THE FIRST and THE LAST: Sterling Wire then Beads
A very brief history of how Silvercloud came to make jewelry
When I started college, though I had never done anything like making jewelry, one of the first classes I took was Jewelry Basics. It required four projects of increasing technical complexity. The most simple was to take a length of sterling wire and by bending only, turn it into a piece of jewelry. Pictured here is that piece, my very FIRST creation! As I compare it to my other designs, it seems to be as good as any I have done to date. I did well on the other projects, learning all the construction techniques, enjoying it all very much. But that was that.
My next use of what I had learned came some decades later after earning my Master’s, when I helped phobic patients overcome their fears of tools and fire by showing them how they could craft twisted wire bracelets (see two such bracelets pictured here among other Sterling designs). Later, I began to make simple sterling gifts myself, for Christmas, having by then lost my job and suffered a serious injury as a result of an accident. Hoping to teach at a local college, I enrolled in a program of advanced graduate study in the Humanities. One of the courses was Jewelry Making. During that class, I learned of a national jewelry competition conducted by Kay Jewelers. I entered a design, won first place and was flown to NYC for a press conference at The Tavern on the Green. I was told that Kay Jewelers declared my design to be their best-selling Valentine to date.
At about the same time, I joined a beading group and found this construction process required no fancy equipment to create jewelry and was more portable than weaving (please see LINK to video documentary of my work as an artist-in-residence and exhibiting artist). I began to buy gemstone beads a little at a time, laboriously handknotting them into necklaces with matching earrings and sometimes a bracelet. Rather than carrying them around to countless boutiques, it was suggested that I consider a website. And now here we are. Let me hear from you on my ‘Contact’ page if you have comments or questions about my work.
Lately, I have traveled back to “square one,” exploring again what I could do with a simple length of Sterling wire. I had recently seen the astonishing wire-wrapped jewelry of an extraordinary artist and was inspired to try a very basic experiment to solve a design problem I had: I wanted to make a pendant of a gemstone-quality geode slice that had no hole. I either had to have it drilled or devise a hanger for it. The result, pictured here, solved my problem, securely holding the beautiful geode accent but also allowing its removal so as to be used on other necklaces if desired.
One other new design that has worked out well is the “memory wire” bracelet. Having seen such bracelets in a variety of wood, plastic, glass or even crystal and stones, I wanted to try one of graduated Sterling and 14K Gold-filled beads. I think it is lovely and complete, but would go well with the graduated metal bead necklaces that some women add to each year.