How We Made It: Jewelry Basics & Sun Transfers

Loom has been full of new projects lately! We have been lucky to have had Tania Rodamilans join us for some recent workshops. She is a jewelry designer and artist originally from Barcelona, Spain now living in Chicago. Her products are sold online on Etsy as well as in multiple stores in the Chicago area and in Michigan and Wisconsin. She shared her passion with the women of Loom, working with them on several projects and teaching them new skills. Her love for creativity was clear from the excitement she showed when teaching the artisans and from how she spoke about the potential for endless other projects. 

Tania with Batool. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Tania with BatoolPhoto courtesy of Mike Handler.

One very detailed and useful process the artisans learned was the basics of jewelry assembly. Each artisan used a set of different types of pliers brought by Tania. She showed them the best way to hold the tools and taught them the proper way to cut, bend, and wrap wire in order to assemble the different pieces of bracelets and necklaces, from beads, to chains, to clasps. While trying out making different pieces with different chains and stones, many of the same basic skills were used. 

Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Hlaiwah learning to use the pliers. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler. 

Hlaiwah learning to use the pliers. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler. 

Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Tania giving a demonstration. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Tania giving a demonstration. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Some of the finished products. 

Some of the finished products. 

While it’s tough to learn such intricate new skills, the women laughed through the frustrating parts and rejoiced in their successes. They improved the more they practiced and ended up with some beautiful pieces.

Saleemah smiling as she works. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler. 

Saleemah smiling as she works. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler. 

Batool taking pride in her accomplishment. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Batool taking pride in her accomplishment. Photo courtesy of Mike Handler.

Another new process the artisans got to try their hands at was making sun transfer prints on canvas. Using SolarFast dye, the artisans painted a base coat on the fabric. Then Tania helped them select objects to place on top that would create the print. They tried out different leaves and branches from outside as well as a few random plastic objects found inside. 

Arranging leaves to create interesting patterns. 

Arranging leaves to create interesting patterns. 

Boj Josi, Chandra Magar, and Mon Maya from Bhutan work on their projects.

Boj Josi, Chandra Magar, and Mon Maya from Bhutan work on their projects.

The artisans got creative as they arranged their items on the painted fabric. Then it was time to wait—the projects needed to be exposed to sunlight to take effect. Tania and the artisans took this time to enjoy some cake and a bit of singing and dancing. After exposure, when the objects were removed from the painted surface, their spaces appeared lighter and created images. 

The projects soaking up the sun.

The projects soaking up the sun.

The final effect of the solar dye.

The final effect of the solar dye.

Thanks to Tania, the Loom artisans got to learn some new fundamental skills and experiment creatively!