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!!!

What I’m Doing this Summer

Last month I went to a Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary Series lecture called Jewelry Design with Hratch Babikian.    And that’s how ended up registering for a Pendant making class at Fleisher Art Memorial.  After seeing examples of  Babikian’s work

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including his deftly-formed chains and exquisite clasps, I think this class is one I should not miss.

The class will  cover making jump rings and connections, design, forming and forging. For a full description of the class and registration information, press here.  To see more examples of Babikan’s work, press here and here.

That’s not all that’s happening.   Fleisher has a new jewelry studio  with a custom-made table with eight jewelry stations.

 

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Fleisher is also offering a cold connections jewelry class this Summer.  For a description and registration  information, press here.   And they will be adding more equipment to the jewelry studio in the future and offering more  metal and jewelry classes.  

But wait, there’s more.  If you’ve always wanted to learn Shibori dying, the Japanese technique where you fold, twist, stitch and dye fabric with indigo,  Fleisher is offering a class this summer with fiber artist Marie Elcin.   

 

 

And be sure to check out Fleisher’s web page for information on classes like kiln-fired glass,  Art Quilting and many others.