Art Bliss: Heavy Metal Beads

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I had the pleasure of attending my third Art Bliss Workshop about a week and a half ago.   Art Bliss is a series of jewelry, bead making and mixed media art workshops hosted and organized two very talented ladies Cindy Wimmer &  Jeannette Blix.   The workshops take place right outside of Washington DC so they are easy for me to get to.

Before my class, Lori Anderson of Bead Soup Blog Hop Fame, organized a really nice bead swap.   I destashed quite a few beads  I thought I  would never use and picked up a few fun beads that will make cute jewelry pieces for my daughter.  Thanks Lori!  She is doing a big blog hop right now to celebrate the arrival of her new book.  Lots of great prizes, you should go check it out!

I got to see some of my online jewelry making friends, which is always fun!  I love to catch up with them in person and see what they are working on.

 The main part of my evening was spent learning to make “Heavy Metal Beads” taught by Stacie Florer.  It was a really fun class.   Stacie has been doing metalwork for a long time and she makes beautiful jewelry.   I’m glad she decided to teach to a big group of people in a workshop format because she was a total pleasure to learn from – such a fun and giving spirit.

Here are some of the “Heavy Metal”  beads I made.  I learned to use a mixed gas torch  – quite a step up from my handheld propane torches I have been using in my studio.  I learned to cut metal tubing, texture it, drop a bead on metal wire right up to a bead (I only burned up one piece of turquoise).  You can’t imagine how bad a piece of smoking turquoise smells…

I learned to solder a bezel onto metal sheet and how to set a cabachon bead…  real metalworking skills!  I made three beads in class, which I thought wasn’t bad for a 3 hour workshop.  Most importantly, I was able to make the bezel bead successfully at home.  I gave the beads an extra tumble in my Lortone Tumbler and I think they came out beautifully.  I love hammering, bending and torching metal!   I put one of the beads on some round leather cord with an adjustable leather slide.  It’s a nice simple way to wear this style of bead.  I was thinking of making a long pendant out of one as well and hanging it from a thin chain.


I hope you get a chance to take a class soon to learn or freshen up a skill.  It doesn’t have to be about jewelry making.   It could be in person or online.  I always finish classes or tutorials with a renewed sense of creativity and a sense of accomplishment.  It’s always a healthy investment of my time!

Have a great rest of the week!


  1. Your Heavy Metal Beads came out fabulous! I don’t think I want to know what burning turquoise smells like!! I have burned up enough beads tryiing to enamel via the Painting with Fire Method, thank you! The smell is forever engrained in my nose! I have made so many of these bezel beads – you should try them in silver too – they look fantastic! It was so nice to finally meet you! Hopefully next time we will have more time to chat!

  2. The deceptively simple metal bead looks like it belongs on the leather cording. I would love to take more metal working classes, but they are few and far between here!

  3. I LOVE your metal beads!! Wish I lived out east so I could have done that workshop too. I have been taking classes here on soldering, enameling and cold connections. I might have to try some of those metal beads. Thanks for writing about it. I love hearing about your jewelry making!

  4. WOW, Tracy, I love your beads you made and your bracelet is amazing! I want one please?!!! It is SO beautiful. I would have loved to go to Art Bliss and meet you and so many creative people! I’ve learned some really neat tricks from Stephanie Lee (Semiprecious Salvage) in on-line workshops and love soldering metal 🙂 Go check it out!
    Hugs and thanks for sharing,

  5. I wish I lived closer and could come to this! My first job when I was 16 years old was at Karmelkorn. Burning Karmelkorn is possibly the WORST smell ever! I know, so off topic……

  6. I really wanted to go this year and take this class, but I just couldn’t. You did a fantastic job and I just LOVE the beads you made!

  7. OMGosh…your beads are fabulous, I love them. Do you sell your beads & if not, where can I purchase beads like these??

    Thank you for sharing, wow, so talented…!! :}

  8. Your beads are amazing. I love how inspired I feel after reading one of your posts. Just wish life would slow down a bit so I could spend more time at my favorite pastime.

    Beautiful as always

  9. Sweetie, your beads are fabulous!! you should be quite proud!!
    I can hear it in your voice(or read it in your words hehehe)
    You’re hooked!!!! once you start bangin’ and meltin’ metal, well trust me
    You’re hooked!

  10. It sounds like you took a winner of a workshop! The beads are beauties. I especially like the “aged” look you gave the metal. Nice technique! I hope to be banging out some bangles soon at an upcoming workshop in March. You’re so right- it’s nice to take a class and learn new skills! Enjoy your beads!

  11. Hey Tracy, your heavy metal beads came out amazing!! You are a natural with the metal! I am so glad you were able to make it to artBLISS and take this class.

  12. those are great!

  13. It was sure good to see you again at artBLISS, but as always, there’s never enough time to catch up. I seriously wanted to take Stacie’s class as well – I’ve loved those metal beads since I first saw her earlier version years ago in an eZine. I am so impressed with how your beads turned out!! And also impressed that you’ve gone on and already practiced some of your new skills after class. Your leather bracelet is really great – the perfect minimalist look with metal and leather.

  14. Wow! I love what you did with your beads!! What a great way to combine metal and leather…awesome job…and thank you for bringing your amazing, positive and naturally optimistic self to class..I loved sharing the same space with you!!

  15. Luv your metal beads!! They are very chic!! I to wished I lived closer so that I could make them. Do you sell them?

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