Beginners Jewellery Classes have Landed at Claire Brooks Studio Gallery

After only a month of trade at my brand spanking new Studio Gallery, Glenelg South, the response from my local community has been overwhelmingly positive and I am so thrilled. Thank you so much to everyone who has managed to make their way down for a visit, it has been wonderful to see a few familiar faces and meet so many lovely people who have dropped by.

As many of you know, I have spent much of the past few years preparing to establish a teaching space which would bring community members together by sharing the joy of creating their own handmade jewellery. My plans were small to begin with but, after a generously supported crowd funding campaign and the decision to open a Studio Gallery, my plans got bigger and better than I ever could have imagined. Now finally, I am so pleased to announce that we’ve done it - jewellery classes are now available at Claire Brooks Studio Gallery!

 The new teaching space is bright and inviting. Students will create their masterpieces on this beautiful table, handcrafted by local furniture designer, Steve Soeffky.

The new teaching space is bright and inviting. Students will create their masterpieces on this beautiful table, handcrafted by local furniture designer, Steve Soeffky.

As a bit of a taster, I will be running two one day classes before Christmas and I have a whole lot more planned for 2019. The first two classes are for beginners and will introduce students to the art of handmade jewellery through earring making and the ancient technique of bezel setting. Class sizes are limited to only six people, meaning that you will have plenty of one on one attention and the teaching space is beautifully light filled, leafy and inspiring. In order to run each class I need at least four students, so sign up now and bring a friend or family member.

Classes Available

Bezel Set Pendant in a Day with Claire Brooks.jpeg

Make Your Own Bezel Set Pendant

Calling all gemstone lovers! Join me in my beautiful new studio gallery in Glenelg South for this full day workshop and let me teach you how to set your own cabochon stone into a handmade pendant. This course is perfect for beginners or a great excuse for those who have jewellery making experience to get back into basic stone setting.

Make Your Own Earrings with Claire Brooks.jpeg

Make Your Own Earrings

Are you an earring lover who wants to take your collection to the next level? During this class you will work within the intimate, six person workshop space at my new Studio Gallery in Glenelg South, to design and make your own earrings. Each student should leave with at least one of earrings, learning some great skills.

Give the gift of creativity this festive season. If you would like to gift a class to a friend or someone you love, please contact me for more details.

The Next Big Thing...

For much of the year I have been keeping a pretty huge secret and I am both ecstatic and relieved to finally share it with you!

The lease is signed, the keys are collected and I am thrilled to announce that in August this year, I will be opening up my very own studio, gallery and teaching space in Glenelg South.

Positioned perfectly amongst a cute little group of shops and just a short walk from the beach, the gallery will be a space for purchasing exquisite handmade jewellery and rediscovering your creative side. I am currently working with local artisans to help me with custom built displays and furniture and have been busily welding up some new goodies to make it my own.

  My little shop. There is lots to do but it will look great when its all done.

My little shop. There is lots to do but it will look great when its all done.

  There is a large room at the front of the shop where I will host classes, set up my studio and display my work for customers to see. Out the back is a smaller room, which will be used for heavier machinery and hammering, as well as a little veranda where students can enjoy a cup of tea in the sunlight. 

There is a large room at the front of the shop where I will host classes, set up my studio and display my work for customers to see. Out the back is a smaller room, which will be used for heavier machinery and hammering, as well as a little veranda where students can enjoy a cup of tea in the sunlight. 

This new space is a great opportunity for a fresh start, bringing you all of the awesomeness promised in my crowd funding campaign, only better. As originally planned, I still want the space to be inviting, nurturing and community orientated, however, I am also nutting out some potential extra features such as day bench/tool hire and an area where I can consult with clients. Having my own venue will also allow more flexibility to offer extra classes and specialty workshops with guest tutors in future.

  I've been welding up some new goodies for the gallery. Can you guess what these will be?

I've been welding up some new goodies for the gallery. Can you guess what these will be?

Class dates and the big launch party will be announced in the not too distant future, so stay tuned and make sure you subscribe to my mailing list so that you don’t miss out!

A Bespoke Necklace for a Very Special Lady

Choosing to be a contemporary jeweller is certainly the road less travelled as far as career paths go. The journey is long, thoroughly rewarding and cannot be travelled alone. I am extremely lucky to have a great group of family and friends who have helped me along the way and if there’s one person who’s always had faith in my ability to turn my passion into a self-sustaining career, it is my lovely Mother.

Given our close relationship and shared passion for jewellery, Mum is usually the lucky recipient of my new prototypes or any pieces that never quite makes it to market for one reason or another. Though she is always very grateful, on the odd occasion I also like to take the time to make her a specially designed bespoke piece, and late last year I did just that.

Poor Mum has spent many hours being dragged along for yet another beach collecting expedition and as a result has become quite the fan of my Plastic Soup jewellery. Over the years she has developed an eagle eye for microplastics and at times gets more exciting than I do when she finds ‘a good one.’ It seemed only fitting that her next piece was to be a Plastic Soup necklace.

When constructing my Plastic Soup or Interlace Adornment, I always begin with a pile of sticks which I cut, file level and sand. I then create the tiny little boxes which will contain a precious collection of microplastics.

  It all starts with a pile of silver sticks.

It all starts with a pile of silver sticks.

The box shapes are loosely based on the shapes of phytoplankton: the tiny organisms which sea creatures believe they are eating when in fact, they are ingesting microplastics. For mum’s piece, we decided on circular boxes and so I constructed a variety of sizes to suit the necklace.

To form the tiny windows of the boxes, I have sourced industry offcuts of thin acrylic which I use sparingly to minimise my contribution to the plastic problem. I hand cut the acrylic and then file it until it fits perfectly within the outer ring shape. I then create another, slightly smaller ring which sits within the large ring and forms a ledge for the acrylic to rest on to avoid crushing the tiny plastic fragments within.

  Each box is originally made from flat sheet silver which I bend into a ring to form the circular shapes. To be able to solder the inner and outer ring together, one has to fit perfectly within the other.

Each box is originally made from flat sheet silver which I bend into a ring to form the circular shapes. To be able to solder the inner and outer ring together, one has to fit perfectly within the other.

  The boxes fit just right and are ready to be soldered together.

The boxes fit just right and are ready to be soldered together.

Once all the components are ready, I bring them to the soldering bench. I first create a seaweed like structure to form the geometric foundation of the piece, then strategically position each box on the structure to give the illusion of the plastics being snagged within a seaweed tangle. As all of the Plastic Soup pieces are handmade and unique, they will sometimes come together perfectly and other times look a little unbalanced. At this point I will cut pieces off and reposition the components until I am satisfied with the composition.

  The beginnings of an interlacing seaweed structure (and some earrings on the side).

The beginnings of an interlacing seaweed structure (and some earrings on the side).

  Once the seaweed framework is constructed, I begin to play with a very sophisticated tacking substance (blutack) to experiment with the position of the boxes.

Once the seaweed framework is constructed, I begin to play with a very sophisticated tacking substance (blutack) to experiment with the position of the boxes.

Choosing where to hang the seaweed structure from can be a little tricky and it is always important to ensure that the piece hangs well when worn. Once I have decided on a suitable position, I attach the chain, check that all of my joins are well soldered and then construction is complete.

  Now that the boxes are soldered in place and the pendant is well balanced on the chain, the piece is ready for filing and sanding.

Now that the boxes are soldered in place and the pendant is well balanced on the chain, the piece is ready for filing and sanding.

From there the most time consuming part of the process begins: clean-up. I file off any excess solder and scratches to the surface of the metal then sand the piece to remove the file marks. Any surface scratches will distract from the overall effect of the whole piece so I really take my time, spending days to ensure that the finish is consistent. This can be rather fiddly given the intricacy of the interlacing structure and so I have developed a range of tiny sanding tools to access those hard to reach places.

Once I am completely satisfied with the finish, I blacken the necklace and begin to choose the precious but deadly plastic collection to sit within the boxes: In this case, turquoise, blues and greens.

  A freshly blackened seaweed structure ready for setting.

A freshly blackened seaweed structure ready for setting.

I then dust the piece and set the acrylic on the underside of the boxes. From there I carefully place the tiny collection of microplastics in their new home and close the lid. The protective tape is removed from the acrylic and the final piece is revealed.

 The finished necklace all ready to wear. Photograph courtesy of  Bianca Hoffrichter .

The finished necklace all ready to wear. Photograph courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

It was a little while in the making but Mum was thrilled when she received her bespoke Plastic Soup Necklace. The colours and length of the chain suited her perfectly and she ‘feels wonderful wearing the piece.’ It means so much to me to have her support and knowing how proud she feels when wearing my jewellery makes my day. Thanks Mum!

If you would like to commission a Plastic Soup piece of your very own, please contact me to make an appointment.

Merry Christmas and Thank You for a Great Year

Thank you all for making this such a great end to the year. With my crowd funding campaign done and dusted, I’ve spent the last two weeks madly working to finish everyone’s beautiful rewards as well as a few custom orders. I’m happy to report that everything is packed, posted or waiting to be collected.

  A sea of Microscope Pendants, Rings and Earrings all ready to be set just in time for Christmas.

A sea of Microscope Pendants, Rings and Earrings all ready to be set just in time for Christmas.

  Hundreds and Thousands of Hundreds and Thousands Earrings waiting to be packed.

Hundreds and Thousands of Hundreds and Thousands Earrings waiting to be packed.

  Round one of the biggest week of packaging ever. Many hours and 64 hand written greeting cards later, my campaign duties are done and dusted.

Round one of the biggest week of packaging ever. Many hours and 64 hand written greeting cards later, my campaign duties are done and dusted.

I am going to be taking a well-earned break over Christmas but will be back by mid January refreshed and ready to go. Keep an eye out for all the exciting new things I have planned for 2018 including the opening of my new teaching space, a big online shop revamp and the official launch of my Interlace precious range amongst other things.

Thank you for your support during 2017 and wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.

Thank You so Much for Making My Campaign a Success!

And that’s a wrap! After a whole lot of preparation and a huge month, my campaign to start up a community teaching space at Karma & Crow Studio Collective has the highly coveted green tick of success. This project has been years in the making and I want to thank you all so much for generously donating as well as getting the word out there. Without you, I could not have made this happen and I am absolutely thrilled and humbled by your support. By donating, sharing my story or supporting me along the way, you have helped me take steps to sustain myself as a maker and contribute to my community in a meaningful way. Thank you so, so much!

  Ok, so the green tick of approval is actually white, but it's still awesome!

Ok, so the green tick of approval is actually white, but it's still awesome!

The campaign has been such a wonderful opportunity to connect with long lost friends, family and students and I have even met some new fans. There are a number of people who helped me behind the scenes who I am so lucky to have in my life (you know who you are) and if I haven’t already thanked you enough, thank you some more!

  I can't wait to build on my growing collection of precision tools for my students to learn with. When making jewellery, good tools are absolutely crucial. Whoever said that a poor workman blames his (or her) tools obviously hasn't tried to mitre a perfect corner with a blunt file! 

I can't wait to build on my growing collection of precision tools for my students to learn with. When making jewellery, good tools are absolutely crucial. Whoever said that a poor workman blames his (or her) tools obviously hasn't tried to mitre a perfect corner with a blunt file! 

For the next week or so I will be busily chipping away at finishing, wrapping and posting everyone’s orders, then the project can begin. I am elated at the thought of sharing my passion for the hand made with our community. Stay tuned for progress updates and information about the big launch in February, 2018!

  Microscope Earrings just after soldering. These little guys will be ready for postage next week.

Microscope Earrings just after soldering. These little guys will be ready for postage next week.

Only Two Days Left to Donate. Don't Miss Out!

With only two days left to donate to my crowd funding campaign there isn’t much time to get your hands on some wonderful rewards just in time for Christmas. The campaign is still going strong with funding almost at the 75% mark so please keep those donations rolling in and spread the word. The campaign is all or nothing, meaning that I have to raise the full amount in order to receive any of the funds. With your help, I can make it to the 100% mark and set up a fantastic teaching space here at Karma & Crow Studio Collective

  Don't miss your chance to pick up a pair of these beautiful Fresh Water Pearl Microscope Studs and help me set up a wonderful new teaching space at Karma & Crow. Photograph Courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

Don't miss your chance to pick up a pair of these beautiful Fresh Water Pearl Microscope Studs and help me set up a wonderful new teaching space at Karma & Crow. Photograph Courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

Trouble Shooting

I have had word from quite a few pledgers that they are having trouble donating through the Pozible.com system, particularly when using Paypal. If you have already donated but have not received word from me personally thanking you for your generous donation (either through Pozible.com or Facebook) please contact me as soon as possible so that I can investigate. I don’t want anyone to miss out.

If you have already tried to donate but continue to get an error message, please don’t give up. Try using your credit card rather than Paypal and if you still having issues, please contact me directly. Your donations are absolutely crucial to getting this wonderful project up and running.

  There are also a few pairs of Microscope Earrings left through the  campaign site . Avaialble in Andamooka Opal or Fresh Water Pearls which float freely behind glass lenses, these stunners are quite the eye catchers. Photograph courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

There are also a few pairs of Microscope Earrings left through the campaign site. Avaialble in Andamooka Opal or Fresh Water Pearls which float freely behind glass lenses, these stunners are quite the eye catchers. Photograph courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

Thank you all so much for your donations, shares and support. Please continue to share the campaign with your friends, family or anyone who might be interested. Every little bit counts.

Only One Week to Go!

We are getting down to the pointy end of my crowd funding campaign. With only one week to go it’s so close that I can taste it! This week the campaign passed the 60% funded mark and sold out of large and small Microscope pendants which is absolutely amazing. Everyone has been so supportive and I am so grateful.

If you haven’t already donated, don’t miss your chance to treat yourself to some beautiful jewellery or sign up for my brand new jewellery classes. Your donation will go towards setting up a fantastic new teaching space and will help me to sustain myself by doing something that I am truly passionate about.

  I still have some beautiful jewellery available through the  campaign . Don't miss your chance to be rewarded for helping me to set up a beautiful new teaching space.

I still have some beautiful jewellery available through the campaign. Don't miss your chance to be rewarded for helping me to set up a beautiful new teaching space.

  Learn how to hand make your own jewellery by  signing up  for a class through my campaign page. Photograph courtesy of Perth Product Photography.

Learn how to hand make your own jewellery by signing up for a class through my campaign page. Photograph courtesy of Perth Product Photography.

If you can’t donate but would like to help get the word out about my campaign, please share the page with your friends and family. Just one share could really make the difference.

Woohoo! Metal Space @ Karma & Crow is over 50% Funded!

We’re just half way through my crowd funding campaign to start up a great new teaching space here at Karma & Crow Studio Collective and have just past the 50% funded mark which is fantastic news. I am absolutely overwhelmed by your support and so excited to get all of your beautiful rewards out to you. Please keep sharing the campaign with all of your friends, family to make sure that we keep the momentum up and get this fantastic space up and running.

Don’t forget that the campaign page is the place to go to sign up for exclusive pre-release entry to my new classes. I have four different class options available, a seven week ring making class, a one day earring class, a one day private party class (for you and five friends. Great for hens parties, significant Birthdays, team building or just because) and a one day private jewellery intensive.

  When you sign up to my seven week Ring Making class you will learn everything you need to know about rings in a relaxed, social environment. A great introduction to jewellery making, this evening class runs for three hours per week and will take you right from the basics to designing and hand making your very own resolved piece.

When you sign up to my seven week Ring Making class you will learn everything you need to know about rings in a relaxed, social environment. A great introduction to jewellery making, this evening class runs for three hours per week and will take you right from the basics to designing and hand making your very own resolved piece.

Classes are suitable for beginners to those with more experience and are a wonderful opportunity to work with your hands in a social, friendly and welcoming environment. Once you have signed up, your class entry code is valid for a whole year so you can choose the class dates which suit you best. I will be launching an enrolment page from my website early next year and will let you know as soon as it’s online.

  If you love my new Hundreds and Thousands range and would like to learn how to design and hand make your own earrings, sign up for my one day Earring Making class. Running for six hours on a weekend, this class is suitable for absolute beginners and everyone will leave with at least two pairs of finished earrings.

If you love my new Hundreds and Thousands range and would like to learn how to design and hand make your own earrings, sign up for my one day Earring Making class. Running for six hours on a weekend, this class is suitable for absolute beginners and everyone will leave with at least two pairs of finished earrings.

Sign up for a class and be one of the first to use our beautiful new teaching space at Karma & Crow. I can’t wait for you to become part of our creative community.

What a Great First Week of Crowdfunding!

Well that’s one week of my big campaign down and I have to say, I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the positive response I have had from everyone. The campaign is already 30% funded and I am just blown away by all of your support. Thank you so much to all the people who have generously donated so early in the piece and also to all those who have taken the time to share my story with your friends. You’ve really helped me to build momentum and I am so grateful.

I have had some great responses to my new Andamooka Opal Microscope range and even had my very first student sign up to one my classes which is so exciting. I can't wait to get the space up and running so that I can begin to share my passion for the handmade with our community.

  I have had a great response to my newly released Andamooka Opal Microscope range and even had my very first student sign up to one of my classes. Photograph courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

I have had a great response to my newly released Andamooka Opal Microscope range and even had my very first student sign up to one of my classes. Photograph courtesy of Bianca Hoffrichter.

For those who haven’t had a chance to take a look at the campaign page yet, I have some pretty darn tempting rewards available to say thank you for your generous donation. In addition to exclusive pre-release entry to my brand new jewellery classes, on offer are a range of lovely Silver Bar Studs, handmade by my dear friend and talented designer, Laurence Coffrant, as well as beautiful handmade Porcelain Paper Cups made by none other than my awesome Mum. To get your hands on these and many more great rewards as well as my eternal appreciation, all you have to do is press the big 'Help Claire' button below and donate to the campaign.

  My lovely friend Laurence is offering some of her dainty and elegant Silver Bar Studs to reward you for your generous donations. These little guys are great for everyday wear and would make an excellent Christmas present. Photograph courtesy of Laurence Coffrant.

My lovely friend Laurence is offering some of her dainty and elegant Silver Bar Studs to reward you for your generous donations. These little guys are great for everyday wear and would make an excellent Christmas present. Photograph courtesy of Laurence Coffrant.

  Treat yourself to a set of these beautiful Porcelain Paper Cups (right) which feel fantastic in your hand and are handmade in Freo, Western Australia, by none other than my super talented mother. Photograph courtesy of Dale Frances, (AKA Mum)

Treat yourself to a set of these beautiful Porcelain Paper Cups (right) which feel fantastic in your hand and are handmade in Freo, Western Australia, by none other than my super talented mother. Photograph courtesy of Dale Frances, (AKA Mum)

Already Donated? Can't afford it right now but still want to help? Please share the campaign with your friends to get the word out there. Cheers everyone!

And We Have Lift Off!

After months of burning the midnight oil, my campaign is ready and only moments ago, I pressed that big blue button to start raising funds for my awesome new jewellery teaching space here at Karma & Crow. The campaign runs until early December and if you have missed my last few posts, I have designed some great new jewellery to say a very big thank you for your generous donations.

As part of the big push to get my campaign off to a flying start, I have been working with a very talented videographer, Amanda Davis from Wild Light Projects to create a beautiful introductory video about what I am trying to achieve.

The 'Help Claire' button below will send you straight through to the campaign. Please donate whatever you can to help me set up a great space and if you can’t donate, I would love you to share what I am doing with your friends. Your support means so much to me and will help me make our beautiful space here at Karma & Crow even more vibrant.

I'm so happy with my campaign video produced by Amanda from Wild Light Projects.