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What I learned at the 2016 Bead&Button Show: Julia Gerlach

The editors of Bead&Button and Facet are sharing what they learned while taking classes at the 2016 Bead&Button Show
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Every year at the Bead&Button Show, I get to take a class or two to build skills and learn something new. Over the years, I've learned lots of techniques, including chain mail, loom work, kumihimo, making beaded beads, and more. This year I wanted to push myself, so I signed up for two classes - one involving techniques that are completely new to me and one that I thought would challenge me in new ways.


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New skills - metalwork!

The first class I took was "Mini Piercing" with Robyn Cornelius. This was a 3-hour class, but I think everyone finished their piece, in part because Robyn was so organized and efficient. In that very short period of time, we pierced, sawed, fluxed, soldered, pickled, patinated, and polished our way to a stunning piece of jewelry. Robyn provided all the supplies that were needed to make this cool double-layered pendant, which was definitely a big part of why I took this class. I have never done any metalwork before and do not own most of the tools that were required. But since she provided them, I was able to get a taste for it - and now I think I'm hooked!

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Pushing myself
The second class I took was "Scorpio Earrings" with Sarah Thompson. Sarah is also an excellent teacher - very detail-oriented and thorough. I have done wire weaving, but I've never worked with so many structural elements before and I was also new to the modified Soumak weave, which is the weave featured in these earrings. In this 6-hour class, we started by precisely measuring, cutting, shaping, and forging all of the structure wires so that we would end up with two identical earrings. After prepping all the wires, we moved on to weaving. I loved all the specific advice Sarah gave on exactly how to hold the wire or the tools we were using in order to achieve the best results and I could see why her finished jewelry is so fabulous. Attention to detail really counts in her designs. None of us walked out with a completed pair of earrings at the end of class, but a few of us did finish one and had all the prep work done on the other. I completed the weaving on my second earring at home last night, then patinated and polished them for a finishing touch.

I really loved both of the classes I took and both of the teachers - they were absolutely first-rate! I hope you enjoyed the classes you took. Be sure to share photos of what you created in our photo gallery on the Facet Jewelry or Bead&Button Facebook page!

– Julia Gerlach, Editor, Bead&Button magazine

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