Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Carolyn and I am a freelance craft designer and teacher. I love to teach and share my creativity with anyone and particularly beginners. I just love the look of joy and satisfaction in their eyes when the make something they didn't really believe they could! I have been working in the art and craft industry for over 30 years and the last 20 years I've focused on jewelry design. I have written a number of books as well as editing and contribution to magazines. I have worked with television networks to promote and sell kits and materials and over the last year have been producing kits to go with my books, making it easier for beginners to get their hands on the materials needed to make gorgeous jewelry! I was born in California but have lived in England for the last 44 years. I travel to the USA six or more times each year to visit my mother and use these opportunities to keep abreast of the trends in the US to share and compare with those here in Europe.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Over the last eight years that I have taught at West Herts College in Hertfordshire, England I have developed a course that runs over three ten week periods and this is what I start covering in this, the first book in a series which aims to cover the entire college curriculum.
This first book covers 12 projects using memory wire, beading wire, stretchy cord, chain and jump rings. Readers will be shown how to make stunning bracelets, necklaces and rings. And the exciting thing is that there are now kits to support some of the projects, making it easy for beginners to get started.
What was the inspiration behind it?
The purpose behind Jewelry School is to provide a beginner with all the information and instruction needed to help them create gorgeous jewelry they will be proud to make and/or give as gifts, first time! I am a firm believer that with beautiful beads and components anyone can make jewelry using simple basic techniques. Along with step by step instructions there are step by step photos as well all the information needed to help the beginner to I am absolutely delighted with the way that Search Press have photographed and laid out Jewelry School.
Which is your favourite project?
I truly love ALL the projects in this book but if really pressured, I guess I would say my four favourite projects (one from each of the sections in the book) are the After Eight Cuff using memory wire, the Minted Double Noodle Bracelet using beading wire, the Sea Shore Cha-Cha Bracelet using stretchy cord and the Shaggy Loop Chain Maille Bracelet using jump rings.
What is your craft space like?
I have a room where all my materials are stored but over the years I have become most comfortable working in my living room where I can be with and interact with my family and friends while I play (it is hard to call it work because I have so much fun! I also work a lot on planes and have even enjoyed teaching/sharing to stewardesses and passengers when requested. It sure makes those 11 hour long haul flights pass more quickly!!
Have you always been creative?
I was born into a creative family. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were very creative as was my mother and one of her sisters. Being creative or crafty was considered an important part of life and we were always learning new techniques in a wide variety of sectors.
When did you first start crafting?
I can't remember the first thing but I probably started with crafts in Vacation Bible School. Of crafts I did with my grandmothers and mother I remember painting rocks, decoupage and macrame as well as sewing and knitting. I do do remember helping my mother make little baskets which we filled with flowers and wrapped cookies which my brother and I left on the doorstep of all our neighbours on May Day (1st of May). My mother was always helping us to do things to help and share with our neighbours or those who were struggling with various challenges.
Who are your crafty heroes?
Some of my favourite's include US authors: Julie Stephani, Vivian Peritts, Lyne Farris, Jill Mackay, Linda Musante and Katie Hacker. From the UK I love: Karen Walker, Jay Daly, Sarah Millsop, Stephanie Weightman. There are so many, I can't begin to remember them all!
Where do you find inspiration?
Colour: I love to look at the colours in nature for unusual and particularly beautiful combinations. With the close connection to fashion, I look at the colour trends used in clothes currently in the stores and follow the colour trend forecasts. I also observe what colours my students are choosing - which has proved to be a good gauge to what consumers are looking for.
Design and ideas: Again, nature is a great source of inspiration. I also look at magazines and books when I have time. Pinterest is a great place to find and share different ideas - I like it because it is quick and easily accessible.
What's next for you?
This is just the first in a series so I am already working on the second book which will be focused on bead stringing. I hope to have one book in the series published each year for the foreseeable future!
As the demand for kits with everything needed to make a project has grown by leaps and bounds, I look forward to adding to the already 30+ kits I launched with Solid Oak over the last year.
And just to be sure I don't get bored, I hope to combine my love of travel with teaching jewelry as a hobby on a cruise ship now and again!!
This first book in the new series will get readers started in making beaded jewelry, similar to the hugely popular absolute beginner’s course that Carolyn teaches. It introduced people who have no experience whatsoever, and who may never even have tried a craft before, to the basic techniques, tools and materials involved through simple, inspiring projects. It includes a pictorial glossary of the essential tools and materials used (with both UK and US terms); an index; and ten step-by-step projects through which people can learn the basic techniques used and at the same time create beautiful pieces of jewelry they would want to wear. Clear instructions, step-by-step photography and diagrams where necessary create a user-friendly guide. Projects will take no more than a couple of hours, making them achievable in an evening. Learn how to use memory wire, beading wire, stretchy cord, chain, jump rings, thermally bonded thread to make desirable jewelry pieces. Design tips throughout will encourage beginners to get creative and become jewelry designers in their own right.