Some friends and I decided this would be the year we took a Bead Trip. Five beaders from Baton Rouge and one from Houston decided Beads on The Vine in San Luis Obispo, California would be perfect. My group of beady friends going to BOTV were May Dunn, Lynn Futch, Kay Jackson, Sybil Wallendal, and Katie Nelson. The positives we knew about beforehand included a wonderful location with cool temperatures in July (that’s unheard of in our part of the U.S) and four nationally known teachers, all in one place!
We arrived in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday, July 20th about noon. We spent the afternoon wandering around downtown and found Naturally Jennifer’s. I got a few beads and got some magnetic clasps I hadn’t seen before.
The Bonus Workshop was held down the street at the Holiday Inn Express on Wednesday. Kay Jackson, our last beady friend from Baton Rouge, joined us at the class. Melanie Potter taught us Pining Over You. I got the Slate and White kit which is stunning. I don’t think they could have packed one more bead in those kits. It was bursting at the seams. The class ran from 9:00-4:00 with a 30 minute lunch break. The entire project was done in size 15 seed beads and by 4:00 we were all cross-eyed.
I always learn some new trick from every teacher I take a class from and Melanie taught me how to add thread to a project. It’s really simple and easy to hide the knot and ends. She even has a video online of her technique. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDhX3O94uI4 The unexpected highlight of the class was being able to meet Melinda Barta. I have admired her Beadwork projects for years. She ended up in the Voignier rotation group so I got to visit with her for the rest of the week.
Thursday was our day off. I got to spend the day with an old friend from college, Kay Schrodt, and a new beady friend I met online, Tracy Sherwood. Kay and I hadn’t seen each other in about 30 years. She hadn’t changed a bit. We drove through San Luis Obispo and stopped at the Mission San Luis. There is a fabulous garden and exhibit there. Next stop was Morro Bay. We had lunch at Dockside and strolled around the town. I found Paula Radke’s bead shop and had a great time buying lots of beads. We drove around a bit more and went back to the hotel. Kay headed home and Tracy stayed a while longer to meet the teachers and see the kits they were offering for sale. The Bead Marketplace was so much fun and it was followed by a reception and meet the teachers event. It was so great meeting Tracy. We’ll keep in touch on facebook and by email. Who knows, we might just meet up again some day.
Friday, July 23rd, the official workshop began at Edna Valley Vineyard. We had a nice drive to the vineyard in tour busses. My first class was with Laura McCabe in the Panoramic Room. She taught us Les Bijoux de l’Eiffel.
I got the silver and purple kit. Laura was delightful. She’s so innovative and helpful. I was able to finish two “eiffels” and the join in class. This is going to sound kind of silly but I learned how to tie a knot in fireline from her. When you are trying to tie beads in a circle, it’s a pain. The thread for the knot wants to jump over a bead. Her solution is to tie the knot away from the beads and just pull until the knot is next to the beads. Because fireline is so slippery, it slides right up to the beads. I ended up not making a bracelet from the eiffel units. I made a cube instead! Friday night was a dessert party back at the hotel with tons of delicious desserts.
Saturday, July 24th was my class with Cynthia Rutledge called A Stone’s Throw. This class was in the Garden Room and I got the garnet and bronze color way. I learned my tip from Cynthia pretty early in the day. Cynthia’s directions are written as if she is talking to you. They are very detailed. So, what she taught me was to read the written directions. Again, I know it sounds simple but I’m an illustration and graph girl. I rarely read the directions. I decided to pay attention to Cynthia’s instruction and read the directions for this project. What a great experience! I also learned how to set stones in a pronged setting using only a needle holder and some strong double stick tape. I’ll definitely use this tip again.
I was able to finish my button, bracelet base and one of the embellishments in class. I finished this one at home in one evening. I love a quick project with lots of technique built into it. There was a Wine Tour after class for those who wanted to take it.
Our last day of class was Sunday, July 25th with Carol Wilcox Wells. She taught us Time of the Gypsies in the Cask Room. I got the bronze kit.
One of the things I learned from Carol was to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to color. I watched a student working on the pumpkin kit during the day and ended up buying it. This project just glows in every color way. The other thing I learned from Carol was to start a new thread at stress points. If you think it might break at the button attachment, start a new thread there. That way, if it does break, you don’t lose the main part of the project, only the attaching beads. How smart is that?
The teachers revealed the classes they will teach at Beads On The Vine 2011. They were all exceptionally beautiful. Lots of hugs and goodbyes followed. This experience was fabulous from beginning to end. The workshop was so well run by Melanie and Scott Potter and their staff from School of Beadwork. I will definitely make an effort to return in the future.