Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Phoenix Bead Expo Goodies! - Photo Update

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I took some classes at the Phoenix Bead Expo in May of this year. I am now in love with making chain maille! But I learned that I need to get some better tools if I plan to make more. Cheap chain nose pliers and 6 hours of working = very, very, very sore hands (that sport a lovely red mark across the palm).

The first class was the Open Roundmaille with Crystals Bracelet. This was a fun and fairly simple weave, once you got past the first couple of rows of rings and mastered the pattern. It's made using a core of 4mm bicone Swarovski crystals (I chose a dark teal blue, since darker colors show up better), and sterling silver 18 gauge 5.5mm ID jump rings. I managed to finish the bracelet in just two hours. Here's a shot of my finished masterpiece:

Open Weave with Crytals

Since I had two hours to spare before my afternoon class, I had a quick bite to eat (an overpriced quick bite to eat, but that's convention center food for you) and then I hit the Bead Bazaar (the most important part of the Expo). I was actually a little disappointed in the bazaar. It was no where near the size it had been a few years ago when I went, and it only took up half of the ballroom it was in. It took me less than half an hour to walk all the way around and pause at every booth. But Jane's Fiber and Beads had a huge booth, so I stopped in and picked up some seed beads. (Jane's provided me with some stellar customer service via email a couple of months back, and I'm now a loyal fan. They are my new Silamide supplier.)

The afternoon class was the Turkish Roundmaille with a Twist bracelet. This actually used the same beginning weave as the Open Roundmaille, so having that one under my belt made it that much easier to learn this weave. It is made using 18 gauge 3.5mm ID sterling silver jump rings (both smooth and twisted). I only completed half of the bracelet in class, it was a more complicated and ring intensive piece. But so much fun. Since my tools were less than ergonomic, it took me a while to finish. Here's a close up shot:

Turkish Twist

The classes were both taught by Sue Ripsch. She has had pieces featured in Step by Step Wire Magazine. She sells kits for projects and I highly recommend them. The kits include great step-by-step instructions with plenty of pictures as well as enough rings to complete the project in a number of sizes. After the classes I just had to purchase another kit and I'm looking forward to a little European 4-in-1 fun over the next few month. Here's a shot of the work in progress:

European 4 in 1 Chain Maille

So if you haven't tried chain maille yet, I highly recommend you look into taking a class. I am so happy that I did, and not just because I can cross one more resolution off the list for the year! ;D I'm hooked now. So hooked in fact that I splurged and bought some high quality tools so I can create more pieces with less pain. Ain't they perty?

Tools, Beautiful Tools!

Thanks for reading and happy beading!

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