All photography by Amelia Gregory.
A couple of weeks ago I went along to the London Jewellery School for a night of cupcakes and cocktail rings, otherwise known as a lesson in how to make wire wrap beaded jewellery.
At the work table each seat was laid with an individual jewellery kit but all attention was immediately drawn to the twinkling assortment of glass beads in the centre of the table. I am sure that anyone with a magpie mind can appreciate the lure…
We were soon dipping into the beads, pulling out our desired options to start the first project, a wire wrap bracelet made on bouncy pre-shaped wire. This was extremely simple, with the most taxing part choosing the right combination of beads, not too small and not too heavy, to produce the right look. Many of the others settled on tasteful monochrome pieces, but as usual I could not resist something a bit more colourful, a heathery palette of purples, blues, deep reds and greens.
Our tutor was Chu-Mei, who runs Grace & Firefly. She was super helpful and funny, immediately on hand to help with out any problems or advise on design decisions.
Once we had all managed to create a bracelet it was straight on to the next project, a blingy wire wrap ring. This required a more concentrated mind, as the rings were constructed from wire to fit our fingers perfectly and then clusters of beads were piled on top of each other to create the final cocktail ring. I managed to produce three different over the top creations that featured an assortment of brightly coloured, gold and pearlised beads.
Who needs Accessorise when you can create something utterly unique in under half an hour, and so much satisfaction comes from the creation process itself? I think that we were all quite pleased and pleasantly surprised with the amount of booty that we each managed to produce during the class. And one of the best things about the evening? The chance to meet other talented jewellers and find out a bit more about the London Jewellery School.
Natasha Williams is Afro Deco, a jeweller who specialises in upcycling jewellery with added resin details – beautiful and unusual.
Another lady was an expert in polymer clay, the far classier descendent of Fimo. Remember Fimo? The new stuff is streets ahead, just check out the beautiful necklace above. Mary Ann of Zarafa Designs was also very helpful when I ran into trouble with my designs.
The London Jewellery School fits into a surprisingly compact room in Hatton Garden. Classes are incredibly diverse, in everything from perspex to gold – you an even make your own wedding bands (what a lovely idea!) I even learnt about the charms of Dichroic Glass, which can do all sorts of fabulous things (see below).
Coming up before Christmas the London Jewellery School is running a few classes where you can make bespoke Crimbo presents, and they have just announced news of a Set up your own Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course. In another life I quit this internet malarkey and concentrate on making things myself, so if you, like me, have always wondered whether you can make something you love into a career then this course could be just the ticket for you. The London Jewellery School was set up by young entrepreneur Jessica Rose who herself learnt the trade by doing short courses, so she is well equipped to talk about these kind of things.
‘Whether you have plans for a small pocket-money operation, a full time job or an even larger business employing others, the course is designed to guide you through all the basics of running a successful jewellery business. The course pack contains a 50-page glossy workbook, supporting case study booklet and more than 80 minutes of video footage with advice from jewellery business expert and course tutor Jessica Rose. ‘ If you pre-order this comprehensive course before the official release date on Friday 9th December then you can get the whole kit for just £99.
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