Thursday, April 01, 2010

Cold Connections

Several non-jewelry making friends have asked why I went all the way to Santa Fe to take a jewelry class. (My 3 year old calls it "jewelry school"!) So I thought it would be good to explain a little about what I was doing in New Mexico. Bead Fest Santa Fe was the draw for my trip. Bead Fest is run by Interweave Press, one of the biggest and best names in art and craft publicaions. They have several of these events throughout the year accross the country. Here's a link: These events are a great opportunity to take classes that aren't typically offered in your local area. It's also a great opportunity to buy raw materials and meet others who share your passion for making stuff!!

My main love is wire work and for a long time I've been wanting to know more about cold connections. What the heck is a cold connection? It's basically joining metal together without heat - solder or fusing. We're talking rivets and tiny screws. It's a great, somewhat industrial look, that I'm crazy for. It's also one of those skills where learning directly from someone with a lot of experience can save you a ton of time and money in the long run. I was fortunate enough to get into a class with Connie Fox, one of the superstars of wirework and jewelry teaching. So exciting!! Connie does beautiful work that is featured in many jewelry publications. She also teaches all over the country and has instructional DVDs. Here's a link to her site:

I wasn't dissapointed. The class gave me all the basic cold connection skills that I was looking for. Connie has a very relaxed teaching style that made everyone feel at ease. (I couldn't resist asking her for a few teaching tips.) She demonstrated how to make plain rivets, tube rivets, cotterpins and the very cool tiny screws and nuts. We also learned some flex shaft tricks as well as wire guage and drill bit selection skills. Everyone seemed to throughly enjoy trying out our new skills. In fact, Connie had to push us out at lunch time - no one wanted to quit working. Now I'm back home with some cool new tools and lots of ideas bouncing around my brain. If you can make it to one of these shows I'd really encourage it. It will inspire you to try new techiniques and help you to grow as a jewelry maker.

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