Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Bead and Button Trip

It's been a couple of weeks since I got back from my trip to Bead and Button. What with getting over my jetlag and some family commitments its taken me a while to get round to writing this blog post.

Readers of my blog will know that I won a scholarship given by both the ISGB and the Bead&Button Show. The goal of the scholarship is to support an ISGB member who sees artistic excellence and the education needed to further explore their passion for glass, metal work, jewelry making, and more. To be the recipient of such a generous scholarship proved to be an incredible experience for me. It included a stipend for travel, a Master workshop, additional classes, tickets to all events, hotel accommodations for the entire length of my stay, and much more.

I wanted to go to Bead and Button to expand my jewellery making skills and I wasn't disappointed. I made the most of the opportunity and took a class everyday starting with a 4 day Master Class in Precious Metal Clay with Celie Fago. Most of the students had taken a class with Celie before and I was very lucky when my benchmate immediately offered to share her tools and guided me throughout the class - A new friend was made - the first of many. 

Class watching Celie demonstrate.
Pieces waiting to be go in the kiln to be fired.
Me hard at work

 A generous teacher, Celie shared many techniques which enabled me to produce a fantastic bracelet complete with charms from my local beach which I had brought with me.

My finished bracelet along with some other pieces.
 The class ended with a graduation dinner held upstairs at Milwaukee Public Market. It was nice to socialise with the rest of my classmates.

My next class was 'Riffing on a zipper' with Maria Richmond. 
Maria's examples of what were were about to make.
 Making headpins is my niche so when I saw this class combining a zip, wirework and headpins I knew it was the class for me. I brought some flower headpins that I had made at home and they were a big hit with the other students who all asked where they could buy them from, so some potential new customers for me.
Me wire wrapping
Getting there.
I was very happy with the completed necklace and had lots of compliments when I wore it for the rest of the day.
Me with Maria, wearing the necklace I made.
My finished piece.
In the evening was the 'Meet the teachers reception' I had no idea there were so many! It was an opportunity to see all the projects and tools of the other teachers and meet the teachers I had yet to take classes with.
Thursday was the only lampworking class I signed up for and my first taste of Borosilicate glass. Lucas Clarke - a real character - shared his skills with turning glass tubing into a miniature chandelier. 
Lucas Demonstrating.
 Having some experience in making blown hollow beads I was able to grasp the technique fairly quickly and ended up with a reasonable sized chandelier at the end of the day - but could have done with a few more hours!

My finished chandelier
 The mysteries of metal finishing techniques were shared by Kay Rashka on Friday. A very informative and useful class with tips on using the best accessories for the Flex-shaft. We had great fun bashing bits of metal and there was even chocolates supplied to keep put strength up!

Tools with chocolate!
This was the first piece that I made in class. I had plenty of time left so I made some additional components.

The skills learned led nicely onto my next class, a mix of torch fired enamelling and tab set pendants with Kati Andara.

Some examples of torch fired enameling
Kati showing me how to solder.
My finished necklaces.

These pieces were made with copper and I was so surprised to learn that we were going to silver plate them! I enjoyed Kati's class that when I saw her project for the next days class and as I had a free day I decided to take that class too! 
The project for the next class.
 I didn't have a polymer clay piece with me for the necklace so I made an enamel one for it. Unfortunately we didn't quite have enough time to finish it in class so I will do that at home once I have bought some bits and pieces.

Both classes expanded my skills with working with metal and gave me lots of inspiration.

The 'Big Bead Jewellery Bash' was great fun with Blingo, the fastest bead threader and hoop the bottle (of win (I won one!)) to name but a few of the great entertainments on offer.

Last but not least was of course the shopping! Beads everywhere you looked - it was all a bit overwhelming and far too easy to get carried away!

Bead & Button run a competition and the winning entries were on display. Some amazing work but I was stunned by these two seed bead nceklaces.

I ended the show tired but very happy and a head bursting full of ideas and very grateful to the ISGB and Bead & Button for having awarded me the chance to go.

Thanks for reading.

Linda x

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