Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How I Started Making Jewelry

Enough people have asked, I suppose, so here is my story.

I was never into jewelry.I didn't even used to wear any jewelry.I never knew I would start making jewelry until the day it happened, and never knew I would be selling jewelry until I actually did it.

I have always been crafty since I was young.I loved making things with my hands.I have also always loved to buy handmade stuff. About 6 or 7 years ago, I went to a flea market in London by myself (I was studying in Birmingham back then), and saw a booth with lots of jewelry made with wire and glass beads. I was the only one at the booth and the seller welcomed me with great enthusiasm. It was the first time I saw handmade wire jewelry, and I was totally drawn to it, although back then I didn't even have a clue that's what I would be doing in a few years. I asked if he could create something for me, and he did.He made me the earrings you see in the picture above.

Except that he did not make the round amethyst dangles at the bottom.
So where did those dangle come from?
Ha! I added them :)
So, technically, they were the first piece of jewelry I made.I added the two little amethyst dangles I had for a while to the bottom of the earrings I bought after I went home, because the original earrings had a loop at the bottom.I had no tools at that time, but I had nails, and that was what I used to assemble the earrings.

I graduated from my school and came to the US for my Master's degree. I loved going to the hobby store because, as mentioned before, I loved making things! I also loved reading crafting books at the bookstore. In 2005, I saw some interesting books under the at the bookstore about jewelry making.I loved one so much and had to buy it.It was Sherri Haab's Designer-Style-Jewelry. Haab remains my favorite jewelry instructor til today.I tried out a few projects in that book, and soon got addicted to making wire jewelry.The following picture shows one of my earliest works.It is an unfinished link bracelet made with glass beads and steel wire.

And here are some of the early "wire sculptures" I did around the same time --

I made jewelry for fun for about a year or so, and then decided to try my hands on selling it, so I could get some extra cash to buy more supplies as jewelry making was becoming too expensive a hobby for me.I opened an Ebay store in summer 2006, which I talked about in one of my early blog posts . Here are some pictures of the old Ebay listings that were sold.

I continued to read books and magazines on jewelry making at bookstores whenever I had time, but I never bought another book on wire working.I flipped through them and almost always picked up the skill right away.Very soon what these books could offer me was not enough, so I started looking for more tutorials online. I bought a few tutorials by Eni Oken, and then I was on my own.I read one free tutorial online about wire wrapped ring, and then came up with different variations.
In July 2007,I started selling on Etsy.Two years later, I'm here selling jewelry full time. :)


Anonymous said...

Awh, that's so cool. It's great when you finally realize what makes you happy.

Meekiyu said...

that's awesome.. love the little wire chicken and chick... still love your ring... and wear it whenever I go out...unfortunately wearing rings while in the labs are not so good =(...

Meghann LittleStudio said...

How neat! I wish you more and more success on Etsy and beyond :)

Theresa said...

Cool story about your becoming a jewelry designer. It's always interesting to see how others started in their craft, whatever it may be. You do beautiful work so it's just a talent you have.

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