Monday, October 26, 2009

Fun in the classroom...

We certainly had fun in the classroom last Saturday at Brea Bead Works! My students made (or started) some very beautiful pieces, and I was particularly pleased to see how creative they were with their own projects once we got going.
Sorry that the photo above is so poor, but I should have known better than to try photographing a subject in front of a window with strong light. The image came out really dark, and I did try lightening it up a bit in Photoshop. Anyway, I think you get the idea: busy, happy students indulging in their passion for jewelry making...
The project we worked on was taken from my new book, Contemporary Copper Jewelry. (It's found on page 62, for those of you who would like to attempt the same jewelry piece at home.) In the book, the project is a fairly large, complex collar made from a heavy-gauge wire frame embellished with large gemstone chips, medium-size glass and gemstone beads, and small spacer beads and headpins.
The design is organic and freeform, but takes about a week to finish! Yeah, it's pretty big.
So I suggested to my students that we tackle a less ambitious design instead. To assist them, I drew some basic design shapes on the eraser board (geometric and organic forms that always succeed in jewelry design) and suggested that we try making either pendants or bracelets instead of a large collar.
Above you see pictured a simple wire frame made from 14ga wire, with a squiggly organic design. I then placed my largest beads on the frame to get an idea as to how I wanted to start embellishing the frame. I took a photo to demonstrate how easy it is to document your work-in-progress and also help to remind yourself of your direction if you should lose your way later on in the process of making a new jewelry piece.
Anyway, I was so pleased to see each participant in class come up with something original! I hear the old cliche all the time, that "there's nothing new under the sun, everything's been done before, yada yada..." and it makes me so mad, because it's not true! You (yes, you) can make something unique, something original, your own art. Yes, you can. I do it all the time, and so do my students.
This bracelet (pictured above) is Martha's work-in-progress. She decided to use yellow brass wire because she likes the yellow color, which goes so well with her chosen gemstone beads. She made a wire frame for the bracelet and then started embellishing it with finer-gauge wire and beads... asking me how to fit the bracelet later, I told her to try it on her wrist to see how it looks so far. I think she's nearly finished with her embellishment, and ready to bend the heavy-gauge wire into a bracelet form that terminates in two big spirals.
Here's my own finished pendant with agate chips, pearls, labradorite beads, decorative headpins, and a few small crystal beads. I used sterling silver because it's my favorite wire to work with, but the same design could be worked out in copper wire to save money.
I'll be teaching again at BBW on Nov. 21: a brand-NEW necklace called the Grateful Heart. You can find more information and a supply list by clicking here. To enroll in the workshop, call BBW at 714-671-9976.
This necklace is also a featured project in my brand-new (really brand-new!) 200-page book called Wire Art Jewelry. I hope to release this title by the end of this week or the beginning of next! I'm really excited about it, because there are so many great projects that students have been asking me to provide for them. For more info, click here.
I hope to see you in a workshop sometime before the end of 2009. As the holidays approach, I focus on my favorite of the year: Thanksgiving. We've been through a very rough year, and yet I believe that we all have much to be grateful for. I also believe that we have much to look forward to in the near future, including lots of opportunities to express ourselves creatively. What a gift!
Happy wrapping,


justaskanna said...

great work looks like you all worked very hard. Very impressive pieces.

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