Jewelry: Your Springboard into New Techniques

Bead festJewelry may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of mixed-media art. Yet jewelry is the perfect small canvas for your favorite art materials, found and natural objects and vintage castaways that might otherwise get relegated to the back of a dusty drawer. You know, the things you can’t think of a use for, but just can’t bear to throw away?

When it comes to creating jewelry, written instructions are great for providing tips and trends. And, there are a lot of great books and magazines out there.  But there is nothing like a workshop with an accomplished artist instructor to elevate the project from a series of steps to a view-changing experience.

Bead Fest is combines shopping in an Aladdin’s Cave of beads, gems and jewelry findings with interesting classes. Reflecting the tastes and trends in fashion as well as jewelry making, classes in metalworking and using alternative materials are drawing more students than ever. Why? You leave the class with a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry and basic skills that can apply to all kinds of projects back in the studio.

This week at Bead Fest Santa Fe you can transform sheet metal into beautiful pendants while learning how to get the most from your Dremel in Thomas Ashman’s sessions. Lynda Larsen will show you how to transform metal sheets into hinged lockets or tabbed pendants that can hold a small flat-backed object or cabochon.

Concrete - It's Not Just For Sidewalks Anymore - Robert Dancik[2]

Concrete- It’s Not Just for Sidewalks Anymore
Robert Dancik

Learn how to weave wire into a delicately woven cuff or discover how Sue Ripsch turns a postcard-size bag of jump rings into an elegant Swarovski crystal embellished chaine maille bracelet. Robert Dancik takes the concept of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary in Concrete – It’s Not Just For Sidewalks Anymore. Kate Richbourg will employ humor and patience as she puts you through the paces from sawing and riveting to soldering and stone setting in Simple Soldering Sampler Boot Camp.

Simple Soldering Sampler Boot Camp - Kate Richbourg[2]

Simple Soldering Sampler
Kate Richbourg

Just a month after Bead Fest Santa Fe, creatives will be heading to Bead Fest Spring, just west of Philadelphia for a different slate of classes that offer equal technique laden rewards.  Richard Salley will incorporate the techniques of tube setting faceted stones and enameling in his Fire and Ice Pendant. Julie Sanford invites all levels of students to learn how to avoid the cost of pre-fabricated “fancy” wire by making patterned, twisted, and textured wire in your own studio. Debbie Simon will show you how to use Epoxie clay and add colored transfers.

Fire and Ice Pendant - Richard Salley[2]

Fire and Ice Pendant
Richard Salley

If you love making jewelry, get out of your studio and into our classroom! Beadfest will provide you inspiration and motivation to expand your craft. If you are new to jewelry making, Bead Fest will show you that many of the techniques used to create fascinating jewelry can be applied to an endless array of mixed media projects. The live experience of a workshop filled with interesting and passionate people to meet, and trove of treasures you can’t find in local stores are sure to awaken the muse!

Bead Fest Santa Fe is this week, March 14-17 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Bead Fest Spring arrives at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, April 13-15. Visit the Bead Fest website ( for the complete list of events and workshops. Each location has over 100 exhibitors of jewelry making supplies, plus 90+ workshops in a variety of lengths and for a variety of experienced levels.  Get free admission to the shopping expo with your workshop purchase. Bead Fest is an F+W Media event.

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