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This weekend was the Madison Art Glass & Bead Show. I am very lucky to have an annual bead show right here in the town where I live! When I go to shows, I’m generally all about the shopping, but not this year. I’m branching out in 2019. Not only did I buy the Challenge Bead for the show and enter the competition (more about that later) but I took a class.

Two things I’ve really wanted to learn are how to use a torch and how to solder. I barely understand the differences with different types of metal, fusing vs. soldering, etc. I AM SO GLAD I TOOK THIS CLASS. (Sorry for yelling, but it had to be done.) I understand things so much more clearly, and I’m not scared of the torch anymore. I also thought understanding timepoints – when something was ready but not overdone – would be much harder. It was so much more clear than I thought! Our goal in class was to make a fine silver ring and some fine silver balled headpins. The teacher was Shannon who owns a local bead store, Meant to Bead.

I also wanted to try the join again and just see what would happen if I were sort of “careless” and didn’t try to really shape something. I like the look of more organic rings I buy from others, so I made another larger “ring” to use in jewelry. 

It’s a little hard to show the texture on the rings, but this was a start to finish class. We learned safety and technical things. Then we started with a piece of wire and start to finish made items. I really loved how Shannon structured the class. She would give us the information, and then we could work at our own speed. That really worked for having a class open to students with all levels of experience. It gave me everything I had hoped to get from it. I’m excited to do more torch work at home. Here is my ring in action.

As I mentioned, I also entered the competition with the challenge bead. It is a gorgeous lampwork bead with copper end caps made by Walter Gross. The picture doesn’t show all the beautiful depths of this bead. Here are both sides.

Here is a (bad) picture of my entry in the case. Exciting!

Here is a little better picture of my entry.

I love how this turned out. It feels wonderful on. I made a copper chain tassel. The neck part is strung on waxed linen with Humblebeads disc beads, TierraCast coper wavy spacers that reference the lentil end caps, faceted lapis, seed beads and a copper clasp by Miss Fickle Media. There were a nice number of lovely entries. I did not win, but I had fun making this piece and seeing my work displayed.

I did do a little shopping. I always make sure to visit the Dakota Stones booth any time I have the chance. This time, they had some gorgeous large turquoise strands on sale. I was fondling some of the really large beads, but I know as much as I love the look, they are too heavy to be comfortable for me. So I bought two of the smaller (still decent sized) strands. I can always use them in separate pieces if they are too heavy. 

This next purchase makes me laugh. Before the show, I told myself not to buy any African beads. That tends to be my favorite, catches my eye first, and I just feel like I could branch out. I have so many I haven’t used! However, I was weak. 

These are from Taylors Falls Bead Store. They always have such a great selection of African beads and good prices. I could not resist.

I will definitely take more classes. I’ll update you on my adventures in using the torch. Quite a while ago, my dad gave me a small micro torch. I’m going to get that out and see how I like it. I wrote down the brand of torch I used (and liked) at the class, and can get that at Meant to Bead if the small one doesn’t have enough power, but maybe it will be just perfect. I really love the idea of making more of my own components to use in my jewelry.