Bead & Button Show, class #2 – Rio Grande Flex Shaft 101

Flex Shaft 101, taught by Mark Nelson of Rio Grande was today’s class.  I’ve had a Grobet flex shaft for a couple of years, but I didn’t really know too much about using it for more than drilling and basic polishing.

The class was really helpful and interesting.  I can now say, I am no longer intimidated by the flex shaft.  I understand what I need to do to maintain it.  (incredible simple really)  Mark explained the uses of a whole range of attachments, accessories and handpieces.  I’ve got loads of notes!  The Rio Grande classes are especially helpful because they give the students an opportunity to try out the tools first hand.  It makes a world of difference.  For example,  have wanted to get a quick change handpiece for my flex shaft, but I wasn’t sure what to buy.  Having a chance to try a couple of styles, I found out that I am much more comfortable using the version with the duplex spring.  It’s much kinder to my small hands.  I really couldn’t have figured that out without trying the different handpieces.

The hammer handpiece was lots of fun to use too.  The diamond tip made a great texture on the copper we were working with.

They had a great camera set-up for the class, so that everyone was able to get a close up view of the demos.  It really helped make everything clear.

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The pleasure of like minded company

I had a delightful weekend. I was at a Sherry Serafini workshop at my local bead shop, Beads East. I took a workshop with Sherry last year at Bead & Button, and I jumped on the opportunity to take a class with her in my neighborhood. Apart from the class (which was wonderful) and the treat of hanging out in one of my favorite bead stores for a couple of days, it was wonderful to spend a couple of days with a group of interesting women who appreciate the lure of beads.

All the beading classes I have taken up to now were at the Bead & Button. It’s a great event, but the classes are generally really large and you sit in rows at long skinny tables, so it isn’t usually the most sociable of class settings. The class this weekend was a much friendlier format. It was serious fun for me to spend a couple of days playing with sparkly beads. The bracelet project we worked on uses a combination of 24 karat gold hex delicas, flashy cabochons and various crystals in blues and AB finishes, in other words, WAY outside my typical comfort zone. It was refreshing to work in a style totally different from my usual.

An added benefit of this weekend, was the opportunity to show a bead artist I truly admire, some of my current work and ask her opinion on approaches I could take with a really “out there” project I have in mind. It’s a complex piece with a lot of possibilities. I’m not even sure how I am going to construct it or what materials I will use, but it was fantastic to get Sherry and Ann Benson’s feedback on the overall design, and how I might use beading techniques to make it happen.

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Class bracelets

Last weekend I taught a Cane Slice Caterpillar Bracelet class at the So. CT Polymer Clay Guild’s annual Weekend of Clay. It’s not a difficult project, just a bit time consuming. We were working primarily in black and white so it was a bit tricky seeing the black thread against the black beads. Everyone did a great job and there was a lot of variety, even though the seed beads we all used were the same.

Here are the 4 bracelets that were finished at the class:

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Clockwise from the top left: Christy, Sue, Cynthia & Michelle Aren’t they great?!! I love the variety. Christy’s flowers are really fun (and a teensy bit dangerous).

Blog woes appear to be continuing. All the restored posts I entered yesterday ended up in my Google Reader, but the new post yesterday never showed up. The post number probably has it indexed some time in October or some such thing. And the thumbnail function on WordPress appears to be gone too. grrr

I am off to a guild meeting later this morning which means I need to finish a couple of last minute things: earrings (I promised them to someone), photos etc. I wonder what will happen to this post?

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