Jewelry Making Around the Globe with Anne Potter
When Anne Potter first approached me with her idea to write a book exploring jewelry designs from around the globe, I was instantly intrigued. As a family of five, vacations to far off places are nearly impossible. Between track practices, drama club rehearsals, and other obligations, not to mention the expense, we just can’t seem to jet off to Madrid for a week or have a getaway in Glasgow. The thought of being able to create keepsakes inspired by a variety of locales without ever leaving my studio struck me as a fabulous idea.
Escape, Learn, and Be Inspired by Anne
As you flip through the pages of Global Style Jewelry: Inspiration and Instruction for 25 Exotic Beaded Jewelry Projects you’ll instantly feel transported. When you finish a project, it’s like returning from a trip with a special souvenir to remember the experience. Just like the unique regions inspiring the designs, it takes a range of techniques to achieve the looks. So, you also return from your mental getaway with new skills you might not have had prior.
Join Anne and me as we talk a bit about her life in beading and experience writing Global Style Jewelry. Feel free to imagine us sitting outside at a Parisian café on a gorgeous summer day—just like I did during our little chat.
Kerry: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me Anne. I’m so excited Global Style Jewelry has finally been released to the world! (Pun totally intended.) Before we talk about the book, tell me, how did you get started beading and making jewelry?
Anne: I started making jewelry in junior high to go with the clothes I was making for myself. On a babysitting budget, I was able to buy thrift shop clothes to alter, cheap fabric to sew miniskirts, and lots of beads to make jewelry to match. I still love that about beading: a humble handful of beads gives you unlimited design potential.
Kerry: Indeed, it does. I started making jewelry with a simple tub of commercial glass beads and an evening later I had over twenty pairs of earrings. Beads hold so many possibilities! What are your favorite techniques?
Anne: My favorite projects incorporate basic stringing and wirework— sounds boring, but it’s true. My style is globally inspired and I find beads on string or wire translate well into any designs I want to achieve. I enjoy using lots of different techniques like and leatherwork and chain maille, but I always find basic stringing or wirework techniques will give me the piece I want.
Kerry: Do you ever find yourself avoiding certain techniques?
Anne: I find I don’t use a technique if it doesn’t make my heart sing. For instance, right now I don’t need to delve into kumihimo or enameling but that may change; someday I may find kumihimo is just what I need to use to make the design in my head—who knows?
Kerry: I get that. I tend to avoid soldering. It causes more cursing than singing for me. HA! Thankfully, Global Style Jewelry doesn’t require a torch. This book takes readers on a trip around the world through jewelry designs. Do you have a particular region you find yourself visiting (via jewelry design) time and again?
Anne: India is my favorite design destination, hands down, because the inspiration just doesn’t stop. Every night at the dinner table, I set hot skillets on two carved wooden trivets from India. I’ve used these trivets for twenty years, and every time I see them, I think they’re just magic. They’re a delight: these floral and fluted mandalas, like a teakwood doily. That’s just one example, but Indian design is never-ending: sari borders, decked-out taxis in Delhi, chai glasses, painted elephants. It’s all so good.
Kerry: Oh the colors of India are such an inspiration, too. Images I’ve seen of spice markets are so saturated with color, it looks amazing. I hope to visit there some day. Where is a place you’ve been longing to visit but haven’t had the chance?
Anne: I want to go to Africa. Years ago when traveling through the south of Spain our travel plans had to change and we couldn’t cross over to Morocco as we had originally planned. So, from the top of Gibralter I’ve seen Africa, but I’ve never been. It’s a mighty continent so it may be best to take it in as parcels, but Africa’s at the top of my list.
Inspired Jewelry Making
Kerry: Wow, I bet Spain was an experience. The “Gaudi Tile Bracelet” in Global Style Jewelry is beautiful. Along with the hopes for visiting Africa, what’s next for you? Are you teaching?
Anne: Yes, I’m teaching! I teach beading classes privately from my studio as well as at my local community college. When I set out to teach at the community college, I drafted a curriculum that would cover all the basics of beading so that by the end of the semester, BAM!, my students would be fully equipped to design and make jewelry. But I learned something. My students were professional or retired women who wanted to relax at the end of the day and just make something. They wanted to take my class again and again just for the studio time, for the creative outlet they so crave.
So now my focus is less on “covering it all,” and more on fresh projects to explore and enjoy. This new understanding also led me to start hosting Beading Nights in my house. For Beading Nights, I design a piece—say, a tasseled mala necklace—and kit all the supplies, then my guests make their project (and talk and talk and talk) while my husband and I serve wine and hors d’oeuvres. It’s the most fun table of eight ever. It usually gets seriously loud in that dining room, but so do my favorite parties!
And since my beloved Jewelry Stringing Magazine is now out of print, I will be filling a small part of the void by publishing stringing patterns and kits through my Etsy shop (stkatherines.etsy.com) and my website (annepotter.com). Simple, trendy, globally-inspired pieces that are fun to make, too.
Kerry: I hope to make it to one of those Beading Nights some day. It sounds like a blast!
– Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books
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