Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - K.reating A.rt B.eads

One of the things that a few of us instructors and students talked about this weekend at ArtBLISS was how bored blog readers must get after a big show takes place. For a week solid, it seems like it is all anyone can talk about and if you weren't there, you don't want to hear the same things over and over and over again. Right? Right. So, in an effort not to bore you into oblivion with overkill, while still giving those of you that want to hear about things some details, I am going to limit my posts about the show to just two. One post for each of my classes!!

K.reating A.rt B.eads - Saturday Sept 25th 2010 - ArtBLISS

I have to tell you, the experience of introducing a room full of wonderfully caring, bright, intelligent women to something that I am incredibly passionate about, glass, is something I am going to hold very close to my heart for a long time. I love to teach, I love glass, and I love being in such a mutually supportive environment. Oh how I wish I wasn't so nervous. That way, I would have been enjoying myself from the moment I opened my eyes that morning, instead of spending my early hours of prep worrying. Alas, jitters come with the territory. Thankfully, eventually, those butterflies calmed down enough that I was able to feel really connected to the moments we were having. One of my absolute favorite parts of a day was the last 45 minutes or so, when, even though class was over, we were all sitting around with each other just openly talking/questioning/sharing about experiences. Students got to pick my brain about my thoughts on things. We talked about making the choice to live a creative life and finding for yourself what you can let go to be more fulfilled as a person. The whole thing felt so genuine and intimate. I.loved.it.

Enough of my blather on though... you wanna see pics, right?!? Here ya go...

artbliss class 1

students 5

students 2

students 4

student rods

Thank you so so much Bev, Nadia, Heather, Amy, Michele, Frankie, and Patti for trusting me to introduce you to what I hope will be a long love affair with glass. Remember, I am here if you need me... ask questions anytime... and keep the rod hot, bead warm (not hot bead, cool rod)!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Give Away Winner!

Who said "I enjoyed the interview Kerry! Cassie's talent is amazing! I am happy to have had the good fortune of meeting her at BeadFest and seeing her gorgeous work in person. I feel like we are kindred spirits living in all-boy households. I have yet to experience the Axe phenomenon...never even heard of it. Sounds like it's just around the corner for me... "

THANKS to all that entered and shared their wonderful compliments to both Cassie and me. You all ROCK and I can't wait to share the next Spotlight Series post with you!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Best Hair Cut Ever

best hair cut ever

I feel rather vain sharing this photo like this, but OMG, I got the best hair cut ever yesterday!! I have never been so in love with a hair stylist in all the years I have been getting my hair cut. Is that even me?!? My sister insists that is exactly what I look like these days. I find that hard to believe though.

Anywho, I am keepin' this short. Today is nearly as full as yesterday with Jacob's first football game of the season (!!!), grade level night for Lauren, and the season premier of Grey's Anatomy! I still need to pack for my flight to Washington DC in too!! I fly out as soon as the kids are on the bus in the morning. I can't believe ArtBliss starts tomorrow. I can't wait to get to spend the weekend with such awesome beady peps!! Next time you hear from me, I will be sharing all my adventures from ArtBliss.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Typical Hump Day

unhinged beads 5
I have on my plate a very full "hump day". It is that middle of the week kinda day that has everything planned for it, and it is gonna be a p.i.t.a., but by the end of it, I will be one day closer to what will be an awesome weekend! Today, I am meeting with a potential new therapist for Andrew, I am getting my hair cut, meeting with Andrew's care coordinator, and then I have a football meeting for Jacob. I am doing all this today while nursing a very sore throat and stuffy nose (yep, I got the kids' colds, ugh). I am not complaining though. It is miserably dreary out, so naturally, my spirits are high and I am actually looking forward to the distractions of the day.

And, like I said, it means I am one day closer to Friday and the start of The Inaugural Event at ArtBliss. Today's beady photos are from kits I finished up over the weekend. The top photo is for Unhinged bangles!! If you want to hear a little about Unhinged's history, check out my February 2008 post about them! (It is one of my favorite posts I have ever written actually.) I call it up all the time, in my mind, and sometimes for others too. I was hoping to have 18 of these kits made, alas, the cold I have made is so I only have 14, but oh well. I can make more later. If by chance, any of the 14 are left post ArtBliss, it will be one of the new kits I release in the coming days!! Stay turned for that!!

Below are beads for a completely new design. Well, not completely new, it is kinda a hybrid of a design with a twist. Can I tell you a secret? When I proposed this class, I knew I would make 3 bangles with my students, and I knew what 2 of them would be off the bat, but, um, I didn't actually figure out the 3rd design until last Friday. Yeah, potentially irresponsible of me as an instructor, but it all worked out in the end! The new design can be seen here: Sample Bangle. Not a very glamorous name, I know, but the ones we make in class with be called "Create-A-Bang". In honor of all the "create"ing we will be doing this weekend, each student will have a "create" bead as a focal and I hope it becomes a sweet keepsake from our time together. The construction for it is actually very similar to my 2006 design seen in the background of this bracelet grouping. Anyone remember those?!? Yep, that bracelet eventually went on to be "Sandy Lanterns", one of my earliest projects seen in Step By Step Wire magazine!! Now wasn't that a fun little stroll down memory lane!?!

What has you busy this fine Wednesday?

create bangle beads

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - Spotlight Cassie Donlen

One of the things I love about being an author is getting to shout from the roof tops about artists that I think are incredibly talented and all around awesome people. In my Spotlight Series, I am thrilled to be telling you more about the artists that have beads featured in Totally Twisted!! I am especially excited today because not only is the artist in spotlight talented and awesome, I consider her a true beady friend and I am a better beader for knowing her. I am sure you have heard me gush about the lovely Cassie Donlen of The Glass Beadle before, but when in a spotlight interview, you get to see for yourself, through her own words, what she is really like. I don't know how you could disagree with me on this, she just ROCKS!!

Stay tuned all the way to the end of this interview because there is a pretty freakin' sweet give away and discount code for you all!!

And now, I bring you a recent chat between Cassie and me...

All the images in the post have been provded by Cassie! THANKS Cassie!!

Hey Girly!! EEEEkkkk, I am so excited to be talking with you for a Twisted Tuesday Spotlight!! Thank you for taking time out of your day for me, I know how busy your days can be. Hang on a sec while I stick my fancy professional interviewer hat on. There. Alright, first things first. Can you share with us a little about yourself and how you got started making beads and jewelry?
Well, lets see. I'm a busy mother of 3 boys ages 6, 10, and 12. There is never a dull moment in my house and the day that I can say that I'm bored and have nothing to do would be a moment of celebration. I always comment that my favorite part of the day is when it is finally time to go to bed. To be honest though, I love my crazy life and my family rocks. I have an incredibly supportive husband that is a dream and never complains about beads being everywhere or that once again I've neglected house work in favor of playing with beads.

My start into the jewelry making world is an amusing one. After our first child was born, I retired from being a pharmaceutical sales rep to becoming a stay at home mom. The decision was grand but it meant that we were on a very tight budget. One beautiful summer evening about 9 years ago I was having a girls night out with about 10 of us gathered around an outdoor table drinking margaritas. There was a gal in the group that I did not know. But she had on this KILLER bead ring. Oh how I was adoring that ring. I finally asked her about it and she proceeded to say that her friend makes them and that she is selling them at a local store for $75. She raved about how her friend actually makes the beads for the rings and how the beads on the ring were interchangeable. My immediate reply was that my husband would never let me spend $75 for a ring.

The following day I still had that ring embedded in my mind. Yes, I admit it. I was coveting that ring! I remember thinking that I can just make that myself. Then I wouldn't have to go spend the money on the ring. And that... was my introduction into lampwork beads. After a search in the yellow pages and a few phone calls, I found someone who was teaching lampworking classes out of her garage. She was in the middle of opening up a bead shop called The Glasshopper here in St.Louis. So after a few introductory classes I bought a hot head torch and set up shop in our garage. Once it finally started getting very cold outside, hubby took pity on me and built me a ventilated workshop. I purchased myself a minor torch that I still use to this day. I used to tease my husband saying he should have just let me buy the ring as it would have been way less expensive but look what I would have missed out on if I had.

I love that story! You and I have similar introductions to beads. Only, replace your friend's ring with YOUR beads and you have how I became addicted to wanting to learn!! For me though, jewelry came first, then learning to make beads. Which came first for you, beading or jewelry?

I guess from my introduction you can gather that the beads came first. Oh, I did get myself that bead ring within a few weeks of learning how to make beads! But making beads is my first love. At first, I viewed the jewelry as a means to the end. I loved making the beads but what good where the beads if they just sat there? I starting making lots and lots of bracelets and did my first local craft show within 4 months of learning how to make beads. It was all very exciting and without me even realizing it, the entire process became a true passion. Plus, the fact that I could earn some extra fun money on the side was a wonderful bonus. It is still so rewarding to see that after 9 years, I'm just as passionate about making beads and jewelry as I was when I first started.

Okay, so walk me through a typical beading day in your house!

My life is not very glamorous. I often joke that the highlight of my week is when I get to go shopping at Target. But I love my ordinary life and my daily routine. A normal day is spent with the daunting process of getting the kids ready for school, prodding them every step of the way to stay on schedule and getting out the door seems like a a feat in itself. With that accomplished, I sigh a big relief and then take an hour for myself doing a run or going to the local YMCA. I meet my BFF almost everyday when the weather pushes me inside and I get some great girl time in. Then by the time I get home, it is time to clean up, get organized, and start doing beady things. I swear the computer sucks me in though and by the time the school bus arrives at 4 p.m. I shake my head wondering where the day went and why did I not get Mount Everest climbed as I know there were plenty of hours in the day to do it.

Kid responsibilities and computer time sinks are another way our lives seem to run parallel! HA, maybe we should get our Parallel Crossings blog back up and running, eh? If only there were more hours in the day!! While we are talking about being a Mom though, how do you balance the titles of both artist and Mom?

I get asked this question often. Balancing both hats is quite a challenge. (As I'm sitting here, my 6 year old keeps complaining to me that he is bored and expects me to get off the computer and put the patches on his new Cub Scout shirt and is getting very upset that I keep saying soon.) Now that the kids are older and in school, it is much easier to be an "artist" during the day. Even with my school days free though, there is never enough time. My youngest complains that school is sooooo long and I always think that school goes by way too fast. Funny how we have different perspectives. I keep reminding myself that I get distracted by laundry, toys on the ground, clothes that the boys feel compelled to drop on the floor in random locations, and lets not forget taking care of all the crazy pets the kids convinced us they needed. Somehow in the end, it all gets done but when push comes to shove, my housework is the one that loses out every time. I used to pride myself on having a spic and span house. That just doesn't seem to be the case anymore and when I do 3 loads of laundry in one morning, I always act shocked when I realize that I don't get a week off from doing it again even though I just did 3 loads! As the saying goes "time flies when you are having fun" and that is so true. Playing with beads is still my passion and anytime I'm in the beading world, I feel like I blink my eyes and my free time has flown by. To make myself feel like I've accomplished something for the day, I do try to make a list of 2-3 things that I for sure want to get done. Anything else is just icing on the cake. It gives me something to focus on so that I don't get distracted with working on 20 different things that never seem to get completed.

What a great attitude to have about things! Have any funny kid stories from this summer you would like to share?

I always seem to be writing about my kids and family on my news page (which is really my blog) but I must admit that I feel like I've entered into a whole new world with having my first child reach middle school. Holy cow, it seems like from the moment my oldest turned 12, he turned into a tween. I'm sure you can relate Kerry with also having a 12 year old. But all of a sudden it is all about fashion, and being social, and text messaging, and having to use "Axe" brand deodorant. I remember how excited Keegan was when I bought him Axe shampoo a few months ago and he wanted to wash his hair right away. I wonder how disappointed the Axe manufacturers would be if they realized that their target audience has turned into a bunch of 12 year olds! Yes, and now the boys like girls and all of us mom's just sit back and shake our heads. It's really quite entertaining and fun to soak it all in. Keegan has a great group of core friends and we know most of the parents pretty well so it is easy to keep track of what is really going on with all the boys. I love being a mother and am so blessed with 4 special boys if you can't my darling hubby too.

I am just loving the photos you have been sharing on your news page!! And the new jewelry, just gorgeous!! Any future plans you have coming up that you would like to share?

I just started the big endeavor of updating my poorly neglected website. I'm updating the photos in the jewelry galleries that are used for custom orders, will be adding a new section in the bead gallery for custom orders of short strands of beads that only have 5-8 beads, and even going in and reducing prices of my jewelry and bead sets to help make it slightly more affordable in this crummy economy. It is a slow process though and will take me a few months to do it all. I keep saying that I'm going to make more lampworking how to videos and I really need to move that to the top of my priority list. Last week on impulse I made 2 simple videos on how I photograph my beads and jewelry. The video is extremely basic but photography can be a challenge and I thought it would be fun to share how I take my photos. You can watch it on my Facebook Page under "glassbeadle".

Cassie, you ROCK! I just love ya, girl!! I hold close those late night chats at Bead Fest Wire and seriously, anytime anyone asks me why I started making beads your name is the first thing out of my mouth. Thank you so so much for being a part my book and such a great friend!

NOW, as promised, for making it all the way to the end of this interview, Cassie has TWO awesome goodies for you!! Drumroll please.....

Leave a comment here of my blog for your chance to win this necklace! How beautiful is that?!? It is one of Cassie's favorite designs and she wears one all the time. It always garners loads of attention. You know you want it, so leave a comment by Midnight on Sunday Sept 26! I will draw a name at random next Monday!! And YES, internationally comments are welcome!!

Second, Cassie is also offering a 10% discount on new orders placed on her website too! Just mention this interview in the comments section when checking out and you will be sent a 10% refund on the order! Hope over to Cassie's Jewelry Boutique or Bead Galleries to start browse all the beady beauties and start loading up your cart. Let's keep her busy straight through til Christmas with all our orders! YOO HOOO!

Thanks again Cassie. And stay tuned to Twisted Tuesdays everyone for more artist interviews coming soon!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Can It Be?

heart cloud floating by
:: this lovely heart cloud just floated by my backyard
:: two out of three of my kids have colds, ugh
:: getting sick myself over the next two weeks is NOT an option
:: i am feeling the last minute crunch to be ready for artbliss, everything ships today
:: so so excited about tomorrow's twisted tuesday, it is gonna be awesome

mom's birthday
:: my mom turned 52 yesterday!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!! I LOVE YOU!!
:: i feel like i am forgetting something really important, hmmmmm...
:: oh, it is a super cold toes kinda day, seriously cold toes
:: i knit the cowl below up quick over the weekend for a gift to a friend, love it
:: ya know what, i have way too much work to do, i gotta go!

lucy's cowl

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mindfully Blissful

evan's hat
I am truly loving the rhythm of my days right now. When the afternoon sun floats through the windows at the end of the day, the air seems to be glowing. And when the sun isn't warm our hearts from that perfect Fall time angle, then we are wrapped in clouds and rain. The clouds and rain have me tending wood stove fires and making slow cooked meals that feed more than an empty tummies. I am finding myself able to let more go so I can take a few moments to knit another row of a cute baby hat for a friend, or make a cup of tea and chat with a friend on the phone. Who cares if the laundry doesn't get folded today or if the dishes go unwashed or if I haven't swept. It is okay. All the while life is going around me, I am spending hours and hours in my studio. Bead after bead is formed at my hands and I love the solitude.

I know that this won't last forever. By February, I will no doubt be feelings lonely rather than free. The mounds of snow will eventually bury my spirit and the monotony will be too much. Something will snap in my mind and Carrie will be beside her self at the size of dust bunnies I let grow. For now though, for right now, I am so so completely blissed-out and I am taking time to stop, be thankful for the happiness, smile, and move through my days a little more carefree than usual.

Look, I bought some flowers to mark the bliss. Isn't their color so beautiful... unnatural for sure, but so pretty none the less. I hope you are finding something good in your days right now too.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can You Help?

There is a really amazing organization called Beads Of Courage that I want to make sure you all know about. Essentially, these wonderful people have been working since 2005 to bring little rays of sunshine in the form of beads to children coping with chronic and life threatening illness. You can read more about this non-profit organization here. They need our help!!

The support they need is simple... they need your vote! Y'all know how voting works right? All it takes is the click of a button and you can do some serious good. In August, Beads Of Courage won a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Challenge through votes! Now, they are hoping to earn $20,000 from The Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Samsung Helmet of Hope.

CLICK HERE and select BEADS OF COURAGE when you vote!

You can vote everyday and Beads Of Courage will even send you a daily reminder. Just pop over to their website and subscribe to the reminder email. Voting and this blog post is really the very least I can do for this group and would love to do more! So please go vote!! I know your help is so very greatly appreciated!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Bouquet Of Beads For You

bang gal bouquet 2
bang gal beads 1
bang gal beads black and white
bang gal beads 5
bang gal beads 4
Since The Inaugural Event for ArtBliss is set to be such a special creative weekend, I decided I wanted to make the kits for my class just as special. Rather than make another 25 sets of my usual BRIGHT color combo for my Bang Gals kits, I wanted to work in a different color combination. My favorite combination in fact. Purple, Periwinkle, Turquoise, and Lime!! I imaging this blend of colors is probably the most classic KABs combination. I could work in it for hours, nah, days and never get bored. These 18 limited edition sets took me three days to create with sitting at more torch for more than 5 hours at a stretch. For those that haven't ever torch worked, that is a lot of beading! My cheeks burned pink for hours afterward each day.

Did you hear that fancy phrase I threw out there a few moments ago? Yeah, limited edition. I won't be making more of this combination and the students and visitors to ArtBliss are the ones that will get dibs on them!! (if by some chance there are any left after the event, I will post them for y'all.) I am so excited by these. As I said several months ago when I launched my kits, I would love to make limited edition color combinations and every few months I would roll out new sets. I think it is about time for some new ones, don't you? In the coming weeks, I will be releasing a limited edition fall color combo for Bang Gals, plus new kits for Unhinged and The Eyes Have It. (check out your copy of Totally Twisted to see which projects those are!!)

Now I need to lock myself away and get back to work on the rest of the beads needed for my Bang A Rang class! Oh yes, I said we would be making 3 great bangles in class, not just one!! OH, for those of you stopping in that are ArtBliss students taking this class, you can purchase your class kits on my website. It will be waiting for you when you arrive to class!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - A Stop At A Local Shop

On date night the other week, Ron and I found ourselves in Canandaigua, NY not just for a delightful afternoon, but for a stop by JOOLZ as well. You all knew that already though!! You have seen the new designs building up and you knew where they were headed. I thought you might like a little tour around this lovely jewelry shop!

joolz 7
joolz 6
joolz 5
joolz 4
joolz 3
joolz 2

I absolutely love that my work is among the many talented artists at JOOLZ. Hope over to Francie's (the owner's) blog for lots of tid bits about the artists she features!! You won't be dissappointed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rainy Random Monday

morning storm coming
:: it is hard to tell but this was just moments ago in my backyard and that sky looked so dark. there is rain rolling in. the sun rising, though, was a stark contrast.
:: i snuck out into the yard for the photos today. haven't done that in a while.
:: this was a really good weekend. lots of long phone calls with friends (emails too), down time with family, and productive-ness in the studio.
:: speaking of production, y'all are gonna love the bead porn i have for you later in the week ;)
:: yep, now it is pouring... that is gonna mess with the run i was planning on doing after the bus left.

red sweet peppers
:: the lovely Anna Sprague, that i mentioned on friday, sent me a link to her temporary website: view her beautiful work at amn jewelry.
:: i am still riding the high from finally learning to bezel set my kabs cabs. the sky is the limit now.
:: my sister already stole one of my rings to wear on a date this past weekend. she has been begging me to make these rings since, hmmm, 2003 when i started making jewelry.
:: silver scraps = new torch system for soldering, yoo hoo.
:: looking out my window, i can feel what an awesome day in the studio it is going to be. the rain always makes for good studio time.

rose of sharon bloom
:: *sigh* i just gotta say, i am feeling all lovey dovey about a few really special friends. you gals really rock.
:: just eleven more days until artbliss! i can't wait.
:: i am noticing the leaves start to change just the slightest bit here, is it happenings where you are?
:: hmmm, i think i need a hair cut.
:: and then the rain stopped... now i wonder what kind of rainy day this is really gonna be...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Watch Out... I Am Manipulating Metal

bezel cab worn 2
bezel cab worn1
bezel cab rings 3
bezel cab rings backs 1
I had an absolutely ammmaayyzing night last night. Before I tell you about it though, you need two brief histories. First, the one between me and metal. Primarily, I am a cold connection kinda gal. I love wire, I love coming up with innovative ways to combine wire into links, I love color, I just love love love what I do. I have been know though, a time or two, to experiment with metals. I have taken classes in PMC, and I have done enameling on metal. But when I have tried to teach myself soldering, frankly, it has been a struggle. I blame the equipment really. I haven't ever had a proper soldering torch. I have always either used the creme brulee torches with solder that melts at too high a temperature for it or I try my hot head which it too bushy a flame and just melts things into oblivion. It was frustrating and it sucked. But I had plenty of cold connections to keep me busy, so I didn't fret too bad. I knew the skills were there, I just needed the right equipment!

Remember that huge bummer of a let down a couple whiles ago? At the core of it was these metalsmithing skills of mine. I am not gonna go into details, but it was one of the main reasons that I decided to sign up for Stephanie Lee's Homesteaders Metalsmithing e-course. (She is having a second session by the way!!) I wanted to expand those skills. I loved working on the class and learned a ton, but more on that another day.

Now, to the second brief history. Rewind to a strange conversation with my husband about a month ago. It went something like this Ron: "Randy at work told his wife about your book and she makes jewelry and wants to talk to you about it. Is it okay if she calls you?" Me: "Of course she can call me." And that is how I met the amazing, Anna Sprague. Anna has been teaching jewelry making (specifically metalsmithing) for 18 years at both the high school and college levels. She is taking a year off from teaching formal classes though to get reacquainted with creating because she *loves* it without being drained by the *have to* creating and exhaustion that can come from teaching. So we chatted for about an hour one nice evening about how to get her jewelry business of the ground online. I was so happy to help! I told her all about my metalsmithing woes and she offered to teach me. It was to be an exchange of sorts, my knowledge for her's. Personally, I think I have the better end of the bargin :)

I had my first class with Anna last night. OH, MY, STARS!!! It was amazing. I couldn't dream of a better instructor in the world and look at the freaking incredible things I was able to create!! I knew that, with the right equipment and getting to see the solder flow for someone, I would be able to do it. I am over the moon I tell ya! I can't thank Anna enough. Next time, we are gonna sweat solder. But first, I told her she needs to work on getting her designs ready to launch an etsy shop and blog!! So, hopefully, in a few weeks, I will have a link to share with you. I got to see some work in progress pieces in person and they are just beautiful. I can't wait to share it with you.

(ps... man my hands need lotion. they look like granny hands magnified!)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

My Tea Leaves

my tea 1
my tea 2
my tea 4
my tea 5
Monday, while sitting at the local minor league ball park for 4 straight hours, I finished knitting the adult size version of the sweater, Tea Leaves, that I knit for Lauren a few weeks back. *sigh* Alas, it turned out much too big. When I have it on, I feel like I am wearing a tent, or rather much like I just came home from the hospital after giving birth and am wearing maternity clothes without the belly. (Those that have kids will know just what I mean!) I love love love the yarn though and that will be the thing that saves this sweater from being ripped out or tossed in the bottom of my closet. In the dead of winter, it will be wonderful for layering. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

You know, I haven't been happy with much of what I knit for myself. I don't know if it is the garment itself, the fit/sizing, or just me *in* the finished piece that I am not liking. I wish I had a better understanding of what works well on my body type. I don't have the energy to research it though. So I will continue to brood and be horribly disappointed.

You know, in general, it is one of those horribly disappointing kinda days. I was working on the torch today and couldn't make the beads work for anything. And, there is some behind the scenes business frustrations going on, and and and... I thought the new Toffee Mocha at Starbucks yesterday was soooo good that it would keep my in a pleasant mood for a month, but frankly that euphoria only lasted a couple hours. Hmmm, maybe I should get another one? Kidding! What I really need to do is organize my mind. I need a clean sheet of paper and a to-do list. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I better get on it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - Countdown to ArtBLISS!

I just checked my calendar and I can hardly believe that ArtBLISS is just 18 days away!! I still have a megaton of work to do in that short time, but lots of the little details are falling into place. I couldn't be more excited. Seriously, this is going to be an amazingly fantastic event. Think: rocking workshops meets girly slumber party. Yeah, it is gonna be fun.

I wanted to be sure to let you know, there are still a few spots available in my classes!! Come on, you know you wanna come and join the fun!!

I am teaching K.reating A.rt B.eads on Saturday the 25th. This is an introduction to lampworking class designed for beginners that have never so much as lit a torch before. No worries, I am going to walk you through it every step of the way. And being that it is for beginners, I don't expect you to know what tools to buy for class. I am doing it for you! I just listed on my website, a special RESERVED listing, a class kit for my students. (Please, if you are not a student, do not purchase this item.) So, students, just show up to class, ready to learn, and all the tools/supplies/materials will be set up waiting for you!! Then, at the end of the day, we will safely package up these goodies for you to take home with you to your garage or kitchen or basement studios. how perfect is that?!? Also, as a little heads up, if you want more glass than what is provided in the kits, I will have additional rods available for $1 each!

Some of you maybe wondering what a lampworking class is like, and it is a good thing to wonder. I thought I would share with you how I plan to run my classes. It is going to start with an introduction where I talk about my experience, what we are working with, and I will cover all the important things like tools and, most importantly, safety. I am going to teach everyone how to light the torch and get started via a demonstration that is watched by students first. Then, I will let the learners have a go. We are gonna keep it simple at first. Just making solid color spacers will be tackled before lunch. After we eat, we will dig a bit deeper with another demo by me on pulling stringers and applying dots. You can trust me when I say, that is gonna keep you busy for a while when I let you all have a go at it. When ever students are working, I will be floating from station to station giving everyone some one on one instruction. We will finish the day with another demo by me that will cover a few of the more advanced techniques. I will show you things like encasing, making discs, and I may even have time to make a hollow or two. That last demo will give the student torches time to cool and that will end our time together. Sound good?

Before any of this happens on Saturday though, Cindy W and Jeanette B have a really great Friday night event planned... The Meet & Greet Reception! I can't wait!! ( I keep saying that, but I can't help it. I am really that excited!) I am actually, hopefully, planning on having a few NEW project kits available for sale at this event!! Fingers crossed I can get them done :) And I am so so excited to finally get to meet these other instructors. If I weren't teaching, it would be hard to choose which class to take!

After classes on Saturday will be another exciting event. Students are welcome to open up their hotel room doors for a ArtBliss Trunk Show Row! Yeah, it is the students turns to sell their wears. I can't think of another event in the world that give you this option. It is a brilliant idea, in my opinion! Set up mini trunk shows in your room, fellow students can drop in a shop. It doesn't get any better.

Sunday will be another jam packed day as I teach a new class called Bang A Rangs! This class was developed with some of the things I have learned from my previous teaching experiences this year. Hmmm... so you didn't think learning just one bracelet was really worth the price and you wanted more? OKAY! I am game! How about three bracelets? Yeah! That is what Bang A Rang is. We will be learning three fantastic bangle projects through out this day long class. I am telling you, you will leave this class with a wealth of inspiration and bangle making knowledge. The kit fee on this class is $75 and will include a set of 18 OOAK lampwork glass beads made by me (OMG, I know, right) and all the copper/sterling/colored wire you will need. I added a listing for this class kit on my website for you too! PLUS, if you are taking Saturday's class, you can bring your beads to this class and work them into the bangles we'll be making. Instant gratification jewelry, I tell ya.

So that is that. ArtBliss will be here really soon and I am positively over the moon about it. Seriously, you shouldn't miss out. I mean, the hotel is only $69 a night! Grab a friend and get your behinds to DC!!