Sue West

suewest

In 2004 I retired from Civil Service.  I wanted to find something to do with all that free time that had previously been spent working. Jewelry making seemed to be the answer.  I took an online course, joined the Harrison County Gem and Mineral Society in Gulfport, worked from books and discovered William Holland (a lapidary School in northern Georgia.) Since my first school class, I have gone back to William Holland each year. I have taken several wire wrap classes, a couple of fused glass classes, a lamp work bead class and a silver class.  Some of what I do is self taught and the training that I have received at school has served to polish my skills.  My works are on display at Gallery 782 in Biloxi and are available there for purchase. In 2013, I was honored to be accepted as a member by the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild.  My works are on display at the Guild in Jackson and are available for purchase there also.

My first love is wire wrap using sterling silver, gold filled and /or copper wire.  I make pieces with just wire or I can do a pronged wrap on a rock slice, wrap a piece of druzy, or wrap a piece of fused glass that I fired in one of my two kilns.   Wire wrapping is the solder less method of making jewelry.  It is an old art, as old as the pyramids of Egypt-5000 years and has survived the ages.   Artisans today use it in almost the same unique manner that was used during the time of the Pharaohs.
I make jump rings as well and use them to create chain maille necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  The chain is beautiful worn alone or can be adorned with a pendant.  One design that is particularly unique is to use sea glass with the chain maille to create a necklace, bracelet and earrings.

Fused glass is the most fun and possibly the most frustrating.  You don’t know what you are going to get until it comes out of the kiln.  Sometimes it is breath-taking and sometimes it goes into the scrap heap.

Several years ago, I started teaching classes.  I teach at the Gem and Mineral society and at Gallery 782.  I really enjoy helping others who want to learn.  Teaching is my way of giving back to something that has meant so much to me.