Monday, March 28, 2011

Beading by the Bay 2011

It's hard to believe that our second annual Beading by the Bay retreat is in the past. The weekend was awesome! Beginning with a great Trends presentation by my friend Ron Rock of Swarovski Elements, having great food prepared daily and last but certainly not least three awesome women who taught three terrific projects. We certainly shared many laughs together. I want to personally thank all of you who made the weekend a truly wonderful experience. 

I'm looking forward to next years workshops featuring Sherry Serafini, Rachel Nelson Smith and Marcia DeCoster.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brass, Your Next Favorite Metal

Yikes, Silver today was almost $37 raw/ounce. Well until it starts to drop, (ha ha) if ever, I have discovered that brass is a great alternative. Most silver jewelry being done today is translatable to another metal besides silver. Unfortunately, I do have trouble offering chain maille in copper or brass. In my opinion, sterling is still the best metal when weaving jump rings together forming simple to intricate chain designs.

This past Sunday, I sat in on a class by master Metal Smith, Iris Sandkuhler. I was interested in her techniques for texturing, stamping, antiquing and riveting metal.  The class was suitable for beginners and was a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon. I have a new appreciation for brass components. I will continue to bring in more variety of brass items so that students have a reasonable alternative to the higher priced silver. 

Vintaj makes some great brass filigree beads and components, Tierra Cast has introduced a new brass plate to their wonderful line of casted clasps, beads, findings and charms (and they are manufactured in California to boot!) and Softflex has manufactured a great craft wire called Vintage Bronze which goes perfectly with our collection of brass beads, findings and chain. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oscar Night!

Okay, I admit it, I was one of millions who watched the Academy Awards on Sunday. My reasoning of course was to see what inspiration I could get from the jewelry. Many actresses wore very little jewelery, (Hillary Swank looked like she left home without them) and some were over the top (insert your favorite name here - Lady Gaga comes to mind, but it's the wrong show). The color on the runway in couture was scarlet, but the jewelry was definitely diamonds and emeralds - a pretty bobble that is green in color and measures 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.  Its composition is Beryllium aluminum silicate and it is associated with May. Those beautiful green gemstones were seen on many starlets from Annette Benning to Reese Witherspoon.  My favorite however was Amy Adams. Her jewelry was spectacular!! That little bobble on her wrist, a bracelet watch by Cartier, is 30+ carats of carved emeralds and diamonds and is valued at a cool one million. Yikes! All-in-all the Oscars, with all its glamor and glitz, is a great way to get your creative juices flowing...ah until next year.