Making jewellery

Is there any more satisfying and smug phrase in the English language than, “actually, I made it myself”? Not really and I have to admit to being very pleased with myself after attending a one day jewellery making workshop with the brilliant ArtisOn team in Masham, North Yorkshire.

I was lucky enough to win a free place on the workshop after entering a twitter competition last year. I decided to choose the Extraordinary Jewellery course as I liked the sound of making things out of everyday, recycled or found objects. Our tutors for the day were the lovely Josie Beszant and Rosie Scott Massie, both professional artists and designer-makers themselves, who were inspiring, encouraging and patient in equal measure. This is how I got on.

The course was split into four sections, teaching us four different techniques and the skill level increased incrementally, which was great as we slowly built up our confidence. We started by making a bracelet using safety pins threaded with beads. This was simple but the results were so effective and I really enjoyed choosing the different coloured and shaped beads (I am such a magpie I realise).

Finished bracelet

The next stage taught us how to make our own beads by tightly winding strips of paper (in this case Monopoly money) onto cocktail sticks, which were then glued and strung together with thread. This was quite tricky but you could create some great effects with different kinds of paper.

At this point, we broke for lunch and enjoyed a delicious home-made meal of vegetarian Shepherd’s pie followed by Apple Crumble and custard!

 The afternoon session pushed the difficulty rating up a notch as we were shown how to make a button brooch by threading a selection of old and new buttons onto thin wire. This sounds easier than it was and required a bit more patience and elbow grease (attributes I’m not naturally blessed with) but, as you know, I love buttons so was determined to make a success of this one. Lots of lovely rummaging in pots and boxes was also involved as I tried to choose my favourite buttons. Perhaps I could just pay ArtisOn a small fee in future, so that I can just go and look through their stores of craft paraphernalia…?

Finished brooch

Flushed with success, and fuelled by tea and homemade Rolo tarts (amazing!), we ploughed on to the fourth and final segment of the day, which involved customising jewellery. Again, there was lots to excite my inner magpie including old charity shop necklaces, watch parts, ribbons, lace, beads and broken pieces of jewellery. In fact there was almost too much choice and I nearly ran out of time. However, it was useful to learn how to dismantle existing pieces of jewellery and add new items, using different fixings. In the end I simply attached an old pressed flower pendant to a string of plastic beads – not very imaginative but I quite like the finished result.

“Yeah, I made it myself!”

 For more information and to book a course visit


gidders1 //

Oh, what a fab course. Can’t believe how effective the safety pin bracelet is?
I’m hoping to book a pottery course soon, but would love to put this on my list too!! It also appeals to my inner magpie. Thanks for sharing this x

Kerry //

How lovely, what fun. I absolutely love the safety pin & beads bracelet, might give it a go, thank you for sharing. @RockDiva1976

KatGotTheCream //

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. I am really inspired and having just picked up a load of lovely buttons from the charity shop, am hoping to create some more jewellery so watch this space!


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