Glass Beads, Precious Metal Clay, Objets d'Art, and Fine Art to Wear
Classes and workshops by Barbara Becker Simon
Glass Beads by Barbara Becker Simon

Barbara Becker Simon
122 SW 46th Terrace,
Cape Coral FL 33914
Phone: 239-849-1666

Class Descriptions

PMC Armatures

Wire Work detail

Frosty Bracelets

Calcite Amoeba

PMC Elements

Enamel PMC Beetle

Ant Bracelet

Pearl Porcupine, donuts

Large Ant Bead - PMC

Red Rocks Detail

PMC Roller Tool

Aqua Chips Bracelet

Below you will find a list of all the workshops that I offer with brief descriptions. Please let me know which ones interest you. You can email or phone me for more details and I can email pictures of the finished product, if applicable. Please know that I can tailor a workshop to your needs and venue. For instance two of the PMC beads can usually be combined into a two day workshop. Or sometimes a single bead can be done in one day; with a little "homework" on the students' part and possibly firing done at home. Let's talk!

PMC Workshops

Lectures and Demonstrations

(little or no hands-on for students, one to four hours long depending on requirements):
  • My Life as an Artist
    (Power Point presentation) about 30" on my evolution as an artist
  • Barbara Becker Simon
    (PowerPoint) -about 30" overview of my work of recent years
  • Using Glass and Metal Clay Together
    (PowerPoint and demo) This is a survey of more than a half dozen ways to combine glass and metal clay
  • Technique Sampler
    (Demo)--Using the creation of a hollow metal clay bead to highlight the making of a texture plate, mitering to create seams, construction of a hollow form, simple stone setting, and using Prisma Color Pencils/Guilder's Paste. (About 90-120" depending on amount of questions from the audience.) This can be expanded into a one day workshop with some limited hands-on time with students.
    It can be expanded into a 2 day workshop.

One Day Workshops:

  • Texture Plates For Metal Clay
    Personalize and make all your metal clay projects uniquely yours by making your own custom texture plates. This class will present more than a dozen methods of making texture plates to use with metal clay. Some of the techniques will be hands on and students will take home an example of the texture plate; other techniques will be thoroughly demonstrated. We will also learn the best ways to utilize the plates and explore sources for textures. No metal clay work is done here, just texture plates.
  • Carved Bronze Bangles
    In this one day workshop students will construct a carved bangle bracelet using the Fast Fire Bronze Clay. This clay is a joy to use and the fired strength is ideal for jewelry, especially bracelets. The technique of carving will be explored as surface decoration. Students will learn to create custom firing containers for their bronze clay as these are fired in carbon. We will also address the use of this technique for PMC Pro and PMC Sterling.
  • Instant Earrings
    There is no limit to the form these earrings can take. Using PMC paper and 20 gauge, round fine silver wire, students will see how simple it is to construct beautiful, lightweight earrings in a very short time. The earrings can be set with half-drilled gem balls or pearls or fully drilled pearls or beads . A couple of basic designs will be demonstrated so that students can make a simple pair of earrings in class. Other examples will be displayed and discussed to show how the students can expand on the technique in their own studios.
  • This class is for students of all skill levels.
  • Findings and Clasps
    Learn to create various styles of clasps with metal clay, sterling wire, Argentium and fine silver wire. This class will cover using pliers properly, manipulating wire, implanting wire in metal clay, firing procedures and finishing techniques. We will also cover the use of PMC Pro as a material suitable to function for findings. Students will learn to make and fire at least one type of clasp in this workshop and are encouraged to bring their clasp ideas and questions.
  • Lemon Wedge Bead Techniques Sampler
    This one day class will illustrate many techniques through the construction and finishing of a single metal clay bead. There will be some hands on for the students but no finished piece will be made. Instead, it will be like witnessing about 6 workshops, compressed into one 9-5 day! And, the students will leave with the ability to do all the techniques shown.

Two Day Workshops:

  • ABC's of PMC
    (Beginner Class) This workshop will provide true beginners, and those with some past experience, with the basics of fine silver metal clay construction, firing and finishing. We will use all three types of PMC to make three unique bead shapes: sphere, lentil and wedge. Students will learn wet and dry construction, molding, appliqu, stamping, and use of texture plates.
  • Fish Bead
    Creating a hollow fish bead with expressive fins, gemstone eyes and a fabulous syringe texture for the scales
  • Mask Ring Workshop
    This two day workshop begins by sculpting a small, jewelry-scale mask/face in polymer clay, using a simple, step by step procedure. The results are amazing and anybody can do it! This polymer clay original is then molded so that metal clay duplicates can be made and individually altered, if desired. This workshop will focus on two styles of Sterling metal clay rings, but other variations and forms of jewelry will be discussed as well. We will be making our own Sterling 960 clay by mixing PMC Sterling and PMC3.

    We will cover ring sizing as it relates to the shrinkage rates of Sterling Clay and the firing requirements of this material.
  • PMC & Champlevè Enameling
    To introduce the method of champleve enameling, we will create 2 PMC pieces: one using a stamped depression and one using a "cookie cutter." This is not meant to be an exhaustive exploration of enameling procedures, but a taste of one particular technique. No previous enameling experience is required but a basic knowlege of PMC usage is preferred.

    The construction of the PMC pieces, as they relate to enameling, will be covered, with an emphasis on what is required for champleve using transparent enamels. Other items of concern will be: surface preparation, handling of enamels, and firing procedures. We will touch on other enameling procedures, as time allows, and sources for enamels and related supplies.
  • PMC Armature & Lampworked Glass Beads
    This two day workshop will explore several different methods for creating a PMC armature which will then be the base for a hollow lampworked bead. On the first day of the workshop, the armature will be constructed, fired, polished and then mounted on mandrels. On the second day, techniques for ways of applying glass to the PMC will be explored. Hollow beads or solid beads can be applied to the armature. We will also discuss the application of metal clay paste to annealed beads and the use of commercially manufactured fine silver tubes as armatures for lampworked beads.
  • Donut Beads
    Create an interesting donut (torus or ring-shape) bead with polymer clay forms used as molds. Mirror image hollow constructions such as these are fairly simple to make and can result in spectacular beads.
  • Polygon Beads/ Box Beads
    Ways of creating hollow forms in PMC will be explored with an emphasis on the angular box bead and it's variations: Polygons, Chain Links, and Complex Boxes.As time allows, other means of creating hollow forms will be demonstrated.Experience with PMC is necessary to take maximum advantage of the subject matter.
  • Wire & Sheet Armature Beads
    By bending large gauge (10-14 ga.) copper wire into simple shapes, PMC can be draped and dried over the wire to create interesting convex forms. The same principle applies when using thin metal sheet to make the mold forms. Adding backs and sides, etc. creates a hollow form.
  • The Lentil Bead and Beyond
    The lentil form can be a lovely shape on its own, but by manipulating and deconstructing the form interesting and dynamic things can result. Pillow shapes, boat shapes, blades, and quarters are some of the forms we will explore.
  • Lemon Wedge Beads
    I discovered a plastic form that allows us to make a complex wedge form with very little effort. This interesting shape can be varied in a number of ways. Texturing the sides of the bead enhances the form.
  • Porcupine Beads
    This is a complex construction that results in a uniquely shaped bead. Wires are implanted and fired to hold half-drilled pearls or gem balls. After making this bead, you could dream up other mold shapes to create beads that have similar modular characteristics.
  • Picture Frame Beads
    This bead has a fairly complex construction. One faceplate has an inset box that holds an old photograph, paper with text and/or little objects like seeds or tiny glass beads.
  • Chain Link Beads
    This is a box with two sets of side frames--one on the outside, and one on the inside that makes it an open form. It can take any form or be any size. This is a complex construction.
  • Box Rings
    In this workshop, students will create a hollow form, with or without a stone setting, and attach it to a shank to create a ring that will stop traffic! This workshop is recommended for experienced students of silver metal clay and stone setting.
  • UFO Ring
    Alien Alert !!! A "mini" UFO has landed on this ring! It's a variation on a metal clay classic: the lentil bead. The ring sets a brilliant cut CZ upside down for a bit of amusement and to perpetuate the UFO image. Four pieces of fine silver (sterling or argentium) wire are implanted and fired into the clay to be used as posts to set half-drilled pearls. The shank is made with PMC Pro (or PMC Sterling) to add strength to the ring. A double firing procedure allows for very accurate ring sizing.

Extended PMC Classes (3-14 days):

Curriculum is custom-made to the venue and the needs of the host.
  • PMC Bead-O-Rama!
    Want to take your metal clay beads to another level? During this workshop students will be able to add to their hollow form repertoire: box beads, polygons, box-in-box, donuts, mirror image beads, draped beads and more! The basics of dry construction, mitering, joint-making, mold and armature creation will be addressed. Explorations in texture plate creation and adding surface color will also be covered. Students should be able to complete at least four different hollow forms during the week. This is an intermediate level workshop and not for beginners with no metal clay experience.

Glass Bead Making Workshops:

  • Beginner Glass Beadmaking
    This is best done as a two (or more) day workshop which addresses safety aspects, tools, types of glass, basic shapes, stringer work, annealing, and cleaning. With extended time frames surface decoration options, encasing, and other techniques can be added.
  • Beginners and Beyond
    Have you always wanted to make glass beads or have you taken a class but still feel tentative about your skills? This class will be for brand new beginners and those who have some experience but would like to have a refresher course for a firmer foundation and more concentrated time on the torch. We will begin at the beginning and advance along as far as we can.
  • Intermediate Glass Beadmaking
    This class is intended to hone your lampworking skills and help you step up your beadmaking to another level. Several advanced techniques will be featured:

    We will make hollow beads in at least half a dozen different versions which will provide a ton of experience and a wealth of design possibilites. A demonstration of a hollow core vessel will be presented, as well. We will learn to make and control stringer with precision; sampling various dot and linear pattern techniques. Creating rich surfaces using metals, reduction frit, enamels, and dichroic glass will be explored.
  • PMC Armature & Lampworked Glass Beads (see above)

Wire Work Workshop:

  • Look Ma! No Solder!
    No Soldering, no filing, no buffing, just wire and pliers! In one day you will learn a minimum of 7 wire beads and 10 linking elements, all made in beautiful sterling silver. The basics of handling the tools, the characteristics of wire and it's varieties and properties will also be covered. No previous metalworking experience needed.