Artist’s jewelry-making classes begin March 7

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GLADE SPRING, Va. — A local jewelry maker will share her craft with the public when she conducts a first-ever series of workshops at the Town Square Center for the Arts next month.

Abingdon artist Jennifer Counts-Buckland will demonstrate fun and easy jewelry-making projects from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on March 7 at the arts center in the Glade Spring town square.

The jewelry-making workshops will focus on a different project each month. Dates for subsequent workshops will be announced following the first meeting.

Each beginner workshop will focus on a different project, and students will be able to create multiple pieces of jewelry to take home with them.

“This is a great opportunity to learn essential jewelry-making techniques to get started making some of your own jewelry,” said Counts-Buckland.

For the first workshop, the artist will teach class members how to create a variety of earring designs using jump rings, connectors and charms.

“There are several ways to use these three components to create a variety of earring designs. This workshop will help you become familiar with the tools and components while also helping you learn some simple design techniques,” she said.

“You can really get creative. You’ll be amazed at how many designs you can come up with.”

Class participants can use the artist’s templates or create their own designs.

Counts-Buckland became immersed in the arts and culture of the southern Appalachian region at an early age. She credits her inspiration from nature and her creative ingenuity to her Cherokee roots.

Her father enjoyed creating Native American crafts and passed along his passion to his daughter, who started making and selling hemp jewelry when she was in middle school.

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“If I needed jewelry for an outfit, I’d design it,” said the artist.

Counts-Buckland, who also paints in oil, acrylic inks and other media, started her own company in 2008, branding both her fine art and jewelry designs under the name Grass Roots Studio.

Her jewelry, which she calls “wearable art,” is composed of crystals and gemstones combined with metals, wood and found objects from nature.

Her newest technique is copper electroforming, a form of alchemy where she deposits copper onto materials, such as crystals, organic materials and objects.

“I often collect twigs, pine cones and leaves while hiking in the area and incorporate them into my jewelry-making,” she said.

Her workshop contains a gamut of tools and materials used by the artist, including sheets of copper, brass, aluminum and stainless steel, all of which she uses to make jewelry.

“I’m very particular about what I eat. I want to know where food comes from,” said Counts-Buckland. “I’m the same way about what I wear. I want to know what my materials are composed of. It’s important to know what you’re putting inside — and outside — your body.”

The artisan and her artist husband Kyle Buckland work out of their home studio. Both have been full-time artists since 2008, making a living selling their art through shops, galleries, exhibitions and festivals, as well as the Abingdon Farmers Market.

Her jewelry is juried into Heartwood, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway, and she is a member of Round the Mountain Artisan Network. Her work can be found in many galleries and shops around the Southern Appalachian region.

Each of her jewelry-making workshops at the Town Square Center for the Arts is $40 per person for ages 12 and older. All materials and supplies will be provided, and no prior experience is necessary.

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