Jewelry Making: Interview with Sherri Haab

Dana Hinders
Author and jewelry designer Sherri Haab

Unlike most women, jewelry designer Sherri Haab never struggles to find the perfect accessories for her outfit. Haab's playful yet elegant bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, and pins can turn even the simplest of clothes into a stylish fashion statement.

Haab is the author of several books on jewelry making, including the Designer Style Jewelry: Techniques and Projects for Elegant Designs from Classic to Retro. An easy-to-use guide to basic jewelry making, Designer Style Jewelry was named the best general craft book for 2006 by Craftrends Award of Excellence.

When she's not busy writing or creating new jewelry designs, Haab also teaches craft and jewelry making classes in the Utah area. She has been working with metal clay since it was first introduced in the United States and is a certified metal clay instructor.

Interview with Jewelry Making Expert Sherri Haab

Recently, Sherri Haab took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the readers of LoveToKnow Crafts.

How did you first become interested in making jewelry?

I have been interested in jewelry making for as long as I can remember. I remember the first "jewelry" projects I made when I was about five years old. They were macaroni necklaces (dyed with food coloring and strung on yarn), Play-Doh pendants, and Shrink Plastic charms (liver lids from the butcher-we called it liver lid jewelry). When I was in high school I used to dream up jewelry designs, but never knew a jewelry designer was a real job.

How would you describe your personal style?

This is a little bit difficult to answer because it's hard to look at my own work objectively. The best way I can describe my work is that it leans towards the jewelry equivalent of what the ingénue style is to fashion--a young, feminine style. I love hearts, flowers, and shapes derived from nature. Color is important to me and the pieces I make are heavily influenced by favorite children's book illustrations.

What are your favorite jewelry making techniques?

I enjoy anything having to do with sculpting small objects in clay, repetitive designs such as crochet or bead work, and making cold connections such as riveting.

In your books, you've shown readers how to create a wide variety of necklaces, earrings, pins, and bracelets. How do you come up with the ideas for your projects?

I spent a lot of time researching fashion trends, reading trade magazines, going to conferences and art shows, and keeping up with craft methods and new materials. I also draw from the past to see what old techniques can be updated with new materials to create fresh designs. For example, the shrink art jewelry I make now is revived from the techniques I learned long ago making liver lid jewelry.

Many crafters who are interested in learning how to make jewelry discover they are overwhelmed by the amount of tools and supplies available. What items are essential for the beginning jewelry maker?

It really depends on that media you are using. As far as general tools go, for most projects I usually need good set of pliers (round nose, needle nose or chain nose and cutters); a needle tool or awl; small pointed scissors; and epoxy resin glue.

What is your best money-saving tip for buying jewelry making supplies?

Cheaper doesn't necessarily save you money in the end. When you end up buying an inferior tool or try to substitute an item to save money, it seems like you always have to end up replacing it later on. Educate yourself before buying tools and supplies. Get opinions from experts, then only buy what you need.

Do you have any tricks that you use to keep your supplies organized?

I recommend using lots of plastic divider bins--the fishing tackle type of organizers you can get from the sporting goods shops. I have to confess, I am not very organized most of the time and it drives me crazy. In the middle of a project deadline, my studio looks like a craft store exploded!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of LoveToKnow Crafts?

This year I have been concentrating on creating jewelry making kits and offering supplies on my website. My goal is to provide readers a source where they can buy the hard-to-find supplies they need to make the projects in my books. I welcome suggestions from crafters so that I will know what they are interested in. I also have a couple of DVDs coming soon, along with several new lines of craft items.

A Selection of Sherri Haab's Jewelry Designs

Bracelet made with candy, resin, fabric, and paper
Beaded necklaces with resin clay flower pendants
Rings designed by Sherri Haab
A polymer star bracelet
Necklace with metal clay pendant
Necklace with metal clay hearts
Resin ring
Shrink art earrings made with a photo of Sherri's grandmother
Bottlecap jewelry

You can see more of Sherri Haab's jewelry designs on her website.

Jewelry Making: Interview with Sherri Haab