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It's Good to be Back! - Craft Workshops after Covid, August 2021

It had been a long time since I had last run a workshop - it was before the lockdown, over a year and a half ago.


Things looked a bit different this time as well - I like my classes to be everyone sitting around one large table, chatting; now everyone had to be spaced out, and could only sit together if they were in a bubble. I wondered if that would mean less socialising, less fun? More like a school classroom? And we would have to wear masks if we weren't seated. So to be honest, I was a bit nervous about it - could I still do it? Would it be fun? But I needn't have worried, I soon got back into the flow of it, and, yes, it was great fun.



We had a mix of adults and kids, and everyone enjoyed themselves. We all worked together to make the cane, which was a lovely mosaic cane, like this:


There were some lovely colours of clay, and they worked well together. Each of us made one small part of the cane, taking one colour each and wrapping it in blue, which I then combined together to make one large cane. I reduced it down and divided it out among the class, letting the adults cut their own slices, and cutting the slices myself for the kids (slicing requires a sharp blade).


These slices were then used to wrap round balls of scrap clay to make cane-covered beads.


We then made the other beads, first the marbled ones - mixing all the coloured clay together, chopping it up and forming it into beads - and the the smaller solid coloured beads, which would act as an 'accent' to the other beads in the necklace.


All the beads were pierced, with a cocktail stick to create large holes if using cord, or a pin to make smaller holes if using tiger tail. These beads were baked in the oven, and once done, everyone was able to start threading their beads to make their necklace. This was easy for those using cord, and once the beads were on the cord I added a clasp (tied with a knot) and that was it.



It was a little bit trickier for those using tiger tail. Tiger tail is a very fine threading wire; by using it we can thread on tiny 'seed beads', which are small but give a lovely sparkly effect to the necklace. It can be fiddly threading such small beads on to wire, but if I was worried the kids wouldn't be able to do it, or would get frustrated by it, I needn't have been. They loved it, threading on about 30 beads, then adding all the clay beads, then 30 more beads to finish. In between each clay bead, they added two seed beads, to nicely space the larger beads, which had a lovely effect.

Here are the finished necklaces!



One of the kids even had time to quickly make beads for a bracelet. I showed them how to tie the cord on the wrist to make it adjustable for slipping on and off and they were delighted!


Here are more photos - including the covid setup of the room, and one of the girls cutting her clay concentrating very hard on threading her beads!





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