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

Look Who’s Teaching @ The Bead And Button Show!

While looking over our newest class schedule I realized that six (Yes SIX!) of our instructors are also teaching at The Bead And Button Show in June. If you aren’t familiar with the show check out their website and be prepared to be AMAZED. It is the world’s largest bead show offering more than 750 classes in the span of 12 days. Many of the classes offered by our instructors are also available to attend locally at our store. Hmmm, it feels good to rub elbows with the bead famous. To read full descriptions of each of these instructor’s classes taught at the show follow this link and search by the instructor’s name.

Lisa Claxton

Lisa Claxton's classes at Bead & Button

Lisa Claxton’s classes at Bead & Button

This year she is offering 5 wire classes at Bead & Button; one of which is a 3-day workshop called The Fundamentals of Wirework. In addition to teaching Basic Wire Work at our store, each of her other classes are often offered at Baubles & Beads. In fact, she often debuts her classes at our store before offering them at national bead shows. There are beady perks to living in the Bay Area! She is currently offering Leaf & Vine Bracelet, Herringbone Weave Wire Wrapping, Stamp It On Metal, Byzantine Bracelet, Crochet Shell Cluster Bracelet, Fused Ball Link Chain, Fused Fine Silver Chains, Stone Medallion Pendant, Dreams of Viking Knit & Crystals, and Wire Bezels at Baubles & Beads. She is also a contributor in the book Stamped Metal Jewelry.

Teri Dannenberg Lawson

Teri Dannenberg Lawson's classes at Bead & Button

Teri Dannenberg Lawson’s classes at Bead & Button

By day Teri helps develop science curriculum for middle school kids. By night she is a seedbead queen, figuring out how she can stitch those seedbeads into fabulous designs inspired by nature. Although she currently does not have any classes scheduled at Baubles & Beads, keep a lookout for her inspiring use of color and form to grace our class schedule this summer.

Huib Petersen

Huib Peterson's classes at Bead & Button

Huib Petersen’s classes at Bead & Button

Huib’s work is always an inspiration to anyone who loves nature or bead weaving. He is teaching seven classes at the Bead & Button show this year. His work is featured in the new book, Beading Across America. While he travels internationally to teach he always makes time to share his skills with students at Baubles & Beads. This session he is offering a special 3-part comprehensive course, Peyote Stitch & Beyond: Fundamentals in Beading and Up & Over.

Kate Richbourg

Kate Richbourg's classes at Bead & Button

Kate Richbourg’s classes at Bead & Button

Kate is a master of all things beads and metal. She has shared her skills with us through classes for over 15 years. Her new book Simple Soldering A Beginner’s Guide To Soldering is chock full of projects and ideas that will get your torch heated up. In addition to many articles in bead magazines she is also a project contributor in Stamped Metal Jewelry. This session Kate is teaching Crystal Framed Ring and Patinas & Cold Connections at Baubles & Beads.

Anat Silvera

Anat Silvera's classes at Bead & Button

Anat Silvera’s classes at Bead & Button

Anat has had a long history at Baubles & Beads. Over decades she has taught wirework, enameling, metalwork, stringing and design classes at our store. Her current love of torch fired enamels and forging metals is demostrated in her class lineup at our store. This session Anat is teaching Beads & Leather Bracelet, Fold Form Components, Introduction to Enameling, Enamel On Curved Forms, The Fandango Necklace, Fused Silver & Copper Bracelet, Multistrand Necklace, Soldering & Enameling, Spiral Fold Fantasy, and Wire Wrapped Cabochon.

Joe Silvera

Joe Silvera's classes at Bead & Button

Joe Silvera’s classes at Bead & Button

With the release of his first book, Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen table jeweler, Joe has been busy teaching at many national bead shows and at his own school, The Silvera Jewelry School. We keep him pretty busy at Baubles & Beads too! This session he is offering Basic Metalsmithing, Basic Soldering, Bezel Set Pendant, Fusing with Argentium, The Mural Ring, and Twisted Bangles.

emiko oye is teaching at SCRAP in S.F.

This month’s presenter at the Bead Society of Northern California monthly meeting was emiko oye. She is most notable for her Lego & found art jewelry designs. Check out the great bracelet below that retails for $65. Yummy! Her color selection is fab AND she is teaching a class locally with Shana Astrachan at SCRAP in San Francisco. Check it out!


Get to Know Bead Shop Girl

There are many of us who make up Bead Shop Girl. Our collective knowledge of beads and techniques is something to be proud of. When you visit our store we will make every attempt to share our knowledge and revel in the wonder of beads.



When you visit our store be sure to check out the baubles on Caitlin. Her vintage style and mix of unique materials is an inspiration to all. Caitlin joined our staff in 2013 bringing with her years of jewelry making know-how.



Known for her infections laugh and unstoppable smile, Heather is one of our senior staff members.  She has been a part of the Baubles and Beads family since 2002!  Ask Heather about anything at all and she will answer all your questions and brighten your day at the same time.  Her favorite techniques include wire wrapping and pearl knotting, and you can usually see her wearing some of her own handmade jewelry using one of those two techniques. She first started making jewelry in 1st grade with her best friend but it became a career in 2002 when she was fresh out of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.



Have you ever had something repaired at Baubles & Beads? Chances are it was Jude who worked her magic to fix it!  Having been here since 2006, there is no repair or problem too big for her to tackle.  In her own time she makes beautiful, delicate and intricate jewelry, incorporating lots of stones and tiny wire wraps.  Ask her for help with all that jewelry you’ve been meaning to fix for years and she won’t let you down.



Every time you order something on our web store it goes straight to the desk of Shannon.  Shannon joined Baubles & Beads in 2010 and she knows the lay of the land here at the store.  If you have any questions about ordering from us online, she’s your girl.  Not able to make it into the store to ask your web related questions? That’s fine! Just give Shannon a call and she will make sure your order gets filled and shipped in lightning speed.



 Amara has been with us for over 4 years. This girl knows her colors and is excellent at giving customers that little tip helps finish their designs. Although she loves picking up new jewelry making skills she enjoys soldering the most as it provides the most challenge for her.

Lisa C.

Lisa C.

Lisa has been a fixture at Baubles and Beads since 1997.  While she used to be the manager of the Berkeley store, she took some time off to redirect her career toward teaching wire & design at many of the national bead shows. After her beader in training was born, she once again redirected her career back with baubles & Beads as our webmaster and social media director.  Lisa continues to act as one of our regular instructors, teaching basic techniques as well as many of her original wire designs.

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