In preparation for my upcoming jewelry and bead classes at Michaels (see yesterday’s post), I’ve made samples of the projects taught in the first two classes. In “Fundamentals of Bead Stringing,” the students will make a memory wire bracelet, and in “Fundamentals of Wire Wrapping,” the students will make a pair of earrings.
Michaels provided me an instructor kit with all the materials I’ll need, including items to make several samples of each project. As I cracked open the kit over the weekend, I was initially quite excited. The tools they provided (pliers, wire cutters, etc) are very high quality, with nice rubberized, ergonomic handles and excellent action. Over the weekend I didn’t have time to dig past the tools, but I assumed the rest of the materials would be just as nice. After all, isn’t that the best way to encourage students to purchase the nicer (aka more expensive) items – to allow them to see how great those items are in action?
However, last night, when I sat down to make my first samples, I was somewhat disappointed. The tools contained in the kit may be great, but the selection of beads is obviously castoffs from the warehouse. I found a few nice beads and charms, but mostly it’s a hodgepodge of beads and findings that don’t go well together, making it difficult to design and create truly attractive samples for my students.
After a bit of trial and error, I decided that, in the spirit of entrepreneurship, I would make do with what I had, rather than substituting from my own vast bead collection. My past 8 months with JennJill Designs have been an exercise in resourcefulness and creativity, forcing me to constantly reuse and repurpose, and just those skills were what I needed to make my sample projects. As I continued working with the instructor materials provided, it became somewhat of a game: could I really put together nice pieces of jewelry from the selections they provided?
Here are my first two attempts. You be the judge as to whether or not I succeeded.
In the memory wire bracelet, I decided to go for contrasts of texture rather than color. The beads are all silver and black, but the textures are quite varied: faceted, smooth, brushed, and stamped. The bracelet isn’t quite my style, so I probably wouldn’t wear it, but I do like how it turned out.