Saturday, 13 February 2010

New workshops

I've had another busy week teaching for Oxfordshire Adult Learning and at The Oxford Bead Shop. Last Saturday I delivered my first More Beads and Wire workshop at Cheney School. I have taught this before but at my shop. We started the session by using oddments of memory wire to create chandelier type earrings then we moved onto making our own chunky jumprings, charms, coils, beads and more using mandrels, hammers and a 'Spiralling Gizmo'. I introduced the class to some new weights of wire and some coloured wires that are available. Within this bracelet design Helen made every part of it. She coiled the coloured sections using 0.5mm enamel coated copper, made the beads, clasp and base using 1mm silver plated wire then chose some beads to complement the design and create a focal point.

Sunday I taught More Beads & Stringing at the shop. This workshop, like More Beads & Wire, builds on techniques and designs previously covered in the intro workshop. We looked at using some of the coloured beadalon wires but rather then completely covering the wire with beads using this as part of the design and having sections showing. For lots more pictures and ideas visit The Oxford Bead Shop's Facebook page...

While I was teaching at Cheney School Lucy and Fiona were running a children's birthday workshop...I leave them the best jobs!!! This is one of the pieces that was made...obviously an experience wire worker!! We have an ever increasing number of young girls who are getting into making jewellery. They've all been attending a jewellery club set up at school by a teacher who had previously been on a workshop with me. Its great to see how keen they are to explore their new hobby. One girl who has been making memory wire bracelets has been selling them to friends and family and has almost saved up enough money to buy a Nintendo DS!!!

This week we also had a special birthday in the family....Harry turned 3 or in doggy years 21!!! We celebrated by having sausages...what more could a dog want!! He's getting a bit over grown so we're going to book him in at the groomers to get his hair cut soon - maybe after this week as snow is due again. We get him cut about every 10-14 weeks depending on the time of year. In the summer its nice to keep him short so he doesn't over heat but in the winter the extra coat is much needed. I've also started brushing his teeth, something I wish I'd have started when we first got him at 13 weeks. He doesn't seem to mind it and I think quite likes the poultry flavoured toothpaste!!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Precious Metal Clay Certification

This weekend I taught my first Precious Metal Clay Certification Module!! Since the beginning of the year Amy Surman - The Oxford Beadshop has been an Accredited Training Centre for the PMC Certification Programme. The programme is split into three modules...
  • Module 1 - Naturals The 7 projects in this module are designed to teach you how to make a textured pendant, simple stone setting, combine PMC with glass, make a ring, use organic materials, make a clasp, dry construction and the use of wood clay.
  • Module 2 - High Finish This module focuses on achieving a professional finish. The 6 projects also teach you how to use Japanese enamels, achieve a high shine, set a natural stone, use PMC 22K gold and combine PMC with fired ceramics and bisque.
  • Module 3 - Innovative design Create your own designs whilst learning techniques such as Keum Boo (24K gold foil), syringe design, chain making, ring with natural stone setting, combining PMC and Sterling Silver and liver of sulphur.
The modules can be taken in any order and this weekend we completed Module 2. We had a great three days - everybody worked really hard to complete their projects. You can see how hard from the table mess!!!!

This module really did concentrate on achieving a high professional finish - this takes time so the three days were jam packed with technique and focus.

A Collection of all 6 Projects

One of the things I like about this module is the way it combines PMC and traditional jewellery making techniques. For example...enameling, rubover setting and high shine. These techniques are more commonly seen combined with traditional jewellery making but they work so well with PMC. Enameling is perfect for PMC work as it is fine silver so there is no need for depletion guilding and no risk of oxidisation to the surface.

Rubover Set Ring with Blue Goldstone

Out of the six projects we covered I think this is the most difficult - The Bezel Set Ring. Firstly rings are not the easiest project to make with PMC due to the shrinkage, sizing and the join can sometimes be problematic. Within this project you also have to make a bezel (the bit that sits around the stone) out of fine silver and set this into the PMC - again you have to be careful with the shrinkage so the setting doesn't go out of shape or splits the ring completely!! I was very pleased that this project went well for all of us!!

Enamel of Precious Metal Clay

There's lots more images on our Facebook page...Later on in the year I will be delivering the Module 1 & 3 alongside all our other workshops...busy..busy!!
Last week we also had our first Beading Group meeting - last Tuesday of the month. It went really well although I was doing some private tuition that I said to myself I wouldn't!! The next one is at the end of February - I going to take part this time. Everybody bought along their own projects, tools, we provided the cake and tea and we all made a £2.00 contribution to Breast Cancer Research. It was great to see lots of different projects and ideas around the table.