Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Build Zone

I'm taking an online jewelry making class from Deryn Mentock called The Build Zone which will make me all cool and talented just like Deryn. Okay, so she doesn't exactly say that but I feel sure it will happen if I just do everything she does.

The class ends November 30 and registration is open until November 1 so run over there right now to sign up while there's still time. And if, like me, you're thinking it's a little pricey considering it doesn't include any of the required materials, let me assure you it is worth every penny. The class is divided up into four 1-week segments but Deryn has so graciously made all of the videos available upfront so you can work through them at your own pace. By "all the videos" I mean 20+. That's a bargain.

During the first 2 weeks the videos focus mainly on building the foundational skills you'll need to make the completed pieces in the last 2 weeks. I've made lots of different kinds of jewelry over the years but I haven't done a whole lot with wire and some of the other mixed media techniques she teaches.

I don't have all of the tools Deryn recommends but I've picked up what I thought were the most important ones then MacGyvered the rest. You can make do with what you have while you learn the techniques then when you can buy the good tools you'll already know how to use them. I'm slowly adding the tools and supplies I'll need to meet my life goal of being Deryn's Mini Me.

Some of the class members like using sterling wire and semi-precious beads which I love but my budget doesn't. Fortunately you don't have to have those things, especially if you're new and need to practice. I'm using mostly copper and steel wire and most of my beads are glass or stone. Or rusty metal. Or whatever else I can cannibalize from all the stuff I buy at Goodwill and the flea market. I'll pretty much use anything but plastic.

When you join the class you will have access to a private email list where you can chat with Deryn and other class members. And there is a Flickr group where we can post pictures of our masterpieces. I'm in the middle of week 2 now so I don't exactly have any masterpieces to show but I do have some parts and pieces.
I was never very good at wire wrapping but I'm getting better now.

These s-links are fun and easy to make.

Practicing my s-links and wire wrapping.

Teeny tiny jump rings.

Twisted wire is the coolest thing ever!

Twisted jump rings are the coolest thing ever too!

I could make these head pins all day long.

Trying out head pins on some random beads.

Gathering up supplies so I can design a finished piece.

Check out those skull beads. Awesome, right?

I have visited a couple of local bead stores but I'm not really impressed with any of them. Beadoholique (I went to the one in Spring) has the best selection of tools and wire out of the stores I've visited so far. But like most bead shops they're expensive. 1960 Beads was just plain overpriced. There was an entire wall of strands that cost $50 and up. If you're into that, great, but I'm definitely not. Beads One is a new shop in Spring and is more my speed. They have mostly glass and stone beads, not a lot of tools and supplies, and their prices are good probably because their stuff is illegally imported from Asia. Did I say that out loud? I'm kidding, they are perfectly legal, but their beads are more like what you'd find at Hobby Lobby rather than an exclusive fru fru bead shop. And I like that just fine. Those are just the shops closest to me. I'll venture out and visit some more next week. (I love Houston.)

One thing I did splurge on for the class was a new torch since the one I have doesn't get hot enough for what we're doing. I really, really don't like fire but I'm getting a little more comfortable with it as I use it more. And, by some miracle, I haven't injured myself or caught anything on fire! Yet.


Life With Lucy said...

These are really creative- i love what you did with the head pins. I'm always looking for new jewelry making ideas. Thanks so much for sharing.

Shannon Green said...

Thank you Lucy, I'm glad you like them! I highly recommend taking one of Deryn's classes if you can. She really does a great job of demystifying what I used to think were complicated techniques.

Leigh said...

I love your headpins especially! Everything is looking so well-crafted. I am also in the workshop with you :)

Shannon Green said...

Thank you Leigh! Aren't you loving the workshop? I like making those little ball headpins. There's just something about melting that metal that makes me all happy inside!

Shana said...

Great stuff. Looks good!!