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People who want to make jewelry have an array of possibilities both for learning opportunities and materials. Classes are offered by park and recreation departments, community colleges, art supply stores, and art schools. There are also e-courses offered on the Internet, as well as opportunities offered by local gem and mineral clubs, and classes at community centers, senior centers, and gathering spots such as the YMCA.
Particularly if you learn best interactively or you are considering a type of jewelry making that requires equipment that poses an element of danger—such as welding or glass-blowing—a face-to-face course may be the best choice for your instruction. Taking a class in which you learn to make jewelry can also give you access to equipment that you may not own or have the space for in your home, or that is prohibitively expensive.
Print materials with instructions for how to make jewelry are also available. The manufacturers of jewelry making products may provide brochures and pamphlets, as may jewelry supply stores. Many jewelry making books are available, and some of these tend to offer broader coverage than an individual class. If you feel comfortable learning on your own or are prevented from attending a course, print matter can offer an excellent substitute.
Videos about making jewelry are available both on the Internet and on DVD. Many of the Internet videos may be free, while the DVDs are for sale. But there is also a third, lesser-known alternative. Smartflix is like a Netflix® for crafters, offering DVD rentals in a number of how-to areas, including arts and crafts and jewelry making.
While some classes and instructional materials may range over a variety of media, at least some instruction in how to make jewelry is likely to focus on one particular medium, such as beads, rocks and gems, metal, polymer clay, glass, papier-mâché, macramé, or weaving. So you will want to consider the material or materials you are interested in working with, and—a related question—what kind of jewelry you would like to make.
Some jewelry makers specialize in, say, making earrings. But there are many possibilities, including necklaces and pendants; bracelets for wrists, arms, and ankles; brooches and pins; tie clasps and cufflinks; barrettes, tiaras, and other hair ornaments; rings; and belt buckles and shoe buckles. Your choice of jewelry type and material will help get you started.
There’s also the possibility that you are an innovator with your own ideas about materials and approaches. In this case, what might help you to make jewelry is inspiration, which you can often get from other artists, either in museums or in art books or jewelry stores, and a good supply of whatever you choose to work with—whether paper clips, safety pins, foil, fishing line, or more traditional jewelry-making materials.