The New Year is always full of good resolutions, but that enthusiasm does not always last! For kumihimo enthusiasts who have resolved to learn something new the best way to ensure that this happens is to book up for a workshop in 2018. During this week I will write about the workshops I currently have planned for 2018.
This will be my fourth year of teaching at Spoilt Rotten Beads in the pretty village of Haddenham, Cambridgeshire and I have lined up some lovely projects to teach. In this blog I would like to talk about how I choose the design and what I hope to achieve in the workshop. My aim is always to teach more than just the advertised design. I choose a design which includes transferable skills which students can adapt for their own creations and I also bring lots of samples of variations, so that I can discuss and illustrate how a design can be developed and customised.
The first workshop is on Saturday, 17th March and I will be teaching this double bracelet made with clusters of Long Magatama beads. This is a striking, yet delicate design, with a clever construction and fastening. The braid structure is Round Braid (Kongo Gumi), which means that this workshop will be suitable for beginners, but the way in which the beaded clusters are formed will enable me to teach how to create a variety of effects with Long Magatamas, which will be of interest to more experienced braiders. The fastening is a really useful technique, which can be used in many different ways. I have chosen a design which is not fulled beaded because threading beads can be very time consuming and I want to be able to use the time in the workshop as effectively as possible. Everyone works at their own pace so I have chosen a piece which the faster braiders will be able to finish in class, but those who work more slowly will be ble to complete the main aspects of the design during the day and will be able to finish off at home. I always provide detailed handouts to support participants after the class.
The second workshop is a masterclass on how to finish off your kumihimo and it will take place on Saturday, 21st July. Dealing with the ends of a kumihimo braid is something everyone finds difficult, which is a shame because there are lots of creative ways of doing this. The examples in the photo are just a few of the possible ways to turn a braid into a functioning piece of jewellery. My aim in this workshop is to teach my favourite methods and I am asking participants to bring unfinished pieces to work on. I will be able to help them to choose just the right method for their own work. The methods will include wire cones, spirals, beading, buttons and more. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced braider, this workshop will give you the skills and confidence to create the perfect ending every time. A really useful handout will be provided for future reference.
The final workshop of the year is still a bit of a mystery! It will be a Christmas decoration workshop and over the last 3 years these have proved to be very popular. You can really never have too many decorations on your tree! For this year I am proposing an icicle decoration. The photo shows designs from previous years, because I am still working on the precise details of the project, but I can assure you that it will look great on your Christmas tree and like the other designs I am sure you will want to make many more at home. Of course, you will be given a great handout so you will be able to make as many as you like, year after year. The date is Saturday 24th November. The skills involved in making a decoration can easily be used in jewellery making, so this workshop is for life, not just for Christmas!
The benefits of attending a workshop go so much further than the piece of work you complete in class. It is really great to be able to meet up with like-minded people and work together in a creative environment. Lasting friendships often start in a workshop. Many of my students are ‘repeat offenders’ in that they have attended many of my workshops! The atmosphere in class is always friendly and supportive. Spoilt Rotten Beads provides the perfect working environment because the workshop is light and airy, spacious and tea and coffee is available throughout the day.
What about the shopping? As more and more bead shops close their doors forever, the ability to browse the shelves of an actual shop is becoming rare. There is no substitute for being able to see and handle the beads, cords and findings you need for kumihimo, so you can take the time to inspect all the wonderful goodies in the shop and stock up on what you need, without the fear of making expensive mistakes. Spoilt Rotten Beads is a real Aladin’s cave of treasure and as the owner is herself a braider, we are very well catered for!
I am often asked by kumihimo enthusiasts outside of the UK if I will come to teach in their country, but I would like to suggest that a trip to the UK to attend one of these workshops could be an even better idea. Reasonably priced flights to the UK can be found if you shop around. Haddenham is easily reached by train from London and you would probably find yourself travelling with me! The village is a typically pretty English village in a lovely part of the country, not far from the historic towns of Ely and Cambridge. There are many places of interest in London for jewellery makers and braiders and I would be happy to give guidance on the places to visit.