Tag Archives: shell pearls

JM Sunday Experience 19th April 2015

This was my second Sunday Experience at Jewellery Maker, and it was just as fun as the first time, click above and whizz to the end, you can see me on TV!

I wandered in to the workshop room blurry eyed, clutching a paper cup of McDonalds tea to see what delights Sheila Davies had managed to grab for us. (Sheila I have met many times, she is so lovely if you do ever  get the chance to go on a workshop with her, do it!)

Also on the experience was a lovely lady called Scarlett, (she had hair to match her name, lush flowing locks of scarlett wavy hair), I sat next to her. Opposite us, a mum & daughter team who had literally spent the past week at the studios, they had taken a few workshops and driven over from Hull on a mini break (now thats my kind of mini break if only I had the time (and the money)!)

Sheila, looking lovely as always gave us a selection of beady treats to chose from, I ended up with a lovely variety of shell pearls. Now I have to confess shell pearls don’t grab my imagination normally so I guess thats why the Sunday experience is such fun, the challenge is to create something in the 4 hours, with just the items provided, and these probably won’t be to your taste. The best part is, its free!

Shell Pearl Necklace
Shell Pearl Necklace

For some reason I suffered from a creative blank, my brain just didn’t want to function that morning, normally I am simply buzzing with inspiration, too many ideas that I never really know where to start! Sadly because of my creative block I wasn’t too impressed with the items I made, this necklace I do love though. It was designed with my mum in mind, she struggles to fasten necklaces up so this slips over her head with ease.

Its simple, elegant and took hardly any time at all to whip up! The sections of 3 pearls are faceted shell pearls, the singles are more a mulberry colour but with a smooth finish. The chain is silver plated, and the pearls are attached via headpins with the end snipped off & a simple loop in its place.

On air that morning was Carol, she was a fab fun presenter & host, really easy to talk too, on and off air, along with Fleur, the chainmaille expert. Going on air was more relaxed this time around, it wasn’t as scary because I had done it previously, I actually quite enjoyed the experience but just wish my brain had engaged that morning and I could of created something awesome 🙁

Mid Morning I met Rebecca (Beccy) she is truly lovely, unbelievably  was wearing the most fabulous pair of shoes with gems hanging off them! The lovely Laura Binding was waiting in the wings to go on air in the afternoon, for DI show so let the Sunday Experience peeps touch her designs. They were stunning (as always for Laura) I also got the opportunity to show her my piece inspired by her (via photo I didn’t have the piece with me sadly) but still she showed a generous amount of appreciation in support of my amateur efforts 🙂

I am going to make more of an effort to purchase kits, and review them, this Laura Binding Bangle was a kit (I reviewed a couple of months ago) as I am always intrigued how far a kit will go, this kit I ran out of the lower thinner wire gauges (0.25mm & 0.4mm) but had plenty of the 0.8mm left on the reel. I barely touched the pearls, but used half a strand of the pyrites. I find watching, and pausing the videos back on youtube helps significantly too! Am getting an expert at that 🙂 but in the meantime, i am back on the bead weaving with my beloved seed beads …. watch this space its the Beadworkers Guild annual gathering this weekend @ Daventry who knows what I will create!

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Sewing and Lace workshop @ JM Towers

Sheila Davies with my lace and pearl piece
Sheila Davies with my lace and pearl piece
Pearl & Lace Collar Piece by Sheila Davies
Pearl & Lace Collar Piece by Sheila Davies

On Valentines day I got up ridiculously early, bag packed the night before, tool kit at the ready I had my travel tea cup filled, my breakfast bars on standby as I zoomed off in search of Redditch!

My destination was the Sewing and Pearls workshop, taught by Sheila Davies (resident designer at jewellery maker). I made it in plenty of time, not liking pearls nor lace this was going to be a challenge.

However, that is precisely the reason I decided to take the workshop, sometimes you learn more whilst working out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone is tiny beads, peyote, right angle weave, brick, albion, herringbone stitches and shortly the hubble stitch (watch this space but the awesome Bead School Mel has designed a new stitch, a book is being written as I type!) and french wirework beading.

Asymetrical Lace, Wire, Chain and Pearl Necklace by Sheila Davies
Asymetrical Lace, Wire, Chain and Pearl Necklace by Sheila Davies

I have been to Jewellery maker before, so the building, the layout was familiar to me, the workshop environment wasn’t. Previously I have only attended a sunday experience, I am desperately trying to get on another but try as I might I haven’t been successful yet 🙁

Fascinator with Pearls & Feathers by Sheila Davies
Fascinator with Pearls & Feathers by Sheila Davies

I was expecting a kit, demos, instructions, and finished items to view as inspiration pieces, interaction with other guest designers & presenters etc However, this wasn’t quite what the day turned out to be…….

Cabachon, & Gem pendants by Sheila Davies
Cabachon, & Gem pendants by Sheila Davies

I will say, Sheila is a wonderful lovely lady, who is kind, generous and incredibly helpful she allowed us the freedom and creativity to design our own pieces as the day progressed, I actually moved away from lace and on to Sari silk ribbon which I have to say I much prefer to work with.  Sheila, I love, she isn’t your conventional teacher, but she is a patient, and thought provoking one. As such there were no instructions, no detailed diagrams of the course objectives for the day but there were inspirational pieces. Including those I have pictured throughout this blog post.

Around the room she displayed her pieces, allowed us to use her stash of pearls, lace, needles etc without the need initially to dip into our “kits” which consisted of a strand of pearls, 2 backing pieces of material, monofilament, and pieces of white lace.

Lace, Soutache, Pearl, and Chain Hair Comb by Sheila Davies
Lace, Soutache, Pearl, and Chain Hair Comb by Sheila Davies

Sheila dished out bead scoops, cut additional backing material up for us to use, gave us access to her pearl stash, quartz etc so I ended up making a piece that isn’t at all something I would of ever dreamt of creating, and then I moved on to creating (and am still creating) what I think will be my favourite piece using Sari silk ribbon and the bead scoop.

Pearl Bridal Collar by Sheila Davies @ JM
Pearl Bridal Collar by Sheila Davies @ JM

Another part of the course is the opportunity to meet the presenters and guest designers on the shows that day. I would love the opportunity to become a guest designer, sadly I suspect my area of specialism is too small & time consuming for JM, bead weaving is my passion, I love creating a bezel for a cab using peyote or albion stitch, adjusting the size of the beads to enable a tight secure bezel, cubic right angle weave, basic right angle weave (ladder weave to JM viewers) and much more, not all bead weaving needs to be done with tiny seed beads and personally I think there are many jewellery makers out in the big wide word who would love to learn a simple daisy stitch, create cubic weaves one day maybe my dream will come true!

I have to say some presenters & guest designers were much friendlier and lovely than they come across on the television, others sadly for whatever reason failed to acknowledge the workshop attendees, or if they did, it was glaringly obvious to several workshop attendees that the acknowledgement was done begrudgingly.

Pearl and Lace Hairpieces  by Sheila Davies
Pearl and Lace Hairpieces by Sheila Davies

Two of the presenters on Saturday were Ali Defoy, and Lucy Nicholls. Ali & Lucy are simply the loveliest, kindest friendliest most down to earth hilarious people I met on the day, along with the lovely Scott who was standing in for Wendy (workshop co-ordinator), and obviously Sheila. Each of these people took time out of their busy day to come into the workshop room, interact with the attendees, delight, encourage oooh and aaahhh over the our creations, share the delights of the strands which had been or were going on air.  This was before Ali went on air, & after Lucy had been on air, and then they popped back again a few hours later to make sure that they both the time to say goodbye to us, just as the lovely Elena had done when I met her on the Sunday experience last year.

Silk Sari Ribbon
Silk Sari Ribbon
Sari Silk & Gemstone Collar piece, designed by Fiona, inspired by Sheila Davies - work in progress
Sari Silk & Gemstone Collar piece, designed by Fiona, inspired by Sheila Davies – work in progress

During the day Sheila gave us an insight in to stiffening lace, staining white to an antique tea colour (using a tea bag!) and some of her design methodology. She virtually emptied her stash of lace encouraging us to take more pieces to create with, she willingly (or so it appeared) popped here there and everywhere looking for glue, wire mesh, sari silks, and other samples of products that we may not of used or tried previously.

I love teaching myself, but I also love taking classes. I am always looking to learn something new, the inspiration you can get from being around other jewellery designers makes for a vibrant buzzing atmosphere – I really would love to go again and learn something new, maybe a silver clay or wirework workshop next!