Category Archives: Marketing

Oh No!! Someone Copied my Work!

I remember my first cover for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.  I wish I could say I was thrilled.  I was horrified.  I always imagined my first cover would be beautiful, elegant  and colorful.  I would be so proud of it.. Well…not even close.  It came from the step by step  in that issue, and later I found a number of people really liked those earrings and attempted making them.  Now I laugh and accept the cover…sometimes. They were simple cones, and I certainly don’t have a copyright on a cone.  Since then, Todd Reed has riffed on a cone design, and so has Phil Porrier.  But I have no reason to be angry, a cone is a cone, and I get to tease Todd about how his look like mine (OH, how I wish!)  But there are only so many things you can do with a cone when you are teaching beginning jewelers, and the magazine asked for a beginning project.  Since then I hope I have redeemed myself with other more graceful and complicated projects.

But as a teacher, my students sometimes cry  ”Someone copied my work!”  Well, I write step-by-step projects for  Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, the 65-year old leading art jewelry teaching magazine, so don’t expect any sympathy from me.  I struggle over designs just as hard as you, and then put them out there for them to be made world wide.  Without you knowing it, if you post all your work on the  www, you will be copied, too.

Not only do people copy my step-by-steps,  but  also what I put out in the Contributor’s Page, which is not taught in the magazine.  Some people even send me the photos of what they have made when they were  inspired by my work.  Some look like my pieces,  some are way off base but they tried.  They are learning, and they liked my piece enough to try an copy it.  I am sincerely flattered.

I know one teacher who teaches the technique project, and then get upsets if the student makes something that looks like it.  That’s not nice.  If you teach, your student ‘s work may emulate your work.  That’s just part of the game.  They will soon find their wings and their own style.  Be happy that you were part of the process. But what about those of  you who are not teaching?  Your work gets copied, and suddenly something appears in a store or gallery, or just a photo shared online, and it looks like yours?  Does that upset you?   Now, think about why.  Is it because the other person’s may sell, and yours may not?  Believe me, everything will sell if you find the right niche.  Is it because you were so brilliant that nothing like this has ever been done before?  Well, maybe, I have seen several artists whom I consider brilliant, but in the history of the world, there MAY have been something that looks similar.    What can you do about it?

Oh, you have a copyright?  Ok, your copyright is only as good as the money you have to defend it.  Don’t worry.  A lawyer will get most of the money, anyway.

One day at the Peter’s Valley Craft Show in Layton, N.J., I was horrified to find “my” piece in the collection being shown and sold by a very  well-known artist..  I had just designed and made this same design, and though the stones were different, the design was exact.  EXACT.  Size and everything.   I hadn’t seen his piece, and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t seen mine.  So I approached the artist, and told him I had just designed one just like it, I hope he wasn’t offended.  He laughed, and said “Well, then I think you are a pretty good designer.  I just finished this piece, and there’s only a few things to do with that shape stone. I hope yours sells, too.”  What a gracious professional.

In my  my first semester of college jewelry I did try  to copy a piece of Jeff Wise’s work.  His stuff is gorgeous, and there was no way I could copy anything of his, even now!   I finally confessed my dastardly sin to  him last summer.  He laughed and said “I hope it worked out for you.  I did the same thing when I was learning.  I’m flattered you liked my work enough to try.”  Again, a very gracious professional.  And my piece never looked even close to his.

As Harold O’Connor once told me.  ”Congratulations!  Your piece is in a book.  Now there will be a thousand copies out there.”  Maybe, if others liked it. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter.  I made it because of what it meant to me, and if someone copies it, they won’t get that same feeling.  So I tell my students, “You don’t want your work copied?” Then make  it, put it in a zip lock bag,  put it in a drawer and never, ever let anyone else see it.  They laugh and say “Yea, right.” Truthfully, that is the only way your piece may never be copied or inspire anyone else.  Personally, I think that is sad.

So everyone, just relax.  Will some one copy you exactly?  Heck, I can’t even copy my OWN work.  But if someone does,  think highly of yourself, you have inspired someone.  Be proud of that.  Someone thought enough of your work to imitate it.  Now if they signyour name to it, that’s a different story. But with the internet, and you put your work out there, it may be imitated or copied if the design is good.  But also think back,what inspired you?  Maybe somewhere in the back recesses of your mind you saw something similar to it.   You changed the bail or added a longer stone.  To truly make someone’s inspiration your own, change it 25%,  then change it another 25%.  Then it becomes your own.  Just try it, because its easier than you think.  My idea book is full of pictures by other artist that I pasted in and love to look at for inspiration.  But that’s what it is–inspiration.  Please don’t  copy designs from a fellow artists sketchbooks, that just not nice, but to use something as inspiration and to change it and make it your own, then you can call yourself an artist.  And work on being a gracious professional.

That being said, I still find the greatest inspiration is nature, and not someone else’s work.  But I still LOOOOVVE looking at other’s jewelry.

Now I have to go call Todd and hassle him again about using “my  cone” earrings.

Have a great time designing  and exploring jewelry–

Lexi

Our First Denver Botanic Show

OH WOW!  I can’t even begin to explain how I feel right now.  First, to have the gorgeous Denver Botanic Gardens as a venue for us was astounding, especially when we are showing alongside of  a fabulous presentation of Henry Moore sculptures.  Second, it was two of those Colorado fall days—not a cloud in the turquoise sky, and snow clad mountains in the distance, while Denver was a balmy 70 degrees.  And then, add  25 spectacular tables filled with glowing and colorful baubles.  OK,  now you have a picture of our First Jewelry Show at the Denver Botanic Gardens.   We were inside Gates Courtyard, with full picture windows and tall glass doors behind us.  It was spectacular.  Just as much fun was looking at the individual diplays of each artist.

Harold O’Connor’s display was elegant and sparse, with trays lined with white Japanese paper, which showed off Harold’s exquisite craftsmanship to a “T”.  His newest collection, “From My Backyard” was composed of artistically cast elegant rings and pendants of twigs, string and unusual pods he found  in his Salida, Colorado yard. Exquisite Spectrolite from Finland accented several of his pieces. It was such an honor to show alongside of one of the True Masters of Metalsmiting in the world.

Kathleen Krucoff had a stunning display of lanterns, which showed off her earrings and pendants.

For my usual art festival display, I dress in my archaeology gear, and have trowels and archaeology tools in my display cabinets. But for this truly upscale show I had a collection of “antique” suitcases, from which spilled my treasures, and I forewent my archaeology khakis.  Since it kind of went along with my adventure and travel themes, I was happy with my display.

For weeks before  the show I had nightmares that here we were all at the Botanic Gardens, all dressed up  and just standing around visiting with each other because no one came in to see our jewelry.  Well, nothing could have been farther from the truth.

We opened at 9 on Saturday morning, and our first customers started arriving at 9:27. By 10:00 we were having a light stream of customers, and by 11, we were constantly busy.  Jennie Milner said that she didn’t expect it to be like a cocktail party.  There was a constant flow of new people.  The wine and music started at 1:00, and there was not a moment to stop after that.  Sales were brisk, and there were lots of questions about our jewelry, the artists, and  Colorado Metalsmithing Association.  We were packed with customers who were actually buying, not just “thinking about it”.  Customers returned to tables several times to make their final choices.  Gallery owners talked to many participants about showing in their galleries, and the jewelry market seems to be returning.  It was a joy to watch everyone.  It was so great to see so many of you COMA members and friends, and I really appreciate each of you for coming out.  And in addition to that, it was great to sell so much jewelry. As artists we felt validated and appreciative that so many of you like our work well enough to purchase and wear it.  We are truly honored.

I have already started plans for next year’s show.  New ideas are flowing, and I want to start drawing in my sketch book right now.  But my precious 4-year old grandson is spending the week with me as his mom and dad return to Austin and pack and move back to Denver.  I am thrilled. They will live nearby, and I don’t have to make that 1100 mile trek down to Texas 4 times a year!  They are just as exited to be returning to Colorado.

So to each of you, I had a vision.  I acted upon it and didn’t let anything stop me.  The Denver Botanic Gardens Show was the result of that dream.  So follow your dream, follow your passions. Were there some nay-sayers? Oh yeah. And one really hurt my feelings.  But I knew in my heart that this would be a hit, and with the talent we have in Colorado, this would be a stunning show.

I want to thank Harold O’Connor for the initial inspiration from something that he said about 3 years ago, and I thank my sister, Kathleen Krucoff, for the poster and postcard designs.  She made us look beautiful before anything ever happened. And to the artists and Board of Colorado Metalsmithing Assoc, thank you in letting me, as a new Board member with a dream of where we could go, have free rein in doing what I visioned.  To each of you, GO FOR IT!   Follow your Passion! And watch this space for updates about our next show.

Passionately Yours,

Lexi

The Life of a Jewelry Artist

Hi Everyone–

Here in the Rocky Mountains, the aspen are turning bright gold and some are burgundy.  They are truly magnificent against the turquoise Colorado sky.  But the true mark of autumn is the Denver Gem and Mineral show, which just finished last Sunday.  Though in reality I needed nothing, I cannot help going to see what Mark Lasater at The Clam ShellGary B. Wilson, Greg King-Falk Burger (the duo humorously known as “Burger-King”), Michael Hendrix and many more  have in stock.  They had less in stock after my friend, student and sister, Kathleen Krucoff, my students and I left.  And remarkably, we do not fight over stones.  We all have such different taste in our jewelry and colors that there is always plenty for all of us. Well, truthfully, Kathleen and I do tussle a bit over red jasper, Chinese Writing Stone, and petrified palm wood, but if you follow her blog, you know she is a purple lover, so she buys a lot more purples, while I go for the “earth tones”. (I’m such a child of the 70′s).  As I predicted on my Tucson blog, Mark Lasater had some gorgeous Red Creek Jasper.   Funny thing about names, it’s now called Cherry Creek Jasper, Cherry Creek Valley Jasper and just plain old Red Creek jasper.  That’s the name the owner of the mine calls it, so I’m sticking with that until further notice.  But there was a lot of it at the Denver show.

Fall is also the time for the Castle Rock Art Festival.  The gem show starts the Tuesday after the Castle Rock weekend, so I’m pretty exhausted.  The Castle Rock show was pretty good for me this year, though not even comparable to “The Glory Days” of the 1980-90′s art festivals.   But I had a great time and I always love meeting the other artists.  This year I traded some work with my newest friends,  fabulous wildlife watercolorist Stephen Koury from Lakeland, FL  and metal artist Pamella Goff from Brighton, CO.  Pamella makes diverse art from old spoons, and her pieces are totally delightful.  Her spoon flower hangs in my kitchen.  It reminds me of a delightful and spiritual sister.   Stephen does these unbelievably realistic nature paintings, and my painting features a Harris Hawk and my favorite petroglyph, the “Moab Man”. It is being framed now, and I can’t wait to hang it in my entry hall.  Both of these artists are so outgoing and wonderfully talented that it makes it the whole show experience pretty wonderful.  Plus, the Castle Rock Festival is one of the best run I’ve ever participated in.  They take such good care of their artists.  Kathleen and I have decided that it’s easier to do some shows together so we are  looking forward to doing more shows next year.

Photo of me (on the right) with Kathleen (on the left) at the Castle Rock Festival this year.

A few blogs back I expressed my feelings about galleries and shows, and thought something has to be done about the way we get our work out there, and yet allow us to do more than “break even” on an event.  After some thought, I realized that what we need is a group of sincere artists who come together and present their work at a well-known, but non-gallery,  location and perhaps start a tradition.

Well, I’m very lucky to be on the Board of Colorado Metalsmithing Association (CoMA), so I took my idea to the Board, and they were receptive to trying something totally new.  Previously, CoMA has only shown at galleries.  Now we will have 28 artists, famous, notables, and emerging, those who answered our Call for Artists, and we will be showing and selling our work at the beautiful Denver Botanic Gardens on Oct 16 and 17.

What is so amazing about this venue is that it is timed to take place along with the showing of Henry Moore’s monumental sculptures.   It was Henry Moore who commented “The most powerful artworks are the largest and the smallest”.  I was thrilled to find that quote, and we put it on our postcards.

I would like to thank Kathleen Krucoff of Krucoff Studios for the design of both our poster and postcards.  Everyone has commented on how stunning and professional they are, and it makes them proud to be a part of the show.

Jewelry at the Gardens ~ Post Card

 

28 Artists at the Botanic Gardens ~ The Poster

So what I’m saying, along with please come see us at the show and sale,  is that we, as artists, are creative people. If you are unhappy with shows and galleries, please take this idea and run with it.  It’s nothing new, but it is a first for a great group of metalsmiths in Colorado.

Look for willing locations in your area.  Look for people who will help sponsor a show, and put one together.  Is it a lot of work?  Yes, tremendously so. Maybe a later blog will be a step -by-step of how to do this, but I’ve put together many shows in Texas and PA.  All it takes is a spark, and you can ignite a whole group of people’s creative processes.  Helping others get “out there”, in turn energizes me, and  I feel a lot more creative.  I hope you will come to see us.  I can promise you it will be worth your time to see what these artisans have created and maybe you will find that right item and become a collector!

Show dates / times / location: October 16 ad 17,  from 9 AM -5 PM, Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver Co, 80206.

I’m off to create  something for this “New Tradition”– I look forward to meeting you at this new event, “Jewelry at the Gardens”.  Please mention you read about it in my blog as I would love to know.  Thanks.

Lexi

Galleries vs. Festivals and Our Future

I’ve been doing a lot of really Deep Thinking.

Galleries vs. Shows is a big question in my mind right now.  Do I REALLY want to be in more galleries?  The galleries do all the work, display my work, maybe advertise it, and they are taking all the risks. They have a lot invested in me and a number of other artists.  For that I get 50%, or in the case of my most recent check, 30% because the buyer bought “more than one piece.”  I was not contacted on this, and I took the entire “hit”.    (RANT ALERT!  It was an out of state gallery.  They no longer represent me, as of 30 minutes after the arrival of my check.   So I didn’t even cover the cost of my supplies in this one.  I guess you win some and you lose some.  After checking my contract, discounts were addressed, “with the permission of the artist”, which they never got my permission on this.   I understand they have all the bills, but it didn’t seem fair, whereas most galleries are very fair.)  There are some galleries who are really feeling the pinch, and just scraping by, and doing what they have to do to keep the doors open for all of us.  I understand and appreciate that.   The economy has played a huge part in the art jewelry market, and I’m sad that my friends with galleries are hurting.  But it seems like the check is never really what I am expecting.  Sure, it’s an ego thing that lasts for a few minutes when I get asked into some well known gallery, but in this case, that feeling didn’t replace the price of my materials.

On the other hand:  I apply to a show,  have photos made, (they aren’t cheap) pay the jury fee, ($25-50.00),  pay the fee to be in the show, ($300-700.00), buy a tent,  (not the $199.00 one that won’t stand up to the Colorado winds, but the EZ Up Express II, the $359.99.00 one with the sides and a roller bag,   http://www.EZUpdirect.com),  spend $200.00 for  mammoth sized weights to keep my “stuff” from blowing away,  buy display materials  (the shows are getting so uppity that the jewelery booths are looking like some portable mall store and you look like one of the Beverly Hillbillies if you don’t have all the glitz, halogon lights, pro panels etc), have postcards and business cards made, travel to the show, and either get a motel room or buy a 5th wheel ($48,000.00, or $85,000.00 if you have to buy the big truck, too!)  set up, stand there in the heat, cold, rain, snow, wind, dust (pick one) and smile while I’m dying to take a break, put up with hoards of people in your booth, or stand there wondering why no one is stopping, then take down everything when I’m dog-tired,  (sometimes in the aforementioned rain, snow, wind, etc), lug the mammoth weights, tent, and pricy display cases to the car,  repack, drive home, and I get 100% of the money.

It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?  Galleries win hands down.  Still, all that said, I do get really excited when I get into a dynamo show.

I like doing shows for the first 6 hours.  I don’t like having no customer contact through the gallery.  It’s a real toss-up.  Sometimes I really miss the old days of the hippie art festivals, the Rhinebeck Craft Shows of the 1970s, everyone  in tie-dyed t-shirts and their treasures spread out on a wobbly card table for the world to see.  Not that I was into jewelry or art at that time… I was off digging square holes somewhere in the world then.  But  it’s my idealized version, a nostalgic look back and maybe a sanitized version,  of what really went on.

But now that back to basics really appeals to me.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  Bruce Metcalf wrote about so many of the shows looking so glitzy and so much the same. Is that true?   The big shows like the Buyers Market of American Craft  was just not a good fit for me, though they are for some of my closest friends. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a show where a bunch of friends just get together, and put on a nice art show?  I’m  thinking this indie-craft  (independent-craft)  market really has some valid points.

But what has become glaringly apparent in the last few months is how much I make my jewelry just for the pure joy of the process.  I’m at the point that I don’t do it for money, though I do feel the need to sell something to justify my rabid purchases of Gary B. and Clamshell stones. And metal.  OK, more tools, too.    If it sells, hey, that’s really great but I’m not beating myself up anymore if something doesn’t sell.   I enjoy the process. Many of my friends buy my pieces, and I am in a co-op gallery where I get a very fair per-centage of the sale price.  I like this grass-roots feeling of all this.  I am the one maker, only one person,  I own my own multi-dollar company, and I am the premier, outstanding jeweler on my block.  And I like it that way.    I don’t know if I still have that need to set the world on fire, jewelry-wise.   I am enjoying my teaching and writing so much, but I do want to share what I make with the world, just for the joy of being out there with the artists. It makes me feel creative, a part of something really cool.  If I’m successful at a show, Ok, if not, well, it wasn’t the right fit for me.   So I have mixed feelings.  All of life is a trade-off , and I dont know which way to go, thought I have some strong leanings.  Does anyone else feel these confusing feelings? I can’t be the only one who feels this.

So what do you think?.

An Interview with “Jewelry Report”

Hi Everyone–I was very honored to be interviewed by Jewelry Report. If you are interested, please read the following interview.  I was thrilled to be included in this list of  some  really outstanding artists who have been a part of this site.  I hope you enjoy it. –Lexi

BeadFest Final Thoughts…

Hi Everyone–I believe my life is so blessed.  I have the joy of doing my jewelry, teaching and traveling with friends.  Not saying everything is perfect, if it were,  my studio would be completely tricked out and I’d have a maid and an assistant.  But Santa forgot to bring those for Christmas.  But my life is pretty wonderful.  Beadfest brought me new friends (Hi to all the girls from Texas!)  and wonderful students.  But first, I have to give a huge thank you to my to two of my  best buddies, Heather Kautz and Deb Hobgood.  Without these two, I could not have pulled this off  by myself.  They unloaded and loaded through the rain and snow, thunder and cold.  We were just waiting for the plague of locusts.  To say the weather didn’t fully co-operate would be an understatement, but like I said in a previous post, Santa Fe in the snow is enchanting.

We had a great road trip down, taking Hwy 285 down from Denver through the beautiful San Luis Valley,  across the awe-inspiring Rio Grande Gorge and into Taos, where we just did a quick drive by with a promise to return soon.  We took the “low road”  down through Valarde and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.  The  pueblo was known as San Juan Pueblo, and like many in New Mexico, is returning to it’s former name, which is Tewa for “place of the strong people”.  It was  named the first territorial capital of  Nuevo Mexico in 1598, though the pueblo was founded with it’s original name in the early 1200′s.  (Sorry, the Southwestern pueblos are one of my areas of specialization as an archaeologist, and I think everyone is as interested in them as I am.)  Then we arrived in Santa Fe, one of my favorite places. We checked out LaFonda, where Beadfest was centered, and met with some of the other teachers for a Meet and Greet.

Then we headed off for dinner at Tortilla Flats, which is one of Heathyrre’s favorite places for dinner.  We were tired, so we got to the motel about 11:00 and crashed.  The next morning was breakfast at one of my favorite haunts, which no one has ever heard of unless you are a local in Santa Fe.  One of my professors at UNM introduced me to it years ago, and what it’s lacking in decor, it makes up for in green chile!!! Believe me on this one.  Horseman’s Haven is run by the Romero family, and used to be attached to the Phillips 66 on Cerillos Road.  Now it’s a free standing place, still next to the Philips 66.  I think my buddies had to really put some faith in we as we pulled up there  for brunch, but afterwards, there was not a dribble of food left on any of the plates, and we talked about getting some green chile to take back to Denver.

Then we headed off to  shop at Jackalope, to buy some last minute supplies at Santa Fe Jewelry Supply, and off to our hotel  to get tools, torches, etc  re-packed into our truck.  Bless Deb’s heart. She road the entire way with “stuff” packed  into the back seat along side of her, and never complained once.  But suddenly, the sky darkened, the wind kicked up and the thunder rolled.  It rained for a whole 45 seconds, until it started hailing, and then ice and finally five minutes later, snow!  Tons of it just dumped.  We were lucky to find a loading zone and stated uloading in the snow. The Convention Center is gorgeous, and we got all set up and were finishing just as the first students started arriving.  Because of the restrictions, I had to use the EZ torch, which is pure propane, and runs a lot cooler than my Smith ambient air/acetylene, and lights differently.   But after a bit of fooling with it, I got it to light and it worked just fine.  I had the students that every teacher dreams of.  There is a lot of beginning lecture about “the how and why” soldering works, and new vocabulary words we must go over when teaching people who are just learning to solder.  They were so patient as I droned on and on, and they took notes and asked really intelligent questions.  Finally they got to work with the torch, and they soldered a ring closed, and learned some tips and tricks along the way.   Its a beautiful thing when a class works like mine did.  I think everyone left with a lot more knowledge and a quest for more advanced info.  It was a successful class.  No one burned down the Convention Center!

My traveling companions and I celebrated that night with BBQ and margaritas at the Cowgirl BBQ, the restaurant who catered the meals at the Convention Center.  We highly recommend it next time you are in Santa Fe.  Then back to the hotel.  Three hot mamas in Santa Fe, and we were in bed by 11:00, again.  I guess we’re not real party people.  The next day we repeated the same drill, with breakfast at Tecolate and visiting a cowgirl antique store on Guadalupe St.   EXCEPT, as Heathyrre an I were setting up and putting out everyones handouts, I suddenly remembered their packets of silver and supplies were back in the hotel room, and Deb had the truck.  Well, I caught her just as she was getting ready to go to a movie and wait for us, and she had to rush back to our hotel and get the packets and get them to us at the Convention Center.  WHEW!  But she got them there in record speed and no one was the wiser.   I was a bit frazzled at forgetting them,  for everything had gone so smoothly, but it all worked out.  Again, it was a great class, full of the most wonderful students.  I know what I’m teaching is difficult for most people to truly comprehend, especially the first time, but we didn’t have the resources to have 15 soldering stations set up at once, and everyone was very patient. They all lit the torches like pros, and got their rings to solder   I am so proud of all my students.  Again, a successful class.

I learned that it is so rewarding to teach at Beadfest.  Not everyone has the opportunity to study at a college or jewelry school. The teachers are all knowledgeable in their field, and are all pros.  It was great to be with such people.   The students were so excited and so sweet to me.  I am truly touched by their willingness to try something new, and a bit scary.  Helen Driggs, the editor of Lapidary Journal and I will be team teaching at Beadfest in Dallas, Oct 1-3.  We will be teaching Intro to Metalsmithing, Intro to Tools, and Intro to Soldering, again, if our classes are all approved by the fire marshall!  Thank you for all of you who were in my classes and are reading this.  I learned so much from you all.  Please keep in touch and remember, if you have any questions, once you are my student, you are always my student.  And Beadfest is great.  If the teachers are having fun, I’ve been told that means the students are enjoying themselves.  I know I had a blast.  Hope to see you again in Dallas.  October is a beautiful time to visit Texas.

Life is beautiful, and even better when your solder flows!

Lexi

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.

Lexi