Video Reviews

The jewelry making videos available on the Interweave Store web site offer some excellent instruction at a price that’s heard to beat. Here are mini reviews of four videos I recommend.

Basic Jewelry Enameling with Pauline Warg is a hands down winner. Warg gives a thorough treatment of torch enameling demonstrating several projects and techniques.  But she also takes safety seriously which is not something all torch enameling teachers and videos do.   You need to protect yourself from potentially dangerous exposure to the enamels and other chemicals used in the process regardless of whether you are using leaded enamels or the unleaded variety. Warg’s enameling video is one of the few that I’ve watched that takes covers this issue gives useful information on the topic. She’s an expert and her comments, tips and demonstrations are backed by years of experience. If you only get one video on torch  enameling, get this one. See the preview here.

At first I was hesitant to get One Hour Rings with Helen Driggs and One Hour Bracelets with Jeff Fulkerson because I thought they might be short videos on quickie crafty projects and a waste of time. I was wrong. Both videos do feature short projects but they employ a number of  jewelry making techniques in the process which Driggs and Fulkerson expertly demonstrate.  These videos will give you a lot of ideas for adding your own personal twists to the projects.  Preview One Hour Rings here and One Hour Bracelets here.

Speaking of twists,  I also recommend  Create Spirals, Tubes, and Other Curves for Jewelry Making with Helen Driggs.    After you’ve mastered basic sawing, riveting and soldering techniques,  you can start making shapes and forms with the techniques Driggs demonstrates  to that your jewelry to the next level.  Lots of  practical tips and advice and not a lot of expensive tools. What could be better?   See the preview here.

A Golden Age

I have lately  been binge-watching  historical mini series’  set in the Elizabethan-Era. I started out with Elizabeth R, (very good-how could anything with Glenda Jackson be bad?) followed that up with The Tudors (historically inaccurate but beautiful costumes) and have just finished watching The Six Wives of Henry VIII. (The best of all-acting, script and historical accuracy).  But I watch for more than acting or script or history.  No, I watch for the jewelry.

The reign of Elizabeth I of England is often referred to as The Golden Age of English History, or the English Renaissance.   I do not dream about what it would have been like to live in the days of Shakespeare and sonnets.   I have to admit that  for me, plague,  bear baiting, public executions and religious wars are major turn offs.   But then there is the jewelry. Here are some images I found on the Internet along with some links that provide fascinating information about jewelry (Western European mostly) from the late Middle Ages to the Late Renaissance.  





Victoria and Albert Museum

Lucrezia Borgia


 A young Elizabeth I


I am currently in jewelry design mode and have been trolling the Internet for interesting visuals.  Here are a few good links I’ve found:

Late Middle Ages Early  Renaissance

Italian Renaissance

Medici Jewelry

Royal Collection Trust

The English Crown Jewels

 The Cheapside Hoard

Jewelry and men in Tudor and Jacobean England

Girdle Prayer Book

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A modern twist: Elizabethan Beads post here.


Connie, Olivia and Me

I traveled down to Maryland last week, first to Polymer Clay Express  to see Rob and Wilma Yost and their new digs in the charming town of  New Market Maryland.    From there it was on to Olivia’s  for the night because we were both taking a class with Connie Fox  called Make Jewelry You’ll Love in Five Steps.



This was not a “jewelry making class, ” and   I didn’t have any idea of what to expect.   There are not many people with whom  I would take a  class under these circumstances.  But I have followed Connie’s work for years and have always admired her sense of design.  And she had always been so generous with information, posting free articles on-line and on her website.  So I took the plunge and I’m glad I did.



Connie provided a lot of food for thought.  She led discussions on how to evaluate our work styles and personalities.   We spent a lot of time looking at and discussing the work of other jewelry artists.  We looked at one another’ s work   to examine the intent behind it find ways to improve the design.    Doing the exercises Maggie Maggio and Lindly Haunai’s book Polymer Clay Color Inspirations has improved my work and I am always striving to improve my craftsmanship.    But I came away from Connie’s class with a better idea of my sense of design and what I am attempting to achieve with my jewelry.  I know I like to mix media and use found objects, but I am also a story teller and a lot of my pieces tell stories.  And so the process continues.


 Since peeking into another person’s studio is always such fun, here are some pictures from Olivia’s  workshop
















Elizabethan Beads

Years ago, I took a beading class with a woman named Alois Powers called “Elizabethan Beads.”  Powers  had designed some very stunning self-supported beaded beads made up of seed beads and crystals and she was an excellent teacher as I recall.


Here are some pictures of what I made in the class and afterward.







And thus my frenzy for beaded beads was born.  I still have all of my class materials, made some more beads and have worked out some of my own designs which Powers encouraged her students to do.


Obviously, I cannot share any of the patterns.Fortunately the Internet abounds with information and ideas for making these jeweled  treasures.   Sidonia Petki’s channel on YouTube   is a fabulous resource.  Sidonia also sells tutorials on her Etsy Site.

Here is my favorite (so far) Sidonia beading tutorial video.