Jewelry Making Tools, Supplies and Gemstones Galore – Must be Tucson Time
A few of us from Interweave were fortunate to travel to Arizona for the Tucson gem, jewelry, and bead shows. I was one of the lucky ones and added to this jewelry-making adventure, the Creativation show by CHA and a visit to Halstead Wholesale Jewelry Supplies. I saw a lot of Arizona, cacti, palm trees, sun, snow, ice, and a lot of friends. Not to mention, jewelry supplies, gemstones, tools, beads, more tools, and more gemstones. There was so much to be seen on this trip and so much jewelry making was had–it’s almost hard to call it work.
Tools Make the Heart Grow Fonder
Let’s start with the tools portion of this adventure.
At the Beadalon booth, there were lots of tools being shared. Of note, here are just a few. The Spin-N-Bead Bead Loaders. I love this tool as is – it makes short work of threading beads, and when working on a beaded kumihimo design or bead crochet, who doesn’t love that kind of help? These new loaders make it easier to “spin-on” a pattern of beads. Fill the main bowl with one color then fill the loaders with other colors. Spin away, stop, add a new color; spin, stop, add another color. Boom! Or, if you’re working on multiple projects, you could have different loaders on hand rather than having to dump out your beads each time. So smart!
Katie Hacker’s new tool, the Bracelet Knotter Tool is like having a third hand. Shown in this picture stuck to a sticky mat, the foam base is supporting the bangle. While supported, you’re free to knot away with ease. You can also use the “C” shaped grip to connect the foam base to your worksurface.
And like miniatures of their famous big sisters, the Ring Weaver Tool by Kleshna Handel and the Baby Jewel Loom by Julianna Avelar make their debut in the desert!
Make Your Mark!
Other tools that I know you’ll love to get your hands on, and get into your studio to get your stamping metal groove on, are these great new stamping tools by ImpressArt. One great new addition is their stamp guides. There are guides for stamping in a circle and for stamping on a straight line. For as much as I have stamped, and for as good as I think I am, I know I will be employing this new tool as I begin my next stamping project.
Also seen in the stamped sample on the lower left is the new ImpressArt Mandala series of stamps and a new font used to spell out Love. In the image on the lower right, you can see the circle blank covered in black ink. Well, that’s exactly what happened. Their black enamel ink is now available in a pen. Pain the ink onto the blank then wipe off the excess, leaving the dark color in the stamped impression. Brilliant!
You will definitely see more of these tools, beads, and studio supplies as the year goes on. This is just a sampling of what we saw and just enough to whet your appetite! Meanwhile, get your stamping groove on with one of our amazing stamping books like Stamped Metal Jewelry by the queen of stamped jewelry, Lisa Niven Kelly.
On to some shiny and sparkly delights.
On one particular day, the Interweave crew got to assemble at a beautiful resort where we were treated to the Swarovski launch.
Of course, we were very excited to see the new crystals in person but this view was also a treat! We gathered in the lobby of the beautiful resort then shuttled over to the conference room via golf cart. Yes. We had fun, laughed and felt a little spoiled. The launch, of course, being the highlight, we were excited to see, first hand, the new colors, the new shapes, and new finishes of the Swarovski Spring/Summer 2018 crystals.
Keep your eye out for specifics on the launch as well as designs made using these new crystal elements.
Resin is Hot and Was a Hot Topic in Arizona
Time to get our hands dirty!
At BeadFest Summer in Philadelphia we saw the new ICE Resin tints. Well, there are now more colors.
We also saw the new glitter. Well, now there is German glass glitter. And yes, I’m in love.
Susan also introduced tissue paper with great designs and luminous layers. These products are direct reflections of requests from artists who want to be able to work with resin and the colors yet have the transparency and a touch of Susan’s imagery. Thank you, Ranger!
Not to be overlooked – Susan is also bringing us quality spools of leather and a wonderful leather glue. I had the chance to use the glue and so far, so good! Susan also put the glue to the test using it to create designs then wearing them all summer. I think this adhesive will be one we’ll all have on our shelf.
Jewelry Making on the Road
Highlights for the trip came in the form of sitting in on a few workshops and demonstrations. This was a time to fill my cup, my heart, my soul, and get my hands dirty making rather than just from fondling rocks.
I sat in with Helen Driggs and learned some of her latest tips and tricks for working with colored pencils and metal. What a talent she has! Be sure to check out her website Materialsmithing to see some of her latest designs.
One of the workshops was a nighttime soiree combining the talents of 5 women: Kate Ferrant Richbourg, Marilyn Gardiner, Meredith Arnold, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Carrie Story, and Eva Sherman. The ladies joined forces to share a touch of their passion with attendees. Each instructor had 30 minutes with each group then the groups rotated. There was a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, a lot of products!, and a lot of great designs to show off at the end of the night.
In Person with a Master
One early morning, Katie Hacker (a master in her own right) and I stopped by to see Bill Fretz. It was nice to have time with Bill, see a demonstration by him, and take the time to learn more about his hammers, methods, and new tools in person. Wow! Did I mention I also added to my hammer collection?
Over all, I think it’s obvious my Arizona adventure was awash with friends, good times, lots of jewelry making, jewelry-making supplies, gemstones, and although long days, a lot of great moments. As I unpack my bags, hang my new hammers, dig back into the cold of winter, I’m inspired to review some of the videos I saved up for this quieter time of year. On the list:
- Metalsmith Essentials Basic Jewelry Hammering and Forming with Bill Fretz
- Metalsmithing Essentials Hammering and Forming Jewelry Volume 2 which will help ensure I use my hammers properly, right out of the gate.
- Forge Wire Cages and Other 3D Form for Jewelry Making: Capture Stone, Glass and Found Objects with Susan Lenart Kazmer as I have quite a few unique finds that could use different types of settings and captures.
- And this favorite of mine I want to revisit: Jewelry Rivets and Other Cold Connections eBook by Helen Driggs. To spend time with Helen, you’re reminded a simple sentence to her contains nuggets of tips and tricks that contain volumes to us.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg but there is just never enough time to get to all the shows. For more from Tucson check out Tammy Jones’ Tucson wrap up as well as Merle’s world-wide tour of gemstone cabochons.
Until the next road trip–keep making!
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