Back from Bead and Button!

What a wonderful week! There’s nothing better than a road trip with great friends that culminates in amazing learning opportunities, shopping fun and reunions with old friends. It’s always exhausting, exhilarating and elevating. 

I have so much to share but here’s a quick overview of some of my fave things.

I made a great spinner ring with Robyn Cornelius. She offers this sold-out class every year. 
 

Spinner ring I made in Robyn Cornelius’ class


I adored the freeform style espoused by Mary Hettmansperger and soared creatively in her Portholes and Hinges class. I treated a lot of metals and have ideas to finish four or five more riffs on this design. I’ll blog about that at a later date, no doubt. 

Front of portholes and hinges necklace

Inside portholes and hinges

Learned a whole lot about enamelling, returning to learn how to raku enamel with Steven James and finally tackling flame immersion enamelling with Debora Mauser. This is the pulling station for flame enamelling. See a few enamelled headpins to the left. We then moved on to the flat metal and filigree beads. 

Bead pulling station

I absolutely adored raku enamelling and can’t wait to create projects to teach how easy it is to achieve these organic beauties. 

 

Raku enamelling


 And here’s the gorgeous raku ceramic pieces I got from MakuStudio, one of a kind pieces by Marianne Kasparian.

MakuStudio

More to come!  

Branching out

I have always loved to draw and paint. But I got away from it and channelled my creative urges into needlework and, for the last 10 years, jewellery-making and design.

My last job was Executive Director of the Queen West Art Crawl and being around such wonderful artists all the time reignited my desire to create with paint on canvas but also in jewellery techniques. So I decided to join the St Catharines Art Association. One other reason is to get the member discount on a booth space at Art in the Park July 18 – 19. 

I went to the meeting last night, which was held in a bright, modern room at the Kiwanis Aquatic Centre. There was networking going on, and a small show at the front of the room on the theme floral. Members brought their work to display here. There was coffee and cookies. And a speaker, Jim Kerr, who started working on a painting of grape vines – he got it roughed in, some shadow defined and some background in the short time allotted – all the while answering questions from the audience. Apparently I missed a life drawing class last month.  There is a group show starting tomorrow at Millpond. I hear it’s good but I can’t get there this month. 

It’s an older crowd. Not many young people there. Something I’ve noticed about a lot of membership organizations. I wonder if that’s because younger people don’t know about these groups or whether they don’t care to learn from long-time experts and choose to work on their own and make their own mistakes. I’d be sad to learn that’s the case since I have such great respect and love for my mentors in life, art and business. 

Watch for my news on my art adventures and for my booth at Art in the Park. 

Forging ahead

I love fire. I love hammering. I love the changes that both impart to metal and the finished projects I create.

I always say that I must have been a smithy in another life because forging feels so natural to me, and I instinctively know how to use the tools required to get the results I’m after. It’s not difficult to set up a portable forging centre at home. I have a Craftmate workbench, and my rolling mill, vice and big anvil are attached with bolts to it. 

This is somewhat portable (it gets a lot heavier with an anvil and rolling mill) and very compact. At my old house I kept it behind a rice paper room screen. Here, it’s in the basement. 

 
To create a fire area, recycle an old baking tray and silpat. Put your fire brick/solder block or annealing pan on it and you’re ready to solder or foldform anywhere. You can place your quenching bowl and tools around it. This set up is very portable too. I do a lot of my forging and enamelling on the back deck in nice weather.  Here I’m working at my dining room table. 

   
  Happy forging! 

New classes added in St Catharines and in TO

Last month I taught a class at Craft Arts Market in St Catharines and I’ve added two more in May. On Friday, May 22 I’ll be reviving my copper bracelet class, which is a great beginner class if you want to learn some basics of metalworking and riveting. Sign up here

The second class, on Friday evening May 29, is an Intro to the Now That’s a Jig! and features a bracelet and charm project. Check it out here

In Toronto, this coming Saturday, May 9, from 10 am to 1 pm, I’ve changed my class to offer instruction in how I create my one of a kind bead embroidered buttons. There are spaces in this class and the kit fee is only $5. Go to www.torontobeadsociety.org, click on the BEadFabulous photo to register. 

In June, I will be teaching my always popular wire kumihimo bracelet and knitting with wire on the spool knitter. Tons of creative fun! Hope to see you at one of my classes sometime soon.  

Heart Head Hands

I have always felt the need to make things and, I suppose, to design things. I remember being a young girl and making clothes for my Barbies as well as furniture for them from household objects. I played with scraps of lumber and wire to see what I could create. My Gramma worked for Craft Master and she brought us “seconds” and leftovers from their paint by number and crushed gravel art. My dad would paint in oils and water colours when I was young and I too loved to sketch and paint. An elderly neighbour taught me all kinds of crafts, such as weaving on a small loom. At Christmas I received rock tumblers, bead looms and other craft kits. When I wasn’t reading or organizing my library I was using my hands to create. I was lucky to live a life filled with creation – I sang in school groups, church choirs, I wrote stories and poems, and I took piano lessons for 13 years. I was blessed to be surrounded by people who cherished and encouraged my talent. 

 

I think we had this kit!

 
In my 20s and 30s I focussed on easy to complete crafts while my career and son took the bulk of my time and attention. I still made jewellery, and often took my whole lunch hour to poke through the beads and findings at Arton on Queen St West. I wrote so much creative copy at work that my writing dropped off but I took endless classes at what we now call Creativ Festival. I learned embroidery, cross stitch, blackwork, bobbin lace making, tatting, Bargello, battenberg lace making, felting, punch embroidery. I made cross stitched Cristmas decorations for friends and family for years. I spent most of my time on intricate, silk thread on linen samplers. 

Then one day my friend Deborah and I decided to go to the Toronto Bead Society’s bead fair to get some beads for needlework pieces we were working on and I fell in love all over again with making jewellery. I joined the group, then the steering committee and took on programming then the chair. I started taking classes and soon began teaching them too.  I haven’t looked back. All of the creative energy I had stored up, all of the mentors I learned from and all of the knowledge from a breadth of crafting endeavours have coalesced into this moment. I am so happy to be in a place right now where I can call creation, and sharing the excitement of creation with others, my job. 

Upcoming classes

I am spreading my teaching “net” even further this month with the addition of Craft Arts Market as a teaching venue. Join me this Saturday for my Vintage Soldered Rings class from 1 to 3 pm. The store is at 6 James St, St Catharines. Cost all in, including kit, is $50. The web site is craftartsmarket.ca.

Sunday, I’ll be at Beads of Colour in Dundas, teaching my Infinity Bracelet on the Now That’s a Jig! as well as basic torch enamelling. Check their site for details and to register. There are a few spaces left. 

And on May 9, I’ll be one of the great line up of teachers at Beadfabulous, being held at the downtown YMCA in Toronto. For details or to register go to the TBS web site.  My class is a little different but I invite you to stretch yourself and try something new. You won’t go wrong learning how to create custom moulds and then unique paper clay components that you can colour and finish to suit your project. So much fun. 

Infinity Bracelet

  

Paper Clay Rose used as a necklace component

  

Later in May, on the 15th and 16th, I’ll be back at my second home, BeadFX, for Open Metal Night on Friday from 5 – 8 pm. Then on Saturday I’ll be teaching Viking Knit and, by demand, the Twisted Forged Bronze bracelets. 

Guaranteed fun. Guaranteed learning. Guaranteed beautiful finished project. Hope to see you at one of these classes!

All photos copyright Cindy Goldrick 

Colour me 

Recently, I have seen articles about adult colouring books and how calming they are. There is something soothing about the action of colouring and there’s definitely something comforting about the act as you relive your carefree childhood colouring fun. 

Last year, in a class with Gail Crosman-Moore on colouring metals, she touched on using pencil crayons on metal but we didn’t get to really go into it. But my curiosity was piqued, so I decided to do more reading online then experimenting to see what kind of results I might get. 

I’ve been excited about my results and want to share with you. I taught this last night at TBS techniques night because I think it’s a great way to create custom components for your jewellery creations. 

I start with metal stampings with shape and depth. To prepare them, I take some medium grit sandpaper and sand each piece to create a “tooth” on the metal for the gesso. Clean and dry the metal before brushing on a light coat of gesso. I do this about three times to get good coverage. Now you have a blank canvas to work on. 

Using Prismacolor pencil crayons (they have a high wax content), colour your metal as you like. Then use mineral spirits or turpentine on a brush to blend your colours. You’ll find the pencil crayon lines begin to melt and blend and you get a very painterly effect. I continue to colour and build up depth using various pressures on the pencil then blending with the brush and mineral spirits. When I’m happy with the piece I make sure the mineral spirits have fully evaporated then seal the piece with Mod Podge or Diamond Glaze. 

   

 

Your custom coloured component is now ready to be incorporated into your jewellery. Try this technique. I guarantee fun and a unique talking piece to wear. 

A ring for every finger

So last week I went crazy making rings. These rings are the same easy soldered rings I teach in my classes. My final ring tally was 34, although six of them were leftover samples made in classes with students. The rings are destined for sale in a recently opened shop in downtown called Craft Arts Market.  They will be selling for $20 each, so I hope they fly out of the store. 

Below I’ve outlined how these rings are made and I share a recipe for homemade pickle. 

  

Yes, I set up my work station on my living room floor so I could watch TV too. Look at that pile of ring shanks waiting to be soldered. I cut the flat wire, filed it and made a “D” shape to ensure a surface where both ends meet tightly. 

 

And the flux flares and the solder flows.

 

 Here’s the pickle I made. Worked quickly and my kitchen smelled like salt and vinegar chips. Warm up, in a covered metal or glass pan, two cups of vinegar and two tsps salt.  That’s it! 

  

After the vintage stampings were soldered to the shanks (I pickled them too to ensure a good clean surface for soldering) I pickled the ring to remove fire scale then shaped it on my mandrel using my rawhide hammer. Then, using a buffer wheel on my Dremel, I cleaned and shined each ring. A final coat of Renaissance Wax and, in a few cases the application of a Swarovski crystal, and they are ready for sale. 

  

Societies

Humans are communal by nature. We tend to work in groups and seek out like minded people to share our interests and passions with. The benefits of forming common interest groups are many: fellowship, sharing, learning and mentoring. All of these benefits bring joy, a sense of self-worth and self-growth. Most of these groups are successfully built on the backs of volunteers who give their time, energy and concern to them. 

I’ve always been a joiner. I also am a helper and a teacher. Joining groups throughout my life has fulfilled the communal needs I share as a human. I currently am, or have been, a member of or attended meetings with these bead groups: Toronto Bead Society, Niagara Bead Society, West Toronto Beading Guild, Grand River Bead Society, Great Lakes Beaders Guild. I have given thousands of volunteer hours as Programming Coordinator and then Chair of the TBS. My bottom line is ensuring that members have a great experience at meetings, make new friends, learn something new and share something too. 

Involvement takes effort. I urge everyone, though, to make an effort commensurate with the time and energy they have to give. It will make your bead society better than it is right now and it will definitely make you better at your chosen craft and a better person for caring. 

My only caution is to not let your personal life suffer for it, nor to make the group a closed, and therefore closed-minded, one. Once that happens, and a clique forms, the will of the group falls by the wayside and the rule of the few takes over. All volunteers deserve respect. All members deserve a voice. Strive to make any group you join an inclusive one. Everyone’s contribution counts as much as the next person’s. 

Springing forward

I am still putting all my free time into developing a collection of embroidered vintage buttons as well as a small collection of enamelled pendants. I have so many concepts swirling in my brain and not enough time in the day to execute them. 



I am loving St Catharines and the Niagara region, even in this frigid weather, and I continue my investigations into the creative world I’ve entered here. I met an amazing beader named Genevieve Habib. She invited me to her place and we had tea and shared stories. Watch for her classes at Beads of Colour.

I joined the small but dedicated group of ladies who comprise the Niagara Bead Society. The last two meetings have been dedicated to making jewellery for the Prom Project. 

I attended a local meeting of CHA members and will join that group. 

I am meeting with a new local collective downtown, Craft Arts Market, about carrying my jewellery and offering classes. I’ve been investigating local shows. When the weather improves I’ll walk to the local bead store to say hi.  

In the meantime I am teaching again at Beads of Colour and have great classes coming up at Beadfx — etching and the Infinity Bracelet that will be featured in the Spring 2015 issue of Wirework. 

If your interests stretch to painting and mixed media works you should also check out the Coast 2 Coast Show in April. I’m teaching a resin pendant class and setting up some cash and carry one-hour classes.