Instructor Interview- Kate Richbourg

Q & A with (the amazing) Kate Richbourg


The famous & fabulous Kate!

Emily Miller, Baubles & Beads Class Director, interviews Kate Richbourg, one of our instructors here at the bead store. Kate is an educator, a maker, a new author, and jeweler.

EM: Kate, you wear a lot of hats, which is your favorite?

Kate: Well, my favorite hat (when not wearing an actual hat) is teaching. This my is 22nd year of teaching and helping students continue on their journey.

EM: When did you get started making jewelry and did you have a mentor?

Kate: I pretty much always made jewelry, my Gran had a box of junk jewelry and I played with that, of course with no special materials, stringing with dental floss! I was very lucky that my Mom and Gran were my early creative mentors; they put me on the road to doing something creative. In 1992 I got a job at bead store, selling beads, which led me to teaching. I started teaching at Baubles & Beads in 1993-94. Lisa Kaufman [the owner of Baubles & Beads] was instrumental at offering me opportunities to teach new classes. In the beginning, stores were big part of classes.

Check out Kate's Tube Setting class this summer at the store.

Check out Kate’s Tube Setting class this summer at the store.

EM: Was there a particular technique that was difficult to master?

Kate: When I got started there was not a lot of info out there, so I’m self taught. I’ve taken only a couple of bead classes. I didn’t know what was hard or what was easy. The first book I bought was The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight, it taught me a lot, it was my general teacher. I still refer to it regularly when stuck.

Kate in action while teaching a class.

Kate in action while teaching a class.

EM: Do you have a teaching philosophy?

Kate: Usually when you think about creating classes, you might think who is the class for? Beginners, intermediates or advanced students? I can take beginners to intermediate level in class by just jumping in and starting. At the end they say, “I made that!” There are no limits to what you can learn. I like to share lots of tips, some that might be advanced, but without telling them it’s advanced.

EM: What makes you happiest about teaching?

Kate: Part of it is a community of like-minded people. Creating with your peers is always fun; taking time to be creative while in class I get a lot of ideas of what to do next. The interchange between teacher and students as well as student to student.

EM: What essential items does your studio have?

Kate: My favorite thing right now is a rolling mill. I love to hammer, texture and flatten. The rolling mill makes me super efficient to shape and flatten, a lot easier than I could do by hand.

Tools are Kate's friends

Tools are Kate’s friends.

EM: What is your favorite material?

Kate: Well, that’s a loaded question… whatever material I’m working with at the time. Metal…then the first and original material, beads. A tie between metal and beads.

Kate's book is a fantastic entry level book into the world of soldering but even seasoned metalsmiths will discover helpful tips and hints.

Kate’s book is a fantastic entry level book into the world of soldering but even seasoned metalsmiths will discover helpful tips and hints.

EM: After a long day of teaching, what do you do to relax?

Kate: Put my feet up on the coffee table. Teaching takes so much out of you but is invigorating too. I sit and reflect, remember people’s names and projects. Sort of like a meditation, over what went well or could be improved.

EM: Predict something about the coming year in jewelry making and design, where do you see the next big trend?

Kate: I think that now that people are learning so many types of jewelry making, beading, metal, wire, putting all those techniques together in one piece. Distilling what students have learned into one piece. Metal is still strong. It’s interesting how fiber is coming into jewelry, fiber and unconventional materials in jewelry is pretty cool.

EM: If we could see a picture of your bench, what are you working on right now?

Kate: Right now I’m working on some chain necklaces. I’m preparing for an online class, so lots of chain, the simple loops and how to put it together. All chain, all the time, right now.


Work in progress.

EM: What else do you make besides jewelry?

Kate: Oh my gosh, I knit, sew, quilt, make a mess, I’ve been sewing and knitting since I was a little girl, it keeps my hands busy.

EM: Will you share your favorite quotation?

Kate: Yes, here in my studio I have some quotes on my wall. My favorite, favorite one is:
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein.


Inspirational quote.

EM: If you could go back in time to any era, which one and why?

Kate: I’m conflicted about going back or forward in time. The 20’s were this zany pause between the world wars where there was a lot of creativity: writing, art and I love the fashion. I’d love to see where we are in 100 years too.


Like Kate, beads will never go out of style!

EM: What do you want to learn next?

Kate: Oh my gosh, I really want to learn how to engrave. I don’t know why. When you pick up a piece of old jewelry and see the hand engraving it’s just beautiful. I just picked up an ebook copy of an old book from the turn of the 20th century about hand engraving.

EM: Thank you Kate, for a great peek into your world!

Kate has been teaching jewelry for decades yet she always manages to bring us new ideas and products to play with. Check out her video below from Craftsy about how to use a torch (safely).

Connect with and learn more about Kate by visiting her blog:

Check out her blog: We Can Make That at Home

About Emily Miller
Beads make me happy. I need to work with my hands everyday to connect with the artist within. Teaching others spreads the bead joy.....

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