Mendocino Arts Center Here I come!

I want to share my excitement over being asked to teach at the Mendocino Art Center this spring. I will be teaching two workshops which blend together really nicely and both can be taken by an absolute beginning student. The first 2-day workshop starts on April 30, a Saturday, is focused on the Etching Without Acid process. This process will etch nickel, copper, and brass without the use of toxic chemicals or hazardous acids of any kind, so, it is safe for use in a home studio or if you have pets. I will be demonstrating the use of several different resists as well as PnP (Press and Peel) Blue paper resist. The PnP Blue paper is wonderfully versatile and can capture quite fine detail, which this etching method is also capable of capturing. When this method is used on brass and nickel the etched plates can then be used as a texture plate to roll print onto Silver or for metal clay. Here are a few samples of what can be attained with this etching process.

This nice deep etch and lovely detail brings me to the second workshop I am teaching which starts on May 2, a Monday and runs until May 4, a Wednesday. This second workshop is my Swivel Locket workshop, which is based on the articles I have written for Jewelry Artist/Lapidary Journal magazine and Art Jewelry magazine.
The Swivel Locket workshop is also a workshop which a beginning student can take and will be able to complete the project while learning many useful skills. What makes this workshop so rewarding is that I have designed my instruction to be able to encompass many different skill levels.

More advanced students will be able to use the hydraulic press and my silhouette dies to make non-traditional shaped lockets,

while beginning students will be able to successfully make a more traditional round locket with decorative etched detail.  

  What has me so pleased with these workshops at the Mendocino Arts Center is the remarkably affordable tuitions they offer. I have made some brief comparisons over the Internet with other workshop providers and I feel the tuition that Mendocino Art Center offers their workshops at is a true value. I am very proud to be associated with the excellence of art and craft the Mendocino Art Center offers. I am sure these classes will provide an abundance of useful technical information for any metalsmith as well as a fun and rewarding experience for students at any level! There are a few seats still available in both workshops. See You There!

Stone Setting Class a Blast

On February 19th and 20th, only 3 weeks after I underwent total hip replacement surgery, I taught a stone setting class at Danaca Design Studio in the University District of Seattle. The focus of the class was making "heads" for oval and cushion cut gemstones. A "head" is the finding with prongs that holds a gemstone. Sometimes these are also called "crowns." I wanted to show how to make a basket style head and a slot-in-slot style head for oval and cushion cut stones. I selected these two cuts of gemstones since it is very difficult to find pre-made heads for these two cuts. It was so much fun to show up for class to find so many students who I have not seen since last year!  I was able to find some great large (12mm X 18mm) faceted glass Ovals and Cushions to practice on. Zuzanna also brought some really creative slot-in-slot ring settings for large, faceted, rutilated, quartz gemstones.

Here is Zuzanna, Erin, and Josette looking pretty for the teacher.


And here is Missa working hard on the slot-in-slot style head. And wouldn't you know it just as I was going to start shooting pictures of the "heads" we were making in class the battery in my camera went dead! Arggg! It was a wonderful class and I want to thank all the students for being so kind to me as I hobbled around with my cane.
What is really great is that Mendocino Craft Center in California has booked me to teach this class for them along with my Cold Connection for Faceted Stone Setting on August 1st through the 8th, 2011. Plus, due to student request Dana at Danaca Design Studio has asked me to teach a Jewelry Repair/gold use/Custom Order Pricing class and a Jewelry Rendering one-day on July 22, 23, and 24, 2011. More info to come soon!


Holiday Arts Show & Spring Workshops

The dates are drawing near for the Allied Arts Holiday Show/Sale. The 31th Annual Holiday Festival of the Arts starts on November 19th and is at 3548 Meridian Street, Bellingham, WA. Just WEST of I-5 and the Bellis Fair Mall.  I am putting together the final ideas for a booth display. It seems odd for someone like myself who has been in the jewelry business for 30 years that I have never done this kind of a sale/show before. Well, I have done a couple of Holiday Bazars with some of the arty gals from Nordstrom back in the day, but I never sold my jewelry at them. I mostly focused my creative application to ornaments for decorating a Christmas or Solstice tree.
So, if you are in Bellingham or know someone here pass the word! For those of you not in the Bellingham area, all the jewelry at my booth will also be available at my Etsy Store

In other news I have been very fortunate to book some fun Jewelry Workshops for the Spring of 2011. Here are the dates:

Feb. 19-20, Gem Setting, Danaca Designs, Seattle, WA
Fresh off of a Tucson Gem Show rush, I will be teaching how-to set unusual shaped faceted stones.
We will start with ovals and cushion cuts, then we will move on to whatever cool stuff the students bring.

Mar. 5, Hydraulic Press & Matrix Die, Tacoma Metal Arts Center, Tacoma, WA
I am so happy to be teaching for Amy Reeves at her school in Tacoma. We will be working with Matrix dies
and the Hydraulic Press. With the shapes we make we will be making Swivel lockets. Bring your own silver.

May 1-4, Etching w/out Acid & Swivel Locket, Mendocino Arts Center, CA
This will be an excellent time to learn several new techinques and apply them to a beautiful project.
The Etching without Acid is actually April 30th and May 1st, then we will take the etched plates from that class
to fabricate lockets or to roll-print on silver for a locket. If you liked my July 2010, Lapidary Journal article,
this workshop is for you

June 10-14, Lost Wax Carving and Casting, Peters Valley Craft Center, Layton NJ
I am very excited to be teaching Wax Carving and Lost Wax Casting at Peters Valley Craft Center. These are techniques that I used
during my years as the fine jewelry designer/production director at Nordstrom.



Laser Cut Matrix Dies are NOW Available for purchase with PayPal!

I am so excited. I have been researching and developing these laser cut acrylic Matrix Dies since 2004 and I now have them available for everyone with the Paypal on my new Etsy store. There are Five shapes, Square, Triangle, Diamond, Rectangle, and Oval in sets of three sizes; 1-inch, 3/4-inch, and 1/2-inch for $20.00 a set. 

 The 1/2 inch acrylic Matrix Dies hold up really well. I have taught with them for the last 5 years to make sure they will hold up under regular use. In fact the first set of acrylic Matrix Dies, which I cut myself on the University of Washington's laser cutter in 2003 are still the ones I use to teach. I used the laser cut prototypes for these Matrix Die sets to make the bracelets and locket shown here. Just imagine the kind of artistic jewelry you can make with these laser cut Matrix Dies.

   I have used my laser cut matrix dies with the 12-ton Bonny Doon Lite Manual Press, a 12-ton home made hydraulic press, a Harbor Freight floor model hydraulic press (scary), and the Mark III Bonny Doon 20-ton Deep Draw Press with the 4-inch riser block in place. The clear acrylic allows you to see your roll-printed metal through the die and capture just the part of your pattern you want to have on your piece of jewelry. 

To use: peal off the protective paper film, use the die to select the area of your patterned metal, leave 1/4-inch of metal around all edges of the open area of the die, tape the metal in place over the open area of the die. Place the 1/2 inch thick acrylic Matrix Die down on the base platen with nothing underneath it. Stack the urethane on top of the metal, which is on top of the die. Pump the hydraulic press to achieve a 3-D formed shape. Anneal the metal and repeat the pressing to get a deeper draw. Thinner gauges of metal work best on the smaller shapes. 

I have even used the dies in ways that they were not designed to be used to see how the 1/2-inch thick acrylic would respond. It is important when using these acrylic Matrix Dies to place them on the solid base platen of the hydraulic press (or on a solid riser block) and not on a urethane pad nor on top of the silver or copper, as improper stacking may cause the dies to crack. 


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