Friday 16 February 2018

March 2018 GEM EXPO Classes have been posted!!!

Sign up early as many of the classes are now filling up within a week or two of being posted. Don't be disappointed by waiting until you get to the show. Class sizes are limited to allow the instructor one-on-one time with each student.

When you're asked to bring tools to class if you have them, these for me are the four essential tools.

L to R: Bent-nose pliers; flat nose (or chain nose -- next on my list to buy); round nose, flush cutters (with the pointed ends).


1. Unless you will be doing a lot of travelling, do not buy the small travel or kid-size tools and pliers. They aren't meant for constant use, and they don't work as well as full size pliers because they'll make good results more difficult to achieve.

2. Hardware store tools are NOT suitable.

3. Buy the best pliers you can afford and if you have a choice of padded/ergonomic handles like the blue ones on the left and right, those are preferable to the red-handled pliers in the centre of the photo.

4. Beadalon and Eurotool are both good starter brands.

Monday 12 February 2018

Learn to Make Diffuser Bead Jewellery at the March Gem Expo, Toronto...

These are just a few of the endless pieces of jewellery you can learn to make using four basic tools, some wire, findings and beads and a few simple techniques.

The four basic tools I used...

L to R: bent nose pliers, flat nose (or chain nose) pliers, round nose pliers, pointed-end flush cutters.

Proper tools make everything easier, and jewellery-making is no exception. Buy the best quality tools you can afford, pliers with padded grips being the better choice. Even though they're usually sold in a plastic package, try to close the tool and see that the tool closes evenly all the way along the working surface. Do not buy the smaller, child-size pliers that come in sets, they're fine for travel but not to learn with as you won't get the gripping power and stability you need. make these... 

...using the following techniques...

1. Understanding and choosing the correct wire gauge, temper and materials (copper, brass, silver, plated metals);
2. Practise making a rosary loop and a wrapped loop, what the difference is and when to use them;
3. Opening and closing jump rings;
4. Learn about head pins, eye pins and ball pins. If there's time, I'll show you how to make your own head pins and eye pins;
5. See how simple findings such as accent beads and bead caps elevate your work.

Bring your own beads, pendants and findings to the class. I'll have many different sizes and colours of diffuser/lava beads available to choose from. I use leather cord to make adjustable chokers and necklaces. Many show vendors have sterling and plated chains for sale.

Please subscribe to get the latest information plus $2 off ticket prices. Classes will be posted soon. By booking any class lasting over one hour, you'll get free three-day admission to the show. Reserve your place early as class size is limited and often fill up well before the show begins.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm looking forward to seeing you at the show, just over a month away now.

Monday 5 February 2018

March 2018 Gem Expo Classes will be posted soon!!!

The March 2018 Gem Expo is being held the last weekend of March Break, March 16th, 17th and 18th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, King Street in downtown Toronto: great timing for those looking for something fun for everyone from kids to grands to wrap up their vacation time away from school and work. Crystals, fossils, beads, finished jewellery, wire-work...

...we gotcha covered! PLUS there is the new Metaphysical Expo happening in the second ballroom. One admission gets you into both shows. Subscribe and get $2 off your admission. 

Here's a sneak peek at my three classes:

Friday Evening (Time TBA):

Aromatherapy Diffuser Bead Pendant and Earrings for Beginners

Just two possibilities to make in class. There will be a wide selection of lava bead sizes and colours, large and small pendants and dangles and bead caps to choose from as part of your kit fee. 

In this class you'll learn how to wrap beads to make your own aromatherapy diffuser pendant and earrings:
- make consistent wire loops and wraps, the proper way to open and close jump rings;
- accent your bead with bead caps to enrich the overall design
- how to attach your beads to earwires or necklace with jump rings

Saturday morning class (Time TBA):

Nifty Tips & Tricks for Wire Working for Experienced Beginners-Intermediate
Please note: this is NOT a suitable class for absolute beginners

In this class you'll learn to make your own wire findings easier, faster and more efficiently
- overview of wire types, temper, gauges, etc.;
- how to make consistent wire loops and wraps and troubleshoot difficulties;
- make your own earwires, plain and decorative headpins, connectors & dangles;
- bring questions!!!

Sunday morning class (Time TBA):

Totally Addicting Stretch Bracelets for Beginners+

Whatever you want to call them -- stretch, stacker, diffuser, healing, chakra or mala bracelets -- this is a great introduction to jewellery-making. Dress 'em up, dress 'em down, once you learn a few little tips and tricks you'll find the design possibilities are endless. Stretch bracelets make up quickly and just about anyone can make and wear them: they're easy to roll on and off with no pesky clasps to fiddle with. The only tools required are (sharp, pointy) scissors and occasionally pliers. 

You'll learn:
- tying and hiding a knot without using glue (& why you don't want to be using glue!);
- adjusting tension & sizing your bracelet to fit;
- easy and inexpensive ways to jazz up a plain bracelet by adding charms and/or spacers

NOTES ON TOOLS for most classes:
You'll notice you're asked to bring your own tools if you have them as instructors only have limited numbers of tools for participants to use. In general, these are the four basic tools anyone making jewellery will need at a bare minimum. Note that hardware store pliers and cutters do not work.  

L to R, bent nose pliers, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters. 

It's always advisable to buy the best quality tools you can afford to save your hands from carpal tunnel and/or aggravating arthritis as well as make it way easier to manipulate wire. Those cute sets of tiny pliers you'll see in stores are meant for limited use when travelling or for kids' tiny hands. 

Hint to beginners: Subscribe to Michael's newsletter and whenever you're near a store pop in and use their daily 40% or 50% off coupon to buy something expensive -- tools!!! -- that rarely if ever go on sale. 

Sign up for classes early!!!
By subscribing to either The Gem Expo website or the MetaExpo website, you will receive notifcation when all of the classes are posted. Don't be disappointed! Sign up early as many in-demand classes have limited places and are fully booked a month before the show.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you at the March 2018 GEM EXPO and METAEXPO!!!