Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Flameworking class: Cabochons for Snap Jewelry

Join me on Saturday, April 16th for Snap To It! Cabochons for Snap Jewelry.  See below for class info.
 If you've followed me here or on Facebook you know about the interchangeable snap jewelry I've been having fun making for the last couple of years. It's a trendy, fun way to make collectible jewelry that will coordinate with clothing.  To a flameworker it's a chance to perfect one's cabochon making skills, which can be transferred to other more traditional bezel setting techniques as well as this latest popular interchangeable jewelry style.  I'll be teaching this in a new class offered in my home studio in Los Gatos, CA on Saturday, April 16th.

As far as I can tell, it started with a company in Amsterdam called Noosa, that offered stylish, Boho jewelry that featured snap-in components called "chunks", made from metal, stone, ceramic, wood, glass, resin, and more. You can unsnap them and put new ones in every day to match whatever you're wearing, and the jewelry styles offer something for everyone. The trend has caught on and now there are a lot of companies making similar jewelry styles that all fit the same snaps. Brands that are generally interchangeable are Noosa, Ginger Snaps, and more. Snaps (also called chunks, poppers, and snap charms) come in different diameters and as many styles as there is imagination.

In the class we will learn all about cabochon mandrels and how to use and maintain them, how to size your work to fit the mandrels, what designs work well in this format, and how to finish them when they come out of the kiln. You'll also learn how to source and/or make jewelry that accepts these snaps, and how to display them at shows.

Students should bring any glass colors that they want to work with, didymiums, and any tools important for your most common designs.  To purchase and save your seat in this class click HERE.  If this class fills I will add a second one on Sunday, April 17.  If you prefer to pay by check or cash, just send me an email to save your spot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2016 Classes are Posted!

 In line with my intentions of teaching more classes in the coming year, I've posted my workshop offerings on my website. There is a nice mix of "salon" style mini-workshops in the evenings (and I'm open to more if you have suggestions), and 1 and 2 day workshops. These will be taught in my home studio (still yearning to name this sacred space) in Los Gatos, CA, a space that is becoming more and more special to me as my wonderful students attend classes. 

Starting in February is my series of 2 1/2 hour classes where I will offer demonstration and individual student help on specific topics ranging from making glass headpins on wire, using presses, making striped cane and twisties, and hand shaping. These are meant to help beadmakers that have some experience already to perfect their skills. They are very affordable at $85, and small enough to allow a lot of individual help.

In April I'm also offering a one day workshop on making flameworked glass cabochons for snap jewelry. I've been doing this for over a year now and it's quite fun, and sells really well.  If you haven't heard about the newest trend from Europe, have a look at the snap charm jewelry section of my Etsy shop and tell me this doesn't get you excited.

I'm also going to be teaching my electroforming class again, this time in my own studio in June. If you've ever wondered how to fabricate something entirely new (and often organic) to transform your bead or other artistic work, this is your class. You don't have to be a flameworker to take this class - this skill is useful to many different creative types. We will learn about equipment and where to buy it, how to electroform on glass and also organic materials such as pods, twigs, etc, and I'll help you to learn ways of troubleshooting your setup when things aren't working right. This class includes my written tutorial, as I think a student should be free to pay attention during class and not have to scribble every detail down.
So, if any of these offerings interests you, please check out the full class descriptions on my website.  The best way to reserve your seat is to go ahead and purchase the class, but if this is challenging for you in any way you can contact me to save a seat and we can discuss payment options.  Thanks for looking!

Monday, December 7, 2015


  That's pretty much what I said when I noted the date of my last post.  Seriously. I know why I haven't been blogging much, but is everyone else in the same situation? Do people even read blogs any more?  Is it all about Facebook and Instagram now? I know I've gotten out of the habit, but I'm not sure I'm representative of the rest of my artsy community.

So in the interest of getting current, here's what I've been up to since my last post.

The Gathering (annual conference of glass bead makers) in Albuquerque last summer was fabulous. I taught there for the first time (electroforming), and my 12 students all succeeded in a big way and I was so proud!  The opening party in the lush garden area of the hotel was probably the best I've been to, so green and lively. The Hotel Albuquerque was nearly all ours and they were very accommodating. Since I've become the Vice President of that non-profit (official as of Sept. 1) I attended Board Meetings and such, and got to know the inner workings a little better. But sales at the Bead Bazaar were probably the best ever, and the town just seemed to open their arms wide for us. So, that was a wonderful time.

There was also a quick trip to the East Coast in there somewhere, and I was thrilled to spend some one on one time getting to know Ann Baldwin, a fellow ISGB Board member. She taught me some polymer clay tricks one afternoon in her extraordinarily tricked out studio. That lady knows how to PLAY!

The ISGB is busy publishing a book called The Art of Glass - Flameworking, and I've been heavily involved in that this fall, as well as attending Board meetings and getting to know my responsibilities as VP. We are also planning next year's Gathering, which will be held in (drum roll...) New Orleans. It will be my first visit there and I can hardly wait. Kendra (our Executive Director) is an excellent event planner and has thought through every detail, and everyone going next year is in for treat after treat.

I toted my jewelry to show at the Sacramento Arts Festival again this fall and was ever grateful for the help of my wonderful friend Heidi during that show. She knows all the workings of most of my major shows now, and is such a delight to be around, and for customers to interact with. The first evening after we set up we were lucky to catch our friend Rick of One Eyed Riley playing their twice monthly gig at the Delta King, the first time I've seen them play outside of their rave performance at our Summer Solstice party this year. It was nice to be able to sit and fully absorb their camaraderie and musical talent without worrying about party hosting.

 Then I taught a class in November in my studio - Fine silver fusing and chain making, and it was fun to see the light bulbs go on once my students grasped that you could essentially solder silver without...solder. One of my students showed me her post-class riffs a week later and it was my turn to have my mind blown. She definitely got it and even invented her own chain design.  It's so wonderful to have my own teaching space, and I'm going to get even more enjoyment out of it next year as I crank up my class offerings.

This year it was time to muster a changing of the guard with our own local ISGB Chapter's board (we are the Silicon Valley Fireflies). We successfully rounded up volunteers for new board members and got our 2016 meeting calendar settled, and as of our holiday party on December 2 I have turned over the "key to the club" to the very capable Jackie Marr, who will undoubtedly do well for the Silicon Valley Fireflies. In their infinite wisdom someone suggested we set the tone for our holiday party by hosting a holiday pajama contest, and while it seemed a little whacky going in, I think everyone loved the casual feel. It was the best potluck we've had, with so many yummy treats that I want to put together a cook book from the event.

That pretty much catches you up, I think. This coming weekend I'm having my first ever Holiday Open Studio party, with demos, food, raffles, and fun from 10-4 on Saturday, Dec 12. It's kind of the capstone to my year and a thank you for my awesome local customers. I'll also unveil my 2016 teaching calendar - I've been hard at work planning about 9 different classes next year, from mini torch-based workshops to weekend-long intensives, and I can hardly wait to show it. My Open Studio guests will have first choice of the limited number of seats, and I will publish the calendar for everyone else on Monday, December 14th by noon. If you're in the San Francisco Bay area, message me and I'll shoot you the directions.

It's going to be a somewhat quiet holiday around here this Christmas, so I'm hoping I'll have time for at least one more reflective post before the end of the year. I've missed writing, and I've missed hearing from you. And oh yes, just a reminder.  If you're on my mailing list you have a special coupon code for a discount in my Etsy shop before the end of the year. I'm feeling the need to clear some space for fresh new things in the new year, so check back frequently!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Abundant August evening in the straw bale garden

It's been a while since I've updated you on my straw bale garden, so last night our ball-tired pooch and I took a little stroll and some video.

First a disclaimer - This is the second season for most of the bales, so a few of them are in sad, slumpy shape.  I've replaced some, but many are leaning over and falling apart.  I planted everything quite early (April, which is about a month too early where we live), but it got cool and things are really lagging.  I've also been traveling quite a bit and not tending to it as well as I did last year.

That said, I was amazed by the abundance I saw there.  Lots of things are coming ripe and there is promise in the air.  The beans were a flop so far this year but I've got new seeds coming up for a late harvest.  Once my potato bales slumped over the hardware cloth gopher barrier the burrowing pests invaded and pigged out, so even though it's time, I'm not getting much of a harvest.

This year I decided to plant flowers in the bales that would work as cut flowers in the house, which I adore.  There are tons of rudbeckia, and some really nice looking dahlias, which the Straw Bale Gardening book says love the bale environment. They are right.

Next year I'm going to enclose the rows in a structure of 2 x 4s and hardware cloth - completely enclosing the bales so that if they slump, they stay more or less upright, and no critters can invade.  But I don't blame them - I've sunk my hands into the deepest depths of these soft bales and it's the richest humus I think I've ever felt.  I'm sure it's incredibly fertile.

If the video isn't useful at this resolution I'll work on getting an HD version up. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

New snap charms in my Etsy shop!

As my grandma used to say, "busier than a one armed paper hanger".  That's what coming back from 12 days in Europe and preparing for a home studio class will do to you.  The class was last weekend (bead capping and coring) and we had a ball, and it was just the push I needed to do another studio clean up. 

I've also got a couple of travel posts in the works for you, but in the meantime, I've also been having lots of fun with my cab mandrels making snap charms.  Turns out I forgot my main bag of jewelry for the trip, and all I had was a small pouch of earrings and my snap jewelry.  Snap bracelets to the rescue! 

So in gratitude for that, I've been busy entertaining my summertime muse of beach and ocean themes, and flowers.  Here are a few just listed today:

I'm offering this one as a completed bracelet, in your choice of brown or black leather.  Tidepool!

The one on top is here.  The one on the bottom is here

Same as above on black.
A lovely tropical flower snap charm. 

And a stargazer lily.

Tiger lily.
There are a new baker's dozen listings today, with more to come.  I've been a very busy paper hanger. 


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