Jewelry by Helen J


This all started with my love for unique and one of a kind things.

For many years I worked in the fast-food restaurant industry as a manager.  I also had long hair.  Because I believe that, as a manager, I should always be the one setting the example for my crew.  This meant that I would always have my hair tied back, and only wore stud earrings, and my wedding ring. I always tried to find unique barrettes that I could wear, but that was extremely hard.  After a member of the book club I was a member of showed us the pen that she had covered using polymer clay, I decided that I would try my hand at making my own barrettes.  I spent many hours teaching myself and playing with polymer clay.  I enjoyed it and starting to sell my barrettes on my own website.  I also met local artists who worked with clay to learn new techniques. One of those artists become my good friend and I started to learn many other jewelry techniques from her.

I started doing wire wrapping using gemstone beads that I bought.  My husband and I like to try new things and we got into gemstone hunting.  In the process of gathering the stones, I learned how to polish them in a rock tumbler.  Our camping trips on the Great Lakes added to a large collection of beach glass that I needed to find something to do with. I asked my friend for ideas and learned how to net the stones and glass with wire.  I had lots of fun doing that and the uniqueness of the pieces really spoke to me and I was hooked.

I was happy doing the netting and wire-wrapping, but I am always game to try new techniques and combine things. I learned how to make Viking Knit necklaces, beaded bevels around some of the stones, bead weaving and then figured out that I could make origami cranes small enough to make earring from them.  Then one day my husband walks by me with a few used bicycle chains in his hand and asked me if I could use them for anything.  I thought about it for a long time and then figured, sure I could.  This realization started a whole new line in my creativity.

I use all of these found things, from gems, to beach glass, origami paper, to recycled phone books and maps, old watch parts, to the bicycle chains and even old silverware to create unique, one of a kind pieces of wearable art.