Northfield, Minnesota is home to a great bead store called Glass Garden Beads. They offer an impressive array of classes. When I visited last fall and checked the store out, I knew I was going to come back to take a class during their next session. I checked in with my long standing beading buddy Jamie to see which one she was interested in taking. We signed up for a resin pendant class that promised to teach us the basics as well as some alternatives to bezel pendants. I had the basics down already, but was interested in the alternatives.
We had an excellent teacher and, as luck would have it, the other students canceled. That meant Jamie and I had our own private class with teacher, Heather Lawrenz. We had fun hanging out with her and picking her brain about all things jewelry related. You should definitely check out the gorgeous jewelry on her site. I especially love her Fearless collection.
Since it was just us, we got to spread out and plan the few bezel pendants we got with the materials fee as well as some of those alternatives to pre-made pendants.
Jamie was a focused student. That girl was industrious and came prepared with many bottle caps for magnet-making purposes. Her little girl is quite smitten with magnets at the moment, so she will love them.
I was really interested in learning how to pound wire to create my own open frames. After giving it a try, I am not convinced I liked making them. I much prefer wire wrapping with my soft, sterling silver wire. That thick, hard wire was painful and frustrating to work with. The end result was a bit more "organic" then I would like.
This photo is for Adam, Jamie's husband. Since Jamie is pregnant and he is big on safety, we made sure to document Jamie's use of the mask around the resin. It is pretty low on the scale of nasty chemicals, but we honored the "safety first" motto anyway.
The thing about a class like this is that you can't take what you made home with you that same day. Our goodies are at the store drying/curing for a bit before we can have them for keeps. A few of the things Jamie made are in the photo above and mine are in the photo below. We have tape around the pendants that have no backs to hold the resin in.
I also tried using a mini ice cube tray as a mold for creating some beads with dried flowers. I'm excited to see how those turned out and to try my hand at drilling holes in them.
And, as with the last time I visited the store, I was taken by the kumihimo technique. A few of the shop samples are pictured below. I ended up buying the supplies and am working on teaching myself how to make these Japanese braided "ropes." It is quite repetitive, much like knitting, so of course I am loving it.
I got a look at their next round of classes and there are already more I want to take! With all of these classes to take, how am I possibly going to have to time put these new skills to work?