Getting Ready for Beadfest Santa Fe

Here it is Sunday afternoon, and it’s rainy/snowy and messy outside.  I’m glad to be inside, and putting the final touches on my class packets for Beadfest in Santa Fe.  This is my first time to teach at Beadfest, and I’m really excited about it.  I can’t think it will be very different from teaching my adult beginning jewelry classes at the college, but one never knows.  The class is called “Soldering With Success”, and I don’t know what level of students I will be getting.   Some  will be beginning, I know, but some may be fairly accomplished, just with specific soldering problems.  I have promised them I can solve their soldering problems, whatever they may be.  I sure hope I haven’t let my mouth overload my rear end!

Being a teacher is a tremendous responsibility.  I want to make sure I am giving my students reliable information, so I continue to research every new technique that is out there.  Tevel Herbstman at Allcraft Tools recently made a new wire solder for me. It comes in a rod, like a piece of 16 gauge wire, so I will debut that.  It’s great for “soldering from the stick” or “stick soldering”.  Also I’ll be teaching pick soldering, sweat soldering and my own  way of soldering rings and jumprings.  What constantly amazes me is that something I think is “old hat”, is brand new to so many people, and that’s the fun of teaching.  I teach all the tricks and bench tips, and hold nothing back.  Why have students re-invent the wheel?  They can take where I leave off and maybe invent a better wheel.

But being a teacher is, like I said, an awesome responsibility.  I have a 30 page hand-out for them.  So there is writing the handout (mine is a compilation of my writings for the last 3 years plus some new stuff), colating, exroxing, and putting them in their orange folders (the color of a solder flame).  Yes, I even think about the color of their folders.  Then I have to order their supplies, like solder, silver, flux, solder picks, everything that will be in their supply bags, and don’t forget to order the zip lock bags, too.  Then putting everything together,  cutting the solder, silver, making sure you leave nothing out of someone’s bag. Its harder than you think, and takes a lot of organization.   Then after that’s done, I have to put together my classroom sets of pliers, files,  etc., clean and pack my pickle pot, check the torches,  and at the last minute, find out that I cannot take my acetylene tanks!!!  So we will be soldering with something that runs cooler than I’m used to.   But that’s OK, I am used to the torch we will be using, since that’s what I used in Chile for 3 years.  In fact, it’s the torch most of the world uses.  But I will miss my trusty Smith torch!

But I do this because I love teaching. Doing all these things are what I love.  I mean, its not like taking the dishes out of the dishwasher or folding clothes. (Gag)   I love writing and making packets and organizing.  I know that at the end of my last class I will have the satisfaction, that really good feeling, from sharing with my students the techniques and information that will help them become a better jeweler.  Teaching is a tremendous high for me. I make so many new friends from students, and to me, that’s what life is about.

I look forward to all of you who are coming to Beadfest in Santa Fe.  I hope to be teaching at the newly announced Beadfest Dallas, Oct 1-3.  Even if you are not taking my class in Santa Fe, if you are there, please make yourself known.  I know one of my favorite cutters, Gary B. Wilson, will be there with his glorious beads and cabs.  I’m eager to see who else is there with new and fun things.  And besides, it’s such fun to be in Santa Fe, with it’s budding Creamsicle-colored hollyhocks and adobe walls dappled with soft shadows of the bare tree branches.  I love Santa Fe in the winter.  The snow on the adobe walls makes all of Santa Fe  look like a giant carrot cake!   The pinon smoke fragrance of logs burning in fireplaces add so much to the ambience of the town.  It is wonderful, plus seeing the galleries, shops and restaurants.  I went to college in Albuquerque, so my love for all of New Mexico goes back a long way.  My soul lives in Santa  Fe and Taos.  This will be such a huge treat for me.  I’m excited.

So, See you in Santa Fe.  For those of you not going, I’ll post a full report after we return next week-end.



10 Responses

  1. Hi Lexi!

    So glad you posted this.

    You are a great teacher, I know.

    And those who are taking your soldering classes in Santa Fe are in for a real treat, a great learning experience, and discovering things that will make their metalwork better.

    If I may be so bold, you and I know what makes a teacher memorable and a true standout in a students’ heart. You are one of those teachers. No brag, just fact!

    Best wishes for a wonderful time and experience in Santa Fe. I know I will miss not being there.

    And I look forward to hearing from you about any Gary B standout stones. Thanks for being my eyes and ears in Santa Fe.

    Hugs & much love, Kathleen

    • This comment doesn’t count, my Dear Kathleen, because you are way too biased. I wish you were going with me to Santa Fe. WooHoo Girl! What a time we would have. But since you aren’t going, there will be some of Gary B’s stones left for someone else. I’ll choose something nice for you. And of course my students will love me, I’ve put chocolate in their supply kits! You can’t solder without chocolate. See, that’s why some people have trouble soldering…no chocolate. But I will see you as soon as I get back.
      Much love, and thank you for the comments, I know they are from your heart.
      Much love,

  2. Hi, Lexi–So that’s hat you’ve been up to! Wish I could go to Santa Fe and take your class just for grins and to see if you can teach an old dog new tricks. Lol!

    I would like a copy of your hand out. How many large denominations would I need to lay out for a copy?

    It’s is always interesting to read what you have to say about techniques and your entry above sort of coincides with some of the videos I’ve been watching on Ganoskin. A couple of European artists have really interesting videos. Both use a blowpipe type torch and from what I can tell from the videos, their soldering is first class. It appears they use a very gentle flame for the most part with an occasional short burst of intense flame. One artist uses a pair of bent tweezers to either pick up a tiny ball of solder, or to close a join of two pieces. Which in a way flies counter to teaching that you must have close fit in order for the solder to join two pieces together. If you can squeeze the join together with the tweezers, then the solder will hold. At least he can do it, I don’t know about anyone else.

    Well, I hope you have a good trip and an excellent class and that your students will learn lots of good things about soldering.

    BTW, I did read the article in Ornament about your friend Marne. She looks like she’s a real character!

    Oh, and the stones you sent have been carefully put away in the cab box. Daryl liked the petrified sequoia and cat’s eye. Someday, soon, I hope to get them set. I’m just not quite ready to do that.

    Hugs, John

    • Hi John–I’d love to have you in a soldering class, anytime. When we do the Dallas class in Oct, maybe you can come. As for the blow-torch, Harold O’Connor swears by them, but I was not trained on one and don’t think I would like it. His soldering is first class, too. But pieces should be touching, because solder works by capillary action. It is possible to hold something together and solder it closed. I have done that in the past. Those European students are very good, and to be a teacher you must have been practicing for 20 years. Their system is very strict and we could learn a lot from it. I would love to see us adopt something like that here, especially at the colleges and universities, but as a long time teacher, I don’t think it would go over in the US. Their classically trained goldsmiths are fabulous to watch and to visit with.

      Marne is a character…and I love her dearly. We are very close friends, and I will miss seeing here this year in Denver. She usually comes and stays with me for a nice visit. This year she may come stay here, but Mark’s 40th high school reunion is this year, so we will be in Minnesota with the rest of the Swedes and Norwegians. Marne’s work is fabulous, and she is such a giving teacher, and a wonderful person.

      And watch your mail box. I’ll send you something from Santa Fe. I’m glad Daryl likes the stones, and she has excellent taste!

      Many hugs back,

  3. Wow, a 30-page handout! I’m not going to Santa Fe this year, if I were, I’d love to get something like that in a class. Everything always seems easy in class–it’s when you get home that you can really see what you learned or not!

    • Come take my class anytime….I’m big on handouts, and like you said, they are invaluable after you get home.Thanks for the comment.

  4. Hi Lexi,
    Your website and designs are beautiful! I can live vicariously through you as I have always wanted to make such beautiful jewelry. Enjoy Santa Fe and I hope to take a class from you one day. Say hello to Mark!
    Lynne Swanson (Mark’s cousin “Erickson”)

    • Hi Lynne–It’s so great to hear from you. We’ve always talked about you coming down and staying a week and learning to make jewelry. The invitation still stands. We would love to have you anytime you can get away, but I imagine everyone is keeping you pretty busy right now. But that’s all the more reason to take a week for you. Im gla you like my website, I think Kathleen did a great job on it, and I need to update my jewelry. More is coming for the new shows this summer. Give Jamie, the kids and your Mom our love, and thanks for writing.
      Much love,

  5. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

    • Hi Piter, and welcome. Well, I suppose you could call the blog my hobby. I like to think of it as online teaching since I love teaching so much. I’m glad you enjoy it. Please keep in touch.

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