When someone asks you where you got your necklace, you can either name your favorite accessories shop, or channel Heather Houser and say you made it yourself.
Houser is the creative mind (and hands) behind Special Handmade and Special Portland, two arms of her company, Special. Originally from Portland, Houser is steadily making a name for herself on the Santa Barbara art circuit with a recent pop-up shop and mobile location, a showcase of both her jewelry making skills and penchant for vintage details, like pre-loved chains, fabric, charms, lace and stones sourced from all over the world.
Instead of searching for the perfect summer accessory (and the perfect companion for our Leather Originals), make it yourself with this leather and stone necklace tutorial from Heather Houser. Photos by Steven Hoskins.
Meet the Maker: Heather Houser of Special Portland
How did you discover your passion for your art?
I began making jewelry in middle school with my mom; she was a jack of all crafty trades. Jewelry just clicked with me—I’ve been making it ever since.
Did you study your art or are you self-taught?
I took jewelry making classes in high school and took a class in Bali, but I’m mainly self-taught. Most of my pieces are one of a kind or made in small batches; it keeps things fresh and me on my toes.
What are you inspired by?
I love to travel and I’m always inspired by new places. I love vintage clothes and jewelry and using vintage components, too. I try to buy supplies whenever I travel. I’m always hunting for new sources; my designs are ever changing.
Does your work ever influence your personal style?
My personal style is eclectic and I like to switch things up. I play with colors, textures, brands and styles—I’m known for never wearing the same outfit twice and I will often make jewelry to match my daily style.
DIY Leather and Stone Necklace
Deerskin lace leather cord (you can also use vegan leather cord)
Large stone beads
Note: You can find all of the supplies you’ll need for this DIY at Michaels Arts and Crafts stores!
Measure out three-feet of leather cord and fold it in half. Make a U-shape at the fold of the cord, grab your metal hoop, and pull the free ends of the cord through the U over the hoop. Adjust until the leather is straight, pull tight, and tie a simple knot with the free ends to secure the leather to the hoop. Trim the free ends so they’re even.
Measure out four inches of wire and cut. Using round-nose pliers, wrap the end of the wire around one prong of the pliers to form a circle (make sure it’s big enough that it won’t slip through the hole on your bead).
Place the round-nose pliers onto the wire flush against the bead and fold the wire to the right at a 90-degree angle. Next, wrap the wire to the left all the way around the pliers to form another circle.
Slide the circle onto the metal hoop that’s attached to the leather cord. Now, wrap the wire around the base to secure the bead.
Trim off any extra wire and use your pliers to make the wire flush to avoid sharp edges. Put your necklace on and make a few more for your friends!
Find more DIY ideas on Pinterest!