If you happen to be a follower of mine on Twitter, you might have noticed a few tweets about me doing some jewellery making teaching lately. I replied to an ad that popped up on my Facebook page that was looking for part time jewellery trainers and after attending a trial session I've now been involved in a couple of beginner's jewellery making workshops showing people the basics of using headpins, chain and of course, plenty of beads, to make simple necklaces, earrings and bracelets as well as teaching some jewellery making at a hen party. It's been great fun so far, although sometimes a little hectic - 4 hours seems like plenty of time but before you know it there's only 15 minutes left and you really want everyone to leave with finished pieces of jewellery that they'll love to wear (or maybe give away as gifts).
Last Saturday, having already been 'teacher' in the morning at a beginner's workshop, I then headed off to Kingly Court (just off Oxford Street) to spend a few hours being 'pupil' instead at a horsehair weaving workshop run by the Micro Techniques Horsehair Jewellery pop-up shop. This craft originated in Chile, and the shop had brought together Chilean artisans and jewellery makers to create some beautiful contemporary pieces showcasing the amazing weaving skills.
Now I am used to fiddly/small things being a beadweaver, but horsehair weaving beats beadweaving on the fiddliness scale...trying to get the base right and then making sure you don't miss bits and mess up your over-under pattern is tricky stuff!
Doesn't all the brightly coloured dyed (although personally I'd love to think of horses this madly coloured trotting around somewhere) horsehair look fun?
We started off learning the simple 'circle' shape...but my version is nowhere near as fantastic as the one our tutor whipped up whilst she was teaching us. Appologies for the rubbish photo taken on my mobile....proper camera batteries decided to run out.
We also made a start on the 'butterfly wing' but I haven't had a chance to try and finish that off yet...it's a lot harder than the circle as the base fibres seem to want to revert to the circle base shape constantly the whole time you are trying to weave around them!
I enjoyed myself, despite the high difficulty factor...plus I think I could potentially incorporate some of the technique into my jewellery work replacing the base fibres with wire.
If you want to find out more about this craft then check out their website www.chilemakers.com. There's a great video on the website showing you the craft as done by the experts :) The ladies at the pop-up shop are hoping to come back for another spell sometime in September potentially so keep your eyes peeled if you fancy a go.