Gift buying can be tricky – whether it’s for a birthday, holiday or special occasion. Coincidentally, we often see advertisements for jewelry, telling us it’s the perfect gift idea for various instances. But what do you get for someone who has quirky tastes or is hard to shop for? How about for someone who appears to already have it all? The answer is simple: make some jewelry for them yourself. 

Jenny Bradley is the overseer of the jewelry classes at WaterWorks Art Center in Tulsa, and has a variety of ideas for one’s first foray into the craft. 

“‘Every expert was once a beginner,’ as Helen Hayes said. It really just depends on how much time you want to focus towards your goals,” says Bradley. “Starting with the basics – like sawing and simple soldering – can build to more complicated skills. I know lots of jewelers tend to start with beading or wire wrapping, as it requires less equipment overall. I’m constantly amazed at the work some of our beginners are able to create.”

WaterWorks offers a class for beginners, ‘Jewelry Basics,’ that runs for 3 hours over the course of 6 weeks. 

“Students are introduced to best safety practices and instructed on how to properly use the equipment,” says Bradley. “We discuss materials and design and then get to work on our projects.” 

The cost of your kit is included in the class fees, so there’s no need to worry if you don’t have everything you need upon starting. Instructors at WaterWorks have various qualifications – including Bachelors and Masters of Fine Arts degrees from schools around the country. Classes cover how to solder, how to use a kiln if needed, how to use a rolling mill, as well as how to buffer, along with information about different gems and metals. 

Susanne Barnard with the Bead Merchant in Tulsa also offers classes and supplies, although courses are currently private due to COVID-19. The business carries a wide range of supplies, from single beads to pre-made strands and inexpensive goodies, gems and semi-precious stones. The Bead Merchant also offers ready-made jewelry, and the team is more than happy to help you make your dream designs a reality. Spending time on the company’s website leaves customers with ideas that can easily become tangible, unique gifts.

Really, all you need is an idea or a desire to try. There are so many options around the state for any level of learning and, even during a pandemic, you can safely utilize these mediums to create your own works of art.

Bead Merchant is located on 16th and Harvard in Tulsa and WaterWorks is at 17th and Charles Page Blvd. Other options include The Craft Room in Warr Acres and Jan’s Jewelry Supply in OKC.

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