Please welcome our newest members!
Honolulu, HI. USA
I am new to jewelry making and thought this would be a good way to
get info. to get started.
Edmonton, Alberta. Canada
Help, I’ve been bitten by the jewellery bug! It all started when a
friend showed my the basics of stringing beads, as well as a few
finishing techniques for making earrings and necklaces etc. I made a
few pieces, took them to work to show a collegue, and sold them all!
Since then (last November), I’ve continued to make several
commissioned pieces, just finished the pearl jewellery for a wedding
(yes, I hand-tied each pearl)and have taken two silversmithing
classes. I am planning on setting up a basic studio so I can
continue to learn and experiment. I love it!!!
stone age jeweller trying to catch up.
Barbara A Lewis
Chaptico, MD. USA
I have a degree in ceramics, but over time, especially since the
introduction of Precious Metal Clay, I’ve been learning
metalsmithing techniques. I also make ceramic and lampwork beads.
Dix Hills, NY. USA
I find it hard to believe that I’ve been beading for nearly twenty
years. I started back in 1990 when I was living in Philadelphia. My
start on this road was a happy accident. I discovered a bead store
while waiting for a movie to start. I don’t recall what movie I was
going to see, but I remember it was raining and it was either too
long a wait to hang out in the theater lobby or the lobby was closed
for renovations, so I ducked into an Indian import store next to the
theater. I don’t know what I expected to find, but beads weren’t one
The front of the store had saris on display, but the whole back of
the store (which smelled of patchouli and sandlewood) was filled
with beads. I was entranced by the colors - mostly seed beads, but I
remember that there were stone and glass beads as well. I even
recall the beads I bought that day - a hank of glittery green seed
beads and a large carved jet bead with the long life symbol. I was
planning on making a choker necklace with a dozen strands of seed
beads with the carved jet in the center.
Such was the start of my addiction. I don’t think I ever actually
finished the necklace with the green seed beads, it was just too
tedious to string all of those little beads. Stone and plain glass
bead became my materials of choice. One thing I quickly realized it
that while it was easy to put beads on a string, finishing a project
“professionally” was not so easy. I eventually decided that I needed
to learn how to knot in between the beads (like pearls), and spent a
then-exhorbitant sum of $36 for the original Tri-Cord knotting tool.
It took me a while to make sense out of the instructions, but I soon
got pretty good at it, and my necklaces took on a nice, professional
Although I occassionally sold pieces at shows and small craft
stores, most of my work was either commissions from friends and
family members, or pieces I created for myself. My mother was always
my biggest customer (as well as my biggest critic and supporter).
Beads became a hobby and obsession.
I quickly learned NOT to pay retail, and spent may a weekend
rummaging through boxes of junk at antique fairs for interested
vintage beads and necklaces. I also became true friends with some of
the dealers who were specializing the beads and jewelry,
particularly Mike and Marie Dick from East of OZ, who frequently set
up at The Garage on 26th Street in Chelsea.
I stopped beading in the mid-1990s as my career (I am an attorney)
took precedence over my hobbies, and my stash sat dormant for nearly
a decade. But a few years ago, during a career slowdown (I was laid
off), I needed something to fill the time between job hunting and
resume reviews, so I decided to reorganize my stash - mostly with the
intention of selling it. Luck would have it, I landed a new job just
as the last loose bead was sorted.
The new job was nowhere a demanding as the old one. It also had the
dubious benefit of keeping me away from home two nights a week. My
time spent with the stash was not in vain - it rekindled my interest
in beads and in making. I often used the empty evenings in my hotel
room time to work on simple projects. A few weeks into the job, an
Interweave show was held at the Fort Washington Convention Center
(one of the last). My client (the one who kept me from home a few
nights a week) was in the area, and I took advantage of the
proximity to go to the show - my first bead show in about a decade.
Boy, how things had changed. The last ones I had gone to (1995 or
so) were dominated by new and vintage Czech glass and very little in
the way of stone and pearls. Now, all I saw were stone and pearls
and crystal. I was also fortunate enough to reconnect with dear
friends, including Mike and Marie Dick from East of OZ, who had
amazing and unbelievable stuff (as well as warm and welcoming arms).
In a heartbeat, I fell in love with the rare minerals and gems I saw
before me. These were nothing like the drab and uniform round beads
or the inferior quality stuff I had started with way back when.
Lucious agates and jaspers, charioite, tektite, rough quartz
crystal, big simple cut Peruvian opal and Amazonite and Labradorite
and Sunstone and Wonderstone and on and one. Stones I never heard
of. And the pearls - yummy, yummy pearls in all the colors and sizes
I could imagine. Keishi and chickenfoot and coin pearls, long Biwa,
plump round potato pearls. Peacocks blues and greens, golden red,
peachy pink and pinkish peach, white and black and gray.
And so, like a dragon out of myth, I began another hoard. And just
as that one started to grow, the career (the thing that pays for the
stash) took a 180 again. More downtime between job hunting, but this
time I used creatively. By the time I was back to work, I completed
quite a few very complex p rojects.
Patricia A. Lawler
Norfolk, Virginia. USA
I’m female, dog-loving, lifelong Beatles fan, floral designer by day,
jewellery maker by night. I’ve a BS in psychology (Old Dominion
University) and after completing the course of study at the Norfolk
Botanical Gardens School of Horticulture had a 20 year career in
retail garden center/greenhouse management. I love doing artwork in
several media, including jewellery-making, lampwork bead-making, and
batik. In essence I’m not sure what I’ll be when I grow up but I love
learning new things. I’m currently working with a wonderful
collection of antique beads and incorporating them into my jewellery.
Some of my favorites to work with are glass, metal, paper, fabric.
And I’m glad to be here.