My friends describe me as "quirky" and when they say that, they mean it in the best way possible - strikingly unconventional. So, around 1996, I decided I wanted to start making my own jewelry. I didn't like what I saw in the stores, so I wanted to make my own. I was living in Tucson, Arizona at the time, home of the world's largest gem, jewelry and bead shows and the area was and still is always full of ideas and raw materials. Carol Grape's Handmade Jewelry: Simple Steps to Creating Wearable Art was the book I picked up. It's the first book I ever bought on jewelrymaking and although a bit dated now, it's quirky, DIY style was and is just right. In Chapter one, step by step photos for basic construction such as making a headpin, glueing a pin back, opening and closing jump rings and more are perfect for the beginner. Chapter two uses Found Objects and Hardware in the designs - very trendy now in 2208 and ahead of its time in 1996; Chapter three uses Paper, Fiber and wood in its projects while Chapter Four uses Plastic and Rubber. The last chapter in the book incorporates Polymer Clay into the jewelry. In total, there are 43 projects in all different kind of media. Some of my favorites are: Fancy Resistor & Bead Necklace (pg 28) - a project you could make today by recycling old electronics; Layered Tissue Paper Earrings & Pin - can be updated by using recycled wrapping paper or making your own paper (pg 52); Fabric Collage Pins (pg 54) - can be made with the bits and pieces of fabric left over from a sewing or yarn project. Handmade Jewelry was worth every penny I paid for it in 1996 and it's still forward thinking and quirky today.
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