Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teaching Classes

Last week I taught two classes at the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton, NY.  This has been an annual event for me for about 10 years.  Clayton is a very picturesque town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The community is very interested in the arts so it is a wonderful place to teach. 
In the morning I taught a tubular herringbone bangle class.  The picture above is of the rocaille beads that I purchased from Shipwreck Beads for the class.  Colors to die for, I think.

Here is one of the models I made for the class.  I used size 8 seed beads for the darker part of the bracelet and size 6 for the turquoise.  Changing bead sizes in herringbone stitch has a dramatic effect.  Here the turquoise almost looks like a bead.  I made the copper rings to give the bracelet a bit of a tribal feel.  They move all around but never come off since it is a bangle.  

In the afternoon I taught a metal fold forming class and had a record number of students:  12.
They were all wonderful to work with and were so enthusiastic.  Luckily the class takes place in the pottery studio which is its own building.  The pounding of 12 hammers at once can be quite a racket and we didn't disturb anyone.
We used copper and brass 26 gauge sheet metal which I purchased from Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.  Prior to the class, I cut and annealed all the pieces we would use.  I planned on a pair of earrings and two pendants for each person and made extra in case more than the 10 expected showed up.  Good thing I did. During the class I annealed each fold the students made with my Lenk 500 LPT torch.  It held up very well and I only had to refuel one time.
I taught two kinds of folds.  A simple fold using a vice and the more involved Romero T Fold.  We are all indebted to  Charles Lewton-Brain for such accessible instructions on how to do these beautiful, organic folds in metal.  As you can see they are quickly learned and the results are beautiful.  All the pictures below are student work from the class that day.  I think each and every one cane out great!!

Two pairs of earrings in copper

A copper heart pendant

Copper earrings
Super heat patina on this pendant
A pair of earrings and a pendant

Copper earrings

Copper earrings

A brass heart and two copper pendants

One of the very special things about this day for me was meeting one of my on line friends, Andrea Ross from Canada.  Since Clayton is just across the river from Canada it was possible for her to come.  Since I had never met her before nor seen a picture of her I had no idea who she would be.  Just about 10 minutes before  the class began a number of students arrived.  One of them was wearing an incredible necklace and I commented on how wonderful I thought it was.  She responded by saying don't you recognize your bead??  And all I could say was ANDREA!!  I was blown away.  What a treat for me that she thought to make a necklace with one of my beads to wear to my class.  I am still so touched. 

Thank you to all of my students for such a wonderful day.  You all are so creative and fun to be with.  I look forward to returning next year.


  1. Wow-love all of the pendants and earrings your students made, absolutely gorgeous!

  2. As a beadweaver, I love the herringbone bangle and am already thinking up great colorways and bead combinations! But I'd be ready to put my seed beads down for a bit if I could find a fold forming class in Atlanta. Intriguing!

  3. LOL!! I love your classes, Mary! We all had a great time.....and made fabulous art!
    Thanks for sharing all your sources so your students can carry on with the instruction.

  4. Loved your metal folding class Mary. What a wonderful time we all had.
    It was so wonderful to meet you. I should have taken off the necklace so that you could get a close up of your fabulous vessel bead in it. I will try to send you a close-up shot. It is the centerpiece for sure.

    Great class with a great artist.


  5. Mary,
    I put up some close-up pictures of your great vessel focal on my blog. Not sure how to share a photo with you (newbie computer gal). That bead challenged me to stretch my design skills. Thank you for creating it. http://anniebsdesigns.blogspot.ca/


  6. Oh Mary, I have been out of touch! YOu are a marvelous teacher and I love all the hammering on copper!!!

  7. I wish you taught in Virginia!! I would love to take a class with you! Your skills are so diverse...from beadweaving - to metal forming... would have been there for both! Your student's work is GORGEOUS! love the hearts! And how sweet of her to wear a necklace made with your beads!! Loved reading this post!


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