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Adrienne Gaskell's kumihimo master class

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Adrienne Gaskell (standing, foreground), is a popular teacher of kumihimo and taught a master class at this year's Bead&Button Show.

At the Bead&Button Show this past June, I popped in on Adrienne Gaskell’s master class one day to see what everyone was up to. I had taken her class in 2015 and so I was delighted when I got there this year to see several students who had been in class with me as well as other cheerful and familiar faces. Don’t they look like they’re having a great time?

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Just like last year, Adrienne covered a slew of techniques through the course of teaching several projects. This year’s class projects included this gorgeous ombré necklace with tiny little crystals added at each end (Above, left). Another project they were working on when I stopped in consisted of a fiber braid (made of the most gorgeous Japanese silk imaginable!) that they then braided around with beaded strands (above, right).
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Adrienne is always developing new techniques to make braiding easier and more enjoyable. She was here in our offices this past spring to film the footage for her two DVDs (Learn Beaded Kumihimo on the Marudai, which includes great intro material plus how to work kongoh gumi on the marudai, and More Beaded Kumihimo on the Marudai, which covers more advanced techniques including four popular continuous beaded braid structures), and she mentioned that several of the tips she shared in the DVDs were things she was going to be passing on to her students in the master class. One of my favorites was so simple but really clever. If you’re familiar with braiding on a marudai, you know that one of the indispensible tools is a chopstick – it keeps your braid stable any time you need to walk away from your work for even a moment. Well, most of the time, the chopstick is taped in place but now Adrienne has taken to attaching a loop of Velcro to the underside of the mirror, which creates a permanent place to slide the chopstick. It’s a brilliant solution!
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Returning kumihimo student Susan Rothman with her marudai

If you’re interested in kumihimo, I highly recommend taking a class, and Adrienne is a fantastic teacher. If you can’t get to one of her classes, check out her DVDs – they’re well worth the investment.

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