Turning clay into brilliant and Treasunique jewellery

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.

Bernadette Pickering

Bernadette Pickering

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 bern_pick52@yahoo.co.uk

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.