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.

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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!!!

Resin and Bezels


I have been practicing soldering and trying new projects including backless bezels and prongs.  All the pieces below are made from recycled metal.

I poured the resin into the bezel after completing the bezel.  I put packing tape on the back to keep the resin from seeping out.  The color comes from alcohol ink.  I put in a tiny bit and carefully swirled it with a tooth pick so as not to make more air bubbles.  After pouring a layer of resin, I put in another tiny drop and allowed it to spread without swirling.  I also put in some glitter and metal leaf to see what it would do.

The back.  I had a hard time cleaning the metal as you can see.  Next time it will go in the tumbler with the stainless steel shot!

I didn’t like the way the top turned out, so I sanded it and poured it again.  I think the dome is a little too high, but now the top has no dings.

The  circular pieces of metal are  scraps left after I trimmed a thin piece of metal with  tin snips.  The blue comes from blue pulver powder.  Pearlex would work, too.

There are obvious air bubbles in the resin, but I didn’t try to coax them out.  I think they give the pendant an aquatic feel.  I also floated some metal leaf in the resin.

My first attempt at prongs using Joanna Gollberg’s article “Fresh Prongs” in the July 2011 issue of Art Jewelry as a guide.  No binding wire needed!   Check out Gollberg’s book, Making Metal Jewelry for more great ideas.

I poured the resin cube in a plastic pill organizer.  They make great resin molds; the cured cubes just slip out and the surface on the top and sides are nice and shiny.  I probably poured resin in the back before unmolding because the resin will shrink and dip a bit in the curing. 

 

The prongs need to be higher, but they hold the cube securely.  I don’t think the resin cube is spectacular enough to make this a memorable necklace, but I wanted to try making a prong setting before attempting to make five or six more and using them and resin cubes to make a bracelet.  I think that would look interesting.

 

Take a look at Susan Lenart Kazmer’s DVD Exploring Resin  to learn some interesting resin techniques including how to cast resin in an open bezel.

What I Learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer

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Mike Models Susan’s Bracelet

If you read this Blog last week, you know that I was heading down to Damascus, MD to take a class with Susan Lenart Kazmer at Polymer Clay Express. The two-day class was fantastic. Here’s some of the things I learned:

I learned how to drill a hole in a stone.slk4
I learned how to fabricate a cone out of metal.
I improved my torch enameling skills.
I learned how to make and use different kinds of rivets.
I  learned a cool way to put a red patina on copper.
I  learned how to preserve found items like paper and twigs with resin and incorporate them into my jewelry.
I  saw an ingenious way to make hinges that I’m going to try because now I am more confident in my sawing skills and I think I can do it!
I  saw how to make dapped forms to turn into cool rings and pendants.
I  learned new ways to incorporate fiber with beads and metal.

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Now every day the sidewalk holds more treasure than ever before.

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Thanks Susan for teaching this class and Terri for telling me about it and giving me a ride! 

Appointment in Damascus (Maryland)

I’m off to Polymer Clay Express at The Artway Studio to take a class in Creating Objects and Elements in Jewelry with Susan Lenart Kazmer. If you’re not familiar with Kazmer, she wrote  Making Connections A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists.
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I’ll let you know about the class in a later post.   In the meantime, check out Kazmer’s Blog  and her on-line store, Objects and Elements where you can buy her remarkable book, supplies, and watch her great instructional videos.