I’m so excited to hop on the Jewel School by JTV bus and share my passion for jewelry making with all of you! It’s been a whirlwind so far and I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you over the coming months.
The holidays are coming up fast and I’m sure you’re beading up a storm. Jewel School's bringing you lots of new products, inspiration and project ideas this month. I know you’re going to love it all! We’re working on a new Video on Demand series, mapping out the first series of new DVDs, and building a new set for the videos and live shows. I’ve been getting sneak peeks and it’s awesome!
We’re launching an absolutely amazing new product this month in Jewel School that is going to knock your creative socks off. Art Clay silver is a sculptable clay embedded with microfine ‘ultra fine silver’ particles. Ultra fine silver is 99.99% silver, so it’s more pure than sterling and less prone to tarnish. You can create your own charms, beads, pendants and findings out of the clay and then fire the clay away with a butane torch. Voilà! You’re left with the solid silver design! It’s magical and with the big focus on mixed media in the jewelry making world, you’ll be right on trend. Plus, the torch is terrific for making crème brulee; so it’s a great multi-tasker! I must admit a personal weakness for crème brulee…but I digress.
The Art Clay kit we’re offering on our Sunday show on December 5 is exclusive to JTV! It is chock-filled with absolutely everything you need to get started. Working with ArtClay silver is going to open all sorts of new doors for you creatively as your one-of-a-kind works of art move your jewelry designs toward gallery level quality. It’s really easy to use and the results are spectacular! You may pre-order the Art Clay kit now and give it a spin before the debut in early December if you’re inspired to get a head start with this new medium!
Jewel School will have many, many products when you’re ready to spread your wings with Art Clay after working with the kit. The possibilities for developing signature pieces are endless. For example, we will have molds for creating a broach or pendant or a pendant bail and an alphabet cutter set of molds. Remember how exciting it was to string your first necklace or create a wire wrap ring for a friend. Art Clay is going to give you the same thrill!
Our step by step project this month features a wire dragonfly that is a signature design for me. I’ll share instructions for how to recreate it and the story of how it literally changed my life. Dragonflies represent transformation, so it’s apropos. These make lovely gifts, package toppers, ornaments and suncatchers. I can’t wait to see what you do with this technique!
Our reader story is going to inspire you to take your jewelry making to the next level. Kathy Beyers turned her love for creativity into a business, and so can you! Wait until you see her designs, they’re absolutely stunning. We love to share your stories and your projects, so please keep them coming! Creativity is such a powerful thing, and like my little dragonfly, it can transform your life in ways you can’t begin to imagine.
Until next time…keep on beading!
Margot Potter, Education and Creative Coordinator for Jewel School
Designing with Art Clay™
Once you start creating your Art Clay™ (ARTCLY001) pieces, the next challenge will be integrating them into your jewelry designs. Of course, they’re going to be so fabulous, it won’t be too difficult. It’s obvious that charms look great piled on bracelets, smaller metal clay pieces are perfect for earrings and focal pendants look lovely dangling from the center of a design. That’s just scratching the surface of what you can do.
Here, I’ve layered an Art Clay™ pendant created by Jackie Truty, a metal clay master artist, on top of a lovely piece of Russian green jade with black striations (JLW1737). As you’ll learn, I enjoy movement in jewelry design and this concept allows the two pendants to swing and sway independently.
The texture on the silver pendant reminded me of the stylized clouds in Chinese paintings. The necklace design followed suit with a delicate, asymmetrical Asian inspiration. The colors are all on point with the top colors for Spring 2011 with vivid pink strawberry quartz (JLW2202A), juicy orange cupolini coral (JLW1995D), lemonade yellow citrine (JLW3536) and neutral tones reflected in hematite (JLW3538), brown smoky quartz (JLW3164) and black agate accents (JLW2541C). I am mad for the juxtaposition of neutrals with bright pops of delicious color, especially in the dreary days of winter!
If you can’t find a jump ring big enough to accommodate your layered pendants, you can always create your own beaded bail using a .018 19 strand Beadalon bright beading wire (JSWR10B) circle secured behind the pendant with a size 2 crimp tube (JLW600).
As you work with Art Clay™ you’re going to discover all sorts of interesting new directions for your work. An entire design can begin with one fabulous focal bead and now you can make your own! How cool is that?!
Dragonfly Holiday Ornament by Margot Potter for Jewel School
After my husband and I closed our gallery and bead store and before I started my career as an author and designer, I had a tough year of reinvention. There wasn’t money for gifts, but I had tons of lovely beads and wire and I came up with this dragonfly design that has since become a signature in my work. These can be made with any beads you have at hand and are really lovely on the Christmas tree and also work wonderfully as sun catchers year round. I’m so happy to share this with you and I hope it inspires you to make your own whimsical wire ornaments. I would love to see what you do with this, so please send your pictures!
7 JLW2541D 6mm round faceted black agate
1 JLW2541E 10mm round faceted black agate
18 JLW3344E 4mm green cracked quartz
10 JLW3345A 8mm round red cracked quartz
8 JLW3344A 4mm round red cracked quartz
3 feet 20 gauge SP German style wire
1. Cut off a 3’ segment of wire. Thread the 10mm agate round to the center of your wire. Bend the wire tails flush to the edge of the bead on both sides.
2. Pinch and twist bead one time around.
3. Use your fingers to warm the wire and smooth it as you work. Slide an 8mm red round, 4mm green round, 8mm black round, 8mm red round, 4mm green round, 8mm black round and a final 4mm green round on one of the wire tails.
4. Gently bend wire around your finger tips and form a wing shape (the exposed wire falls to the bottom of the wing.) Beads can break, so work carefully and be gentle! The top wing should be 1.75” in length. Wrap the wire up and around the twist at the bottom of your ‘head’ shape. Repeat this for the opposite side.
5. Make the lower wings about 1.25” in length, the wire should be empty at the top, bend around your fingertip and add a 4mm green, 4mm red, 4mm green...alternating between the two until you have four of each color. Wrap the wire up and over the ‘head’ bead as before. Repeat for the opposite side.
6. One of your wires will form your ‘bail.’ The bail is .75” long. Bend the wire over your round nose pliers to create a loop at the 1.75” mark. Grasping the loop with chain nose pliers use your fingers to wrap the wire tail around the base wire working down until you reach the bottom of your wire. Cut off any excess wire and tuck the tail under with chain nose pliers.
7. The other wire becomes the tail. Thread on the following beads: 8mm red round, 4mm green round, 8mm black round…repeating this pattern until you have four red, three black and four green beads. Use your round nose pliers to create a small loop in the end of the wire and work it into a spiral with your fingers and chain nose pliers to keep it flat as you work.
8. You can use a standard ornament hook or create your own using 20 gauge wire. I looped one end of a 3” section of wire. Bend the wire over a dowel (I used a thread spool.) Bend a second loop in the opposite end of the wire to create a hook. Use chain nose pliers to open hook and attach to the bail on your ornament.
Jewel School Customer Show and Tell - Kathy Beyers by Judy Jenkins, Jewel School Contributing Writer
We like to hear from our Jewel Customers about their experiences in jewelry making and we enjoy seeing your work. This month we’re sharing the photos from Kathy Beyers of Georgia. Her pieces are beautifully made and express her attention to detail, but that didn’t happen overnight.
The first adventure for this grandmother of two (soon to be three) was in polymer clay about eight years ago. After a year of having polymer clay pieces all over the house, her husband suggested she sell a few pieces at a craft show. She says he’s super supportive and adds, “I’m married to a wonderful man who encourages me to explore whatever talents or interests I think I may have. He even joins me in a few.”
Kathy says, “Just before our first show, I saw online a wire and bead ring! I was in awe. I have never seen anything made with wire and knew I had to try! I hunted all over the Internet and finally found a very rough picture and instructions on how to make a wire and bead ring. I used a variety of pill bottles and wooden dowels for sizes and made about a 100 rings. I spread them out on my table at the show priced at $1.00 a piece. My customers had to try them on to find a size that fit but they didn’t seem to care. I sold about half of them along with the necklaces I made with polymer clay. If I had had those Jewel School DVDs that teach wire wrapping and wire and bead work when I first started, they would have been worth their weight in gold to me. I could find no one to teach me so the few pieces of jewelry I could find online are what I had to learn from. I would study the picture and try to figure out the technique. It took many hours and a lot of wasted wire but I could figure it out. I still have so much to learn and so many ideas I want to create.”
As a self-confessed rock hound, Kathy says she tries to reflect her love of stones and natural elements in her work. When her family moved from New York to Georgia, she started her business, River Rock Designs, all over again and began looking for contacts and craft shows. While her husband is at work and the grandchildren are in school, she enjoys pulling out her beads, tools, and creativity. “I have most days that I can work at my craft for a few quiet hours by myself, which is great.”
Kathy offers some pretty simple advice for anyone thinking about making jewelry. “Just do it! You may discover you have a real talent for designing and creating your own jewelry and start a small business like Sheree (Show Host Sheree Henry) talks about on Jewel School. There is so much now in the way of resources and encouragement. It is so easy to start. Really, what is there to lose?”
Kathy says she enjoys the dividends, “I have really gained in self-confidence since I started making jewelry. The first time someone says to you, ‘Did you really make that?’ is so beautiful. Your confidence will really soar and you’ll hardly be able to wait until you see what you make next! The best part of going to craft shows is that my husband loves to come with me. We’re so busy that to have him all to myself for a few hours is terrific!”
The necklace featured here with the turquoise flower is something Kathy says has been “in my head for a long time”. She used turquoise (magnesite) slabs, a large amethyst cluster with creamy coral freshwater pearls, large 12mm crystals, copper spacers, turquoise (magnesite drops), coral, red dyed jasper beads, and shell daggers. The pieces are attached to a larger copper chain which is attached to a much larger copper chain. It is “very hefty indeed”, according to Kathy.
This experienced jewelry maker knows the frustration that surfaces when a project takes longer than anticipated, “It probably took almost a solid week if I count all the time I actually worked on the flower necklace. I definitely have in mind other designs just as big!”
What’s next? “I can hardly wait until the next shipment of druzys comes in to Jewel School so I can finally get mine!”
Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your story with us. It is so inspiring how you taught yourself to create jewelry when there were few resources available just eight years ago. Yours is a success story about the power of adventure and determination!