Over the second week of June, Anne taught her first online class at Anneville Jewelry Lab to an enthusiastic group of 10 students ranging from San Diego to Georgia all the way to Edmonton, Canada. Blazing ahead through the vagaries of technology, Anne guided the students through the creation of a stunning mokume gane bracelet, and the resulting student works were fantastic! Along with the learning we also had a lot of fun seeing each other's home studios and tools. San Diego local Miranda created a gorgeous bracelet using her very basic but ingenious kitchen table set up of masking tape & ballpeen hammer stake proving that you don't need a ton of tools to make cool stuff. Speaking of tools though, check out Mary's uber-cool mandrel! We also got a kick out of guest appearances by Laurie's dog Rusty (great name for a metalsmith's dog-LOL!), Jasper the very fabulous cockatiel and various cats - who unequivocally let us know exactly what they thought of the whole thing. Read on for more photos and Anne's thoughts on the class.
I have to share a little secret - teachers love making kits. Well, at least this one does, and I don't think I'm alone! I don't know why, but it is so satisfying to portion everything out, figure out the cost and how to package things. I'm in the middle of doing that now for my first ever online class - my popular mokume gane stamped bracelet class is going online! It is an interesting challenge to adapt the project and adjust the kit for folks who will be working from home, not using my studio. For instance, usually students use my stamp tools that I've designed specifically for patterning mokume - they aren't chasing tools, and they aren't design stamps; they are sort of in between. So, guess what goes in the kit? Two mokume stamp tools handmade by me! I love making stamp tools, and I think students will find them useful to have for many types of projects. Plus there will be a mokume bracelet blank of course - I've chosen silver/brass/copper mokume because the patina for that material is actually easier to use than the one for copper/brass mokume. It does make the kit more expensive, but I've found that usually students want the silver mokume anyway. I was delighted to find tiny vials and jars on Amazon today, so each kit will also contain Baldwin's patina and Renaissance wax. That way you can patinate and finish your bracelet exactly as I do in my studio.
Today's mokume gane twist workshop produced some terrific student work. I'm always amazed at how differently every student approaches this technique. Starting with 6mm square solid mokume-gane rod, students twisted, forged and filed their way to unique finished projects from bracelets to an abstract metal art pieces. Copper/brass mokume was included in the class but two students upgraded to silver/copper/brass mokume. We even had an advanced student doing stamping techniques too while working on two different projects.
Did you know that we have the 14th century English poet Chaucer (author of the Canterbury Tales) to thank for making Valentine's Day a romantic holiday? Since then it has become an occasion to express love with presents and cards. If you're looking for a unique gift, how about skipping the flowers and giving your crafty loved one something they'll really enjoy - a gift certificate to the new Anneville Jewelry Lab? At our February FNL we'll be offering discounted Lab gift certificates and selected Anneville Studio pendants and rings - and the first 5 customers get a FREE heart-shaped box of chocolates (or a cute bag, if you're not the chocolate type). We'll also have music, nibbles and sips so stop by to see Anne's newest creations and help us celebrate Saint Valentinus! Get directions.
I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed attending the workshop "Mokume Gane with the Masters" at Rio Grande in Albuquerque, with James Binnion and Chris Ploof. (Held February 8-13, 2015.) Turns out the big names of mokume are down-to-earth cool guys who just want to share their knowledge and experience with fellow mokume gane enthusiasts. I was one of 12 students eager to delve deep into the geeky world of mokume - science and numbers blending perfectly with big dangerous tools and hot metal.
I also enjoyed getting to see the insides of Rio Grande (where I purchase supplies, tools and metal) and learning what an impressively run company it is. The employees were helpful and welcoming, and we got to test out oodles of cool tools and equipment. It is clearly a fabulous place to work. Our tour of the facility deserves its own blog post - look for it here soon.
This workshop got me fired up (so to speak) about fusing my own mokume again. They demonstrated practical techniques to make the fusing manageable, repeatable and cost-effective. It will take a little time to get all tooled up and kitted out to do it, but now I'm confident of the steps, and am thankful I won't need a power hammer!
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.