Tuesday, 7 February 2012

You can make jewelry too!

Lose the excuses like that you need to invest lots of money because you don't have tools and materials or that you have no idea where to begin.

If you are interested in wire wrapped jewelry, you need to buy round nose pliers, flat nose pliers and flush cutters (you will spend around 15$).

If you would like experiment with polymer clay, you need even less investment. Everybody has a sharp knife at home, pasta machine is easily substituted with glass bottle, and most households have an oven.

For beading you will need only flat nose pliers which you use for crimp beads when finishing your piece.

Materials you can buy for starters are:

- Thick and thin wire (e.g. 18 ga and 26 ga) and some beads for wire jewelry

- Polymer clay in two or three colors, the cord or tiger tail, crimp beads, clasp or earring hooks

- For beading you need seed beads, the cord or thread, crimp beads and clasp or earring hooks.

Start with basics. Internet is full of sources where you can learn how certain wire behaves, find wire wrapping tutorials for beginners; instructions for working with polymer clay and patterns for beading.

Be ambitious, but realistic. If you skip the basics, it is probable that you will repeat common mistakes later, and it will be harder for you to develop your skills. It's OK to take a tutorial level or two over where you are now, but if you choose to advanced project, you will only get agitated and lose the will to continue.
Some things may seem easy to do when made by a person who has been engaged in it for a long time, but remember, we all started from scratch and coped with tools and materials at the beginning.

If you decide to work with wire, give yourself some time to get the feel for pliers and wire: how hard can you press it without leaving the marks; how to hold the pliers and wire to get the shape you wanted; how to coil the thin wire without getting it crumpled, bent or breaking it; if it breaks, how to add a new wire.

Polymer clay basics are slightly easier to learn. When playing with various patterns, and finishing your beads it is important to avoid leaving finger tips (use thin rubber gloves).

Beading requires only lots of patience.

Play! When you master the technique described in tutorial, try to apply it on other types of jewelry according to your own design.

Be persistent and don't let yourself get discouraged. After you learn the basics, it will be a lot easier to deal with challenges, and trust me when I say that there is no greater pleasure than when you give your work for a birthday present, or when you show up at work with your newest necklace and say with pride "I made it!" when colleagues start asking where have you bought it.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tutorial: Simple dangle earrings

I just finished another tutorial: Simple dangle earrings made with wire and czech glass beads.

I took the pictures for it more than a year ago, but because of the busy schedule, I couldn't find enough time to finish it.

Pictures show every step from start to finish so I didn't add a description. If you have learned the basics of wire wrapping, there should be no problem with finishing the earrings. But if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Materials: 1 or 1.2 mm ( 18 or 16 ga) wire for central part, 0.4 mm (26 ga) wire for wrapping, head pins and beads of your choice (I used 5 mm czech glass beads).

Tools: Round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, flush cutters, hammer and stainless steel anvil.

Click on the photo for full sized image.

Friday, 27 January 2012

From wire to jewelry

People often ask me to describe them my process of jewelry making from an idea to finished jewelry piece.

I decided to write something on this subject, because just a few minutes ago I got an idea for a bracelet design and I had to, which is totally atypical for me, make a drawing of it.

Fact is, I rarely plan ahead and I am never 100% sure how the finished piece will look like. More often it happens that when I feel the need to make something, I put all the materials in front of me and I am picking until I feel the pull of a certain stone. After I have found it I contemplate the ways to make it shine the most when wire wrapped.

As I work, ideas overlap, the old ones are adjusted to new ones... I let the process flow through it's course till I finish the piece.

Every stone has it's own personality and I try to accent it's best characteristics.

Off course, I don't succeed every time, but as soon as I feel I am stuck, I let go of the work and finish the piece next time I feel the inspiration coming.

I often find myself in a situation where the piece is very complex, inspiration is on it's peek and I stay awake the whole night just to finish it.

Luckily, I am quite resistant to lack of sleep and can afford a sleepless night now an then... Some jewelry pieces are worth it.

Just as I can get an inspiration overload, usually once a year I suffer from total lack of it. Last two months I haven't made a single piece of jewelry outside the jewelry classes.

During those periods I often read or busy myself with other ways of creative work, e.g. decoupage.
I learned long ago not to get nervous about it and force myself to make jewelry, because the only end result is lots of ruined material.

What are your experiences?


Monday, 24 October 2011


As I mentioned before, photography is my second love. Though I neglected it lately, after enjoying looking through so much wonderful work at the exhibition I told you about in my last post, I choose to use most of the sunny Sunday and took few shots of Zagreb's Upper town and Kaptol.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Croatian Creative Forces

My hubby is recently occupied with airsoft, military tactics and so on...thus the title of this post, but here is where the connection ends :D

Past Sunday I visited an interesting happening in Zagreb. Young people organized an exhibition/fair, gathering people who make handmade products mostly in their free time.
The space they choose was once a small movie theater. Since it's their first attempt in organizing this kind of event, I'm inclined to overlook the lapses, but some were to great not to mention, e.g. there was no poster at the entrance informing people passing by that in there something interesting is happening.
It was such a beautiful sunny day, here in Zagreb, people often roam the streets enjoying their walks, meeting friends for a coffee, there is a church nearby... lots of possible visitors uninformed about the event... Result was that most of the people there were friends of the ones who exhibited and therefor the sales were scarce.
The lightning was poor, and the place itself was to small to explore freely exhibits without bumping other people or standing in the way.

Here is the positive side of it all, people and their handmade work ;)

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