Hook, line & sinker
A bracelet class with Maria Richmond

Our weekend workshop with Maria Richmond consisted of four projects:

  1. Phoenix Pendant[1]
  2. Riffing on a Zipper
  3. Hook, Line & Sinker
  4. Moondance

We did Moondance on the last day, which is why there aren't pictures, because of that inevitable mad scramble to finish & depart, so this is the last in the sequence of documented group shots.[2]

Class efforts. Click to get a sharper version, though I apologize to the folks whose bracelets are in back for not upping my ISO[3] to get greater depth of field.

We spent the bulk of Saturday on Riffing, and were getting a bit tired by the time we started on this piece after dinner. That, I suspect, accounts for the difficulties people had with this, which by my eavesdropping[4] seemed to fall mainly into two categories: doing the maths[5] to calculate the length of the wrapped portion, which is where the adjustments to individual wrist size must be made; and making the hooks too big.

In order to make the pictures—which, let's face it, is where students people in general take their instructions—easier for aging eyes to read, Richmond has enlarged them approximately 150%. Despite there being a scale clearly shown in the images for making the hook, I'm guessing people matched their efforts to the image.[6] Maybe drawing a 100% version in an upper corner would be a good reminder!

The other difficulty was the math, but even our champion calculator (who did the conversions for the smaller version of Riffing) had problems, so I think this is mostly down to being tired. That said, I think if we'd all switched to the metric system back in the 70s, like we were supposed to, it would make calculations like this a lot easier because all the measurements would be in the same unit, mm, instead of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, inches, etc. (not to mention the fact that beads are usually measured in mm!) So if you can't stand the thought of converting it all to mm, then mebbe switching all the measurements to eighths?[7]

I think the actual tutorial has an additional section on embellishing the plain section, which Richmond emailed to all of us, and which would help with getting the bead & hook to sit up top on your wrist, if you wanted that. Frankly, I like the simplicity of this design, which I think evokes the fishing line imagery better. —Richmond herself told us a story of making fishing lures, and I myself loved looking at my aunt's collection when I was younger—they were basically little pieces of functional jewelry, colourful with feathers, brightly painted sculptures, beads (e.g. spoons) and a bit of wrapping: in fact, the nylon thread that bead stores carried for bead-stringing was primarily for wrapping fishing rods, as I understood it.

So this piece had, ahem, a hook to my childhood.

[1]See the Phonix Pendant page for tool list

[2]I think I got as far as cutting the first wire, folding it around the first loop & and making the large bend that wraps around the focal. Mine sucked big-time, so I promptly used that as an excuse to re-photograph everyone's stuff (even though it had already been done).

[3]Which I dislike doing for something-something-technical reasons which basically boil down to sacrificing some sharpness overall to get better focus towards the back.

[4]I was still finishing up my earlier project, and so was presumably without the need to rationalize any failures—and I've no doubt there would have been a few. I would like to think this, along with my own experiences teaching craft, gave me a more objective view of everyone else's struggles, but there are other, less, um, generous interpretations, and I leave it to the reader to choose which.

[5]Yeah, I have my spellchecker set to Brit spelling, a possibly bad habit leftover from writing Harry Potter fanfic. It's always kind of interested me, that ‘math’ is a mass noun in American English and a count noun across the pond—a subtle difference, rather like aluminum and aluminium...

[6]Frex, I almost always draw flowers life-size when out in the field. I suspect it's a natural tendency, not having to scale while focusing on rendering shape & angles.

[7]Except, you still basically have to be somewhat numerate to do even that, and I've encountered (adult) students in my own classes who could not do the sort of calculations this class requires, which anyone ought to have mastered by 5th grade. That they can't is quite the indictment on our educational system.