I am largely divided in two by jewellery. Growing up, watching my mum clean her wedding, engagement and “other” rings, I would often ponder the practicality of it (rather than the suggestion of ownership, feminisms came much later). The idea of wearing the most expensive thing you own on an extremity I frequently trap in things seems like a recipe for disaster to me. The only ring I wear on the regular is a hardy metal thing with a pale pink stone in the middle that I’m 99% sure came from QVC which I was gifted second-hand in someone’s house clear out. This I have left in bathrooms around the country, lost in pockets and in bags, but have managed to retrieve it always, and its hardiness has meant it has lasted a good six years or so, thus far. Expensive gold laden with jewels or whatever has never been my thing.
Costume jewellery though- oh! Bright colours in fantastic plastics and recycled fabrics, give me them all. My grandma’s old necklaces, beads from where I was staying in Uganda, and big dangly earrings that swoosh about were a big part of my twee style in Liverpool.
Right now, I’m especially a fan of laser cut plastic jewellery, which brings me to Black Heart Creatives. The business of genuinely hilarious Twitter person and real life human Charlotte has been going strong for two years, and after seeing the custom pieces she has made various pals, I knew she had to make me one. Thus was born my magical tuna necklace that I wear for all work related functions to identify me as “that weird fish girl who wears everything sea themed”.
So after the tuna, my love for all things BHC was solidified and having narrowly missed out on the Xmas workshop, I was lucky enough to snag a space on the Valentine’s themed London workshop. Huddled outside Barsmith like kids on a school trip gathered various people-who-exist-on-Twitter while someone looked for a key, after which we piled in and were kindly presented with free cocktails (or rather mocktail for myself) by the staff for a late start – absolute sweeties they were!
Charlotte had made up little packs for us filled with chains and hearts and arrows and earring bits (apologies for lack of technical description). She’d provided enough for us to make a set of earrings and at least one necklace – I managed to stretch mine into two – costing which is very reasonable for a couple of hours doing something you might never have done. I made a cool pair of dangly earrings that extend just below my hair – one arrow and one heart. I especially loved one person’s single earring where they had combined both heart and arrow, as they had a plug in the other ear.
It was really fun learning to think about how to construct a necklace and how you can change the way it sits on your body. I wanted to have all my sparklies on one necklace and all my cute pastel hearts on another with a tangly arrow. Unfortunately my shoddy workmanship on the dangly arrow necklace means I’m going to reconstruct it at another time, so until then here’s a picture of me wearing the sparkly necklace and sneakily taking a selfie at my desk.
One of my favourite bits about the workshop was just looking around at what everyone else had come up with. I was lucky to be in a room which a bunch of cool people who all had great ideas about how to make the jewellery in a way that reflected their own style and personal brand.
Charlotte is not just good fun, but a very good teacher and exceptionally patient – especially when it turns out I’d not actually been using the cutty bit of the pliers, but the squishy bit, so no wonder my chain wasn’t cutting up. She will give you lots of great advice and also weirdly can guess the size of chain you need based on looking at your neck.
Overall, I highly recommend Black Heart Creatives workshops as a fun opportunity to hang out with lots of people you follow on Twitter, learn some new skills and be creative!
If having read this you think you might to go along to one, you are in luck my friend – BHC just announced a sea themed workshop on April 11th in London and 9th April in Bristol. You get to make a mini version of this which I have been ogling forever. So pop along, book your ticket, say hello to me @littlehux and I look forward to being inept at cutting chain next to you.