Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bead & Button Show 2012 Recap

Just got home from Bead & Button Show and what an exhilarating experience it was!  I signed up for 10 classes this year.  It was a crazy schedule with three days of back to back day and night classes but I had to pack in as much as I can while I was there and it was so worth it!

Here is the recap of B&B 2012!
Day 1~Painting with Fire with Barbara Lewis
From the moment I met Barbara I knew I made the right choice to sign up for two of her classes this year.  I've been admiring her work for several years on various magazines, watched her video, read her book from cover to cover so I felt as though I was meeting a celebrity!  Her husband, Jim, and assistant Chris were such huge help during the two workshops not to mention how warm and skillful they were.  It was a full class and the three of them did an incredible job being attentive to all the students.  The immersion method is truly amazing.  Talk about instant gratification.  You can literally make beautifully enameled beads in minutes! The Painting with Fire workshop gave me the solid foundation for the immersion method.  Look at all the beads I made during class!

Day 2~Balance Beam Bracelet with Richard Salley
I took Richard's class last year at B&B and really loved his relaxed zen like teaching style.  I wanted to build a solid foundation in soldering and I so appreciated learning the technique from Richard.  His lovely assistant Martina Stein was there too.  She just has such a calming spirit and such a talented jewelry artist.  The two of them make such a perfect teaching duo!

The bracelet required 12 soldering points so it was a great way to dive in and learn the technique.  I was so happy I took this class with my dear friend Julie as we kept telling each other how we couldn't believe we were making this bracelet.  Everyone in class made beautiful bracelets and lots of oooohs and ahhhhs were going on at the end of the class.  Just another reminder not to limit what you can accomplish.  With great teachers like Richard, he makes your dream come true!  See you next year Richard and Martina as I'll be signing up for another class for sure!  

Day 2 Night Class~Soldering a Copper Bezel with Kim St. Jean 
I decided to take advantage of evening classes this year and signed up at a chance to take a class with Kim St. Jean.  It's great to learn the same technique from multiple teachers as inevitably they all have something different to share.  Soldering paste was used for this class which works totally different than solder sheets and wire.  It was so great to see different method and how to use different materials.  I'm used to working with PMC/Art Clay syringe and I was way too stingy in applying the solder paste to my bezel.  Kim finally came over and squeezed a very generous amount of paste and it flowed like a charm.  Note to self...apply more solder paste.  Working with thin copper bezel allowed us to bezel interesting shapes.  I originally picked out a rectangle turquoise but changed it to ammonites to challenge myself during class.  It was a great experience working with odd shapes.  I learned lots of great tips from Kim during the 3 hr class :)

Day 3~Micro Macrame with Joan Babcock
I was really into macrame back in the day but I couldn't remember a single knot (I guess it shows how long ago that was lol!).  When I saw Joan's work, I was so intrigued how she incorporated cords, beads, and wire into her work. But I just couldn't figure out how to do the different steps by reading her book.  I learn best from demonstration.  This class was such a nice change from my usual working with metal and I actually found myself enjoying a quiet soothing class working with threads and seed beads :) It was the most quiet class I took this year lol!   I bought several kits, her book and DVD so I can continue to learn and incorporate macrame into my work.  Joan and her husband Jeff were so sweet and helpful and patiently taught us through the multiple steps.  There are so many color cords to choose from and I quickly added them on my shopping list :)  Joan will be soon offering online classes on her Website and I will definitely be .  As you can see I still need to finish this bracelet but I can see myself doing micro macrame projects while watching TV.  

Day 4~"Soar" Surface Decoration for Enameling with Barbara Lewis
This was a 2nd class with Barbara and boy was I glad I took her Painting with Fire class first.  It really made a huge difference working with multiple shapes of the birdhouse.  I finally figured out how to get better coverage to the area around the mandrel near my hand.  My dear friend Julie and I sat right next to each other and we had a great time as usual.  I originally intended to have the main part of the birdhouse in cobalt blue with millefiori flowers around it but it ended up with specks and the millefiori flowers just turned ugly brown :(  I hate it when your original idea doesn't turn out the way you planned and I had to figure out how to make it work.  So I decided to coat it with layers of white and aqua.  Now with multiple layers of enamels, I used another mandrel and twisted the molten glass to get a unique effect.  I told Julie that this is either going to turn out to be the ugliest piece or surprising beauty.  When the glass cooled I was so happy with the result!  The great thing about working with enamel is you can always coat another layer if you are not happy with what you see :)  Just love working with forgiving materials!  It was a bit tricky putting fusing the floor, body of the birdhouse and the roof together.  We used Eugenia Chan's torching basket for that final process.  It's a must have tool and you can get it from Barbara's Website

Day 4 Night Class~Hand Stamped Spinner Ring with Chris Mode
I wanted to take this class last year but it sold out super fast.  I signed up within the first couple of minutes when the online registration opened and it was one of the first sold out classes this year.  Even though it's a 3 hour class, Chris was so organized and clearly explained the step by step process so I was able to finish this ring and had 30 minutes to spare.  It was a bit tricky to get the base ring aligned perfectly to be soldered but with a little help, the solder flowed so nicely.  I have so many design ideas in my head, I can't wait to start making these rings! 

Day 5~Hinged Treasure Boxes by Linda Larsen
Hinges can add movement, flexibility, and design element that simply can't be accomplish with a flat sheet of metal.  So when I saw Linda offering this class I jumped on the opportunity.  It was a full class and the time flew by quick.  I didn't get to finish the piece but I learned the step by step techniques.  Linda shared a great tip on using your thumb nail as a guide when you start sawing.  I always had a hard time to get the blade make that first cut and this made sawing so much easier to start.  She had many wonderful pieces on display and I just love the way her work looks.  I still need to attach the top part to the box on the bottom, thread the bail, and attach the necklace.  We used mica as the little window which was sandwiched between the two metal sheets and all three were riveted together.  Now I need to decide what treasure to put inside the box which will peak through the window.  What a fun piece to wear when it's all done.  I'll have to make it a point not to add this project on the ever growing "I'll finish that later" pile...  Linda is a fun and energetic teacher and she will keep you moving through the class.  I also had a great time sitting next to my new friend Lucie from Calgary during this class!

Day 5 Night Class~Metal Etching 101 with Cristina Leonard and Gail Lannum
I've been admiring etched metal for sometime and been wanting to try it but I was timid using ferric chloride so when I saw this class being offered at B&B, it was a perfect timing!  The class was taught by Cristina Leonard and Gail Lannum.  They are two great ladies who kept the class fun and informative.  We learned how to use both the PnP sheet and Sharpie Markers to create the resists.  Each copper were in the etching solution for about 45 minutes and created beautiful images.  Since I don't have a rolling mill (yet), this will be a great way to add designs and texture to metal sheets I use.  The possibilities are endless as you can basically etch any image even photos by using Photoshop.  Cristina and Gail are both talented artists.  It was so nice to be in their first B&B class.  I look forward to seeing what they will be teaching next year :)

Meet the Teachers Event
This is a must attend event at Bead & Button Show!  All the teachers showcasing their work and kits for sale.  I can't imagine a more exciting place to be!  If you want first dibs, come early as you can see the long line to the event.  The place was buzzing with students interacting with teachers.  I purposely avoided getting any seed bead kits this year as I still had some from last year and focused on metal and wire related kits.  It's also a great way to see the classes you may have missed and buy kits, or meet the teachers you may want to take classes from in the future.   It was a long but happy day and many of us left the event with bags of goodies :)

Day 6~Engraved Tapestry Bracelet with Melissa Cable
I took Melissa's class last year at Bead & Button simply because I was fascinated with a material I never heard of called Faux Bone.  When I found out what a great teacher she is, I kept a close eye on what she was going to offer this year and this class was one of my top choices.  Her classes are well organized with handouts with lots of information and she is so attentive.  Faux Bone was developed by Robert Dansik which is a non-toxic PVP which can be heated to form any shape.  It's truly a versatile material and you can use many medium to color it.  I originally cringed at the thought of engraving as I have such a hard time engraving on metal.  The engraver dances all over the metal and I can never get a clean design or lettering let alone intricate designs.  When Melissa told me I'm going to love engraving on Faux Bone, I was skeptical but once I started I was amazed how easy it was!  Everyone in the class had such amazing designs.  She introduced the Frame Flaring Tool which was used to make the bezel and so glad I reserved them during Meet the Teachers as they were sold out by the beginning of this class.
I'm looking forward to what she will be offering next year as she is truly one of my favorite teachers :)

Private Preview Shopping!
I was so much prepared this year for this shopping event.  I had address labels with my name, address, phone number, business license number and copies of my business license.  So many vendors appreciated this so they didn't have to write my information on the invoices.  I also made a list and tried to get to them first.  My first stop was Humblebeads and Heather Powers had so many beautiful beads!  Once I got my stash from Heather, I bought beads and cords to compliment them.  I really wanted to get a bunch of chains but decided to just write down the item numbers and order online as I knew I was close to the weight limit with all the new tools I already bought.  I was there until the closing announcement at 9pm and still had 1/3 of the floor to go.  Finished the rest of the vendors after the last class the following day.  With over 300 vendors, this is truly a beaders/jewelers heaven!

Day 7~Pierced and Stacked Pendant with Julie Sanford
One of my goals this year was to tackle my apprehension about using the jewelry saw.  I was definitely intimidated by this class but Julie has a gentle way of showing the techniques and step by step instructions.  I also contacted her prior to class via e-mail about the jewelry saw and she responded in great detail.  Once I got the rhythm going, I actually enjoyed sawing metal.  I put my headset on and listened to my favorite playlist and sawed out the entire design in one sitting.  I never thought I would say this but it was very relaxing listening to the sawing sound.  This was definitely another milestone reached :) 

After the shopping floor closed I went to the Miller Pub at the bottom of the Hilton and ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.  It was soooooooo good and I'm definitely ordering that again next year!  I managed to pack away all the goodies and went to bed with a big smile.  What an amazing week.  My experience this year was better than last year.  May be because I was more familiar with where to go and felt more comfortable.  I also saw many friends from last year and made many more new friends.  I had great teachers and creative fellow students.  My roommate Julie was icing on the cake!  It was so nice to share the day's event with someone at night.  It just wouldn't have been the same without her.

Mahalo Bead & Button Show!  You have once again made my dream come true :)  

Milwaukee you were so good to me once again.  I will see you next year! 


  1. Holy COW but you took some CLASSES!!!! Isn't Barbara Lewis amazing????

    1. Love love love Barbara Lewis! I was so hoping to run into you Lori but not this year :( Some day some day :)

  2. Wow! I love this post and all your pieces!!! So many fantastic and varied skills to add to your "toolbox." I bet your mind is just buzzing with ideas! Your idea to pre-print labels for the vendors was brilliant, too. I really want to go next year. :)

  3. Thanks Heidi! My head was definitely swarming with all the new creative ideas and techniques I learned by the end of the week. Never felt so energized! Hope to see you there next year!

  4. Kumi,
    what a great recap for B&B! You took classes with alot of my friends, Barbara (of course), Kim, Melissa and Linda! I know Richard but never got a chance to really talk to him. Sounds like you made every minute count. I was so tired from teaching that I didn't see but about 1/5 of the show floor! Maybe next year if I teach I will have some breaks!

    1. Thank you Debora! I was tired too but it was a good kind of exhaustion! Looking forward to find out what you will be teaching at B&B next year!

  5. Thanks for the mention. Classes for next year have been submitted. Not we wait to see if they get accepted. You took a lot of classes this year!! Glad you were in our class!!

    1. Ohhh can't wait to see what you two will be teaching next year!! Hugs