Challenge sponsored by Michelle Mach, and Fusion Beads blog challenge. I will continue to do these challenges because they push me into learning and perfecting new techniques. If you are new to all of this, and you want to be the best you can be, you need to continually push past what you are comfortable with. Don’t be intimidated by the professionals-I have found everyone that I have “met” online to be kind, generous, and encouraging. They don’t sneer at those of us who are up and coming, and they are not threatened. In general, this is a warm welcoming community where everyone helps everyone else.
These are some of the other pieces that I have created as I’ve learned. Enjoy!!