Learn Metalsmithing, Cab Cutting and Rotary Tools with the Fabricationista Helen Driggs at Bead Fest

Recently, Tammy asked me to look over a post I wrote several years ago for Jewelry Making Daily about the making of my two Metalsmith Essentials DVDs: Basic Fabrication and Riveting & Cold Connections. I was flattered and kind of pleased to have produced content that she considers "evergreen," which is a buzzword we in print media use for not-so-breaking-news-topics that have the longevity, wide appeal, and usefulness to not become "dated"  or the new media way of saying "so last week."


I've been teaching for almost a decade now. Every time I teach metalwork in person and feel a twinge of regret that I am not a career educator, my boss respectfully reminds me that I am a teacher–just not in a regular university situation, because education is changing. The point is this: change is always happening. It's what you do about it that changes you.

Yes, my boss is right. I am a teacher–it's just that the delivery mechanism for my teaching is different. These days, I teach in magazines, books, on videos, on my blog, and yes, in person, too. Because if you are interested in teaching, you need to be prepared to deliver your content in many shapes, forms, and styles. Once I wrapped my head around that, I realized I already have and do what I thought I had no hope of, and it was easier to adapt to change and move forward.


True confession: It's still the in-person teaching I love most, so, Tammy invited me to write about my upcoming classes for BeadFest Spring and BeadFest Philadelphia in 2015. Her "evergreen" is an old-school term I relate to, and I love to teach the evergreen basics of metalsmithing. These foundation skills are the fundamentals of our craft. They are not flashy, sexy, trendy, fast, easy, or shortcuts. Often, they are not even all that much fun–because mastering them can be very hard work. However, there is a payoff. If you learn the essentials, one day you will be able to make things that are flashy, sexy, trendy, and fast–because you will have learned the most efficient and easy way to do so. Again, that's the payoff.


If you'll be at Bead Fest, are curious about learning some metalwork, starting lapidary, or mastering the use of a specific tool like a Dremel or Flex Shaft and all those little attachments you bought for it, hunt me down, because I've made it really easy for you. My two-day Metals 101: Jewelry Making Tools and Techniques for Beginners class is officially out of retirement, and all you need to do is show up. That's it, just register and walk in. You won't have to find one darn tool you never heard of, shop ahead of time, or even bring anything but a notebook and pen, because I will be building kits that contain every tool you'll need, and I will be carting most of my studio equipment to my classroom. All you need to do is learn. We will saw, file, solder, texture, form, and build your skills. We laugh, play, and have fun. We play the "What's this for?" tool game, cut bunches of metal, hammer our hearts out and learn. Best of all? You will go home with your very own basic metalsmithing toolbox–and you will be able to use every tool in it with confidence.

I will also be teaching Beginning Lapidary: Create Your First Cabochon and my super-popular class Rotary Tools Demystified: Dremels Only, so there's something for everyone at Bead Fest.

Questions? No worries! Leave a comment below and I will be happy to help you and/or encourage you. Teaching is my true love, and the roots of teaching lie in helping people, so let's get going, and I'll see you in April!

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