Sunday, 30 January 2011
The month of
is associated with
and for jewellers,
chocolatiers and card
makers alike, it is a
to create H E A R T
shaped designs or
It is customary, that on the
14th February people declare
their love for each other, but as
the old adage goes: you must first
learn to love and value yourself
with all the flaws - so that you can
love others so much better.
Therefore, get out your tools, wire and beads
to start making some heart shaped motifs for
yourself, friends and family.
Wire hearts look great on cards, as accessories and of course ...
Below is a Gallery of designs that I
have created in the past, that might
be inspirational to get you started ...
(Metal Bead Necklace - by L.Jones - Supplier: www.beadsdirect.co.uk)
(Copper Wire Heart Earrings by L.Jones
from "Creating Beaded & Wire Earrings" book)
(Lover's Knot Bracelet by L.Jones from 'Bead & Wire
Jewellery for Special Occasions book)
("Chained Reaction" Necklace project by L.Jones from "Making Beautiful
Bead Wire Jewellery" book)
("Cupid's Love Chain" project by L.Jones from "Bead & Wire Jewellery
for Special Occasions")
("Gothic Ribbon" Necklace made with beads supplied by
www.jillybeads.co.uk, created by L.Jones)
(Dichroic Glass Heart pendant fused by Irene Hammond.
Jewellery created by L.Jones)
("Valentine Hearts" project by L.Jones from "Creating Wire &
Beaded Jewellery" book
("Vintage Valentine" project by L.Jones. Designed for Make Jewellery
Magazine (Jan./Feb. issue 2011)
("Sweetheart Necklace" project by L.Jones from 'Bead & Wire
Jewellery for Special Occasions' book + heart earrings project
in new Earrings Project book)
("Love Eternal" Pendant project by L.Jones from "Bead
& Wire Jewellery for Special Occasions")
("Shamrock" Hairgrips by L.Jones from "Wire & Bead Celtic Jewellery" book)
(Large Beaded Heart by L.Jones used for a wedding cake decoration)
("Lucky Heart" Key ring by L.Jones)
("Have a Heart" Necklace by L.Jones)
("Not Another Heart Key Ring"!! by L.Jones)
("Valentine Kilt Pin" by L.Jones)
On the 14th February 2011, the instructions on how
to create this Kilt Pin finding will be shown on
If you are a beginner, I will also be giving some simple
instructions on how to create a simple beaded heart ...
So, stay tuned ...
ALSO, GET READY FOR A DESIGNER CHALLENGE
which will be announced very soon...
Saturday, 22 January 2011
JANUARY is always a difficult month:
it's still so dark, cold and we're all a little tired and
poor from Christmas festivities ...
However, this week's Feature Artist and Guild Member,
is bound to cheer you up with her colourful and vibrant designs!
Originally from New Zealand, but now living in Birmingham,
a full time Mum with 4 kids, who still finds time to create beautiful
wire jewellery! Read on to hear all about this week's
SUE MASON - BURNS
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF? WHAT INSPIRED
YOU TO START MAKING JEWELLERY?
I am a native New Zealander and I came to the UK
in 1996 to travel and decided to stop in Birmingham
to meet my penfriend. To cut a long story short, I
married him and didn't go any further with my travels ...!!
We now live happily in Birmingham with our four
(Above: Twisted Wire, Stone Set Bangle by Sue Mason-Burns)
I started making jewellery three years ago when a friend
and I decided to make a pact to have a handmade
Christmas, because funds were low. This seemed like a
great idea, until it dawned on me that this particular
friend is a talented artist and very adept at many different
handcrafts. I needed to find something and fast!
So, I decided to have a go at making my own jewellery
and soon became hooked! I started out stringing beads
(and do still make strung items). Then, whilst browsing
in a bookshop one day, I found one of Linda Jones's books.
I bought it for myself as a treat and my addiction moved
from beads to wire.
(Above: Flower Necklace by Sue Mason-Burns)
ARE YOU SELF-TAUGHT OR HAVE YOU ATTENDED
COURSES AND CLASSES?
I am completely self taught. I have thought about going
to classes many times, but time is a precious thing when
you have four children. Therefore, I have not managed
to get to one yet ...
I have a fabulous group of like-minded jewellery friends,
who I met on Facebook and we all regularly swap skills
and help each other out when we can. Unfortunately, we
don't get to physically meet up very often, as we are
scattered far and wide. However, we are always in contact
online, helping and supporting each other.
(Above: Coloured Wiggly Wire Bangle by Sue Mason-Burns)
WHAT THEMES OR IDEAS ARE YOU DRAWN TO FOR
EVERYTHING seems to get me going when it comes to
designing new jewellery. Sometimes a bit too much!
My husband has learned to recognise 'that certain look'
I get in my eyes when I have seen something that I am
translating into a piece of jewellery in my head!
(Above: Wire Flora Bangle by Sue Mason-Burns)
DO YOU SELL YOUR JEWELLERY? - IF SO, WHERE?
I sell my jewellery online via Folksy:
and also at market stalls when I can.
(Above: Squiggle Wire Bangle by Sue Mason-Burns)
I have also been lucky enough to be involved in a
monthly Community Market:
based in Stirchley, near where I live. This is the friendliest
market I have every attended. I don't even mind if I don't
sell much when I'm there, as the people are so friendly.
It's just nice to have such lovely conversations!
(Above: Flower Swirl Bangle by Sue Mason-Burns)
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE DESIGN?
As the old saying goes, my favourite is the one I am looking
at at this very moment. I like to vary what I do as much as
I can and where possible. I never make the same design twice
(unless I am specifically commissioned to do so).
(Above: Heart Cuff by Sue Mason-Burns)
WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS AND GOALS FOR
My overall goal for the future is to keep learning new skills
and improving the ones I already have. I love working in
wire, it's my favourite material and most of what I do now
involves trying to incorporate other materials into my
wirework. I would also like to investigate working with
metals. Perhaps trying to learn some silversmithing skills
or enamelling. Making jewellery is such a large and varied
craft, there is so much to learn and just not enough time
to do it all!
(Above: Bluebelle Bangle by Sue Mason-Burns)
I am sure that all the Guild members will agree, that Sue
has achieved so much in three years ... fitting in her
wire creations between bringing up 4 children is a
juggle and a struggle ... so, 'well done' and keep evolving
with the colourful designs!
Saturday, 15 January 2011
In the United Kingdom,
we've all heard of the
London Jewellery School.
However, I was most interested
to discover, that in BEIJING,
CHINA, there is a remarkable
Jewellery Academy, called the:
SHOU DESIGNERS' JEWELLERY ACADEMY.
JANICE CHONG is the creative founder
behind Shou Designs, which she started as a wholesale
jewellery business and which has since expanded into a school -
with the advanced graduates becoming jewellery designers
with opportunities of launching their own work on the
Shou Distributors Gallery for European and Asian markets!
~ LEARN ~ CREATE ~ SELL ~
Recently I caught up with Janice and she very kindly
agreed to spare some time for an interview for the
Guild ... read on ... I'm sure you will be interested
to hear how, despite personal challenges, she set up
a thriving, creative sanctuary and community away from
her own homeland and culture ...
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? DID YOU SET OUT
TO BE A JEWELLERY DESIGNER?
My background has always been in the fashion industry.
Upon graduating from University in Australia, I found
a regular job too boring for my personality and went in
pursuit of modelling. After a few years in Singapore, I
decided to branch into something more useful for my
qualifications, hence moving into merchandising with
Robinsons Co. ( a group of Marks & Spencers), but again
specialising in the fashion department. It was never my
intention to be a jewellery designer! That fell upon
me totally unexpectedly, when I came to China.
In 2001, after giving birth to my son in L.A., I moved to
Beijing. The first year was tough in China, as I barely knew
anyone. I met a Malaysian lady who was kind enough to
show me the ropes of "walking-the-markets" in Beijing,
in an attempt to help me ease into a Chinese way of life.
She had done some very basic beading at home for her
Beijing is a paradise for bead shopping! We have markets
for any kind of gemstone, glass beads, crystals, pearls, etc..
Vendors from all over China come together every weekend
on tricycles, cars, vans, or even horse drawn carts, just to
show and sell their precious commodity. It is not hard for
someone like me to be captivated by the
beauty of it all!
However, in 2002 Beijing was hit hard by an pandemic
of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Expatriates and
locals fled the city in millions ... Despite the scare of SARS,
the vendors and the markets remained open. In fact, it was
so deserted that many local's swear they had never experienced
such a "dead" Beijing like we did back then. I could not leave
because my son and I had a cold and were not allowed on
In the quiet months to follow, I must have been the only one
brave enough to visit the jewelry shops and markets. The
owners of the stores I frequented took pity on a poor expat
stuck in Beijing during these harsh times and started showing
me their jewelry trade and secrets! For anyone who has ever
lived in China, we know that the Chinese never ever share
trade secrets with anyone other than family! So it was a
huge opportunity for me.
In addition to that, every vendor had a unique style in
making jewelry. For example, Mr Chan, beaded with straight
forward stringing techniques, but Mrs Gu, used a very
unusual hand co-ordination to knot between each bead with
nylon thread, or Miss Luo, tied Chinese knots to make her
jewelry. Each one of them taught me a little. Well for the rest, I
spent hours working with beads, setting up my jewelry business -
Shou Designs Co., learning new designs from books and the
internet, developing my collections and making more connections.
That is how I mastered such a wide variety of skills.
A few years later, I set up my own retail shop in Beijing
as well as a wholesale online jewelry business supplying
jewelry to Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Germany.
A lady friend of mine, whom I met at my son's school took a
keen interest to beading. She also wanted to learn everything
that I knew and started following me to the markets. It later
turned out that she was the wife of the General Manager of
Holiday Inn Lido, in Beijing - 'THE' Hotel where many foreigners
meet and hang out together. She booked me a conference room,
found a group of 6 ladies and I had no choice but to oblige and
To my surprise, my classes became full season after season
and before I knew it, a decade had passed! The large number of
bead markets fueled a very strong demand for these ladies to
learn how to bead in Beijing. Many graduates from my courses
have since become independent jewelry designers like myself
in their own home countries. That is of course, what I am most
WHY DID YOU NAME YOUR ACADEMY 'SHOU'? - WHAT
IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MEANING IN CHINESE?
The reason I decided on
this name is that
S H O U means
E T E R N I T Y
I like the Chinese character
very much as it can be
transformed to a beautiful
logo. It looks very good on
packaging and jewelry
pouches, which I designed
to go with my brand.
DID YOU HAVE ANY CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME
WHEN YOU WERE STARTING OUT?
Living in China, everyday poses a challenge! It is no
different wether you're running a business or a course here.
To be a good jewelry instructor, I am expected to know
all the names of all the stones and beads in the markets.
Unfortunately, in China, the vendors only know the
names in Chinese, whereas I teach my courses in
English. So it has been a challenge to find out the
names of each stone I use, as students will always
It is also challenging to teach a group of people who
come from all different ethnic backgrounds, cultures and
countries. Not everyone speaks English like myself.
I have ladies from Korea, Africa, Poland, Kazachstan,
Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam ... to name a few non-Engllish
speaking countries! Lucky for me, that beading is so
visual and done with hand to eye co-ordination, in which case,
most of them can learn by watching me in class. We may not
have a common language to bond, but we are all
bonded by our love of beading and our unique experience
of living in China as expatriates.
Some ladies treat the classes as a sanctuary, a place to
get away from daily stress as mothers, wives, employees
or employers. Whatever it is, they never want the classes
to stop! Many have poured their life stories out to me and
to each other and it has been challenge to see each student
move away from Beijing while I still remain here.
HOW DO YOU ADVERTISE YOUR CLASSES AND
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF COMPETITION WITH
OTHER JEWELLERY COLLEGES?
For many years my courses have been filled up purely
through word-of-mouth! Beijing may have one of the
largest expatriate city communities, around half a million,
but still word gets around in town.
Many English magazines that report on the highs and lows
of what is happening in town, have caught on to my courses
and have been reporting and publishing my work and course
timetables for free. My academy is the only one of its kind in
Beijing, and due to its uniqueness, I was recently contacted to
do a TV interview for CCTV China.
In the past, there have been a few other instructors in Beijing,
but none have offered courses as long as I have. Many
have since moved away, after a short stint here.
TELL US ABOUT THE DIFFERENT COURSES YOU RUN
AND THE DESIGN TEACHERS BEHIND THEM?
The courses used to be broken down into Beginners,
Intermediate and Advanced levels. However, since last
year, I have grouped them into just two levels:
BASIC and PROFESSIONAL.
For those who just want to learn to bead for fun, as
a hobby and to pass the time, they normally do the
Basic course. The serious beaders usually move on
to the Professional course which is aimed at people
who wish to set up a home-based-business or make
an income out of this craft. At this level, I also show
them the ropes of the markets and how to deal with
Since I had my second baby a year and a half ago, I
have outsourced the WEEKEND course to one of my
seasoned graduates - Denise Lewis. The weekend
course is designed for working people who can't
attend on weekdays. It is usually a shorter version
of my full weekday course, as working people have
limited leisure time.
Denise also teaches the KIDS JEWELRY WORKSHOPS
on my behalf. Kids workshops include making
little hair clips, hair bands, memory wire bracelets.
Basically very simple pieces which do not require
a lot of tools.
DESCRIBE A NORMAL WORKING DAY FOR YOU,
IF THERE IS ONE ...
When I was running the Academy and my jewelry
business, I used to work 12-14 hours a day! That is
also mainly because my work studio was based at
But in August 2010, I relinquished my duties as head
of Shou Designs Co. and passed the business on to my
sister, who still runs it in Malaysia. She now sources
for jewelry everywhere, including buying from my
graduate designers. So for now, I am just running the
Academy, therefore a typical day will go something like this:
7 a.m. Get up and feed kids
7.30 a.m. Make sure son goes to school
8 a.m. Pass baby to housekeeper
8.30 a.m. Check and reply to emails
9 a.m. Double check I have everything for teaching
9.30 a.m. Head off to class
10 a.m. Begin workshop
12 p.m. Finish workshop, social lunch with students/ladies -
we love to try different restaurants after class!
2 p.m. Walk the markets with students, or purchase some
materials for class, for my collections
4 p.m. Head home and make preparations for class next day
5 p.m. Finish work
5-8 p.m. Family time
8.30 p.m. Update website/read mails, books, magazines ...
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR THE ACADEMY?
My plans for the Academy - given my job schedule now, is that
I do not want to expand it much more. I love my job, but I would
also like more time to dabble in other projects in my life.
Since I have founded the Beijing Jewelry Club with a group of students,
I hope the club will continue to grow and flourish even when I
have moved on in the future. I also hope, that possibly, one day,
one of my graduates will start the SHANGHAI Jewelry Club!
For more information about SHOU DESIGNERS' JEWELLERY ACADEMY,
Friday, 7 January 2011
I do hope you all enjoyed a
warm and wonderful Christmas
and are eager to experience
new creative ventures this year!
(see last post) has very kindly
given all WWGuild members an
EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL OFFER on
T R O N E X TOOLS
which will end on
January 31st 2011 ...
so be quick to get in on this:
Ref: 5222 or 5223
(probably the best in the world!)**
**Full Set Deal:
Flat (or Chain Nose), Round Nose Pliers
and a 5222 Wirecutter for only
£95 (including UK Special Delivery).
This is a complete saving of £25 overall.**
**Or, there is a PLUS ONE deal:
If you purchase either 5222 or 5223
you can purchase any other pliers model
(i.e. round, chain or flat) for £25.
This will give you a saving you £12.**
So don't miss out ... all you have
to do is -
TELEPHONE: 0844 3570943
and quote The WireWorkers Guild Offer
Ref: 'Linda Jones' ... and obviously have
your credit card details ready ...
But now, for a special project - something
for the New Year - when we think
of 'turning over a new leaf' or 'having a
fresh start' ... This HandBag Charm makes
the perfect talisman and can be attached
to whatever takes your fancy (bag, necklace
chain, window blind, pencil case ...!).
I've packed this design full of symbolism:
LEAF - representing growth, new beginning.
EYE - representing 'all-seeing', protective,
awareness and open mindedness.
FEATHER - representing a Guardian Angel
ROSE QUARTZ - is the 'stone' representing
Ancient Jewellery designs were always packed
with symbolism to protect the wearer, as
well as being decorative and aesthetic ... so let's inject a
little more depth of meaning into our designs
through shape, colour and semi-precious
crystals and stones.
Create your own vocabulary and hidden
meanings in your designs and make jewellery
poetic and descriptive!
To make my Handbag Charm, you will need
0.8mm (or 1mm) silver-plated wire, 0.4mm
silver-plated binding wire, some beads of your
choice, a feather or two, a 'lobster' clasp, about
9-10 rose quartz chips, approx. 4" of chain and
some Superglue. As for tools, have ready: round,
flat and chain nosed pliers, wire cutters,
hammer and a steel stake.
1. Cut about 6" of o.8mm (or 1mm)
wire and bring one end around to
the other to secure. Wrap it around
the stem to form a loop.
2. Use your fingers and spend a
little time shaping the wire to
make a 'leaf' outline. (If you want
you can hammer the outline on
a steel stake now, or wait until
3. Cut some 0.8mm wire - or
1mm if using - (about 2" longer
than the length of your leaf) and
bind one end around the top of the leaf.
4. Secure the other end within
the tip of the leaf shape, cutting
off any projecting wire and neatening
wire at the
top of the
5. Curl this spiral in towards the top of
the leaf and flatten against the wrapped
6. Hammer the outer framework
of the leaf, avoiding any wrapped
over wires - and fingers!!
(This is an optional step - however,
it will create a stronger framework).
7. Wrap one end around the top of
of the leaf - underneath or behind
the spiral and pull the rest of the wire
8. Thread the 0.4mm wire with
beads of your choice and secure
the end within the tip of the leaf
by wrapping over the other binding,
once or twice. Cut off any excess
and neaten the end.
9. Using your round nosed pliers,
curl a link above the threaded bead,
ready for suspension.
10. Depending on what feathers you're using,
you might need to pull a few of the top feathery
bits off to create a longer central top stem.
Use the very tips of your round nosed pliers
to create very small coils and cut from the
spool leaving about 0.5" extending. Curl this
extending end into a link, that sits at right
angles to the coil.
11. Push the top of the feathers into the coils and squeeze,
or 'crimp' the last ring of each coil to secure around the
feather stem. Add a little dab of Superglue as well, to
ensure that the feathers can't fly off again ...
12. Cut approximately 4" of 0.8mm
(or 1mm) silver-plated wire. Wrap
one end around the other, creating
a long loop.
13. As in STEP 2 of the 'leaf', squeeze
the end of the loop together to create a
narrow channel. Hammer the outer frame
on a steel stake (avoiding any wrapped over wires).
Now, cut a length of 0.4mm wire and secure it
as shown - at the horizontal centre of your frame.
14. Thread some beads onto the 0.4mm wire and
secure by wrapping on the opposite side of the frame.
Cut off any excess and neaten the ends.
15. Create a wrapped loop to secure
the bead onto the end of the frame,
ready for suspension.
16. Now for some 'love' sprinkles:
in the form of Rose Quartz chip beads.
Thread about 9-10 chips onto a
6" length of 0.4mm wire.
17. Bring the ends of the wire together
and pinch tightly under the threaded
chips and TWIST both wires together
to create a twisted stem. Create a wrapped
link using your round nosed pliers.
Cut off any excess wire and neaten the ends.
18. Now you're ready to bring all the ingredients of
your charm together. Cut approximately 4" of chain
and attach the LEAF, the EYE, the FEATHERS and
the FLOWER of LOVE at varying intervasl onto the
chain with jump rings.
Finally, connect a clasp at the top end, ready for
suspending from your handbag ... of wherever you
wish to hang it!
LEAVES have always been a favourite shape of mine
and here are some other designs to keep you inspired:
L E A F
... try a colour variation ... be more and think more
G R E E N this year.