Our Instructors

Carol Bernau

On beaches, Carol always finds herself nose to the ground, searching for a special stone, piece of glass, or shell.  She can spend hours, moving them around into different patterns.  Needless to say, her bead studio harbors unimaginable treasures — if you can find them! 

She is continually challenged to learn new ways of using beads: so far she knits them, weaves them, wires them, crochets them, knots them, ties them, braids them, macramés them, the list goes on!  Same with metal:  stamp it, emboss it, hammer it, rivet it, mold it, bend it, and more.  Perhaps her true love is weaving seed beads, because seed beads show endless possible permutations of color, shape, texture, and reflection of light.

Now retired from the corporate world of human resources, she has been learning about jewelry making for more than 20 years, and teaching classes for 11 years.  She loves teaching, because her students open up new worlds of possibilities and inspire her to go make more!   Carol sells her work at art fairs and exhibits it in various galleries in the Bay Area — in order to be able to create some more!

Julia Booz

Julia has been a beader since the 3rd grade, when she found a broken necklace on the play ground. She has been an instructor for a little over 8 years, specializing in seed bead weaving, knotting, and recently, chain maille.

She absolutely loves her cat and the color mustard mixed with garnet and dark green, but her favorite stone is Chrysoprase. She is very excited to join the Blue Door Beads team!

Lydia Chapman

Ever since Lydia was three years old, when her parents had to wipe her hand- and nose-prints off the display window at Tiffany & Co., she had dreamed of working with sparkly things. Now, decades later, Lydia considers herself lucky to be able to create beautiful pieces of jewelry for a living!

In addition to being the manager at Blue Door Beads, Lydia teaches many of the beginner, all-level, and intermediate classes at the shop. Although her favorite techniques include cold metal-working and wire-working, she loves consistently learning new jewelry techniques and has greatly enjoyed learning more about stringing, bead weaving, and fusing over the years. She has now been beading regularly for almost 20 years, and has worked in the beading industry for the past 10 years. She looks forward to serving her beading customers and teaching them how to make gorgeous jewelry for many years to come! To contact her, please email her at lydia@bluedoorbeads.com.

Erin Garcia

Erin Garcia is a crafting superstar, teaching classes, leading crafty parties, and always coming up with fun new projects for Feed the Fish Co. Erin's designs have been featured on Darby Smart and her handmade goods are popping up all over the Bay Area. By day she is an Infection Prevention Coordinator at the state health department, finding creative ways for you to stay healthy. She loves all things DIY, wearing sandals year round, and heart-shaped everything. 

Steven James

A refugee from one of the nation's flyover states and now a resident of San Francisco, Steven spent his childhood breaking his art teacher’s rules — coloring outside the lines, peeling the wrapper off crayons, and making glue skin in the palm of his hand.

Now that he is older, wiser and craftier, he still wants to break the rules, but he needs you to join in the fun! Put aside the responsibilities of your life and get back the creative connections you made as an 8-year-old. A full-time elementary school teacher who has made appearances on the DIY and HGTV networks, Steven loves taking breaks from his daily routine and spending a few hours with adults who will hopefully avoid picking noses, scabs, or fights and focus on being as creative and inspired as possible.

Long considered the alleged love child of Martha Stewart and Christopher Lowell, Steven's published work has appeared in such magazines as ReadyMade and BeadStyle, as well as books from Lark and Kalmbach. He has spread his love of handmade by developing craft ideas for TiVo, the Gap, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as various websites. Living by the mantra “What are you gonna make today?” Steven hopes to spark creativity in everyone he meets through a series of classes he teaches around the world. Visit his website at www.macaroniandglitter.com.

Sydney Khan

Sydney started beading at the age of 10 with her mom, and recently got back into serious beading after working at Blue Door Beads. Working with others to create a one-of-a-kind piece is amazing to watch and watching the creative capacity which  She is currently attending San Francisco State University and hopes to one day open up a non- profit art collective specializing in creative workshops for teens focused around expression, wellness and empowerment. 

She is inspired by bright and vivacious colors and loves the flexibility of working with seed beads. She is currently mesmerized by the possibilities of bead weaving and capturing different objects in the intricate peyote stitch. She will be launching her line of jewelry at Blue Door Beads with a trunk show in the summer and then will continue her launch of her jewelry business Tropikali. You can find her work at www.tropikali.com.

This is her first time teaching at Blue Door Beads and she is very excited about developing future classes! 

Jen Laursen

Inspired by the beautiful leatherwork from Mexico, 6 years ago Jen went on a quest to teach herself this time-honored tradition. She devoured old manuals, YouTube videos, and used the tried-and-true method of trial and error. Today, she creates handmade leather accessories for women, men, and home, still learning and perfecting her craft -- and loving every minute of it!  She also teaches private lessons and group workshops to kids and adults. She loves watching others get hooked on leathercraft! 

Jen almost exclusively uses vegetable tanned leather; this eco-friendly process leaves each hide with its natural grain and flaws, making each piece unique.  Veg-tanned leather can also last a lifetime with care, so you consume less, leaving a smaller footprint on the environment. Jen's work is inspired by the world around her and is constantly evolving, so you can always expect something new. 

Sara Mancini

Sara believes anyone and everyone can make jewelry -- you just need to know what you like! She has been designing and making jewelry for over 20 years. Back in the day, Sara used to sell her work at weekend craft fairs, and she is now proud to say that her passion and her hobby has become her career! Sara considers herself a sophisticated hippie, and she loves working with sparkly gemstones, chain, leather, vintage acrylic, and African metals. Her favorite jewelry techniques are wire-wrapping and coming up with interesting connections to use with basic stringing -- and her solution to every jewelry problem is, "Just add chain!" 

She has always been the first to host a bead party or craft night with friends, and even after many years of teaching she still gets misty-eyed when a student has that "ah-HA!" moment and proves to themselves that they, too, can create beautiful jewelry! 

Elizabeth McKinley

Elizabeth McKinley is a Registered Yoga Teacher at home in the Bay Area. Exploring the intersections of physical, mental, and emotional health, she teaches groups and individuals yoga and meditation, emphasizing the body-mind-spirit connection. Incorporating the traditions of Hatha, Restorative, and Therapeutic Yoga, Elizabeth guides her students to recognize and build upon their inherent wholeness.

Working as a mental health counselor compliments Elizabeth’s teachings, strengthening her firm belief in the the powers of self-care and community. Since 2009 she has worked with adults living with mental illness and substance abuse disorders in residential settings. This offers beautiful reminders that our bodies and our spirits are resilient and naturally work towards healing if we support them.

Elizabeth completed her 800-hour training at Purusha Yoga School in San Francisco where she currently leads trainings. She teaches group classes at Addison Yoga Loft, the Berkeley Yoga Center and has taught yoga and meditation at Women's Resources Center, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, REALM Charter School, Mission Mental Health, LifeLong Medical Care, Berkeley High, and other organizations in the Bay Area. Sharing the gifts of yoga grows inspiration and provides Elizabeth a life of deep purpose.

Visit elizabethmckinleyyoga.com to learn more. 

Rae Rodriguez

Jewelry designer Rae Rodriguez has been designing jewelry for over 18 years. Her obsession with beading started 18 years ago, which then lead to fabrication, casting, and metal clay.  Rae’s inspiration stems from the juxtaposition of shape and textures. With the love of gems, metal, and creating, it’s become her true focus in art.

Metal clay is fascinating in many ways and also very fun to teach.  It stems from many fabrication/metal smithing techniques and simplifies the process for your end results.  The craft enables you to work with textures, shapes and much much more.  Rae's hope is to build the culture of metal clay at BDB and soon offer many more classes. Come and enjoy!

Dara Rosenwasser

Dara began her love of making and creating in high school where she started a small business selling jewelry and hand-made goods.  She spent a decade long stint as a touring musician and performer and received her MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute.   She has worked as a professional photographer since 2006, and continues to exhibit her work on a local and national level.  

You can find her teaching photography to youth, volunteering at arts and community organizations, and building community through teaching and guest lecturing.  Having found a like-minded community with great big heart, Dara is thrilled to be teaching at Blue Door Beads! To see more of what she does, visit her website at www.dararosenwasser.com 

Iris Sandkühler

In Iris's German family, jewelry was used to inspire story telling about the history of individual family members. Each piece was therefore filled with personal meaning, iconography and a sense of who that person was in the world. In the 1980’s Iris began studying jewelry making at the Ohio State University and then continued to refine my techniques at the Jewelry Arts Institute in New York and by building the small metals program at Georgia Southern University. Settling into the Bay Area in the late 1990’s, Iris began to convert her favorite university-level jewelry assignments into fun, bite-sized, project-oriented workshops. Teaching workshops at beads stores is one way that Iris play's with color — incorporating beads, glass, and gemstones as design elements. When she's not teaching or writing about jewelry making, you might find Iris working on pen & ink figure drawings, traveling, stand-up paddling, or exploring the hillsides and beaches with her borzoi.

Visit her website at www.sandkühler.com

Joe Silvera

Joe Silvera graduated with a BFA in Jewelry, worked as a goldsmith and freelance model maker for the jewelry trade, and has over 25 years of jewelry and teaching experience. He is the author of 2 jewelry books, Soldering Made Simple: Easy Techniques for the Kitchen-Table Jeweler, now in its 6th edition, and Soldering Beyond the Basics. He has also contributed articles to jewelry magazines and is a presenter on several jewelry DVD's and online videos. Joe has been a guest on television shows like “Beads, Baubles and Jewels” and “Jewel School”. His favorite technique is lost wax casting, with which he likes to carve detailed jewelry sculptures of animals, flowers and more. Joe and his wife Anat are owners of the Silvera Jewelry School in Berkeley, CA. His classes provide a great foundation in the fundamental skills of jewelry, mixed with laughter and creativity. 

Interested in teaching a class at Blue Door Beads?
Email your instructor resume and contact information to info@bluedoorbeads.com.