My Jewelry Girl Story
How I got to be such an awesome jewelry teacher. And so filled with humility too.
As if you didn't already know, I'm Christine Gierer and this is my website.
Here's my story :
I've always loved spending time alone with my thoughts, experimenting with different materials, and just "playing" really. I spent hours as a child stringing macaroni necklaces, gluing things together, wrapping strips of cloth onto my Barbie dolls, and and making things out of bits of paper. As I grew up, I started dabbling in paints, beads, and wire, playing with yarn and stitching fabric. Then, as an adult, I went to work in an office all day, and looked forward to coming home to unwind with my projects.
Now, as a stay-at-home mom of two small children, I spend much of my time focused on making snacks, organizing play dates, and wiping runny noses. As much as I love my kids, I look forward to having some alone time in my studio where I can play with my beads and make all sorts of beautiful things.
People often ask me how I got started as a jewelry designer-maker type lady..
Well, I was four years old, and I arrived for my first day at preschool in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I was sheltered and unaccustomed to playing with others my own age so it didn't even occur to me to join in with the other children who were playing mommy and daddy, firefighters, or dressup.
Instead I went to a wooden box filled with colorful shoelaces and shiny plastic beads.
According to my anxiously overprotective mum, God love her, I sat and strung beads my entire first day at my new preschool and spoke to no one.
I didn't really get into jewelry making until years and years later, after trying just about every "gentle art" as my husband calls them - meaning sewing, crochet, needlepoint, quilting, and painting, as well as some of the not so gentle arts like painting, furniture refinishing, woodworking, and stained glass dabbling.
Now that I'm all "growed-up", I find jewelry making a really fascinating past-time --one that holds infinite possibilities, is relaxing and meditative, and puts me in an almost Zen-like state.
The more I experiment, learn, and decompress, the more I want to experiment, learn, and decompress! And if you haven't even started yet, I'm sure as soon as you begin, you'll start to be just voracious about learning more too.
I've always had a compulsive nature. I tend to have a million projects on the go at the same time. Only a small portion of them ever get completed.
After years of accumulating large, half-finished paintings, sewing projects, and half knitted sweaters, I decided (or maybe my husband decided for me?) I needed to work smaller. Making jewellery was a natural choice, and once I got started, I became obsessed with beads, wire, and playing with all sorts of tiny materials ever since.
Unfortunately for my husband, beads, wire, metal sheet, and a large tool collection took over a whole room of our house, but I've been fascinated with jewellery making ever since. I never get bored because there are an endless number of techniques, materials, colours, styles, and embellishments to experiment with!
I've been making jewellery for gifts, and selling bits and pieces here and there through shows and word of mouth since about 1999.
I haven't had any real training to speak of. I learned everything I know from books, web research, magazines, and experimentation. When it comes to jewelry making, a desire to learn, confidence that you CAN learn, and an openness to trying new things is all you really need.
Other than my family and obsessively crafting, I publish this website , and have a number of other, related projects on the go.
For those of you that are interested in such things, I am also somewhat educated, and I have held down regular career-type corporate and non-profit type jobs. Although I excelled in school though (or maybe because I did?) I tend to value life experience so much more.
I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and I went to school at the University of Ottawa where I received a BA in Visual Arts and Sociology.
I later returned to school, and earned my Human Services Counsellor Diploma from George Brown College in Toronto.
I've worked in retail, in a corporate head office, in a grass roots mental health community agency, in group homes, and at home. I've been a receptionist, salesperson, purchasing manager, mental health counsellor, developmental counsellor, life skills trainer, artisan/craftsperson, and now, I am living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I am a work-at-home-mom/businessperson/jewellery designer/web publisher. I imagine this one will be my occupation for quite a while longer :)
Thanks for reading my story. I am so thrilled to share this wonderful creative outlet with you.
I invite you to poke around and check everything out. As you try out the projects, and experiment with materials, you'll be amazed at what you can make.
This is a reader driven site. You are who I am really writing for - so....
Don't be shy - Questions? Comments? Tutorial or instruction requests? Click here to go to my contact page