Expert / By Donna
/ January 30, 2020 July 6, 2021 / 4 minutes of reading
Hello Beautiful Beaders,
This week’s blog introduces the first in our new series of ‘Interview with an Expert’ articles. First up is the talented jewellery making tutor Heidi Summers.
The Riverside Beads team sat down with Heidi, a cup of tea and a list of probing questions….
RB: What is your specialist area of jewellery making and how long have you been doing this?
HS: Jewellery making as a whole is my passion. I first started playing about with jewellery when I was about 17. I used my Dad’s tools in the garage to fix broken fashion jewellery or sometimes to customise pieces. I’m 51 now so it was a long time ago and you couldn’t even buy jewellery making tools for home use then. Back then I certainly never thought I’d end having an expert interview about my hobby!
Over the years I have gained experience in many areas of jewellery making; wirework; tiara and fascinator making; bead weaving; pearl knotting; kumihimo; macrame; the list goes on! I’m an expert in Resin work now and am passionate about the process and results you can achieve.
Resin fascinates me because it is a natural compound that has been around for centuries. Trees ooze resin from their bark as a protective shield from pests, and of course nature’s most famous version of resin is Amber! The Greeks believed that amber was sunlight captured in a solid form and learned that rubbing amber could produce an electrical charge. Fun Fact – that’s where the word electricity came from because they renamed amber ‘electron’.
Nowadays resin is synthetically manufactured and used to protect our floors, countertops and, in my world, worn as unique jewellery pieces!
There are three main types of synthetic resin; Epoxy, Vinylester, Polyester Resins. Polyurethane and polyester resins are great for jewellery making, but can be tricky to handle. Epoxy resin is much better for beginners.
You can pretty much cast anything within resin; Paper, plastic, fabric, metal, wood, glitters; powders. You have to be careful with things that contain moisture though, like fresh flowers and leaves. You have to coat this type of item thoroughly with a sealant. If not then the water will react with the resin, turning the leaves and petals brown.
It’s pretty exciting finding different ways to create resin beauty!
RB: Did you study the subject at all or are you self taught?
HS: I used to do a lot of card making when my children were young. Then we moved from the south of England up to Peterborough and I took my first lesson with Donna back in 2005. I thoroughly enjoyed my jewellery making class with Donna (in her dining room in those days!). Her encouragement and enthusiasm struck a chord within the creative me and I suddenly became hooked jewellery making. Some of the techniques and skills have been taught to me over the years and the rest are self taught. Practise definitely makes the expert!
RB: What inspires you in life?
HS: In my life nature inspires me, as does art, food and colours.
RB: If you could take three things to a desert island what would they be?
HS: Johnny Depp (of course), a good book, paper and coloured pencils – ok that’s four, but I need Johnny to hold my book while I draw! Lol
RB: What other classes do you teach at the Riverside Makery?
HS: In the Riverside makery I teach Resin classes, pearl knotting, coiling gizmo classes, bead weaving, bead embroidery, and paint pouring.
RB: Random question – you like Tea, coffee or something stronger?
HS: I love a good cup of tea but I can be persuaded to have a glass of prosecco every now and then…
RB: What other craft would you like to learn in the future?
HS: In the future I would love to try screen printing, I can remember doing some in art at school but it seems a much easier technique now.
RB: What’s your favourite film and why?
HS: My favourite film is It’s a wonderful life, it is such a insightful story and it makes me smile every time a bell rings.
RB: If you couldn’t be creative what would you be?
HS: If I couldn’t be creative I would probably bake more, I used to bake lots when the children were little and made many a Birthday cake for them and there friends.
RB: Who is your ‘creative’ hero?
HS: I really admire all ‘celebrity’ crafters/jewellery makers, although I have been taught by a very creative Donna McKean Smith, so she is most definitely a hero.
Our thanks to Heidi for an insight into her creative life and specialist subject. If you would like to book a resin jewellery making class with Heidi then simply click here.
I’ll be back on the blog in two weeks time, and stay tuned for our next Interview with an Expert.