Shiny sterling silver collides lightly against glass and crystal beads.
Over a dozen young girls work efficiently as they learn how to make lively pieces of jewellery with limited materials. Such was the scene, taking place in late July at the Don Mills Library.
The girls, ranging from ages 11–18 grasp hard at their pliers as they connect charms into bracelets and beads onto bookmark spines. Anna Kwang, a librarian from Northern District Public Library, gradually takes them through a how-to process.
“I’ve been doing this basic beginner’s workshop at Toronto Public Libraries for the past year and a half,” says Kwang, who picked up jewellery making as a hobby in her teenage years. “I’m introducing basic techniques on simple jewellery making using pliars, some metals, beads and semi-precious stones.”
Kwang’s workshop includes three projects: the beaded bookmark, a charm bracelet and a matching set of earrings, which the girls are able to take home along with a new understanding of arts and crafts.
While these youths haven’t taken any jewellery making courses, they all agree that it was their love of trinkets that drew them to the class.
“I think it’s pretty cool because I like to wear bracelets,” says 15-year-old Chandni Suresh as she tacks on another charm to her wristlet. “I also wanted to learn how to make stuff for friends and family.”
Others, while enjoying the experience, faced difficulties along the way.
“It’s fun, but really challenging,” says 11-year-old Shivani Suresh as she struggles to connect the charms onto her bracelet. “I can’t really bend the wire over with the pliers.”
Kwang comes by to help and together, the two of them manage to place all the charms.
The workshop is one of several learning activities that Toronto Public Libraries will be housing throughout the summer.
Ashley Sealy, youth services librarian at Don Mills Library, says that their summer workshops always attract an interesting crowd of youths.
“It’s wonderful because we’re never sure who’s going to come in for what,” Sealy says. “We had a purse-making workshop a few years ago, which boys and girls attended. We also put together an African drums class, thinking it would only bring in boys. But instead, we got all girls coming in and banging away on the drums.”
Despite the wide spectrum of seminars, Sealy says that there’s a common link between all of them.
“We just hope everyone learns something and has a lot of fun,” she says.
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