What I learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer at Beadfest

Some Yoga breathing and stretching before you start the class sets a good tone for the rest of the day. I love Yoga but it can be tedious torture in the wrong hands.  Susan’s warm-up exercises lasted just long enough, and were very effective.  The soldering gods were with me the entire day.

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Our Classroom

I have never before taken a class at Beadfest.   I made an exception this year because the prices were attractive, ($165.00 for an all-day  metal class with a great teacher like Susan Lenart Kazmer is  a bargain) and because I needed to pull myself out of a slump.  I knew the class would be great because I took a wonderful class with her a few <ahem> years ago.

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My jumble of tools

There were only 8 people in the class (most people took classes earlier in the week) which meant it was easier to get help if you needed it.  But Susan’s demos and explanations were so good that I didn’t need much assistance.

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Susan Demonstrating

The class was on box making.  Only the boxes didn’t open.  Instead, you could write on the boxes or leave a hole to slip a message inside the box and only the maker and wearer would know what it was. A kind of talisman or prayer box.  I liked that idea.

Oneof Susan's box pendants
Here’s a side view of one of Susan’s boxes.

Here are some process pictures of my box as I assembled it.  We could elect to make earrings or a pendant and I went with the pendant although I started on a pair of earrings that I didn’t finish.

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Here’s my finished pendant

I tried hanging the pendant from a silver chain.  That didn’t seem right.  The pendant demanded something a bit more substantial.  It is, after all, a box.  Then I remembered the fabric necklaces I have been making. Check my Instagram feed for some pictures.

 

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I pulled out three fabric ropes I’d made from silk, fabric I’d screen printed, and  part of an old curtain.  I think I’ll use the box pendant with these.  I am in the process of deciding whether I want to make sterling end caps or fiber end caps.  But I think I already have the perfect clasp.

I learned many more things in the class but I don’t want to post them on-line out of respect for the teacher’s work product.  But there is something I will share and believe me, if I had learned nothing else from the class, it would have been worth it to learn an incredible bezel-cutting tool.   I am not ready to throw out my miter jig, but I will never again use it to cut bezels.

The Whaley Precision 90 Degree Bezel Cutting Shears have a guide attached to one of the blades that insures  you cut a straight edge every time.  Eurotool makes this incredible tool, and you can buy them here.   For a video of the shears in action, press here.

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Miracle Bezel Cutters!!!

 

Thank you Susan Lenart Kazmer and Beadfest!!!

Philadelphia Area Jewelry Tool Suppliers

Many people who are ready to graduate from bead stringing to more complex jewelry projects, and who need to pick up a few tools, often end up buying them at bead shows.  I’ve done this myself, and 99.9% of the vendors at these shows charge a fair price.  And if they take a little premium, that’s OK with me.  I am getting the convenience of finding mostly everything in one place.

But it doesn’t always work that way. I was at a local bead show a few months ago and saw a Solderite soldering board that I bought for $8.25 from Rio Grande on sale for $22.50.  The very same item, and it wasn’t a mistake.  And yet, the beginning metal smith  who might not realize that this price is out of line, is often too intimidated to go to  Jeweler’s Row on Sansom Street in Philadelphia to buy supplies, thinking that the stores there are for “real” jewelers and not them.  That’s not true.

For those of us from the Philadelphia area, Hagstoz is a treasure both for buying supplies and for selling scrap metal.  I have always gotten excellent service there.

Another store I highly recommend is Pamma Jewelry Tools and Supply, located at 809 Sansom Street.  It is a tool paradise and they have almost everything out where you can see it. They carry economy brand pliers like Beadsmith and Eurotool and high end brands Such as  Lindstrom.  They sell all types and sizes of hammers, rotary tool and flex shaft accessories, stainless steel shot, pickle, patinas, soldering supplies (and several kinds of soldering surfaces including charcoal blocks), displays, boxes and packaging.  They carry used tools, too. The last time I was there I saw hole cutters, rolling mills and ring stretchers among the items they had for sale.

One of the best places to shop for everything related to jewelry making is Beadfest Philadelphia.  The shopping bazaar runs from August 19 to August 21.   For a list of vendors, press here.  You can even download a floor plan.  Just remember that the Beadfest  venue has changed to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center this year.  Maybe I will see you there!