Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hand-crafted Jewelry: The many ways of learning

  • A select few people are fortunate enough to learn the art and craft of jewelry-making by being enrolled full-time in university art design programs or attending art institutes. Nothing can quite compare with intensive study with master artisans. 
  • Some students enroll in credit classes through local community colleges where they can take one class or many and be instructed by art professors and professionals. 
  • Still others attend workshops at community centers and jewelry/craft stores. These also provide wonderful opportunities to learn fine design and jewelry-making skills.
However, if these don’t fit your schedule, budget, or life-plan at the moment, don't give up. 
There are many opportunities to learn!

1) Your local public library is likely to have many books on jewelry making.   There are books that discuss tools, materials, techniques, jewelry design, and sample ideas.   There are also books on how to start a jewelry business, how to price jewelry, sell and market your items, and tax-related information should starting a business later become an interest.  Most libraries will have a catalog on their website where you can search for items by keyword, subject, title, or author; or you can consult your local librarian for assistance.
Scrolling and flattening are two wire-working techniques  
that can be found described and illustrated in jewelry-making books.

2) The Internet can be helpful in many ways:  
  • You can search or another search engine to find more information on your particular topic of interest.    
  • In addition, many publishers and booksellers also advertise their books online, some even showing excerpts from the books.   ( is a good source for this.)
a) If you find books advertised that seem interesting, you can see if your library has the books for checkout or if they can borrow copies from other libraries for you through their Interlibrary Loan service.  
b) Of course you can also purchase some of your favorite books from a local or online bookstore if you want a copy to keep, knowing it will be a good, long-term investment for your collection.
  • You'll also find "YouTube" on the web—a tremendous free online collection of uploaded videos. Go to then type in the topic of interest, such as:   “wire wrapping crystals,” and you will find short videos demonstrating that technique.   Watch one, watch several!
Wire-wrapped quartz crystal necklace.  
3) Bead Stores are not only a great place to shop, and to take classes, but also to visit with the knowledgeable staff people who work there.   They can answer all sorts of questions about what materials or wire gauge you might want for a project, how to use certain tools, what stones or crystals you are viewing, and when you might want to save on one product and splurge on another.  

These are all inexpensive options for getting started learning to make hand-crafted jewelry and continuing to advance your skills.  In addition to fitting any budget, you can do most of them on your own time schedule.   

If you are truly interested, there are many ways to learn!


My special thanks to:
  • The Johnson County Library, KS, for helping me learn much of what I know about jewelry making, the jewelry business, and related topics by providing me ongoing access to a wonderful collection!  Thank you for transferring books from one branch to another, and purchasing or ordering from outside libraries when necessary, so that I could have what I needed to learn and to start and grow my business!  From my local Shawnee branch to the couriers, from Collections to Interlibrary Loan, you have my thanks!
  • The staff at Heartland Bead Market in Old Town Lenexa, KS, and The Bead Shop, Overland Park, KS.  You have been helpful and taken the time to look up minerals for me, taught me about types of wire and bracelet stringing materials, how to finish a piece of jewelry so that it looks "finished," helped me select the best materials for projects, and--above all--have always been friendly and kind.   It makes going there a special treat!


To see more samples of hand-crafted jewelry, please visit Sharyl's Jewelry at

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