Carla's Design & Work Shop
About 7-8 years ago I began taking classes in crafting jewelry. It was pure serendipity!
My weekly route home from the Saturday Farmer's Market often took me by a little shop on the corner of De la Guerra and Santa Barbara Street, called "Beads." One day I decided to stop and take a peek. That was it! I was hooked...it was like walking in a store filled with candy...eye candy! There was a sign offering classes in beading instruction..and I signed right up!
To say that I have become addicted is an understatement!
As Mom got on in years her hands became unsteady so she couldn't use the tools any longer. It was quite sad because she had developed such camaraderie with her fellow students at the Adult Education Jewelry classes, workshops & labs. One day she gave me a box of her 'stuff' and told me I needed to have a hobby.
The box sat in my garage until the serendipitous stop at the Bead Store on SB Street!
The classes of 5-8 people were held after store hours. I was probably the clumsiest student poor Barbara ever had. However, I am tenacious and Barbara is patient, and once I got it! I got it! Now I may be one of her most successful students.
They are so busy with their store, that they no longer teach. However, Adult Education is currently offering classes in beading and other facets of jewelry making, metal work, soldering, setting stones, lost wax method, etc. I have taken several of the classes and have discovered that they are quite challenging! I have also gained a lot of respect for the craft people who make jewelry by hand for their livelyhood such as the Hill Tribe people from Thailand. It is truly a craft which requires patience, precision, delicate work and creativity! The teachers of these classes are terrific artisans themselves and outstanding teachers.
I have not graduated to making my own silver & gold findings, clasps, and jewelry and for now I am concentrating on creating fashion jewelry with pearls, and semi-precious gems. It truly is instant gratification, while the designing of a piece may take several days to get it right, at least you don't melt the silver into a useless blob. It does take a great deal of consistent and concentrated time to develop the learning curve in order to create the 'real' stuff. My real estate business requires most of my time. However, in the evenings I can create all the necklaces, earrings and bracelets to my heart's content....and I do!
The other fun part of this hobbie is that I no longer have to shop for gifts...all my friends and relatives are decked out in Carla's Baubles. And the beading buddies I've made! It is such fun to run into each other at Gem Shows or Jewelry sales. My grandmother was the village clock fixer and I have become the jewelry fixer for my friends and family. I do sell my jewelry at benefits and Holiday Shows...at a most reasonable price. I just need to get my $$$ back so I can keep my addiction going. My accountant has told me that this is NO business as far as the IRS is concerned! I would have to earn money at it!
The first time I went to a GEM Faire I was overwhelmed! Through the years Mom would come to the Gem Faire with me. When she couldn't go any more, I would stop at her apartment to show her my treasures. It was my turn to make jewelry for her. She was not an easy customer because she knew exactly what she wanted. It truly was a fun interest to share with her.
four times a year the Gem Faire comes to
Santa Barbara's Earl Warren Show Grounds.
The next Gem Fair in Santa Barbara will be in December. Details at http://www.gemfaire.com/ You'll find me there!