I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published December 20th 2010
Upon entering the beautiful and breathtakingly colorful store, Beads of Paradise, you might think you need a passport. Cross the threshold and you'll be surrounded in exquisite textiles and silks, hand-woven baskets, bamboo lacquer, and beads from across the globe, including designs in glass, wood, ceramic, stone, and semi-precious and precious varieties. Besides being a retail store with a long history of serving New Yorkers, the owners are now offering two affordable jewelry design classes.
The beginners class, which is a crash course in findings (or finishing strung beads), describes the different methods of finishing necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Those who sign up for the two-hour class can expect to leave with a finished necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings, as well as the tools essential for doing further projects at home (pliers, cutters, and other tools), plus a box for organizing your beads and a 20 percent discount coupon for your next purchase. The second class, for more advanced crafters, teaches wire wrapping techniques like those used for making the ever popular wrist cuff. Both classes, which take place each Sunday, must be pre-paid by credit card through the Beads of Paradise website.