By Sharilyn Miller
List Price: $29.95
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Sharilyn Miller, where have you been all my life?
Yes, this is a review for an incredible DVD I just watched, but in order for you to appreciate this to the fullest, I felt a little back-story would help you understand my enthusiasm.
I fell in love with silver when I was about 10 years old and on vacation with my family at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when I bought a little Sterling silver charm bracelet. It didn't have any charms, but it would become a yearly event to go to the gift shops and craft stores to find new and different charms for my treasure. The best one was the little filigree bell that jingled as I walked (I still have that bracelet and bell, but I definitely have outgrown some of the other childish charms that I collected).
When I was 16, during a visit to Provincetown during our Cape Cod vacation, we went to a Crafters Co-op. This was the type of place that I dream of working in to this day - fiber artists, ceramic makers, jewelry makers, painters, and all kinds of artists from abstract to "portraits while you wait", and there, back in a corner, to my incredible joy, a silversmith!
As I had done since I was a little kidlet, I managed to find an out-of-the-way spot where I could watch the silversmith's every movement. As I watched, I thought "I gotta learn how to do that!"
Now, fortunately, my mother was a seashell collector, and just down the street from the Co-op was the best shell shop on the East Coast, so needless to say, we were going to be there for hours. While my mother browsed shells, I made my visits to the silversmith's corner. By my third time back, he realized that I was mesmerized by his work, and we chatted. I remember that he had a puzzle ring that had fallen apart, and he told me that if I could put it back together then I could have it. Well, needless to say, I had a new ring!
The silversmith had made a hair ornament consisting of one large circle with a smaller circle on either side, and it was held in place by a silver stick, like a barrette. I loved it, but there was something missing for that teenager in the 60's, so I asked him if he could make the large circle into a Peace Sign, and how much more it would cost. We haggled a little bit, and then he promised to have it done in an hour, for FREE, if he could use my idea to make more ornaments with the Peace Sign. Heck, I jumped at the chance and said YES, and an hour later I was rewarded with this cool hair ornament with a silver stick through the circles!
Well, I wore it so much, and had so much hair, that eventually the stick gave way. But to this day, I still have my beautiful "Hair Peace" that we designed that day in Provincetown.
Another year went by at home, and as vacation time rolled around I couldn't wait to see my silversmith again, and I even had a folder full of ideas I had worked on over the year. Alas, when we made our trip to P-town, the Co-op was gone, and sadly so was my silver life for the time being.
Now over the years I've done every kind of craft from model Airplanes to "Zaftig dolls", but the silver still hung around my heart. Unfortunately, the tools and supplies were always too dear for my purse. But in 1990 I discovered Polymer Clay, and I built up a weekly Craft Fair business that started making a little money. I even became friends with another clay artist at the fairs who finished her clay work with handmade silver findings. She taught me a few basics, but I still stuck with my "2,000 for a dollar" earring wires and clasps.
The eye-opener came in 1994 when our house burned down - not completely destroyed, but bad enough for us to learn the SOOT is the worst 4-letter word in the English language. Have you ever seen an ice storm where every little branch and twig of a tree or every little piece of a plant is completely covered in ice? Well, that is SOOT!
My polymer beads were able to be salvaged by dipping them in dishwasher detergent - the soot slid right off. But every piece of finished jewelry would need to be restrung or have the wires changed as the soot just ruined the wire. Then I saw that the few pieces where I had used silver findings from my friend's instruction cleaned up perfectly, clay and silver both! After seeing this, my cheap wire finding went out with the soot!
While our house was being rebuilt, I decided that I would put down my clay and finally learn how to work with silver. I had saved a little money from the craft fairs, so I bought book after book and most of the supplies that I needed. My plan was to go back to clay after our house was done (heck, that took almost a year, but that's a whole other story<G>!).
During this time, Lynne Merchant was featured in Bead N' Button, and I fell in love! I made everything that was in that article, but those things belonged to Lynne Merchant, so I just kept doing some simple stuff after that. Than, like an answer to prayer, LM's students were starting to make names for themselves, and so I could come out the closet along with them. While I loved the silver work, I still couldn't get any lessons, and as well as I thought I was doing, I was spending way too much time perfecting things and not enough time making things.
[Start Here for Review] Well, FINALLY we get to the reason for my endless story! Recently I was sent a review copy of Sharilyn Miller's first DVD on making a bracelet. After watching this DVD all I can say is that all my doubts have been satisfied, my questions have all been answered, and look out world, you're gonna see me shine!!!
This DVD is 2 1/2 hours of pure instruction, from explaining all the tools to someone who finally showed me how to properly use Liver of Sulpher! It has taught me to cut my production time by 400%, from the simplest things such as which hand to hold the chain nose pliers to making jump rings click so you know they are together correctly. Sharilyn's instructions are distinct and clear as a bell, and her soothing voice is very easy on the ears. The DVD is divided into chapters, shown below, and so it's easy to go to whatever technique you want to work on.
If you're making finished jewelry with your polymer clay, I guarantee you that this DVD will not disappoint you. I've been working with silver with my clay for over 10 years, and I can't count how many time saving things I learned from this DVD. I also guarantee that by working with the DVD instructions you will make yourself the greatest bracelet!
- Tools & Materials
- Cleaning Wire
- Measuring and Cutting Wire
- Hammering Techniques
- Spiral Dangles
- Jump Rings
- Simple Eyepins
- Wrapped Eyepins
- Double-Wrapped Eyepins
- Bead Dangles
- Shepherd's Hook Earrings
- Hook and Eye Clasp
- Caged Bead
- Coiled Bead Wrap
- Jewelry Assembly
- Artificially Aging Your Jewelry
- Tumble-Polishing Jewelry (part 1)
- Tumble-Polishing Jewelry (part 2)
If you're making your Holiday List, ask for the DVD - "Tribal Treasures - Bracelet Workshop w/Sharilyn Miller" - and also her book "Bead on a Wire", and when you've used them people will be hoping they can figure out a way to get you to make them a gift! The book has many more designs to choose from, as well as help to work up your own design, but I believe that all the techniques needed to make the items in the book are covered in the DVD. As such, they are a perfect pair for anyone interested in creating beautiful jewelry as well as learning the efficient techniques that Sharilyn teaches.
You know, I couldn't get out to California to takes lessons from Lynne Merchant or Connie Fox, but now I don't need them - I've got Sharilyn MIller! Thank you, Sharilyn, for putting my polymer clay and silver business back on track!
(Pssst: Stephen - all I need is that tumbler and we're back in business!)
Sharilyn is a friend of mine, so I suppose I should say something that I felt was a fault with the DVD, and I actually came up with two things...
1. No music, not even for the intro! Gee, you should have asked me - I'm sure we could have found someone who would add a little "pizzazz." An acoustic guitar just doodling would be awesome!
2. You never get to see Sharilyn. After watching the DVD I feel a very close relationship with your hands, so much so that if you were to be in the same crowded room with me I'd likely get carted out on a stretcher after asking everyone in the room to move their digits, trying to find Sharilyn!
Otherwise, this is a fine piece of work to be proud of. Heck, you made me proud of you even if I only know your hands!!!!
Review by Leigh Ross
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Visit Sharilyn's Website Here!
"I agree with Leigh 100%! I have Bead on a Wire, which is wonderful all by itself. I then took a class with Sharilyn and bought the DVD from her (she actually brought a portable DVD player to class so we could see the DVD before we bought it - what a wonderful thing to do!!). Between the book, class and DVD, I am now on my way to making wonderful (aged!) wire wrapped jewelry pieces - using PC beads, of course. My friends are amazed at how quickly I was able to pick up the techniques that I learned. So, if any of you want to learn wire wrapping but have been intimated by it, give Sharilyn's DVD a try. You won't be disappointed."
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