This past weekend both Gene and I travelled to Fort Walton Beach, Florida to attend the Emerald Coast’s Bead Society’s 2016 Bead Retreat. We were planning this for well over a year and the weekend finally arrived.
The drive to Fort Walton Beach was pleasant, traffic was light, and we were there before we knew it. After we checked into our room, we got ready for the first evening class. I went through my bag to make sure I had all my kits and tools for the class I was scheduled to teach. Everything was set, and we walked to the top floor conference room to our evening activities.
Gene took a class with Marcia Balonis, a well-known designer from Florida. He learned the brick stitch via her beautiful pattern, “One Moon Circles.” Being a very careful and methodical beader, Gene will be working on the project when we return home, and when he finishes it, I promise to post it here on my blog. Here are a couple of pictures of him working on it:
Meanwhile, I taught my Charming Chainmail Charm. The finished piece can be used as a decorative charm for purses, beach bags gym bags, et cetera. I designed it as a beginner level project for people who don’t have any experience in working with chainmail, yet it’s enjoyable enough for the experienced chainmailer. I handmade all the jump rings in various copper wire sizes and colors. I showed my students how to connect the jump rings by two, and “twisting,” or turning, them such that they have a crisscross look. This technique also makes the jump rings stronger as a whole element.
Not only did we learn how to make a handcrafted chain, I taught my students how to wrap beads on headpins. This, perhaps, was the most time-intensive portion of this project. First, you need to choose the right combination of beads (color and sizes) to place on the headpins. Then it’s the business of wrapping the beads onto the headpins, then attaching the clusters to the already-made chain. Here is a picture of one of the student’s work in progress:
You can see that she has more wire wrapping to do, but it promises to be a pretty piece!
There were seven classes going on the first evening, including an introduction to bronze metal clay, how to make your own findings and beads, and several beading classes that demonstrated various stitches. The room had a nice, soft hum to it as everyone talked and laughed, and what was nice about it was none of the white noise was distracting to anyone. Sometimes too much chatter, particularly off-putting topics, can be disruptive to both beader and teacher.
As the classes finished, many of us headed to our rooms to freshen up and head towards the hotel bar where they served light meals and drinks. Gene and I opted to have a nightcap, as we were not too hungry. We met two of our friends who were already in the bar, and the evening passed quite nicely – and quickly—with intelligent conversation and rib-tickling laughter. We all had a good time, and before midnight we called it a day and headed to our respective rooms to get some much-need sleep.
The next day would prove to be very busy.
©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.