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 Learned in Jane and Richard Salley’s Class This Time

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I am writing this blog post from my cozy kitchen where stew is simmering on the stove and vegetables are roasting in the oven.  This is a new experience for me because I am relaxed.  I am relaxed because I am newly retired and do not have to get up at the crack of dawn each day  to fight the wind and sleet to my office.   I do not have to cram whatever cooking I might choose to do into the nights or weekends.  I can go into my studio and work when I want.  I actually visited Beading Yoda yesterday for conversation and a cup of tea.  (I will share the cache of Huichol beaded  earrings  I got for her in a later post.)  And I am newly-returned from a Jane and Richard Salley metal smithing class I took at the Hacienda Mosaico in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

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I learned I could pack lighter and still have everything I need, although I wish I had brought more silver bezel wire.

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I learned how to combine leather and silver to make jewelry! I learned how to make a hinge with a pin closure. I learned that you can drop your focal stone on the brick floor and rescue it with a little epoxy glue. If you can find all the pieces.

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I learned how to set a coin in a bezel and some soldering tricks that will give me a better result the next time I do it.

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I learned how to make this nifty spring-tension clasp!  I will be making more of these and working on design variations.

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I learned that it was possible to saw out a word in brass without feeling like putting a sharp object in my eye.  October 31 is my wedding anniversary so I made this for my husband even though I will have to wear it for him.

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I learned that if you execute a new technique perfectly the first time, it will take you thirty tries to do it again.  Wait,  I think I already knew that.

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I learned some new things to do with Faux Bone and mixed metals.

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I also learned a lot of other stuff including the location of a few liquor stores.  But I dare not reveal everything on this blog.

Many thanks to Jane and Richard and Sam and everyone at Hacienda Mosaico.