One of my goals for 2015 was to expand my teaching venues beyond Roadhouse Arts - and I was a little nervous about it, because there are some seriously awesome teachers out there. (You know that little voice in your head that wonders how you measure up? Yeah. Me too.) After a lot of back and forth, my friend and business partner Gail Stouffer finally suggested that I send applications in to Glass Craft Expo, and come up with some projects that would introduce metalwork to a very glass-oriented audience.
So I did.
And all four classes were accepted.
I had never sent teaching applications out because I was intimidated by what I thought the process was going to be, but it turns out to have been a lot easier than I expected. I spent some time imagining what metalworking techniques might be of interest to someone who loves glass, based on some of the things I learned in the first year I worked with glass. Putting myself in the shoes of prospective students is one of the things I do regularly when I'm developing my regular projects and classes, so this didn't feel particularly alien to me - but I also asked glass artists I know (especially my friend Gail Stouffer!) what they would want to know if they were just starting out with metals. Then I wrote up the descriptions, put together the sample projects and snapped some photos.
Classic Glass: Bezel Setting Cabochons
Bezel setting is one of those things beginning metalsmiths generally find very intimidating - I was one of them. There is very little that I find more rewarding that watching someone in that mental place achieve success with this technique - and all with a culinary torch, even with larger pieces.
Sticks and Stones: Prong Setting
Making organic prong settings for flat-backed cabochons is easier than it looks, and the results can be quite dramatic. It can also be done with a simple culinary torch, which makes it a terrific technique for the "kitchen table" jewelry maker.
This is a simple, uncomplicated cuff that combines some very useful techniques for people just starting out with metal: annealing and forging copper, drilling holes in glass cabochons, texturing and cutting metal, and creating and setting rivets out of copper wire.
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I am so excited - and a little nervous! - about teaching at such a huge venue. I am sure I'll have some tips and lessons learned after I've actually done the teaching part, but for now I'm working on making all the glass cabochons I'm going to need. And if you're going to be in Las Vegas next April, I'd love to see you - make sure you stop in and tell me you're part of the AJE community!
Until next time -