Friday, May 2, 2014

Make Some Jewelry at Beads and Bangles on May 16-18

Wouldn't you love to make your own jewelry? 

Jewelry making is a great hobby that can be done in a small space, and many jewelry techniques require only a minimum of tools and materials. It's very rewarding to make pieces of your own design for yourself and for gifts...and even perhaps to sell some day!

Each year the Beads and Bangles weekend at Shake Rag Alley offers eight fun, introductory level classes for the novice jeweler. You can take one class (or several classes) and try out various jewelry making techniques. 

Classes this year include wire-working, metal plate etching and fabrication, Precious Metal Clay (PMC), and using paper, plastics, found objects and fiber to make cords and beads. 

Explore different approaches, learn new skills, network with other jewelers, and leave with a lot of new ideas and jewelry. Some classes are already filled, but there is still room in many. 

Bend some wire

Deb Donaghue at work
You can make terrific jewelry pieces just by bending wire. And Deb Donahue is just the person to show you how. (If you're in Mineral Point, stop by the Longbranch Gallery to catch the exhibit of Deb's exquisite 52 Brooches in 52 Weeks collection - it's a wire bending extravaganza and truly a must see.)

At Beads and Bangles, Deb will be teaching Hammered Wire Jewelry...noisy, but a lot of fun!

Hammered Jewelry pieces

Deb will also be teaching Jewelry Cages - Controlled, Chaotic, Collapsed, a class making wire "cages" (a wire pattern wrapped around a bead). These wrapped beads make great pendant and earrings dangles, and can be used as components in a bracelet. Or, if you've got a lonely single bead that you don't know what to do with because you only have one, but you just can't part with because it's so special, making it into a dangle with a cage might be just the answer.

Make some charms and learn basic Jewelry Metal Fabrication

Kay Rashka assists a student in a
recent Shake Rag Alley workshop
Etched Charms

Who doesn't love charms? And charms you've designed and made yourself are the best. 

PLUS, you can learn the basics of jewelry metal fabrication from a real pro in Kay Rashka's Etched Charms Class. Kay is an expert metalsmith who has recently published her first book, “Bead Meets Metal” (see our Instructor Spotlight blog post about Kay).

Learn to use Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and try Soldering

Sherry Viktora works on a PMC piece

Sherry Viktora is Shake Rag's PMC guru. Sherry has been teaching at Shake Rag Alley almost from the beginning and is one of our favorite instructors, teaching many PMC classes every year.

During Beads and Bangles, Sherry will be teaching her very popular Silver Metal Clay Bracelet class (don't delay registering - the spots are going fast).

Stained Glass Tulip Brooch

But Sherry is a multi-faceted artisan who also is adept at stained glass soldering and has taught workshops making stained glass garden ornaments at the annual Garden Getaway in March. 

For Beads and Bangles Sherry has "down-sized" her stained glass and solder projects to jewelry size to create a delightful stained glass Tulip Brooch. Students will not only go home with a great piece of jewelry, but will learn how to use copper tape and solder not only for jewelry but for mixed media applications as well. 

Bracelets Galore

Covering your arms with bracelets is all the rage, right? At Beads and Bangles, not only can you make a PMC bracelet, but you can also make a Kumihimo bracelet, a Memory Wire bracelet using beads you make yourself, and an easy Rolo Chain bracelet!

Finishing up a Kumihimo cord

Make a colorful braid for a necklace or bracelet using the Japanese technique of Kumihimo. Super easy to do with the circular braiding kit that instructor Regina Riley will give you. She'll also bring all the yarn and decorative fibers you need.

Regina taught herself to coil pine needle baskets 21 years ago. Since then she has always had a needle and thread in her hands and has been weaving baskets and making cords from every imaginable type of fiber.

Memory Wire bracelet - commercial beads
combined with hand-made beads made from vinyl tubing
Or have some fun making your own beads from mundane materials like vinyl tubing and paper in the Bracelet With Handmade Beads class. Then string your hand-made beads together with commercial beads on easy-to-use Memory Wire for a really unique look. It's a hoot!

"Dipped" paper beads with
wood beads and hardware

And why not make a weekend of it and join your fellow jewelry-making enthusiasts on Friday evening for light refreshments and good conversation while you work on a nifty Make-N-Take project - a Rolo Chain bracelet.

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