Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fun Workshop Saturday: Sawing & Piercing!

Wow, what a day at Brea Bead Works! Pictured above, you can see the store from our bird's-eye-view, high up in the loft classroom that I love so much. I think BBW is one of the prettiest bead stores I've ever visited, and I just love teaching here.
They not only have my porcelain pendants available for sale in the store, but also a gorgeous trunk show of lucite beads and charms (pictured above) in strands for $6 each. Did you know, you can paint these beads with alcohol inks and metallic paints to transform them into unique works of art? If you're in the north Orange County area, take a trip to BBW (across from the Brea Mall) and pick up some of those beads!
Here are some of my happy students from Saturday's class. I was amazed by their individual creativity and their willingness to spend an entire day working on a sawn-and-pierced cuff bracelet. Most worked with copper sheet but one gal brought yellow brass. Everyone did an amazing job!
I started by talking about designing positive and negative shapes for a cuff, pendant, or earrings. We then transferred our original designs to paper that was glued with rubber cement to sheet metal, and the sawing commenced!
This is a perfect class for beginners. Of course, some chose rather intricate shapes and designs that took a looooong time to saw! But others (ahem, like lazy me) chose designs that were a little more basic and easy to saw in just minutes. Below you can see one of the more challenging designs, a work in progress:
The next cuff was also rather challenging to saw and pierce, but my student Cheryl persevered and actually finished her cuff in class. Lots of sawing, piercing, filing and polishing...
... and texturing with her favorite texturing hammer resulted in this beautiful cuff bracelet:
And here's another one finished by another student in class, a variation on my leaf cuff that was beautifully textured and shaped:
One of my favorite designs is pictured below. We did discuss the value of taking lots of photos of architectural elements and ironwork designs while traveling, especially in Europe. These photos (and sketches) are invaluable, for use in the studio at home. You can use such designs to make beautiful jewelry, like the cuff pictured below:
And here it is again, on the wrist of the justifiably proud artist who made it:
Another cuff, this one in brass, made by another talented student who wanted to pursue a modern-art approach to her design. I think it's stunning!
All of these designs are wonderful, but I predict that they will be even more delicious once they've been artificially aged in liver of sulfur, or patinated with a variety of chemicals that can be used with copper and brass. We didn't have time to do that in class but I did include a handout on liver of sulfur in my class packet of workshop notes.
If you'd like to take a day class with me at Brea Bead Works, I have two more coming up in May:
May 11: Vintage Dolly Necklace
May 25: Victorian Netted Cuff
To register for my workshops at BBW, call the store at 714-671-9976
This week I'm hosting a Wild Wire Women retreat in my home in Idyllwild, California. I'm super excited about this one because students have requested lessons in some of my favorite techniques, including sawing & piercing, riveting, and torch enameling. The classes begin on Friday, so be sure to check back here for updates!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

NEW Workshop at BBW this Saturday: Sawing & Piercing

On Saturday (April 27, 2013), I'm teaching a new workshop on sawing & piercing metal to make cuffs like the ones pictured above and below... but, I'm also going to show how to use these skills to make a gorgeous pendant and set of earrings, too.
Once you master the jeweler's saw, you'll be set free to do all sorts of creative things with metal that you may never have thought of before. I like making cuffs, but big gorgeous pendants and little delicate earring designs are fabulous alternatives.
The class runs from 10 am to 5 pm at Brea Bead Works; for registration information, call:
In this full-day workshop, we'll start with designs on paper and discuss the importance of fitting a pattern properly. For example, the leaf-shaped cuff at the top of this post is the same length as the wide cuff beneath it, but it's too short for me to wear as-is because the tapered points make the cuff fit differently than if they were wide like the second cuff. These are important issues to consider before you begin to cut a piece of metal.
Besides designing some cool patterns for our cuffs (or pendants or earrings), we'll learn how to saw and pierce out holes and shapes from metal, some filing techniques, texturing with tools and hammers, and antiqueing methods. We'll also discuss different ways to apply all of these techniques to many different types of jewelry.
I also want to share my Little Metal Books with my students (more sawing, piercing, filing, polishing and texturing) so they can see that metal-art techniques can be applied to a wide variety of different art forms that go beyond the craft of jewelry making. There won't be time to teach how to bind a book in this class, but I hope that my samples will stimulate some creative thought in new directions.
I hope to see YOU in class on Saturday, at Brea Bead Works!
Happy wrapping,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bangle Workshop a HUGE Success...

I must apologize for the terrible quality of this photo, but it was taken with my iPhone under store lighting, which was not ideal for capturing the gorgeous details in the bangle bracelets my students made today during class. I had some really terrific students, full of talent and good humor as we worked our way through all the steps to making the Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelet.
Instructions for this project are available in my eBook, Arty Jewelry IV.
We started out by designing a metal motif, which we then sawed out from copper sheet using a jeweler's saw. Lots of filing and polishing followed, and then it was on to the fun part: texturing with various hammers and using a cool engraving tool to make our marks on the metal. Wendy has the engraving tools available now at Brea Bead Works, so if you need to order one (and trust me, you NEED this tool), she'd be happy to send you one.
Contact the store to purchase: 714-671-9976
After a brief break for lunch, we switched to wire; making coiled wire segments, eye-pin loops, and a handmade clasp. The bracelet goes together with a vintage button, unless you make a necklace with a pendant instead, which one of my students did! We also learned how to turn a bead into a button, and how to make a cute button using copper sheet metal and wire. So much fun...
One of my students actually cut out several layers to make a ruffled flower motif for her bracelet. Everyone made gorgeous wire clasps, and the end result was simply amazing. I'm so proud of my students at Brea Bead Works! A big WOO-HOO to you!!!
In other news, my handmade, hand-painted high-fire porcelain pendants are now available for sale at Brea Bead Works. Spend $100 on my pendants and the storeowners will give you a FREE copy of my popular instructional DVD with 2-1/2 hours of closeup instruction: Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop.
And, this just in: All four of my instructional DVDs are available for sale in my etsy shop. FREE shipping to USA customers! The DVDs are no longer available via but you can get them with FREE shipping via etsy.
Happy wrapping,

Monday, April 8, 2013

Workshop at Brea Bead Works: Metallo del Fiore Bangle

Once again I have the opportunity to teach a fun workshop at Brea Bead Works in Brea, California! Update: I now have nine students signed up for this workshop, with room for ONE more student. If you are interested in attending, call Brea Bead Works right away:
On Saturday, April 13, I'm offering my super-popular Metallo del Fiore Bangle workshop from 10 am to about 5 pm. In this intensive workshop, you'll learn how to create your own design for a cutout metal motif that we will then texture with various hammers and engrave with a fun little tool that you can get for under $10!
My sample (pictured above) is just one of the many possibilities available to you. I've had students make beautiful heart-shaped metal motifs, bees, butterflies, daisies and sunflowers, and modern-art geometric shapes, too. Pictured below you can see some of my favorite student samples:
Even beginners who are a bit timid about their jeweler's saws will enjoy this workshop. I'll show you how your saw works and teach you some tips for using it without breaking blades. It won't be long before you fall in love with your jeweler's saw, and everything it can do for you.
The second half of the workshop is devoted to wirework. We'll coil wire to use on our heavy-gauge wire bangles, adding beads and a handmade clasp. Time permitting, we'll make some wire charms too.
This is a fun, intensive workshop suitable for beginners who want to learn a lot and make a finished bangle bracelet by the end of class. If you'd like to signup, visit Brea Bead Works or call the store to register:
Hope to see you in Brea this Saturday!