Ditch the kids and bond through beading at Chicago boutique

I am a sucker for jewelry. Not necessarily the diamond and sapphire kind (although I’ll take that, too!), but the type of chunky statement jewelry you can find at a boutique, art show … or the clearance rack at Target.

So when I heard about an opportunity to design my own jewelry, I was on board for a girls’ night out. “Wine& Design Jewelry” is offered monthly, usually on Friday or Saturday nights, at One Strange Bird in Wicker Park. The friendly and helpful instructor walked our class of nine women step-by-step through two basic techniques for designing our own earrings and necklaces. Then he set us free to create.

My sister and I both took to the simpler of the two methods, the foundational Simple Loop. Although I wasn’t as smooth or practiced as our talented instructor, the built-in practice time helped me perfect a reasonable imitation. It can be easy to get frustrated, but don’t be afraid to ask questions or get tips from the instructor or other students.

The tools are provided, as is a wide variety of beads, chains, clasps and other accoutrements, so you can let your imagination run wild.

I’m not the craftiest of people, aside from a few forays into scrapbooking and crocheting, so it helped that the cozy studio has displays of jewelry that can give you inspiration (in other words, I’m a copycat). But in the end, I came away with a pair of earrings and a necklace that look like they could be store-bought—as long as you don’t look too close at the detailing.

The classes are designed for relaxation and fun, so participants are welcome to bring along a bottle of wine, beer, or whatever beverage suits their fancy. Bottle openers are provided, as is charming Ball jar glassware, which only adds to the girls-night-out feel.

Our class was made up of pairs and trios, although it might be even more fun to get a big group of friends together for an outing or a special event like a shower or bachelorette party. Overall, it was a great opportunity to unwind, chat, and get a little creative with a friend.

Wine& Design Jewelry

  • One Strange Bird, 2124 W. Division St., Chicago
  • (773) 276-4420
  • onestrangebird.com
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