Beneficial information from recent workshops

It is my tradition to create a debriefing blog post after any multi-day workshops I teach to answer all of those lingering questions on my tickler page that came up during class because my poor, overloaded brain couldn’t immediately retrieve the information.

I recently taught two awesome workshops at Snow Farm, and came home with two extensive lists of follow-up information to provide to my students there. And, good news for you as well – you also get to benefit from the information!

So, here goes, kids, and just click the links to get to the goods…

Workshop: Rock & Roll: The Art of Lapidary
Diamond Pacific Lapidary – Genies, Pixies, Wizards and a whole slew of fantastic Lapidary Equipment to fill you every stone-centric desire… I have used their equipment in my classes for nearly a decade.

Kingsley North – Another full-service lapidary supplier; they have hundreds of products, including the Cab King, Hughes 300 Epoxy and other awesome equipment.

Lasco Diamond – One of the best suppliers of Diamond attachments for use in the flex shaft and/or other rotary tools. Their drill bits (from your kits) and other diamond accessories are rockin’

Slabs to Cabs – My good friend, Gemologist  John Heusler, G.G. (GIA) is the mastermind behind those fantastic templates we used in class. Check out his work, follow him on Facebook, and tell him I sent you!

Allcraft Tools – New York City. If you coveted my bezel wire snips, call Tevel at Allcraft and tell him I sent you. He has every hammer known to man, plus tons of other awesome hand tools, too, and his shop on 29th Street is not to be missed if you ever find yourself in the Big Apple.

Chris’s Cables – is the source for those slim closure, precious metal necklace cables I used on our target object project pendant.

Contenti Tools – Is one of my favorite all-around tool suppliers, you can get Wubbers Pliers, the L-square, scribes and the slim line centerpunches from them, and for most of my workshop students, in your home state – Road Trip!!

Kent’s Tools – in glorious Tucson, AZ. is a must-see shop when you eventually get to the Gem Shows in February. I get my Moore’s Snap on Sanding discs, Coin, Pearl and Bead Clamps, Diamond Attachment Boxed Sets, Riker Mounts for stones and other esoteric goodies there.

The Gem Shop, Inc. – is a great mail order source for slabs, cutting rough, tumbler mixes, books and reference materials on rocks and minerals and also finished cabs cut from classic rockhoundy materials. Their agates and jaspers annual calendar totally rocks.

The Tuscarora Lapidary Society is my local club, and they have a free newsletter listing area rock shows, too.

Workshop: Exploring Textures and Patinas in Metal Jewelry
Wowsa, what a list!

First, my list of Incredibly Useful Hand Tools will appear on this blog shortly… If you are reading this later and the link is there, I wrote it, so click away…

Ditto for my Useful Products to Seal Patinas and Base Metals…

Reactive Metals Studio – Rokusho powder, Cupric Sulfate and other essential materials for Japanese Patination. Check out the Titanium, too…

Jax Patina Solutions – The Hazmat fee is so worth it. I use the Black-Brown, Brown, Green for Copper and Brass, the Cleaner for Copper, Brass and Bronze especially for those rapid oops removal situations, and you owe it to yourself to try the sampler set, too.

Potter USA – is the go-to place for hydraulic presses and dies, plus great shop tools and equipment. Affordable, sturdy, well-made in America. What more could a self-respecting jewelry maker ask for?

So, that wraps it. I will get to those other two blog posts shortly, and have a happy June!




Workshop spots available!

I just returned from Tucson with a treasure trove of nice material for my upcoming Lapidary workshop at Snow Farm: The New England School of Craft. Here’s a quick peek at some of the lapidary rough I could not come home without:

And I have been cutting slabs for student use, too — despite the fact it has been freezing in the studio and my hands get too cold and wet to work for too long.

I am also creating new demo objects for a three day Textures and Patinas workshop that immediately follows my lapidary class, with a focus on some less common but stunning Japanese patinas you might want to learn more about and try.

Here are the signup links: and

I hope to see you there!





News You Can Use!

Hi all! It’s been a busy summer and I have a bunch of updates…



First, and most exciting, my new book goes to press this week!!! TA DA!!!!!
That’s a photo of it at left, and you can pre-order it here: Metal Jewelry Workshop on, or if you are more patient, find it at most brick-and-mortar booksellers, in large chain craft stores and at many other book vendors in late fall when it arrives from the printer.
I am really very happy with this book and it was a huge pleasure to work with the amazing editorial and design teams at Fox Chapel Publishing.


Next, and just as exciting : BeadFest Philadelphia is just around the corner and I will be teaching a load of new classes from August 15 – 19 at the Oaks Expo Center. We are packed, printed, prepared and my little store is fully loaded with tools, media, supplies and materials you’ll need for a week or more of jewelry making fun. Check into my classes here, and read about the annual BeadFest Event here.

Shortly after BeadFest, I will be jetting over to Tucson, Arizona for a stint at the JOGS Summer Restock Show  between August 31 – Sept. 3, 2016. We are currently solidifying the actual class schedule, but I intend to be there teaching some fun new fashion-forward object-making classes for 4 sunny days. JOGS is a great place to stock up on supplies before the busy holiday crush, and the fall show is much less frenetic than the winter one. If you’ll be there, swing by, take a class or just say hi!

I’ve also been contracted to teach several workshops for 2019, and I am currently developing an entire slate of new classes for next year. I also continue to write Cool Tools & Hip Tips for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine, and keep an eye open for my At the Bench column in every issue of the MJSA Journal – PS: You can get a free 4-month trial subscription here, so sign up today!

Other than that, the garden is calling, every flat surface in the studio is covered with student kits, partially finished demo pieces, UFOs (unfinished objects) and workshop proposal folders. In other words, life is normal, lol! Have a great day, and I will see you next time!






A dispatch from jewelry making frontier

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a bit, but I have good news: the manuscript for my second book has been delivered (on time!) and all of the object step-outs for the photography plus the final jewelry objects are completed. Woot-Woot, Ra-Ra, Ya-Hoo!

I am so very happy with this book, and it was a total pleasure to write it. Photo sessions are tentatively scheduled for the beginning of April, and as soon as there are some PR images to share, I will post them here. Some preliminary information that I can share without revealing any state secrets is this: Metal Jewelry Workshop will be published by Fox Chapel and released in the Fall of 2018. The book should be on sale in large chain craft and hobby stores and available from traditional booksellers soon after that. There should be pre-sale information soon from major online sellers and I’m happy it will be out just in time for holiday shopping. Best of all, I can finally, finally change that old news picture of my first book that’s been sitting over there on the right sidebar of this blog for almost 5 years, lol!

In other news, I thought I might be teaching in the next week or so at Innovative Bead Expo in Oaks, Pa. but alas, I had no advance sign-ups. I decided I should be making some new work for myself that is non-book, non-curriculum and non-workshop for a change and cancelled those classes, because, sometimes, you just need to make something for yourself. No guilt here at all. You see I know that very soon, those never-ending garden tasks will come, jewelry workshop season will swing into high gear, I’ll need to get ready for Fall Adult School courses and life will get too, too crazy again so I am grabbing this time slot while it’s there.

Before I go any further, it’s way past time for me to send some shout outs I missed in the flurry of life over the past weeks: thank you, Alison Lee of Craftcast for an incredibly fun experience creating my Color on Metal with Cold Connections Webinar just before I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows to teach five workshops, including a live webcast from JOGS Show Tucson that was recorded for Jewelry Tools. It was great to see everyone I caught up with there, make future plans for some new classes and most of all to get out of the freezing weather for several days. Again, Thank yous go to Alec and Debbie at and to Vitaliy and Yelena plus the whole JOGS crew for making it happen every Tucson.

I’ll share some upcoming workshop news soon, so thanks for reading, try to stay warm for a few weeks more, make some cool work, and don’t forget to check my upcoming class schedule for breaking news on the workshop front. Ciao!




Winter means Tucson and more!

In the feast-or-famine rhythm of my life, I am happy to report that feast season has entered the building.

To a teaching artist, the time between late September and end of January equals a constant stream of work. Instead of getting that quiet transition into early winter, a peaceful holiday with maybe some snow, cocoa, good food and darkening days, it’s just BAM, BAM BAM! For the past few weeks life has been proposals, photos, class descriptions, kit packing, tool repair, orders, handouts, meetings and early writing deadlines 24/7. This is the time the proverbial doo-doo hits the fan, and with the arrival of Tucson I’ve got a severe case of non-stop run, run, run.

Believe it or not, I actually thrive in that kind of situation, unlike most people. That old saying, “If you want something done right, give it to a busy person” is my Modus Operandi. So, some quick news in bullet form:

• If you will be in Tucson, come check out my in-person classes at the JOGS Show between Jan. 28 and Jan. 31., I’d be happy to have you in class!
• If you will not be in Tucson, but would still like to take my class there, you can sign up for a live stream version of my Beachcomber’s Bonanza class on Jan. 28!
• You can also take a different online class before Tucson, if you check out my Color on Metal with Cold Connections webcast with Alison Lee and CraftCast on Jan. 27!
• Join GemCrowd – the new and exciting B2B community that is currently under development and soon to launch. I am working with them now, and this community will be geared specifically to lovers of Gems, Jewelry and Minerals. It’s free to sign up, and you can follow me via GemCrowd on Instagram and Facebook, too!

And now, some pictures of my upcoming live classes for 2018 just to get your heart rate elevated … enjoy, have fun, and I will see you in the desert.





Busy? Yes, busy…

Hi all! I have been missing for a month (almost 2!?!) due to a very full teaching schedule and lots of work – which I am NOT complaining about! I have successfully pitched a load of new spring classes for my local evening gig, at the Innovative Bead Expo in April, and Tucson, of course. I will also be doing a live webcast on January 28, 2018 for CraftCast and also live from the classrooms at the JOGSShow in Tucson just a few days later. It’s been a busy but delightful fall full of creating demo objects, class proposals, handout design and creation and all the other fun stuff that goes with being a jewelry instructor and having a full, rich and rewarding life. If you are interested in whats on deck, my current teaching schedule is posted here.

So sorry, but this post is a quick hit, because I am on deadline for my latest At the Bench column for the MJSA Journal, and one other secret: I am writing my second book as we speak. It is scheduled for a Fall 2018 release, will be a jewelry making book, and I am really thrilled with it so far. I took a break to blog because I reached the halfway point late yesterday, and now the fun begins: creation of the jewelry objects and project pieces, WHOO HOO! Watch my Instagram feed for photo updates…

So, hang in everybody, I hope you are all keeping sane, resisting lunacy, keeping busy and having fun making work. I know I am. I’ll try harder to post more often, so see you sooner next time… I hope!

2017 Denver Gem & Mineral Showcase report

I was so lucky to have a chance to cover the Denver Shows in conjunction with a wonderful writing assignment I have been engaged in for the JOGS International Gem & Jewelry Shows. It was a busy, fantastic weekend with the team — covering 8 out of 11 shows over 4 days — culminating in a red-eye flight back east. For me, this Denver Showcase was a whirlwind trip, but I somehow still managed to hunt down and catch up with my friends to collect the many hugs that I’ve been missing out on for a few years since I last attended the shows in Colorado. So first, shout-outs to my Denver peeps!

Back to business now. I’ll post links to my coverage for JOGS as soon as I can, but here are some quick highlights for those of you formulating your “must-haves” list for the upcoming Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows…

New materials to keep an eye on

Denver usually functions as an “early warning” show for the next big thing coming to market. Many dealers buy early in Quartzite and bring those finds to Tucson, but the Denver Show is the place for the post-Tucson discoveries that catch hold and boom in the following winter. Denver’s a great place for rock hounds and lovers of stone of any type to gather, gossip and make predictions plus the fall weather is nearly always perfect. After attending this Showcase, I can say one thing for certain: Blue is the 2018 color to watch! Here are some materials from Denver that I’m most jazzed about, all coming soon to jewelry pieces and mineral collections near you…


Aquaprase cabs available from Village Silversmith

This gorgeous, natural, new blue-green chalcedony was discovered in Africa in 2014 and ranges from gemmy-clear to translucent blue green to a more matrixy-mixed white with earth tones combined with baby-blue. The GIA report can be found here, and I shot these stones at the Denver Coliseum Show with a little lighting help from my buddy John Bajoras from Village Silversmith who cut these cabs and was selling there. You can also see and buy his work at gem shows across the US.



Dumortierite on quartz from Brazil.

Dumortierite on Quartz
Pure Dumortierite is rarely found, and most of it is dense and of a dark blue color. Dumortierite is also found as inclusions, splotches or in zones of quartz. Both light and dark blue occurs, and this new material from Brazil is an appealing pale baby blue forming strips, stripes and segments on clear to nearly-clear crystals. The stones are fascinating to look at under magnification, and the more rare, clean and clear crystals with blue Dumortierite encased within are always snapped up first.



Burtis Blue Turquoise by Clinton Cross.

Burtis Blue Turquoise
Miner Clinton Cross has collected a gorgeous, natural, untreated turquoise from Cripple Creek, CO in colors ranging from pale blue to greenish. Named Burtis Blue, this stone has been submitted and certified as 100% natural and untreated by Stone Group Laboratories and is from the North Star mine. Clinton will also be debuting a new Malachite-Chrysocolla-Cuprite find from Australia at the JOGS Show Tucson in 2018.



Colla Wood from Turkey, courtesy John Heusler, G.G.

Colla Wood
This Turkish material was discovered in 2012. It is wood that has fractured during fossil formation, and water containing copper-rich minerals has created beautiful deposits of intense blue azurite, deep green malachite and blue-to blue-green chrysocolla in the fractures. Some sections opalize and the stone surface will change both in the intensity of color and of brightness with some areas of chatoyance. My good friend Gemologist John Heusler, owner of Slabs To Cabs had an amazing chunk of Colla wood displaying every one of these qualities at once, and this particular hunk of rock was probably the most amazing thing I saw at the Coliseum Show.

Other fun from Denver

My focus this trip was hunting for new minerals and gems, but that didn’t stop me from admiring (and acquiring) other treasure, like, tools, stones, slabs, beads, and gifts. At a big collective of shows like Denver, well, you just can’t help yourself. I restocked drills for my student Lapidary Kits at Lasco Diamond, found some great stone and shell cabs for my Wire Jewelry Making class, bought a few presents for my sister, plus some great old slabs for myself. I am ready for my fall teaching schedule now, and eager to start.

Stay tuned for updates, and I’ll just park these other Denver shots here… Enjoy!