Glass Elements

Recently, I took a break from the glass studio and took a wood jewelry class with Julia Harrison at Pratt Fine Arts Center. Julia carves and crafts intricate wood jewelry. I've been a fan of her work since we met at Pratt several years ago.  Her "Jewelry that Grows on Trees" class had been on my short list for quite a while, and I was happy to see this class offered on one of my open weekends.

I love trying out new techniques!  It gives me a chance to step away from my normal activities and stretch my artistic style. It is also humbling to pick up a new material and realize that, although the scale is the same, the tools and tricks I use everyday don't apply. Taking a class like this is the perfect way to clear my mind (and my hands) of preconceived notions and start from scratch. Come along with me as I learn a few new things... 

First up was becoming better friends with a hand saw and creating shapes that would hopefully match when I was done...

Cutting out wood jewelry shapes

A little extra practice and the help of a file helped create a few matching pairs of wood components...

Refining wood jewelry shapes

This took much longer than I anticipated and I must admit that I was dreaming of a mini power sander long before the components were complete!  I'm a huge fan of power tools...

The Joys of Wood Veneer

The most interesting project for me was learning how to work with wood veneer. Before this class, I never thought to work with it.


Gluing multiple sheets and then slowly manipulating the bendy, but brittle, pieces over a bracelet mandrel took patience.


We allowed the glue to set for 24 hrs, creating a surprisingly strong piece that could be carved up to create a clean design.


A nice long time with a file to create a clean finish... and playing with a wood burning tool resulted in my favorite piece from the class:

veneer wood jewelry bangle

To Be Continued...

Taking this class was a fabulous way to get a taste of a new medium. Just from this short course and my love of wood in general, I know I'll be working with it again soon. 

Interested in seeing a few more photos from the class? Follow me on Instagram! What about you? What have you learned recently?

Written by Marja Huhta —


Lindsay Hartwell:

That sounds like a really fun class. I’m on the other side of the sound from Pratt. I am starting a jewelry business and want to work with wood and metal. This seems like a good place to start.

January 26, 2015

Marja Huhta:

It is definitely a great place to start, Lindsay! In addition to what I mentioned here, Julia demonstrated a myriad of other techniques. You will learn so much!

January 26, 2015

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