Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Workshops offered in Illinois

This September 12-14 you have a rare opportunity to take a workshop series from me when I travel to the midwest. I'm speaking to the Bead Society of Greater Chicago on September 11, and following this up with a series of wire-art jewelry workshops. Since I rarely travel beyond the west coast to teach these days, I suggest taking advantage of this opportunity.
On Friday, Sept. 12, I am teaching my Funky Chandelier Earrings workshop in the morning. After lunch I'll teach my brand-new Big Heart Pin workshop.
On Saturday, I'll teach my fabulous Tribal Treasures Necklace workshop—this is a terrific, full-day introduction to making beautiful wire jewelry with an ethnic style. Of course, if you can't make it to this workshop you can learn all the bead wraps and links from my DVD, Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop. Just add a pretty chain to the back, and you have a necklace.
On Sunday, I wrap up the weekend with another full-day workshop: 10 Trippy Tricks II. In this class, you'll learn 10 different bead wraps and wire links plus everything you need to know about working with your tools, wire, and beads to make incredible jewelry.
This series is fun, creative, and challenging, but open to beginners. You do not have to be a member of the bead society to join us. Portia Mandel is hosting this event at her Gathering Place Studio in Naperville, Illinois. If you'd like to enroll for any or all of these workshops, please do so no later than August 10. We have limited spaces, so sign up now!
You can contact Portia via email:
Hope to see you in Naperville...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Wild Wire Women retreat comes to an end...

Mondays following a Wild Wire Women retreat are always difficult for me! I miss my new friends, the camaraderie we share for a brief time over the weekend, the time we spend in the workshop making beautiful jewelry, mealtimes—I miss it all. For me, Mondays mean doing laundry and remaking beds and putting away linens, cleaning the house, straightening up the workshop, and saying goodbye to fond memories of laughter and stories and jokes shared amongst new friends.
This past weekend I hosted five participants in my latest Idyllwild retreat, and all five ladies were outstanding house-guests and students. Two ladies flew in from Rockford, Illinois and three came from the Scottsdale, Arizona area. I enjoyed their stay and hope to see them again soon.
On Friday we jumped right in with my popular 10 Trippy Tricks 1 class, and on Saturday we pursued the mysteries of Faux Metals (see photo above). On Sunday we studied the Love Knot and my original Twining Vines technique, along with twisting wire to make jump rings (as featured on my new DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop), making ball-headed headpins with a kitchen torch, simple ear wires, and jewelry photography using the EZ Cube system.
Whew! What a weekend. Now that it's over, I'm quite tired but already missing my new friends. I look forward to hosting another Wild Wire Women retreat Sept. 4-8; if you're interested in signing up, please email me soon for details: I hope to meet YOU in a retreat soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fruits of Our Labors

After working hard all day on our jewelry components, here at last is a sampling of the fruits of our labors!
Mary, Sandi, Gayle, Debra, Rita, and I participated in the 10 Trippy Tricks 1 workshop today, learning the intricacies of 10 different bead wraps and wire links for jewelry making. We made S-clasps with and without wire-wrapped beads, worm beads, zigzag wraps, jump rings, easy links, simple S-links, caged beads, and much more. Afterward I set up my EZ-Cube photo studio and shot this image featuring some of our finished jewelry components.
The objective of this class is not to make a finished jewelry piece such as a necklace or bracelet, but to learn how to work with our tools (pliers, cutters, hammers), wire and beads in a classy and sophisticated way. We worked on flush-cutting wire properly, forging and texturing techniques with a variety of different hammers, measuring wire accurately, and handling our tools.
The result speaks for itself, I think: creative, durable, wearable jewelry components that are beautifully finished and ready to use in a future design.
Tomorrow morning we'll switch gears and use shrink plastic, high-quality metallic paints, and rubber stamps to make beautiful "Faux Metals" charms. After lunch we'll pull out our wire and tools again to make some new links and bead dangles for a Faux Metals necklace. Tune in tomorrow night to see a new post featuring some of our best efforts!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Wire Jewelry Retreat Begins!

Pictured from left are Mary, Debra, Sandi, Gayle, and Rita: participants in my current Wild Wire Women retreat held this weekend at my mountain home in Idyllwild, California.
Friends Sandi and Gayle arrived from Illinois on Tuesday and spent an extra two days here shopping in Idyllwild and meeting interesting artists in the local galleries. Mary, Debra and Rita joined us this afternoon after driving from the Phoenix, Arizona area.
We had fun tonight getting to know each other a little bit better during our dinner at Cafe Aroma. We then returned to my home and shared jokes and talked until we were too tired for more.
Tomorrow morning we'll begin the retreat with our first workshop: 10 Trippy Tricks 1. I'm looking forward to teaching fun wire-art jewelry techniques to these gals. They're a terrific group and good sports, too. I cannot even imagine how tired the Arizona gals must be from their long drive up here, but I'm sure glad they made it.
I'll keep you posted on developments.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Found-Object Jewelry

I can't believe how much time has gone by since my last post! What I'm learning about blogging is that, when you're really busy doing interesting things that would be fun to blog about, you're just too busy doing interesting things to have time to blog about it...
So here goes, trying to catch up:
The image posted is my "found-object" necklace made during Deb Jemmott's Found Object Jewelry workshop held last week at Idyllwild Arts. We used a lot of adhesive in this class, which surprised me, but I had fun assembling this little sculpture which is actually somewhat wearable (it's a bit heavy, but I can wear it for short periods of time).
In case you're wondering, the apple-shaped object is a tagua nut that was sliced in half by a button-maker who removed enough of the inside of the nut (a.k.a. "vegetable ivory") to make a button. The leftover, discarded nuts were brought in by a student, who donated them to the pile of objects offered to everyone for general use. Superb artist Connie Fox donated the strange metal object (something from a vintage typewriter, perhaps?) that I used to frame the tagua nut, and I made a necklace using dark annealed steel wire in 16ga purchased at my local hardware store in Idyllwild. Thank you, Connie! What a dear person she is, and so talented, too. Be sure to check out her Web site.
I decorated the front of my tagua nut with a metal piece assembled with tiny brass bolts and used a photo of a model cut out from the back of an issue of Ornament magazine. I love rusty bits, and found good use for a rusted washer, which frames the photo.
This necklace was fun to make, but what I really enjoyed during the workshop was using a vintage rolling mill and large metal crimper brought in by the teacher. I put lots of copper sheet through these machines and then cut them into manageable pieces, and I look forward to experimenting with them this winter after I return home from teaching in Santorini this October. I'd like to alter the copper pieces with color of some type, cutting and filing, layering and riveting them into interesting objects. Maybe jewelry, or perhaps wall art, who can say? The possibilities are intriguing. And I'll know by next spring if I really need to purchase a rolling mill for my own studio.
Tomorrow I'll be up to my elbows in cleaning supplies, because after spending three full weeks taking workshops at the Idyllwild Arts school, I am now hosting another Wild Wire Women retreat in my home. Two ladies are arriving early for the retreat on Tuesday evening, and they will be joined by three others on Thursday.
We'll get to know each other by having another delicious dinner at Cafe Aroma, and then the workshops begin on Friday. I'll be posting about the retreat this time. So sorry that I never got around to blogging during my last retreat, just a couple of weekends ago, but I was too tired every night after teaching all day and preparing meals, etc.
I created a very busy schedule for myself this month, which was (in retrospect) perhaps not the best idea in the world. Better to space out those workshops!
If you're interested in coming out for a retreat in the future, I have some scheduled and a few spaces still available. You can learn more by visiting my Web site,
Until next time...