Beading: a male perspective…

Diploma in Creative Jewellery student Gary Schofield tells how his first day on the course was an inspiring step into the unknown

Week one, first day; I find myself in an all-female environment, threading beads on strings, totally out of my comfort zone and terrified.

Beading I believed, was not my penchant and most certainly not my forte….

It wasn’t long before I became totally enchanted by the beautiful work being created around me by my fellow students, and I began to understand a deeper pleasure in the subject than I had previously allowed myself.

I became aware of the vast emotive and expressive panorama of possibilities that beading can incorporate, and realised that from my male point of view there were opportunities here for me to utilise this medium according to my own voice…

SMy work in the class was not terribly ambitious but I began to see the possibilities with new and excitingloop inspiration.

Just the simple techniques of creating loops and clasps began to hold a certain captivation and prompt me toward new design ideas.

I think I had previously shied away from necklaces preferring bracelet and bangle design where I found that my prefered bold and solid statements were be more fitting.

During the following week I sourced lots of  bead work and began to look closely at original ethnic necklaces, especially those that incorporated metal in the design. From this I realised that the notions of bead and pendant were more ambiguous than I had thought, allowing a much more open and creative approach than I’d thought.

After some sketching out of ideas I finally came up with the following three pieces:

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In this one I was looking to combine some repousse technique with sweat soldering and some wire binding, all of which I need much practice in, and to incorporate these with all I’d learnt in the beading class.

I had my first experience of shopping for beads and chose the shop in Great Tower Street, where I found a good variety of beads and found the occasion to be very enjoyable. I think this project was a success as it shows a new versatility in my design and also shows many weak points that need more attention.

eth1

This one was more of a disaster in as much as the bezels were not well made and spoilt what could have been quite a nice piece but all in all I guess there were some very successful aspects; the sunburst nature of the design held together well, keeping its shape when worn and I really quite like the overall look of the thing, really want to make it again but this time with a little more care!

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This was my latest piece and although it is not beaded it does have a direct link to what I’ve learnt from beading. It has nice loose facets that jangle around like beads and the same kind of feeling when on the wrist. Again my bezels are messy and the connecting wires need a re-think but I feel that it holds a lot of promise for future ideas.

I really hadn’t anticipated that beading would be so rewarding and I am delighted with this influence it has had on my work; all in all it’s been a great and fruitful experience.

About the Diploma in Creative Jewellery

The Diploma is a unique course for people wanting to develop career in jewellery. It combines learning traditional skills such as silversmithing with working more modern materials such as Perspex and precious metal clay so that students develop a range of jewellery skills which they can use to create own signature styles.

Students attend classes one-day per week for three terms over a year culminating in an exhibition where they show their final collections – this year the event will be at London’s Craft Central.

There are currently places available on course starting in May and September and we also offer a full-time seven week intensive version  of the Diploma starting in July. Find out more here.

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