Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saying goodbye to Midland, Michigan...

The Ethnic Coin Necklace (featured on my DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop) is always a fun and challenging adventure, especially when we mix it up a little by adding copper washers, twisted wire jump rings, chains, and wire-wrapped beads and links from previous workshop sessions. Such was the case this time when I taught my final workshop for the Bead Weasel in Midland, Michigan.
My students are simply amazing. I never quite get over how talented and how creative and hard-working they are, and I am so impressed by their dedication to learning new techniques and practicing diligently to perfect their craftsmanship. It was fun watching everyone pound away with their chasing hammers while we flattened and textured pennies and foreign coins, mastered the metal hole-punch, created tack rivets, twisted heavy-gauge wire to make jump rings, and assembled unique necklaces using a variety of wire-art and metal craft techniques.
I'll never forget the ladies (and one gentleman) in Midland! Many of my students had just barely gotten their copies of my new book, Contemporary Copper Jewelry, and had already started making jewelry pieces from the patterns provided. Don't you just love copper wire! And tubing from the hardware store, washers from Harbor Freight, and found objects from... well, everywhere. It all goes into the mix when you're making beautiful, ethnic-style jewelry.
I will be returning to Michigan around this time of year in 2010, when I teach for Art in the Loft right before I depart for my 10-day workshop retreat in Cortona, Italy. If you're interested in joining me in Europe next year, click here.
For now, it's time to do the laundry, pack my bags, and get ready to fly to the south of France! I'll be spending three weeks teaching a series of workshop for a group of gals; we'll also hit the sights in Provence and shop the flea markets, visit tiny villages, and just generally have the best time ever. Stay tuned for postings from Provence!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Those "10 Tricks" are trippy...

10 Trippy Tricks--one my most popular workshops--was intense today, but my talented students were up for it!
We made zigzag wrap beads, caged beads, an S-clasp with a wire-wrapped bead, jump rings, simple S-links, easy links, worm beads, triangle-spiral bead links, delicate wrapped tube beads, and pendant dependents. Yes, all in one day. Whew!
A great workshop, so much fun. Midwestern gals are the nicest anywhere.
After class, Anne Sturtevant took me out for a great dinner. We drove around Midland to view the beautiful architecture and also took in Overlook Park, where you can see Dow Chemical in the background, and snowy-white egrets, too. I even enjoyed the drizzly rain, it's been so long since there's been even a hint of moisture at home in Idyllwild.
Hard to believe that tomorrow is my last full day in Midland, before I depart for France. I'll be posting from Provence this week, so be sure to stay tuned...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Celtic Knot Bracelet Workshop

Today was my Celtic Knot bracelet workshop sponsored by the Bead Weasel, and I was very pleased to see that all of my students finished their jewelry pieces and learned so much in the process of making them.
We used copper and sterling silver wire plus a few beads to make the components for this bracelet: coil-wrapped beads and jump rings (as featured on my DVD, Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop), and Celtic knots of 16ga wire on simple eye-pin loops.
It really was a fun class because we had plenty of time to finish our pieces, including using liver of sulfur to artificially age the jewelry. Tomorrow's class, 10 Trippy Tricks, will be much more intense. A great opportunity to learn lots of wire-art techniques in one day!
It's hard to believe that the week is almost over... I feel as if I just barely arrived. After tomorrow's class, I'll teach my Ethnic Coin Necklace workshop on Sunday, and then I depart for France on Monday.
Cheers for now,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Heart Necklace Workshop

Wow, what a day! We worked hard on our Heart-Link necklaces, making two different 16ga wire links, jump rings, bead dangles on double-wrapped eye-pin loops, and clasps. It took the entire day to finish our necklaces, but it was well worth the effort.
A similar necklace can be found in my book, Bead on a Wire. I wish that more students had the opportunity to take this fun class, because it's a great way to learn some essential techniques at a leisurely pace.
I also enjoyed signing several copies of my new book for students: Contemporary Copper Jewelry. It was a sell-out at the recent Bead Fest and at the Bead Weasel here in Midland, we're nearly out of copies. If you live in this area, be sure to pick up a book and ask me to sign it for you while I'm teaching here.
Tomorrow we'll tackle another necklace: The Celtic Knot. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rings on our fingers...

Rings on our fingers, that's what we've been up to in Midland this evening! We each made five different wire rings--with and without beads--to learn the basics of this unique art form.
Given the short amount of time we had to work (about three and a half hours total), I think it's amazing how many rings my students were able to finish. We even dipped some in liver of sulfur to artificially age them and give the orange copper wire a rosy radiance!
I'm so proud of my students. They worked hard, were very patient, tried some way-out creative techniques, and went home with a beautiful batch of rings.
If you'd like to make your own creative wire rings and are unable to make it to a workshop, I teach every ring shown here on my DVD, Rings of Beauty. It's currently on sale for $24.95! For information, click here.

Caterpillar Bracelets in Midland

This morning was set aside for Caterpillar Bracelets. I think my students had a great time and they all finished their jewelry in class! My bracelet is pictured above; it's a combination of Caterpillar and Snake Vertebra links from yesterday. More pictures (all made by students) follow:
Love the green beads!
Amber-colored resin beads look great with copper wire...
More classy copper jewelry...
And a star in silver!
Here are my students, busily finishing their bracelets. You couldn't find nicer people in Midland, or anywhere else!
Tonight, we reconvene for my Five Rings workshop. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cupcakes & Snake Vertebra

Today was our first workshop at the Bead Weasel bead shop in Midland, Michigan. A great group of gals got together to make a Snake Vertebra bracelet (made with a link featured on my DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop).
We also enjoyed some delicious treats made by one of the students, Lynn, who generously supplied us with goodies like these hand-decorated cupcakes.
You can see that everyone was working pretty hard. We needed extra nourishment, of course, like the cookies you see...! Thank you, Lynn, for making so many yummies!
We finished by a little after 5 pm, and everyone had created enough links to finish her bracelet at home. If you'd like to learn how to make the same jewelry piece, it will be featured in my brand-new book, Wire Art Jewelry, which releases sometime this fall. More info as it comes...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Arrived safely... sans luggage!

At long last I have arrived in Midland to begin my weeklong workshop sessions here. The airline (United) lost my luggage, so I'm borrowing a sleep-shirt from my gracious hostess, Anne Sturtevant. Thank you, Anne!
The "Springhill Suites" Marriott couldn't be more comfortable. I have a large room with a big flat-screen TV, and a nice sized bathroom. That's all I could ever ask for while on the road. And a fridge and a microwave, which means I can have my hot tea with milk in the morning and keep fruit and yoghurt here for snacks. Perfect.
No photo today--it's after midnight here in Michigan, time to hit the sack.
Tomorrow I'll be teaching my Snake Vertebra workshop at the Bead Weasel, and then we move back over here to the hotel for the remainder of the workshops. I've seen the conference room we'll have use of this week, and wow, it's HUGE--and well lit. Everyone will have plenty of room to spread out and bring their the boxes of beads!
Until tomorrow, then... nighty night.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

On my way to Midland, Michigan!

It seems like I've been packing, packing, packing forever... but I'm finally done! I head out to Michigan very early tomorrow morning, and will begin teaching my intensive workshop series at the Bead Weasel on Tuesday.
My Snake Vertebra bracelet (pictured) workshop will be held at the store on Tuesday, and is sold out. There are seats available in some of the remaining classes, however, which will be held in a beautiful conference room at the local Marriott.
On Wednesday, I will teach the Caterpillar Bracelet workshop followed by my Five Rings class. On Thursday, I'll help students make beautiful Heart-Link necklaces, and on Friday we'll make intricate Celtic Knot necklaces (or bracelets).
Saturday is my "wirework 101" intensive: 10 Trippy Tricks. On Sunday, we'll finish with the ever-popular Ethnic Coin necklace.
If you're interested in attending any of these workshops, call the Bead Weasel at:
Whew! I'm sure I'll need a break by then, so it's fortunate that on Monday I'll have plenty of time to rest while I fly all the way to Nice, France.
I'm spending a few weeks in the Provence region with friends who have asked me to teach a workshop series just for them. Can you imagine how fortunate I feel? I'm so grateful, it's hard to find the words.
I'll try to share my experiences with you through my blog, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What I've been working on...

A friend of mine recently asked me what I've been working on lately, and to tell you the truth, it's been so hot up here that I haven't wanted to do anything more than what's absolutely necessary.
I don't know if this is true of other creative people, but I find that when the weather is too warm, I just don't feel much passion for jewelry making or anything else. Once the temps go down, I start reviving. I guess that's why I love the spring and fall months best.
Winter is cold enough and invigorating in its way, but the days are short, so I miss the sunshine. My way of dealing with that is to work under lamps with natural light. It really does help.
Lately I've been packing, organizing, and generally making myself ready for a month-long trip I'll be taking at the end of this month. I'll be teaching the last week of August in Midland, Michigan for the Bead Weasel. I believe there are still some openings in some of the classes; to see what I'm teaching, click here. Just scroll down the page of my workshop schedule, and pretty soon you'll see my Michigan classes.
On Sept. 1, I depart for a three-week trip to Provence, where I'm teaching for a private group. I hope to be able to blog about that experience with some beautiful pictures, so stay tuned. It will be magical, I know that—in the south of France, how can it be otherwise?
Meanwhile, I'm trying to be creative. Over the last two days I have made two new bracelets; one of them is pictured above. I enjoyed making it, simple as the design may be, because everything is handmade. The focal bead is a purchased Thai silver moth—handmade, but not by me—the headpins and the little Bali silver beads are also handmade, and I did all the wirework and made heavy-gauge sterling silver jump rings embellished with fine-gauge wire. I also made the toggle clasp.
Sometimes it's best to keep it simple. Especially when you're too hot for anything else!