Kraftwerks 2006

Hello All!

This weekend is Kraftwerks. Ontario, California. Come on down and
enjoy a shop based seminar series. Anyone who would like to “pop in”
may do so. Just give us a call at 213-689-4872, we do have seats
available. Special rate for Orchidians-$360 for the weekend. We
accept checks! has all the details.


Daniel Ballard
213-675-6178 Cell
800-999-7528 office
213-689-4872 direct

Lately, I seem to be hitting the trade show circuit. First Clasp,
then MJSA’s Tradeshow for Jewelry Makers and this weekend,

I signed on about a year ago with Daniel Ballard and Kraftwerks,
using the time frame to teach a flexshaft class in Santa Barbara,
swing by Kraftwerks and teach there and then head out for my vacation
in Thailand. Well, the workshop fell through, and the military
decided that September is a great time to stage a coup, thereby
canceling my trip, I was a bit reluctant to board a plane and head
out for California again.

After the professionalism of Clasp, where every detail was
considered for the attendees, my landing in Ontario, California was a
bit rougher. My luggage arrived before I did due to overbooking and
United Airlines had it sequestered in their office where I could only
retrieve it after all the other luggage had been despensed. Ontario
airport has little public transportation or taxis, however Jurgen
Maerz was kind enough to fetch me from the airport in his very spiffy
and tiny Mercedes sports car. He asked if I could hold my suitcase in
my lap. My lap? I’m a woman after all, and you don’t just bring what
you need when you travel, but a selection of clothes, not to mention
the 38 pounds of flex-shaft tools of which I pray that TSA doesn’t
root through too roughly, making my supplies look like yard sale
shrapnel. I arrived at the hotel and collapsed after a long day.

I arrived this morning to his huge factory and lots of hands on
demonstration areas. First up was Jurgen Maerz from the Platinum
Guild. He had a platinum ring set up to solder (weld) and asked for
volunteers to try it out for themselves. Solder platinum? My hand
shot up faster than the space shuttle. Jurgen guided me to the sound
look of a propane oxy torch. A hissy flame, of propane oxy, very
cobra like, if you have ever heard me talk about the properties of
torch control. Oh, this was fun and I successfully welded the ring

Next was Paul Klecka who gave the most inspiring talk on the Soul of
CAD. CAD has a soul? Hey, you are talking art here. With an excellent
set of images comparing the similarities of mathematical fractal
images and those of nature, he eloquently articulated how CAD was an
extension of his hand, heart and mind. Beginning with with a block of
wax, he demonstrated the tricks of CAD using the software as a
carving tool. Never diverting from the soul of CAD he showed the
group how he makes design decisions, showing some of the software’s
unique features and its limitations. For me, it was the first time I
really understood how CAD worked, or most importantly, why I would
use it.

Jeff Gram brought out four faceting machines. Volunteering for this
one as well, I began working on faceting a piece of quartz. How often
have we read Lapidary Journal, flicking through the Step by Step and
passing by the faceted gem projects with the odd sequences of numbers
and the outline of a stone. Ah, the numbers have been de-mystified!
This cool machine showed me how to turn and grind my little cube of
quartz into the beginning of a faceted stone.

TSI who makes small desktop size casters for the dentistry industry,
brought their casting examples and their machine. We watched
stainless steel and platinum being cast in this elegant design for

The last talk was on a white 950 palladium alloy. I’m profess, I’m
not a bench jeweler, but watching the enthusiasm of many bench
jewelers and having the opportunity to use a laser welder, it’s just

Kraftwerks is a jewel. I am out of a conference hall and in the
trenches putting my hands on materials and tools that I would never
have access to in any trade show. I’m having FUN out here. There are
generous minds all sharing, all talking about what they do and how
they do it. This is a hands-on trade show. We are relaxed, drinking
beer and spending time talking to all kinds of interesting people.
Oh, and remember Karen Lechner who won the Tucson Orchid Raffle last
February? She is here and soaking up lots of Sitting
next to me is Nancy Monkman who writes the newsletter for SNAG. Yup,
this is great and I will be back next year.

This conference is a well kept secret, but I think soon, the word
will get out. This is a good one folks. I arrived tired and grumpy
and am now having a blast. Kudos to Daniel Ballard for all his hard


Karen Christians
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857

The 2006 Kraftwerks was another success. I want to thank all who
attended, helped sponsor, run, or of course, teach and demonstrate at
the 2006 edition. Without that kind of support, we could not continue
at all. It is hard to grasp that this was our ninth Kraftwerks, and
many of you have been with us all along. New sponsors brought fresh

I wanted to let you all know that Kraftwerks is changing dates due to
a very busy late 2007 jewelry seminar schedule. When Kraftwerks was
started in 1998, we chose August to avoid conflicting with jewelry
seminars and shows. Of course, in 1998 there was a tiny fraction of
the available educational events as compared to 2007. However, August
in Ontario is a very hot time of year. Add burnout ovens and torches,
you can see the heat problem. Therefore, we now aim for fair weather
and less conflicted dates.

The new date is an early date; alas spring 2007 is too soon for the
tenth edition of Kraftwerks. On Saturday April 5, 2008, we will put
on the tenth anniversary edition of Kraftwerks. This early date puts
us after the early year shows like Tucson, and well before the summer
series of events gets underway, like JCK Las Vegas.

We will have casting demonstrations, a featured designer, a very
special “practical purple gold” demonstration, (technology under test
as we write this) and much more. Lasers to try, new tools to look at,
you name it.

We will also demonstrate refiners’ skills. Refining gold, smelting
alloys, and making plumb solder. This is Kraftwerks plus a refiner’s
open house. The rarest of events. You should note that Kraftwerks
will be one long day only this time to make room for a possible
separate event to be held on Sunday the 6th.

We plan on six “headliner” talented people for one-hour presentations
each and two technology demonstrations during the day. The first
seminar will start at nine in the morning. Lunch at 12:00, with a mid
day equipment demonstration and a chance to peruse the sponsor
tables. Then at about 2:30, two more presentations. Then after a
refiner’s demonstration, a short open bar cocktail break, and another
shot at all those new tools, new alloys, new materials and machines,
we put on a magnificent sunset BBQ dinner and social hour. The
"Brainstorm Bar and Grill" right there in the factory provides the
food and drink.

We are in discussions with certain educational organizations to work
up the most exciting program ever. I will be in touch with the
details as they can be confirmed.

Best Regards,
Daniel Ballard
Kraftwerks Director