Jewellery Making Workshop

I’ve always loved fashion jewellery. I have a whole drawer at home dedicated to necklaces, bangles, pendants and cocktail rings in various colours and styles. It is my opinion that accessories are as important to an outfit as support undies – they hold it all together.

Over the years, I have often wondered about signing up for an evening class in beading to learn to design and make my own jewellery, but it is something that has been bumped down the list every time a major life event took place – like having a baby, returning to full-time employment and starting a blog.

So, I just keep Stella & Dot in business instead.

However, last week I was lucky enough to experience a little taster at the April East Dulwich WI event, which was a jewellery making workshop with Vanessa from Mini Print Jewellery.

The plan was that Vanessa would briefly talk through some of the different types of jewellery that we could make at home and then teach us how to make one or two pieces of our own.

Tables set up with beads and tools

Each table already had a selection of beads and tools set out when we arrived.

Vanessa showed us how to cut and roll wire that would then secure the beads on to a charm bracelet.

It looked easy enough.

I laid out my intended design on the mat in front of me and waited for my turn with the wire cutter.

Now, meeting in a pub has many obvious advantages.

But, inexperienced hands working with sharp tools in candle light is not one of them.

It was not long before someone (we’ll just call her Tina) on our table elbowed a glass of water while trying to manoeuvre one of those slippery little beads onto a wire.

All over my foot!

Waiting for the wire cutter

I quickly jumped up and in doing so, knocked over all of my neatly lined up beads onto the floor.

Then as I bent down to pick them up, crash went the professional display of  jewellery that was set up behind me.

Someone else on my table (we’ll just call her Katie) stood up to help, and in doing so dropped another of the necklaces and watched in horror as the beads started to unravel onto the floor.

Vanessa’s lovely mum was there and was very understanding about the situation when she came to see what all the commotion in the corner was about.

Much more than she should have been, considering our apologies were muffled by sounds of hysterical laughter.

Ladies working away

We sat quietly back down after that with tears streaming down our cheeks and started to take our jewellery making more seriously.

I took a pin, I took a bead, I took the wire cutters and I turned the pin to a 90-degree angle.  It snapped.

I took another pin, I took another bead, I took a hold of the wire cutters again and I gently turned the pin to a 90-degree angle.  It snapped.

It was not easy as it looked, and my dream of one day having my own Stella & Dot empire was crushed.

So, I decided to just watch others in action instead.

Gorgeous pair of earrings

Then, I got a bit bored.

Then Vanessa came over and helped me to make a gorgeous pair of earrings.

Sadly, my ears are not pierced so I have decided to give this beautiful pair of handmade earrings away to one of my dear Grenglish readers.

If you are interested in attending one of Vanessa’s workshops then please visit her website for more information:

The EDWI meet on the first Wednesday of each month at The Lodge, above the East Dulwich Tavern. Meetings start at 7.30pm. Guests are welcome.

Sarah Pylas blogs at You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @smudgerella.

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One Comment

  1. Jewellery Design Institute 8 May 2012

    Man nice to be at your blog again…It has been months for me. Well this article is awesome, and for sure I did not waste my time.


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