An Interview with Sharyl of Sharyl’s Jewelry

What is the earliest age you remember noticing jewelry? Was it jewelry you wore or someone else?

At least by age 3 I insisted on wearing jewelry.  In fact, I insisted on wearing jewelry before I could properly say the words for what they were.  I had a set of 3 silver bracelets some friends of my parents had given to me.   A heart necklace. Pearls.  And a  gold baby ring.  I insisted on dressing very “grown up.”   (Sounds like I did a lot of “insisting” at age 3!)   This photo is on my Facebook page, but there are even earlier ones of me in my “jewels!”

Can you remember how you got bitten by the bead bug?

I’ve long loved buying unique jewelry, but got especially into it in graduate school.  I had very little money, but each month when I got my paycheck I allowed myself to buy one little nice thing for that month.   It was usually either a Celtic music album or a pair of earrings from one of the international shops downtown or the museum stores on campus.  

One day I was looking at a pair of earrings I had bought and thought that my dad had some brass pieces in his tackle box that looked very similar.  So I started looking for “new/unused” bits I could use to make jewelry, and then found stores that sold unique beads from other countries.   I was a goner!

Do you wear lots of jewelry when you’re out and about?

Until just recently, you wouldn’t see me without at least earrings and bracelets.  Usually a necklace too.   Just in the last year as I’ve been working intensely with making jewelry and being at home more, I’ve worn less of it myself and occasionally dash out the door for an errand without.   If I’m going out to eat or something, I’ll have it all on!

What do you do when you’re not making jewelry?

My lifetime career has been as a librarian.   I still work a part-time contract job doing virtual reference—answering reference questions and assisting people from around the U.S. and U.K. use their libraries.  It is a service that runs 24/7.  I’ve been doing this work for about 6 years now.  Before that, I had library positions in university, public, and government libraries.    

I notice you use a variety of components in your jewelry, but you also seem to make some of your own components with twisted and hammered wire, as well as metals. What do you love most about that? How did you get started?

I started with the wire years ago, mostly learning through library books.   Since I started blogging last year, then joining Facebook groups, I’ve learned so many things from the wonderful jewelry artists and artisans I come into contact with daily!  Lori Anderson knew I wanted to learn more about making wire components, such as clasps, and headed me in the right direction with tools and reading material last year.  A few months ago, I started working with copper and brass through the help of Melinda Orr.   She’s been a tremendous help to me, as have so many others I’ve met through the Creative Bead Chat group. 

Have you ever made a piece of jewelry that you have had a hard time parting with? If so, what did you like best about it?

Oh goodness!  I’ve made several like that.   They typically all go up for sale eventually though, and in the end, I’m so pleased when someone purchases one of these and gives it a good home!  The most difficult seem to be the ones I create for the monthly Art Bead Scene challenges.  I spend a good solid month studying the inspiration art piece we are given, planning the design, selecting the art beads I want to purchase, and then putting it all together.   I often wait a month or two before I list those to give myself some distance!  

I certainly had this problem with a piece I designed using beads you had made for the March 2012 ABS challenge.  Those were such terrific beads and each so perfectly fit the theme!   I remember being amazed I had found every bead I needed in one place for that necklace!   (And thank you very much!)

I have a piece right now I haven’t listed yet, but likely will soon.   It’s all about the beautiful lampwork that became part of the pendant of the necklace.   I don’t mean to play favorites, I have so many lampwork artists whose work I use and so admire.   But this particular piece just spoke to me.   I saved it for ages, then finally used it for my design for the April 2012 Art Bead Scene Challenge    Please don’t feel obliged to read the whole page, but if you would go to the bottom and take a look at the bead by Jennifer Cameron of “Jen Cameron Designs.”     It’s just an amazing piece!

What current design of your own are you most excited about?

These are not so much specific designs, but I’m working on several special projects at the moment, and those excite me a great deal.   I have my “Hope” project trying to raise awareness and funds for people with Rare Disorders.  (   So many people suffer greatly at the hands of rare disorders, my sister being just one, but unless you combine rare disorders as a group, they are often overlooked.  I also have a project I expect to do this summer using my jewelry at a cancer fundraiser in my hometown.

Regarding making jewelry, I’m anxious to keep learning more about design and more about metalworking!   For someone who loves peace and quiet, I find it oddly comforting work with metals, even when it involves loud noises.  Something soothing about hammering, I guess!

When you sit down to bead, do you prefer silence? Music? TV?

Absolute silence.   No kidding!

Share with us your website links (store, blog, twitter, FB, etc …).

Gladly, thank you, Natalie!
Sharyl’s Jewelry online studio:
Sharyl’s Jewelry & Reflections blog:
Sharyl’s Jewelry on Facebook:

If you were in a bead store and there were only three beads for sale (all about the same size and shape) which would you choose: Lime, Orange, or Aqua?

I love all three colors, but I’d mostly likely choose Aqua–without even thinking.   It’s a habit of mine! 

Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you and friends today!   I’m honored by the opportunity!    And thank you again for the wonderful beads you provide.  It’s always a great pleasure to design with them!

And thank you Sharyl for such a fun interview!  Happy Beading!

Elephant Beads

Elephant Beads

I have these ready to go into the kiln.  This week has been crazy busy with the ceramic class I’m taking and Hubby is doing some renovation on this old house.  First of all, we are interviewing contractors to have some energy efficient windows installed.  Also, Hubby decided since we are getting new windows that we ought to get a brand new look to the front of our house as well.  So he is planning to knock out this brick wall the elephant beads are positioned against and put up columns instead. I guess he’s getting back to his Greek roots.

Speaking of getting back, let me get back to these beads. I hand sculpted each one of them.  They are fun to make and I have tried to make them before without any luck. The first time I made an elephant bead, it was just a fluke.  After that I tried several more times and failed, epically.  This time I went to the dollar store and bought a little plastic elephant and looked at that for several days and tried again.  So these are what I ended up making.  Some are bigger than the others and I do plan to make more. 

I have used a white stoneware and a brown iron stoneware and glazed them in a cone 6 shino glaze. They will go into the electric kiln and be fired to cone 6.

I also wanted to show off this mug I made in ceramics class last week.  I have done this type of sprigging techniques on beads and so I wanted to try this on something functional.  This is going to be a fun mug.  I’m not sure how I want to glaze it yet but I do want to use a glaze that will emphasize the round recessed circles.  I may use a red underglaze that goes to cone 10 inside each circle and then glaze with a transparent cobalt blue (we call it celedon blue in class, but it’s really just a transparent cobalt blue). 

On the other hand, I think that I could use a dark cobalt blue underglaze in those circles with the celedon blue and that would be lovely. 

… and this is why I usually just dip my functional ware in clear glaze, it’s hard to make glazing decisions!  lol!

What’s She Doing?

I’m taking a ceramics class at the local college again. Yay.  This week I made 13 mugs and none of them look alike.  This is my favorite so far. 

It is wheel thrown, the foot trimmed by hand, stamped with all sorts of textures and shapes, and then I applied a handle.

I am going to rub underglaze into this after it is bisque fired and apply a transparent glaze over it. No, I’m not sure what colors it will be.

I’m doing these mugs for a fundraiser my son is doing for himself. He had $12,000 in doctor bills because of a cancerous mole. If he had it checked a year ago it wouldn’t have cost more than about $300. 

This is to urge anyone who has a suspicious mole to get it checked out before it A. Spreads or B. You have to have minor surgery and get your lymphnodes checked — especially if you don’t have insurance. 

My son is fine by the way. The cancer didn’t spread into his lymphnodes.