KEISHIA RENAE PITTMAN-THE GIFT ARTISAN
On a Saturday in September 2007, my god mother introduced me to beading 101. She showed me how to pick out beads and layout a design on a bead board for a necklace. Then, I was taught how to measure the beading wire, to string the beads and to use crimp beads and findings to finish the necklace. Finally, she showed me how to make earrings to match the necklace. Afterwards, I realized I liked making jewelry, so I bought a few books that taught me the basics and had projects to hone these skills.
Next, my god mother introduced me to polymer clay to make my own beads. I was taught how to prep the clay, to mix it to make different colors and designs, to make different shapes, to bake it and to polish each bead once they were cooled. Also, she showed me how to store the unused clay until I needed it.
For four years I continued honing my skills by working with color coated copper wiring. I would make make connectors and findings and do wire wrapping with beads. I would use wire to make earrings with odd designs like a leaf, a treble clef and a fish. I began making jewelry for friends and family as a gift. Meanwhile, my god mother was still showing me techniques like bead weaving with seed beads. Then, I started to get bored with beading and wiring wrapping. I felt limited at what I could design.
In October 2011, I started taking a 10 week Silver Fabrication course one day a week at Amalgam Arts Atlanta with Wendy Tonsit. This class would teach me how to work with various types of metal and to solder. For the first few classes, I was taught how to size a ring, shape it, solder it, prep it for polishing, hammer textures on it and do a final polish. Then, I was taught how to design a piece of jewelry on paper before actually working with the metal. This drawing would be my guide as I am working with the metal. I was learning how to bring the images of my mind to fruition. Finally, I learned how to make my own bezel settings for various shaped stones and to properly set them with a rocker.
In the summer of 2013, I began helping Wendy with her Make A Ring workshop once or twice a month on a Saturday. I wanted to learn how to teach others to work with metals, so I would help the workshop attendees shape the ring and assist them in each step after Wendy explained it. In May 2014, I stopped taking classes. Once I stopped taking classes, I was still helping Wendy with her Make A Ring workshop. Over a year later, I am still helping with the workshop to make an adjustable ring. I am building my at home business The Gifted Artisan, which I started in August 2013, to design and to sell custom made jewelry.