My Gift to You: 50% Off for My 50th!

My new favorite stone, African blue opal, combined with bronze metal clay to make a necklace/bracelet set.
Karla Rosenbusch
is the managing editor
of Jewelry Making Daily

and associate editor of
Lapidary Journal

Jewelry Artist.

My mother always told me that a lady never reveals her age. Well, forgive me, Mom, but I'm about to reveal mine. I hit a big milestone earlier this year when I turned 50. At first, I wasn't thrilled about hitting the half-century mark, but now, I've not only come to terms with it but have actually embraced it!

Fun With 50
I've decided to consider my milestone age as a turning point in my life and my jewelry making. Until recently, I was a devoted stringer, working only with a variety of glass and clay beads. But in the past few months, I've spent more time stringing a wider variety of stone beads, incorporating my love of unusual stones into my jewelry. It's particularly fun to combine "alternative" stones and glass beads into different color schemes and designs.

My new favorite stone is African blue opal, also known as Impression Stone. The blues, whites, and tans of this amazing stone definitely made an "impression" on me this year when I first saw it. I made some delightful pieces out of the Impression Stone beads I picked up in Tucson-and just last week, I found a source for more. I can't wait to lay in a larger supply of this great stone and experiment some more!

This year, I've also started using more unusual materials like sea glass, as well as "upcycled" materials like Fordite (literally, recycled and stone-like automotive paint) and even pottery shards.

I used recycled automotive paint, also known as "Fordite," as the pendant for this necklace. My wire-wrapped pendant features fabulous examples of white and amber sea glass.

Technique Exploration
I've also branched out into more diverse and complicated jewelry-making techniques. I'm becoming a devoted wire worker, using craft wire to make earrings, bracelets, and pendants. And I've been experimenting with basic wire wrapping, which also allows me to use my favorite stones in a new way. Perhaps my favorite recent wire wrapping experiments were ones I did not long ago with some incredible sea glass that I purchased.

Another technique I've been playing with is chain maille. I've done some very basic chain maille earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, and I'm scouring my back issues of Step by Step Wire Jewelry and Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist for other chain maille projects to try my hand at.

My scroll work and tiger's eye earrings made with 16-gauge craft wire. I combined acrylic "leaf" beads with simple chain maille to create this necklace — one of my personal favorites!

As I spend my 50th year trying new jewelry-making techniques and materials, I'm looking forward to my next steps up the ladder. I've done some very basic work with polymer clay, and I'm seriously considering forays into resin and precious metal clay. And before long, I'm planning to pick up a torch and really get serious!

Celebration Deals
So, basically, I've extended my 50th birthday celebration into a year-long period of exploration and growth in my jewelry making. And in that spirit, Interweave is offering 50% off selected books on various jewelry-making techniques! They include Stringing Style, Stringing Style 2, Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping, and Jewelry Studio: Silver Wire Fusing. Stop by the Interweave Store and check it out. And make sure to visit the Jewelry Making Daily forums and let us know how you've expanded your own jewelry-making repertoire-no matter what your age!

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