Sparkling necklaces, colourful earrings and beautiful bracelets – Bernadette Pickering can be proud of her exquisite jewellery.
I visited Bernadette at her home in The Crescent, Beeston where she makes jewellery from scratch for a her mini company, Treasunique.
Wearing a pair of lovely earrings which she had made herself, Bernadette showed me a selection of her jewellery, all of which looked far too professional to have been made in someone’s study!
Describing the Treasunique brand name, Bernadette said: “It had to have significance. Everything is one off so it’s unique and hopefully it will become a treasure to someone.
“This is not just about making jewellery and certainly not about making money. It’s about showing people that even when you go through a tragedy something beautiful can come out of it.”
Bernadette explained that she first attended a bead making class as a joint activity with her daughter, Jo, after the latter was badly injured in a horrific assault.
Since then Bernadette has been improving her jewellery making skills.
She makes her own beads using Fimo modelling clay and when I stopped by she gave me a lesson on how to create my own.
Starting out with three colours of clay, yellow, gold and blue, we made each piece more supple by passing it through a pasta machine, officially designed for making the Italian speciality but serving an entirely different purpose in jewellery makers’ workshops.
Once the clay was ready to be moulded I put my three pieces in a pile and rolled them into a sausage.
Dividing this into four, Bernadette showed me how to place them together in a square with a roll of the gold in the centre.
This then had to be pressed together and wrapped in a blanket of gold clay.
Then came my favourite bit; well who can resist glitter? Especially sparkled across my new creation, called a cane. The cane is used as a basis for the beads’ patterns.
Bernadette started me out with a simple item, a bookmark top using a paperclip as the body.
I cut into the cane, covering a flat piece of clay with the thin slices.
For the reverse side I put the three clay colours together and through the pasta machine to make a lovely swirling pattern.
The use of a rabbit cutter to create the shape, 20 minutes to bake in the microwave and voilà, one bunny bookmark.
Having passed the first stage in my quest to make jewellery I graduated on to bead making.
This was a good chance to use some offcuts from Bernadette’s previous projects.
Once more the pasta machine came into use and then a circular cutter to measure the amount of clay going into each bead.
I covered the beads with more of the swirly patterned clay and then slices of the cane.
A roll into the required bead shape, a hole through the middle, a little baking time and they were ready.
And beautiful too. You wouldn’t have believed they had only been packs of clay a couple of hours earlier.
Bernadette added silver beads, a chain and fasteners and there we had it; a lovely necklace and a matching pair of earrings!
Bernadette runs regular workshops at different difficulty levels.
To find out more call her on 01767 682743 or email her at email@example.com
You can also find Treasunique on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Treasunique/123026714388341
Look out for Bernadette selling her creations at different markets around the area.
To see Bernadette making a bead for yourself visit our website at www.biggleswadetoday.co.uk to view her on camera demonstration.