Bead & Button 2010: Home Again

By Thursday, I was really starting to fade, getting tired and ready to go home.  And having hit that wall, I stopped taking pictures and just concentrated on getting through the last couple of days.

The classes were great overall.  I left my last class, an intermediate beading class early.  The instructor was good, patient and she definitely knew her material, but it was a poor fit of class for me.  I was comfortable with the basic overall stitch, but the specialized stitch she was teaching kept getting away from me.  I’ve come to the conclusion that as far as beading classes go, I should stick to the “all levels” classes in more forgiving techniques, bead embroidery and more free form techniques.

The Meet The Teachers event on Wednesday was really packed.  It seemed much busier than last year.  If you ever come to this show, it’s worth getting a ticket to the Meet the Teachers evening.  It’s an excellent opportunity to see the projects, speak to the teachers about specific classes and shop for unique kits and supplies.  I had fun catching up with friends around the room and eventually hanging out at Diane Villano’s table, trying to convince her to teach a class for her new hinged mixed media necklaces.

Thursday night was the shopping preview night.  Preview shopping ran from 4pm to 9pm.  My friends and I have learned to go out to an early dinner first and then hit the show floor around 7pm.  You can avoid the worst of the shopping hoards that way, and the restaurants are less crowded as well.  I made another pass through the bead show floor Friday morning before I had to head to the airport.

Impressions from the show floor:  there are a LOT more vendors with metalworking tools, such as pliers, hammers, cutters, dapping sets etc.  There were several specialty suppliers for metal clay artists as well.  When I first started going to the Bead & Button Show, there were more seed bead vendors and more Czech glass beads.  These days in addition to a wider range of jewelry making tools, there are many vendors with kits and mixed media supplies.  I noticed several new types of commercial bezels which could be used with polymer clay.  I bought a few to try out and I’ll write a review at a later date.

For now, it’s good to be home.  Catching up on family stuff feels pretty good.

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Bead & Button 2010: Class 4 – Sherri Haab

Today’s class was “Going Green for Easy Etching in the Home Studio” with Sherri Haab.  Here is one of the sample pieces I made in the class:  (the left side used a toner transfer resist and I used a paint pen on the right side)

It was a cool class.  Sherri and her electrical engineer husband have developed a reliable, easy and environmentally friendly way of  electro-etching.  The process uses safer solutions than the traditional acid etching technique, the solutions can be reused and you can etch silver as well as copper, brass and bronze.  Silver just requires a different solution, but it’s one that is way less toxic than nitric acid.

The process was very straightforward.  We left the copper pieces in for about 2 hours.  Some people did silver samples as well and those went faster.  You can use a surprising variety of resists, PnP paper, toner transfer, dye resist and paint pens for example.  The system is pricey, but the results are excellent and the absence of dealing with hazardous waste disposal is a huge plus.

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Bead Dreams 2010 – Polymer Clay Category

The Bead Dreams 2010 exhibit and ribbons are up.  Congratulations to the winners and finalists in the polymer clay category.

First Place:  Lynne Schwarzenberg – “Beautiful Baroque”

Second Place:  Lludmya Heggland – “Sea Slugs Jewels”

Third Place:  Janice Abarbanel – “Rainforest”

Congratulations also to the other finalists:  Karen Poole – “Beaver Necklace” and Jacqueline Gittens – “Apple Red Rose”

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Bead & Button 2010: Class 3 – Robert Dancik

Oh, what fun I had today.  Today’s workshop was “Concrete: It’s Not Just for Sidewalks Anymore” with Robert Dancik.  Here’s what I made (not fully cured in the photo):

It was a delightful class, as expected.  Robert is an excellent teacher.  I appreciate his enthusiasm for both the techniques he’s teaching and for the act of teaching.  He encourages a thoughtful, meaningful and personal approach to the creative process.

This is the second workshop I’ve ever taken with Robert Dancik.  My first workshop was a cold connections class at the Brookfield Craft Center in the summer of 2006, and it was a huge turning point in my work.  I’ve been looking forward to taking another workshop with him and today did not disappoint.

It was a very full class at 26 students.  Fortunately, despite the fact that we were crammed in like sardines, everyone was really great. There was a lot to cover:  box construction, texturing and customizing the boxes, preparing the items to be set in concrete, mixing the concrete and filling the box, plus overall finishing.  The class was remarkably quiet and focused given the number of people in the room.  The result was a fantastic array of cool concrete and copper pendants.

At these large conferences where your workspace is very small and classes can be very full, resources can be spread thin and people can get snippy.  There wasn’t any of that kind of tension today, which was quite nice.

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