November 18, 2008

Interview with Leslie Johnston

Every year Leslie bids on my surprise Halloween auction and this year she got it for a song. (yeah Leslie) I wanted to know more about this die hard beadaholique and am I ever glad I did. I decided she needed to be interviewed. She has been in the press a great deal in her area and I wanted to support her in keeping that momentum going. Her work was featured in the
client's blog last week.

I am Leslie Johnston, I live in Wisconsin. I started beading and making jewelry 4 years ago. I like to create and design. Some of my designs are one of a kind. I make jewelry out of semi precious, crystals, glass, and metals.

I am disabled, so I have help with making my jewelry. My mom, Ann, strings and sews the beads for me. I pick out the colors, shapes, and textures,then put together the design. I have taken along with my mom, many classes to learn different ways of beading jewelry. I also buy books to learn more.

I have only done couple of craft fairs so far. I don't like to try to sell my jewelry on line. I pretty much sell it by word of mouth, or someone will commission me to make them something. It also sells from when I make a piece, then put a picture of it in an e-mail and send it out to family and friends.

I go to bead shows and buy beads. I have been to the largest bead show in the United States, which is here in Wisconsin.

Beading is a hobby that I enjoy very much!

How did you get started in making jewelry?

It started out when I saw a sign in a store that said, Jewelry making class. I said to my mom, lets take that class, we figured out how I was going to try to make jewelry. You see my hands shake so I can't hold, or string, or sew. So my mom does this for me. After that first class I was addicted! I wanted to learn more and make more!

What advice do you have for other designers and jewelry makers?

My advice to other people who like to make jewelry is, Have fun! Make what you want. If it doesn't look good at first, change it. You can only get better with practice, and experience. I am still learning. It will always be a learning process.

Where would you like to see yourself doing in relation to jewelry in 5 or 10 years.

I don't think that far in advance! I live and do things day by day, only because I don't know what my health will be like.

Where can we find your work or more about you?

This one will only be on till the end of November,

I don't have a web site.

The only other place I have had jewelry is on a website for a telethon.
This was a telethon that raised money for research for disease I have. I donated two pieces of jewelry that I made.

Your jewelry is beautiful and your spirit is an inspiration to me and I am sure many others.

Jewelry Making Tutorials by Robyn Hawk

I was asked for some tutorials, by a couple ladies in my Jewelry Making Class and thought I would share the info....

First - if you want to learn it there is probably a tutorial online for it - Google is your friend!

Two places I look to for metalsmithing info are Ganoksin ( and YouTube (! Simply put the technique or term you are looking for in the search window.

Here is a small sample of interesting tutorials:

Making Strong Secure Jumprings from How-To-Make-Jewelry

Making HeadpinsFree Headpin Tutorial from Etsy

Jewelry 101 - Making Headpins from Michon Jewelry Blog

Making Headpins: Video demo from Beading Daily

Patinas - Using Liver of Sulphur from Holly Gage

Patination from Ganoksin

Fold Forming from Ganoksin

Lost Wax Casting from Expert Village

Cuttlefish Casting from Ganoksin


Viking Knit Chain Making from YouTube

Wax Working from Ganoksin

Beginners Corner from Ganoksin

From Beginning to Very Complex - Tutorials by Hans Meevis

Bench Jewelers Television Network (some free but for full use join for a minimal monthly fee)

MetalSmithing from Art Jewelry Magazine

MetalSmithing from Jewelry Artist Magazine

Robyn is a writer with numerous blogs. This blog post can also be found at her blog