November 24, 2010

Meet Beaducation's newest Instructor, Steven James

We are so excited to welcome Steven to our family of Beaducation Instructors. 

Back in September Steven came to our studio to film two wonderful classes. His first class, Torch Enameling, launches in early December. We thought you might like to know all about this super creative and dynamic instructor.

First, take a look at the class teaser for Steven's class:

Cool, huh!? Here are a few thoughts and observations. Take it away, Steven...
Beaducation: First off, you are super-talented and creative!  How far does that creative spark go back in your life?  

Steven James: The womb. You should have seen what I was making in utero!  But in all honesty I’ve had crafty tendencies all my life.  I think it was one of the ways I could feel really good about myself.  

B: Were you a crafty kid? 
SJ: I was an incredibly crafty child and entrepreneurial as well – if there was a chance to make something and sell it - all the better, this is one of the reasons I love buying children’s art and handmade goods!  Everyone should nurture a child’s creative spirit and of course hold onto their own as they get older. 
B: The name of your website is “Macaroni and Glitter”. Were those two of your favorite craft mediums as a child? How did you come up with that name and how does it tie into what you are doing now?   

SJ: Keep in mind the ‘m’ and ‘g’ are lower case. Sure some might say as a website title, it is grammatically incorrect, but much like in creativity you sometimes have to bend the rules.  However, I wouldn’t say they were my favorite craft mediums – I mean I LOVE cooked pasta as a food and glitter, well let’s be honest if you use it, it gets EVERYWHERE, but I guess that is half the fun.  But when we are children it is one of the first supplies we’re given to “be creative.”  It’s a common experience among most people I work with in class - “Yes, I remember making such and such with macaroni and glitter,” so I fell in love with the idea of reminding people of how it felt to be a child, making stuff in class without a care in the world.  The name seemed to evoke the idea of creative freedom combined with a sense of taking a witty and funky outlook at crafts.  I think the concept of creative play is so important and you can’t get more creatively playful than macaroni and glitter. 
B: It seems that you always put an interesting spin or twist on a project and come up with something different. . How do you come up with your projects?

  SJ: A nice Zinfandel always helps.  But really, I used to teach a creativity workshop in which I told students to look at something they’ve looked at a ‘million’ times, but from a different angle.  More times than not, you see something completely unique and it’s because you’re looking at it with a fresh set of eyes.  I try to incorporate this strategy into my own creative process.   Of course I also like pushing my creative limits and tweaking common objects or experiences into crafts, jewelry or home d├ęcor – asking myself, “How would I re-interpret this?”  A perfect example is the ‘Ransom Note Pendants’ I’m currently producing.  I like to think most people instantly know what the motif looks like, randomly cut pieces of magazine paper – well I’ve always been curious what it would look like, using the enameling technique.  I loved the challenge, as well as the outcome of reproducing a “ransom note” with glass and copper!  In fact, the class launches at the Bead &Button this summer. 
B: Let’s talk about teaching. Your classes are always a popular choice at bead shows and stores. What sparked your interest in teaching?   

SJ: I’d like to think my days in small town dinner theatre prepared me for teaching, but the truth is, I love sparking creativity in others and for many years I presented workshops on creative thinking.  However, it was Kate Richbourg who first noticed that I might make a good creative arts teacher and allowed me to teach at her shop, Beadissimo.  I love the idea of taking people from one point in their lives to another.  And as for the “aha” moments, when a person gets the concept or has finally cut the chains holding their creativity back, well those experiences are worth their weight in gold!   
B: You have some great classes coming up for Beaducation. Working with fire, enameling, riveting…those all seem pretty heavy duty. Do you have to be an advanced metalworker to tackle those techniques?  

SJ: You absolutely do not have to be an advanced metalworker to tackle those techniques - Scout’s honor (that would be just Cub Scout’s honor, because they frown upon young boys who rig the Pine Wood Derby race…moving on).  In fact these classes are perfectly suited to beginners and if you don’t get it the first time you watch the class, you can watch it again and again until you are sick of listening to me, but more importantly, get the concept!  It’s one of the reasons I love the idea behind Beaducation.  You get to work at your own pace, can pause the video, practice the technique and always have the “knowledge” right in your own home.   
B: What’s your favorite tool on your workbench -the one that you just can’t live without?    

SJ: What is my favorite tool? You know you’re talking to a tool guy, right?  I have too many tools to pick a favorite, but I love when I discover a new way to use an old tool!     
B: What words of wisdom do you have for a budding designer or someone who just feels like they need more creativity in their lives?  
SJ: I would say to a budding designer or creatively-starved person that the opportunity to express yourself is ALL around you, but you have to sometimes change your perspective or way of thinking to get more creativity in your life.  Get yourself an idea book and keep it with you at all times, because you never know when one of the best ideas in the world will come into your life.  Of course you also have to look for many ways to nurture your creative spirit!  Our lives are full of opportunities to be creative - add a new ingredient or two to a recipe you always cook. Don’t buy gifts for special occasions – make them and enclose them in gift wrap you make yourself. Share your ideas with friends and get their feedback.  There’s no reason to live in a creative bubble!  And if you think none of these ideas will work for you, a few glasses of Zinfandel never hurt!

Steven, we loved having you! We think you will love his dynamic teaching style as much as we do. Stay tuned, we'll let you know as soon as the class is live!

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