Tag Archives: Classes

I’ve been a busy Metalsmith…

Since the layoff from the magazine in August, I have been having way too much fun in my studio creating new curriculum pieces for 2017’s upcoming classes in Tucson, for an 8-week introduction to jewelry course at a local adult school, and hopefully, for the August BeadFest in Philadelphia. I am truly lucky because so many people have called and emailed me with an eye on getting a hold of the new, free me to teach, lecture, create video content or write for their respective publications and sites that I am as busy now as I was whilst employed full time. Not. Too. Shabby. If you are interested, you can find my current workshop descriptions here, and my class rosters and signup information here. If you plan to go to Tucson, look me up and I hope to see you there!
PS: Check my Instagram feed for works in progress shots and to see what I am up to these days. I usually post there a few days per week.

On a side note, I have also been busily creating print content in the form of some short technical features, tool reviews and tips, and how-to articles for a large jewelry industry magazine. It’s fun writing that kind of content, and what I enjoyed most/did best in the old job, so I feel extraordinarily lucky these days for the continuity. Thanks universe, you never let me down.

Now that my plate is a little less full of all that time-consuming transitional employment and other real life stuff, I plan to be here more. Keep an eye open for news about upcoming classes, online workshops, heads-ups about magazine articles and projects I have on deck. I will be adding a few pages to this blog for up-to-date ways we can stay in touch, so check here often, because I promise this year will be a fun one. Surely we will need fun in 2017.

And to all of you who have contacted me, thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. You really have no idea how much it means to me!

Metalsmith Chronicles: Part One

I truly can’t believe how fast time goes by! I have been screaming busy since my last blog. Sorry guys/gals! To make up for the fact that I appear to have abandoned you, I think I will blog today and tomorrow — to catch up and get into your good graces again! I will start with the teacher/workshop/classes front and then switch over to what’s been cooking on the day job front. BeadFest Spring was totally great, and thanks to all my students (and my sister) for coming, learning, helping and having fun. Some of you have even stayed in touch, sending me pictures of what you’ve been up to.

Check this out, an email from a great student who signed up for my class Rotary Tools: Advanced Techniques  at Bead Fest Spring, in April.


Nancy Oliver’s “De and Rekonstructd” Pendant


Hi Helen!  Thanks for a great
 Shaft class. I call this
Helen’s pendant De
 and Re-konsructd.
Ha ha.

– Nancy Oliver

I love it when students follow-up and send me photos of where they are headed after spending time with me. That’s the best part of teaching, and I always smile when it happens.
Teaching in a hotel or convention center is never easy, and I always suffer lots of anxiety hoping I remembered to bring all the tools and materials everybody needs to have a good time, learn what I hope they learn, and best of all have fun doing it. This year (so far) has been just a dream on the teaching front. It’s been so much fun there is probably a law against it somewhere! I am looking forward to BeadFest in August, and because I had such a grand time this Spring I went ahead and proposed 6 new classes for 2015, including a Two-Day Metals Intensive. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on those, so keep an eye on my “Teaching Dates” link (above) for updates…

The "Helen Driggs Portable Workbench" aka hunk of lumber and a C-Clamp...

The “Helen Driggs Portable Workbench” aka hunk of lumber and a C-Clamp…

Todays tip: Recently, I have developed a great workaround for anyone who intends to take classes in a convention center. Typically, those tables are not the easiest to work on because they are either too thick, have too thick a ledge, or are downright wobbly as a work surface.
All you need to combat this is a hunk of  4″ wide x 3/4″ pine board and a 6″ or 8″ C-Clamp. First, securely clamp the pine board to the table, so it extends like a diving board. Then, clamp your bench pin and flex shaft to the pine board, instead of the table. Works every time.
Here is a photo shot by Kitty (my most-excellent  Sister/Teacher’s Assistant) of me using this method of working in class. Not a bad solution for about 8 bucks!

So, that’s a quick one for the teaching updates, I promise I post a bit on other super-fun travel news shortly. Sorry for abandoning you all…