Cynthia Rutledge’s Class

I haven’t done any seed bead work in ages. It didn’t stop me from squeezing in a Cynthia Rutledge class on her annual trip to Beads by Design, because her work is phenomenal. The class levels were advertised as intermediate to advanced, but I figured I knew just enough to get by if I was patient!

She presented a two-day class on Thursday and Friday, which I really wanted to take but final exams interfered, darn it. I wasn’t that interested in the Saturday class just because the project wasn’t really “me,” so I gave up my family Sunday for her “Chain Reaction” class with her blue & green kit.

She was upfront about it being a technique class rather than a project class, though the project is pretty spectacular. For me and many others, it was our first introduction to three-dimensional peyote stitch beadwork. Add to that learning Cynthia’s own “lattice stitch” (which you can see described in the December 2008 Bead & Button) and working with a lot of teeny, recalcitrant beads and you could have a recipe for frustration.

Cynthia, though, is a superb teacher and puts a huge effort into her class materials. I found her kit instructions to be among the best I have ever seen — a real accomplishment given the complexity of the project! They are good enough that I bought two more of her kits, “The Slide” (which was the class I had really wanted to take) and “A Garland of Jeweled Links & Chain” which stunned me with the color combination of dark blue and copper, and her Pave Brooch/Pendant instruction booklet. All three pieces are just as complex as the bracelet, if not more so being necklaces, but the class today gave me the confidence to believe I can do it with those instructions. After all, I was mostly working from the instructions during the class, just checking with her a couple of times to make sure I was on track. I was right; I did have enough background to manage, and it DID take some patience (and some ripping back a few times, of course).

Of course, I didn’t come anywhere near finishing the project!? I completed ONE little chain link (of the five or six I’ll need), and the first flower (of four to five) on just enough of its flat link to attach it to. I think I have the technique, though, and working in my own place without eighteen other people around will make the remaining pieces easier. When it’s finished, I’ll post a picture!

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