Welcome to A Hot Piece of Glass!

WELCOME to my colorful corner of the world! I write here about the things I make, in glass, fiber, metals, and whatever else I can find to play with!

**And if you want to read more about me, check out Adventures In Living!, my personal blog, or The ScooterMom, where I write about my adventures on two wheels! If you're interested in medieval, ancient and Renaissance glass, check out my history blog, The Medieval Glassworker!**

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hard Candy!!

More about the ArtBliss retreat.....

So, when we last left me, I had attended the Meet and Greet reception for instructors and students. After the reception, in which a glass of Chardonnay and a huge brownie was consumed, I retreated to the utter silence and calm of my hotel room. (side note: if you have not stayed in a Hampton Inn recently, you should. Beautiful!) I poked around on the internet for a while, submitted a piece of jewelry to another magazine, and watched some of a Will Smith movie. It was a bit of heaven for me.

When the alarm went off early the next morning, I was ready and SO looking forward to my class.

Melissa Manley is a fantastic instructor. I can't say enough great things about her, so you're just going to have to listen to me gush about it all for a while. I was lucky to find Melissa Meman was in my class, too, so we grabbed a table together and bemoaned the fact that we did not bring all of the tools we wish we had!

Note to all you who may attend a retreat or other jewelry class like this: BRING YOUR TOOLS, even the ones not officially on the 'required tools and supplies' list!!! I was so clueless, and I didn't realize I should have just loaded the darn entire toolbox up instead of paring down to the bare minimum, especially since I drove to the event! I wasn't without the necessary tools, but having mine would have helped, since we shared a lot of stuff.

But I digress...

So, here we are, all ready to start metalsmithing in a hotel conference room...

(That's my friend, Melissa Meman on the left!)

We listened to Melissa Manley talk about metals and her background and a bit about what we were going to learn, and then we just got on with it!

One of the things I like best about her classes is that she is a very epxeriential learner and teacher -- always ready to try stuff out and not get caught up in "what you're supposed to do".

So, we annealed metal, and cut it, dapped it into domes, enameled it, and then learned how to tube rivet it into beads. Along the way, we learned annealing, pickling, torch-fired enameling, sawing, filing, hole-punching, decorative techniques, tube riveting, and probably a zillion other things! It was amazing! Here are a few action shots compiled together in a collage....

From left to right, top to bottom: Melissa demonstrates sanding the discs; Using the disc cutter (note the hydraulic press and rolling mill!); Dapping; Pickled and halfway finished; Enameling; Assembling; More tools!; So very happy!; Finished work!

And here are my finished beads! I can hardly believe *I* made these! I mean, really. I am on a creative bender now, desperately searching for and ordering all kinds of tools so I can do MORE of these! And the jewelry and wearable art possibilities are amazing! I cannot stop sketching all the fabulous ideas I have that pop into my head pretty much all day (and probably all night, too). My sketching skills are....well....sketchy, at best, so I hope that what I've been drawing still means something to me when I finally get around to making everything.

My actual life keeps getting in the way, though. Very annoying.

Well, not my kids. Or my husband. They aren't annoying (ok, maybe sometimes...).

By lunchtime on Saturday, I was so completely full of adrenaline and creative energy...being there in that workshop and meeting and talking with so many creative souls was like feeding every appetite I have. Well, almost all of them. I felt like I was hyperventilating all during lunch, trying to take everything in, process it, learn, watch, listen, talk, dream, think... talking to people about what we were doing and what *they* were doing, seeing everyone's work from the morning, and dying to get back into the room to do MORE! It was overwhelming, but it a really, really good way. That kind of energy comes from a pure place in my soul. It's exhausting, and I can't live there every day, but when I can get to that place...oh! It feeds me and fills me, and makes me more ME.

I sound slightly insane, don't I?

I wish for a long, uninterrupted stretch of time over several days to get some of this banged out (pun TOTALLY intended!). That's not going to happen, so I really, really, really need to sharpen my focus and hone in on what needs to be done step by step so I can actually make progress on this work, and not just flounder around in a sea of creative angst.

And Barbara Lewis has re-ignited the fire about a book idea I have had for a long time....I need to make that proposal and get it out to someone who can actually help me make that a reality.

And the copper....the metals are just calling me. I have SO MANY ideas.

Thank you, Melissa, and thank you Cindy and Jeanette, for facilitating a wonderful experience!

(and I haven't even talked about the evening class, 'Roll Playing'....but I will. Soon.)

ETA: Most of these pictures were taken by the wonderful Cindy Wimmer, of Sweet Bead Studio and the cofounder of ArtBLISS! Thanks for the great shots!


Pretty Things said...

Very, very awesome!

EB Bead and Metal Works said...

So cool! I love those enameled beads you did. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. You don't sound insane, you sound inspired and that is just wonderful! Have fun!

TesoriTrovati said...

I can just feel your enthusiasm and passion bubbling over in this post! I feel the same way every time I come back from classes at the Bead & Button or wherever (as if I have ever had the luxury to take them elsewhere). Over time the passion fizzles so how to rekindle it, make it a priority? I wish I had the answer for you, Christine. All I know is that I usually take a lot of time to absorb things and puzzle it out before I am really ready to dive in. But when I do I have the skills necessary to succeed. Hopefully it will be the same for you. Wonderful beads! I want 'em!

Enjoy the day!

SueBeads said...

Loved seeing you again! Awesome job!

Cindy said...

Christine, I agree with Erin...your excitement is just jumping off of the page. And it was great to see that enthusiasm and smile in person. As I recall, you WERE grinning from ear to ear! I sure wish I was in that Hard Candy class with you...for those few moments when I stepped in to the classroom, I could just feel a great sense of community and creative energy. Looking forward to your next ArtBLISS installment!

Alice said...

It sounds like a lot of fun! I love the beads you made--they look like they were made by a pro!

I'd love to hear about that book you've been thinking about, and glad you were inspired to do more than dream about it.

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