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Great content at Clasp 2007!

Hi All,

Just back from Clasp. Another great weekend with great content,
exceptionally friendly people and as always, the supportive staff at
Rio Grande. Thank you Rio and thanks each one of the advisory
partners of Clasp, The Ganoksin Project, SNAG, MJSA and bench

You always make these events so approachable and filled with useful
knowledge to strengthen Metalwerx and to help me to be a better

This year I delved a bit into all three tracks. It was very difficult
to choose from the great menu of options, however my muse needed some
polishing and Tim McCreight was fun and informative. I never had the
chance to take a class with Tim, so this was an exceptional treat in
matching the language of art and transforming it to 3D.

In the Method, I got the chance to sit down and really play with a
laser welder. A bit tough for me, as my eyes are set very narrow, and
I had to look at the little cross hairs in the microscope with only
one eye. However, the helpful Rio staff got me through the process,
and I managed to make a pretty good laser weld across some steel.

Bruce Baker gave an excellent talk on booth set up and design. Since
Metalwerx has booths in both high end craft shows and jewelry supply
shows, his suggestions for lighting were on target to attract even
more traffic to my booth.

Joel Zeff came back again with another great keynote speak on
communication. He’s just fun and really knows how to lift a crowd
off their feet.

Was it worth it? You bet. We had two days of lunches taken care of
by Rio which provided a nice opportunity for friends to gather and
share notes of different seminars. The breakouts had wine and beer,
good munchies and just a great group of folks to talk to.

I have bunches of notes to make my school stronger and for me to
lessen my stress level.

Congrats to Clasp. Thanks, thanks, thanks. What I learned at Clasp
last year has literally turned Metalwerx around. I learned to
DELEGATE and nail down at least four of my octopus arms.

I look forward to the next Clasp - 2009 in New mexico


Clasp '07 is over, but its impact will remain with us for a very
long time, and for some, be life changing.

Ever since Clasp was in gestation, “threads” have appeared on Orchid
debating its value, cost, and viability. Opinions have been strong,
and in some cases long. At times from non attenders. I’d like to
offer some personal, hands on, comments.

To have a successful product, there must be a strong team leader as
the driving force. Andrea Hill selected just such an amazing team.
Clasp '06 was an incredibly positive result of team effort, with
each team member an active, contributing voice. Every one of them was
part of the decision, they were a strong team all going in the same

Clasp '07, followed this pattern with Mark Shipman at the helm. Mark
directed his team, and they all contributed to another seamless,
wildly successful conference. The cooperation between all was smooth
and the results speak for themselves.

Alan and Eddie Bell were very much in evidence, and happily worked
alongside of Rio Grande’s attending staff, in every quadrant. No
stiff shirts there, they were very much a part of the team, no RHIP

Emily Rivera, very pregnant at Clasp '06, brought her new son Max,
as well as her daughter, along with her. For me, an older bird, very
aware of what life was like insofar as female employees, job
responsibilities, and family, I am so happy to see that Rio Grande
is in the forefront of positive changes. They even used one of our
gatherings, to present a 10 year award to an employee Erin, no
longer living in New Mexico, but still a Rio Grande employee, now
telecommuting to work from Colorado.

Co-Sponsors were represented by well known, well respected, persons,
taking time out of their busy lives to be there. Orchid’s Dr. Hanuman
Aspler, Ton, and Charles Lewton Brain, MJSA’s Rich Youmans, SNAG’s
Dana Singer, Bench Media’s Brad Simon. Brilliant, giving persons,
each and every one of them Collectively, a Powerhouse!

The three “Paths” offering was and is a brilliant decision. Muse,
Method, and Money. There is something within each of them that spoke
directly to every Clasp attendee. The presenters of each Path were
extraordinary, the presentations clearly showed their fine
qualities. The most frequent comments after each session, was “I
really got something from that.”

The Expert Panels were incredible. Not a “Stuffed Shirt” on any of
them. I remember so well from Clasp '06 the good natured bantering
between Experts holding different opinions. Clasp '07 offered more
of the same. The 75 in 75 is a brilliant way to do a Forum. Great
advice and suggestions given with great humor. Audience reaction
stimulated even more.

The Breakfast, or Dinner with Experts, was another incredible
decision, by the Clasp Advisory Board. They were well attended, and
I can speak for Dinner with Ronda Coryell. I took a class with Ronda
at Tucson’s Catalog in Motion, earlier this year, and simply wanted
more of Ronda.

The meal was good, and then we talked, and talked, and talked. Got
teased later on about just how long we all talked. We finally had to
allow the Marriott staff to clean the room and prepare it for the
next morning’s Breakfast with an Expert. Very valuable experience to
ask and understand.

The individual “Meet With Salon’s” is another outstanding
opportunity for attendees. My time with Marlene Ritchey was
wonderfully invigorating. I have heard equally positive comments from
friends, no matter which Expert they met with.

As I initially said, these are my personal comments and feelings. I
cannot thank Rio Grande commensurably enough for the depth of my
feelings about their support of me, the individual, small customer,
there are not enough words.

One last comment, this with reference to just what Clasp can do for
one. Last year, a young lady attended Clasp. There, she was
encouraged to enter her jewelry in the Saul Bell Award, she did, and
won! Just ask her what Clasp did for her.


who spent 20 plus hours at the Denver airport after her flight

Hi Terrie,

It sounds as though you had a super time at Clasp '07. I wish we had
such things over here in the UK (if anybody in the UK knows of any
good jewellery related events, please let me know).

I cannot thank Rio Grande commensurably enough for the depth of my
feelings about their support of me, the individual, small customer,
there are not enough words. 

It’s nice to hear someone else with such high praise for Rio Grande.
I have had nothing but brilliant service and support from the
company and will hopefully be a loyal customer for a long time to
come. I have had every email query very quickly and helpfully dealt
with by Ashley from Online Customer Support, and Virginia Armendariz
personally dealt with my first order, involving a special order 220V
Foredom machine and sundry consumables. She gave me a quote for the
Foredom and then a quote for the Foredom, plus consumables and then
once I had decided on my final order, she took me through the
payment process (which had some problems, being trans-Atlantic) and
finally she oversaw the packing and shipment of my order and emailed
me to say it had been dispatched. The level of customer service and
care was far higher than I’d experienced with any other company


Thanks Teresa for the great and informative info. I still think the
cost is high, but perhaps next year I’ll be flush enuf to attend! MF

Thanks Teresa for the great and informative info. I still think
the cost is high, but perhaps next year I'll be flush enuf to

I just want to echo all the positive comments about CLASP. Since my
focus is on the business aspects of our business I attended all the
money presentations and found them helpful. I learned something new
(or many somethings new) at each presentation. I even enjoyed the
bench tip panel and I do not do any bench work! But what I loved most
was the ENERGY I felt there which I have been able to bring home. And
it was great to be able to put faces to names. Rio did an incredible
job! I highly recommend to start saving the pennies and plan to
attend the next CLASP which won’t be until Fall 2009 in Albuquerque.

There is that old saying of you get what you pay for. And even though
it may seem like a lot of money, the value of what you receive
attending is far more than the dollar cost of CLASP. I am
disappointed I have to wait two years to attend CLASP again but I
will definitely be there.

Thank you to everyone involved in planning CLASP.

Terry Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts
Bellingham, WA 98228

Mary et al…

Clasp was simply amazing. I understand there has been lots of
discussion about the cost, but trust me when I say every penny was
worth it. I can’t think of any other industry where three days of
education costs less than $1500 or more dollars, PRIOR to airfare and
lodging. Heck, the pricing tips I received informally would pay for
the trip! I was extremely impressed with the caliber of speakers, and
the content was wide and deep. What was most amazing and wonderful
was the complete destruction of boundaries. I have attended trade
shows, and also meetings of a much more, umm, art school bent. In
most occasions, I have always felt there is a Yankees fan v. Red Sox
feeling, that is to say that there are core groups of bench jewelers
vs. art students. vs. art jewelers, manufacturers vs. custom

This is not the case at Clasp. Charles Lewton-Brain said something
like (forgive the paraphrase, Charles!!), “in our industry there is
the bench jeweler silo, the art jeweler silo, the retailer silo, the
wholesaler silo, etc.and at this conference, boy, we are blowing out
the walls of these silos and mixing together!”.

Where else can you have the opportunity to speak with and spend time
with several of the top metal artists in our fields, as well as the
folks from Rio Grande? The opportunities during Clasp hours and
after hours were fabulous, the food was wonderful, the accommodations
great, and, hey - there were even cocktail hours! Clasp is a must for
those who want to accelerate their journey and lead the field. Rio is
a true supporter of education, and is doing their best to educate any
who want it. It’s basically “free” (or what I consider an extremely
reduced rate), you just need to grab it!

Ok - the problems - I wish that I had the ability to sit in on
several presentations - 4 presentations were scheduled at a time, so
I missed a few I would have liked to attend. Hopefully Rio will bring
back some of the same presentations in New Mexico in 2009.

And let’s not forget the other sponsors, Ganoksin, Bench Media, MJSA
and SNAG.

So, come on out to Clasp in 2009 - Trust me, it’s worth it. And I
hope every other large company out there who reads this can get on
board with education, and breaking down the boundaries that serve no
purpose in our field.

See You in 2009,

Chris Ploof Studio

Dear Claspies,

What an amazing time together. I always go away with more good stuff
then I can figure out how to use. Jeeze, how’s that for a
frustration? Couldn’t get much better. Hopped in the little car and
was back in AZ by Monday noon. That radar detector was a good

Many of you got to see some silver mesh I was showing around. Your
input was all positive! Please contact me off Orchid for
It’s commming.

Bill Seeley
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc