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5 Questions with Dianne "Dizzy Di" Cracknell

Ice
ICE
Key to the city of London 2
Key to the City of London
Dizzy Di (Dianne Cracknell), of London, UK, brought out some serious crystals in this stunner, ICE. It was one of the winner of BLING IT UP!, our Design Challenge theme for July 2017.

Made from Swarovski bicone crystals, mainly 4mm with size 11 seed beads as stopper beads, she also peyote-stitched some larger Swarovski bezels, then decorated with various sized Swarovski bicone crystals. The technique that Di used most was bead embroidery stack stitch.

Di has been jewelry making for the past 37 years, and as a full-time jewelry tutor and kit designer for 9 years.  She teaches at Hornchurch Tescos Supermarket every Friday evening for two hours and makes a different piece of jewelry each week.  Her students love learning a new skill, and then do their weekly shopping. "I love watching a student that has never made anything come away with a piece of jewelry they have created for the first time.  I specialize in kits that are suitable for all levels of jewelry making," Dizzy Di explains.

Di also occasionally appears on the Hochanda home shopping TV channel, where she sells her beading kits. At the moment, she is working on Christmas snowflakes for her September TV kits. 

On a personal note, Di is married to Pete, who she "drags around to many bead places in the UK and USA." She also answers to the name of "Nan" to 14 fabulous grandchildren.
 
spring Thames 3
Spring Thames
HOW DID YOU LEARN JEWELRY-MAKING?

I learned jewelry-making at the start from books from the library, which was very limited. This was before the days of the internet. Over the years, I have done some amazing classes both here in the UK and in the USA. 

My favorite class was with Jen Cushman from the Ice Resin team at CHA (the Craft & Hobby Association's annual conference), where I was one of her class assistants in 2015. I was in another class for Ice Resin and got introduced to Jen. Next thing I know, I am a classroom assistant in Jen's next class. Jen covered so many techniques in that class that I ended up hooked on resin, and became part of the Ice Resin 2016 Design Team. 

Learning new skills and techniques is something that I love. I went back to university in my 40s to study 3D design. This covered furniture, print, ceramics, glass and silversmithing in the first year. 

In 2012, I flew to Texas from London just to do classes, and visit Bead Fest, to learn new skills.  I learned more about how larger classes were taught in the USA. I went not liking seed beads, but came back in love with them!  Just by watching how the class was set out, how the tutors reacted and taught their students was a great inspiration on how I run my classes today.
  
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU EVER GOT FROM A TEACHER OR A MENTOR?

That you are never too old to learn! Practice, practice and practice! Skills take time to learn.
Fall 2
Fall

WHAT’S THE GOOFIEST/MOST EMBARRASSING MISTAKE THAT YOU EVER MADE? 

Turning up on live TV to demonstrate wire work with no tool kit.  I had prepped for hours! Then, I forgot to pick the tool kit up for the demos from the prep area.


WHAT STYLE OF JEWELRY DO YOU MAKE? HAVE YOU EVER WORKED IN DIFFERENT STYLES/MEDIUMS?

Styles and mediums with me is a hard one. My passion at the moment is bead embroidery, and designing kits and projects that beginners can follow. I have spent the past 18 months on this. My favorite beads are Czech beads, I was very lucky a few years ago I visited the Czech Republic to see how their glass beads and buttons were made.

I love wirework, manipulating a piece of wire into a pendant or bracelet is so satisfying. I lampwork as a hobby now; however, I did teach when I had my public studio. In 2010, I was runner-up in the advanced group of the UK's Flame Off (a lampworking competition). Making that special bead for a design that just makes my own noncommercial work pop.

Resin! Once I had learned how to mix resin properly, I was hooked, and I still am making resin pendants to use within my work. Then, it was "what can I mold? Can I paint it?" I put glitter, micas and anything else I can get my hands on into my resin, from papers to antiques.  I love to put a necklace together using many different mediums.

WHERE CAN PEOPLE SEE MORE OF YOUR WORK?

My Facebook page and website are a good place to start. Also, I am scheduled to appear on Hochanda TV several times this fall: at  8 a.m. 9/12/2017, 10/17/2017, 11/28/2017 and at 10 a.m. 12/30/2017. And don't forget about my jewellery-making classes in London at Tesco’s Supermarket Hornchurch. We meet in the community room every Friday evening from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m., and every Friday morning at the Upminster Essex Library from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

FIND MORE: embroidery , necklaces

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