I have lots to say about my trip to the big, huge, gigantic, Bead & Button Show. So, I figured I would break it up into a couple of different posts. Part One today is all about my classes. But before I jump into all that... I am home, I am safe, I am sound and I am totally filled to the brim with new ideas!! I think it is going to be a really cool couple of weeks coming up. I can't wait to share all that I come up with as the mad dash to the Corn Hill Arts Festival approaches.
Does anyone remember way back to last summer when I announced that I was going to go to B&B? Okay, I am guessing not. But maybe a few of you remember back in January when I told you about the classes I would take. Check that post out HERE if you wanna refresh your memory.
My first class was Exploration of Resins with Susan Lenart Kazmer. There is a link to Susan's site in my last post, scroll down to check it out again. You know, it has taken the past few days for me to really let that class sink in. I signed up for it because my roommate was really psyched to take it. I didn't know anything about resins and one of the reasons I wanted to go to B&B was to expand my knowledge. So, I figured "sure, why not... I'll learn something totally out of my elements". What I didn't count on is my roommate not getting in the class. It sold out so fast, she missed a spot! She ended up signing up for a different class with Susan called Filling the Hollow Form.
For those of you that follow my blog and know my creative process, you might already know what I am gonna say next... I didn't have a plan going in to the class so pretty much every thing I did I think is crap!! LOL. When I don't really think through what I want to make, I tend to go blank and not know what to make. I sort had ideas, I knew I needed "found objects" and I knew I was going to set things "in" resin but other then that... heck if I knew what I was gonna do.
I have to say... I DID learn a lot. Even though I think most everything I made in the class belongs in the trash. I do think that I got a lot of interesting new techniques out of the class. And I am hoping to translate a few of those things to my own designs. One of my favorite new techniques is resining papers. There is a process by which you wipe papers (like newspaper or tissue paper) with resin. Tissue paper will become slightly transparent and plasticised. I think it would make really cool additions to my "Fling Earrings".
The image above is of one of the pendants I made in the class. I used a bottle cap I found on the beach in Cape Cod, set a bunch of "things" in it (a glass ring, a scrap of satin cording, a sterling disc and some wire). I poured the cavitiy with resin and allowed it to cure. It is hard as a rock now and ready to be strung on a piece of cording. Totally NOT my style but it is nice to work out of my box once in a while to get the juices flowing.
Speaking of "out of the box" work... I have to say, I am pretty proud of this bracelet. Susan has a kit for a "Talisman" bracelet available during class. It was the only one she had, as far as I saw. And I snatched it up. When looking in the catalog, this was the "Susan" class I really wanted to take. Come to find out through chatting with Susan, the class itself was more about working with metals then building a talisman, so the kit was really a good way to go, for me. A talisman is a really special thing, or so I have found out since starting my special project. You have to put "yourself" into it and it is thought to be a piece of protection. So the "Self" I put into it are my glass beads you see floating through it. And a few extra things that were added after this photo (this photo was taken in the window of my hotel on a sheet of white paper, believe it or not!!). I worked on it all week!! I kept adding more and more. I gave myself a challenge and didn't let myself trim a single headpin. They are all twisted this was and that. The bracelet is actaully surprisingly comforatable to wear. I love it. With all the "extras" I have put into it, it has really become a special keepsake from my first experience at this big ol' event.
My second class was Rio Grande's: Exploring PMC class with CeCe Wire. I don't know if I have ever told you all my special relationship with Precious Metal Clay. It has been a bit of a torid affair. Very hate-love. I convinced myself that I could teach myself PMC a year or so ago. I never bought a book, never researched a thing, I just bought the "kit" from www.firemountaingems.com. I thought, hey... it's clay, you flash it in a torch... it's silver, tada!! MAN WAS I SO WRONG!! I hated every minute of working with the stuff. It was dry, it was cracking. I just hated it and swore it off. I returned everything I bought and said I wouldn't do it again. Then came B&B... I thought that maybe with some proper instruction I would learn the secrets to this stuff everyone raves about and finally learn to love it.
It worked!! CeCe, even with an aweful stomach bug and turning green, was a great teacher and now I am excited to reorder that PMC kit, work with the stuff the RIGHT way and finally start adding it to my work. I can't wait to get started!! CeCe's class couldn't have been more different then the class with Susan. Their teaching styles were polar opposites. Susan's room was a free for all most of the time and we were let to run wild creating to our hearts' content. CeCe was much more structured with handouts, tutorials and set projects.
I can't tell you all that I got out of this class. I could probably fill a week worth of blog posts with what I learned. Just look at all the stuff I made!! I did buck the system a little bit, how could I not? This is the kinda class environment I really enjoy... the "supposed to" projects were a real spring board for ideas. The piece in the top center is my version of an African mask. I went for more of a Picasso Elephant. I love that little guy. I finished him fast enough to get to play with my left over clay and I got about a dozen shiny discie spacer thingies made. They will ROCK in earrings and bracelets!!
That pendant to the left strung on cording is my twist the "Stamped Pendant" we were supposed to do. What I love about this one is the patina. I learned something really cool... I have only ever thrown a piece of silver into Liver of Sulfur to turn it black. BUT!! If you dip it once then dip it in cool water... it goes gold... dip it again... it goes green... dip it again... it goes blue... you can even get magenta and pinks too. Who knew?!?! I can't wait to play with the patina in my silver wire designs!!
I wasn't alone in my class!! Holly, my roommate took it too. :) Check out the cool stuff she created.
See the patina on the earring pair at the top there... see what I am talking about?!? Very pinkish don't ya think?
So... all in all... the class experience at B&B was fantastic. I love that I picked things I never thought I would do in my "real" jewelry life. And out of both of those things, I got amazing new skills out that I think will help me grow as an artist.
Now, I think I might have left my special usb cable for my digital camera in my hotel room... so the pics from the second half of my trip are trapped on my camera until I can get a new cable. All that means is that I will spread these B&B reports out over a few days. And in between, I'll give you updates on other stuff I got going on around here!!