This was my fourth year attending the Bead and Button Show, and I’ve taken classes there every year. I find them a great value for the money and always come away with great ideas, beautiful, wearable jewellery and new contacts. I learned from some great teachers there over the years: Kay Rashka, Chris Mode, Tracey Stanley, Steven James. This year I added Kate Richbourg to that list. I learned more about soldering and ring construction from her in the space of a few hours than I could have from any book or other teacher.
A good class is one in which you master the technique, come away with something wearable and, most importantly, are creatively challenged to continue to explore the technique. Good teachers get you excited about learning and are excited by your growth. Kate is one of those teachers, and I try to be that kind of teacher as well.
So, not only did I learn a lot about ring-making, I continued to learn a lot about how to teach. And for that, I am truly thankful. And it’s the reason I will continue to take classes for the rest of my life. Learning is always a joy. Sharing is an even bigger joy. Combine them both at an event like Bead and Button, and you have the perfect world.
I made this ring at Bead and Button in my day-long ring making class with the talented and wonderful Kate Richbourg.
So, as a new teacher, and a Canadian at that, at Bead and Button this year, I expected Meet the Teacher night to be pretty quiet for me. I know how crazy it can get after helping Marilyn Gardiner last year, and shopping at the event before that, but I was blown away by the people who stopped to compliment me on my work. We managed an extra sign up for one class, thanks to my marketing guru Gail Speers, and sold quite a few rings, necklaces and even a bracelet or two. Talked to some bloggers, reps from bead societies and made a few other great connections there.
I taught my first class on Saturday afternoon — an etched cuff. I was honoured to have the Garlan Chain ladies in my class and I had a lively, creative and fun group of ladies to spend the afternoon with. Each one made a gorgeous bracelet and no two were alike.
Sunday morning classes at Bead and Button aren’t for the faint of heart — students or teachers. It takes a great love of learning to get up that early on the last day of the show for a class. I was blessed to have Frank Scott, lampworker and teacher, in my Easy Copper Cuff and Ring class. We traded teaching stories, he learned a new method to easily and securely mount lampwork beads and the morning flew by.
And my evaluation forms? My students loved my classes. No one scored me less than 8 out of 10, and my average was 9.4. I was very pleased.
I am already working through ideas to submit for next year’s Bead and Button. And I hope my students this year will return, as well as spread the word about how much fun we can have with metal.