I’ve been looking forward to the month of March!  Five of my spring session writing classes start this month, and of course, I get to celebrate my birthday.  I can finally stop wearing my red fleece winter hat and put in my colorful beaded hand-made earrings.  I actually made several pairs of beaded earrings at earring workshops run by Joan Lloyd.

I contacted Joan to ask about her upcoming spring earring workshops. A long-time Yorktown resident, Joan started offering Bling’s the Thing earring craft workshops at local libraries ten years ago.  Joan had heard a radio segment about a woman who made jewelry to donate to local domestic violence shelters. Since Joan enjoyed making beaded earrings, she decided to offer earring making workshops at local libraries with this concept: for every pair of earrings participants make for themselves, they also make one pair of earrings to donate to a women’s shelter.

Joan is upbeat and super organized. She brings a fantastic selection of colorful wood, glass, acrylic and plastic beads in different sizes and shapes along with sliver-tone and gold-tone hooks and wires. Each participant is given the two tools needed (twirlers and squeezers) to put the earrings together. The bead selection changes constantly and Joan makes sure there is always something new in stock. Her instructions and assistance make first-timers and non-crafty people feel like jewelry designers!

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Joan’s Bling’s the Thing earring workshops at local libraries draw people of all ages –from teens who need community service credit to commuters who want a fun relaxing craft experience after work and seniors who enjoy a new daytime activity. Workshop participants feel good about doing something nice for someone else in the community. Joan likes to say, “For every pair they donate, it’s a smile for a woman in a shelter.”

Joan packs up and mails 900 pairs of earrings each month to women’s shelters in Westchester. At a vulnerable time in their lives, receiving a pair of earrings can make women arriving in a shelter feel that someone cares about them. Some earrings are also given to Dress for Success programs helping women learn how to prepare and dress for job interviews. “A little bling for ladies who need it,” says Joan.  

Bling’s the Thing has become Joan Lloyd’s mission over these last ten years and going strong. She even offers daytime, evening and weekend earring crafting workshops for birthday parties, baby showers and scout meetings.

An energetic woman of many interests, Joan was a volunteer EMT for 25 years in Yorktown and Mohegan, a middle school teacher in the Lakeland Schools and a designer and programmer of computer systems at IBM. In her free time, Joan knits and crochets, is the author of several fiction and nonfiction books, and serves as the Treasurer of the Friends of the Library at John C. Hart Library in Shrub Oak. “I keep re-defining myself,” laughs Joan.

I can personally attest to the feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie at Bling’s the Thing earring workshops. For me, it feels like a modern version of a quilting bee. People are sitting around long tables with their beads and crafting tools, happy and relaxed and sharing design ideas. Participants feel proud to wear their handiwork, gift something hand-made to family and friends and donate hand-made earrings for a good cause. 

In March, Joan will be offering her earring workshops at libraries in Somers, Mount Kisco and Shrub Oak. To find dates and locations for upcoming workshops please visit Bling’s the Thing on Facebook. 

Kim Kovach teaches fiction and creative nonfiction writing for adults, as well as creative writing classes for children and teens. www.kimkovachwrites.com