I’ve been making jewellery – kickstarted with a workshop with Melissa Leon – and I am IN LOVE!
Let me explain…
Earlier this year I took part in a fantastic workshop with IdeasTap and the Craft Council called ‘Visualising your Contemporary Craft Business’; it was an amazing opportunity to be in a room with other crafters and makers and entrepreneurs and really interrogate the ideas around our various businesses. From brand values, to aesthetic, to thinking about our future (think big dream bigger) goals and even writing elevator pitches we covered it all. It’s so rare that I have the chance to give such focused head space to an idea, and so useful to actually put pen to paper to distil al of my ideas around Crafternoon Cabaret Club into a succinct paragraph.
We also looked at our own practices and set ourselves targets to achieve in the following weeks, months and year. One of my targets was to enhance my own knowledge of different craft techniques. Now lots of techniques you can find amazing how-to resources online but there’s a whole list that I would much prefer to learn from an expert face to face. I find the price of craft workshops in London quite demoralising so finding workshops in areas I was interested in that weren’t going to blow my week’s budget is actually more of a challenge than you’d think. However I prevailed and by chance a lovely offer from Groupon dropped into my inbox one day for a two hour vintage jewellery workshop with Melissa Leon.
It was held in a community centre that proved almost impossible to find in Finsbury Park but once a kind lady who worked there spotted me pacing back and forth past the door beckoned me in I was led into a little room at the back with ten other people (all women – although quite a mix of ages). Some had come in pairs but a few of us were there as lone wolves – it turned out it didn’t really matter either way because jewellery making is one of the most engrossing activities that I’ve taken part in.
Melissa is a jewellery designer and maker and she has recently launched Bejewelled Academy as the Umbrella name for her workshop business. She is incredibly friendly and quickly threw us into our work. We focused on one main technique: creating a simple wire loop on a bead and then it was up to us (with Melissa on hand for help and advice). We could create necklaces, bracelets or earrings from the array of chain, vintage-look pearl beads and charms that Melissa had on offer.
I decided to make a quite extravagant pendant with lots of strings of beads hanging from the end, and a pair of matching earrings.
At the end I had about 15 minutes left so I created another pair of earrings to finish – not bad at all for a two hour workshop!
For the charms I chose to use little keys and clocks that reminded me of fairytales and some of the beautiful leaves on offer. I also ended up colour theming everything with a combo of pearls I can only describe as a vintage ice-cream palette!
Although the techniques were simple – learning how to make a bead with a simple wire loop, a bead with a wire loop at either end, how to cut head pins and how to open jump rings properly, the joy of this workshop was having time to play and experiment to create our own unique pieces!
I certainly left inspired and I’m really looking forward to starting some more jewellery projects of my own.