Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lucky, lucky me!

Ever hear people say, "Oh, I never win anything"? Have you said it yourself? Have I been one of those people? Well, maybe a time or two... but no more! I joined a fun blog-hop last week... organized by the delicious Ricë Freeman-Zachery, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Portland at Art & Soul just recently, to celebrate the release of her newest book, Destination Creativity: The Life-Altering Journey of the Art Retreat.

Ricë had gathered up an armload of talented art blogger friends and asked them to spread the joy by participating in a nine day book tour "blog hop". On each blogger's appointed day, they posted their own review of this amazing new book and offered a chance for readers to win a great giveaway. We "hoppers" virtually visited a blog each day, having much fun along the way... then entered that day's drawing by leaving a comment. The prize? An autographed copy of Destination Creativity! With such irresistible enticement, I gladly hopped along and entered at most of the nine blogs... some of which were delightfully new to me, now bookmarked and subscribed to for future soul-feeding.

Well, Jupiter aligned with Mars or something like that and I had a fantastic surprise in my inbox yesterday... a congratulatory e-mail from Day 8's participant, the very artful Jen Cushman, letting me know that I had won the draw! How sweet it feels to be a winner. I really can't wait to cuddle up on the couch with Ricë's book when it arrives, dreaming of next year's Art & Soul... or maybe even an art retreat destination that's a bit farther-flung than my Portland back yard. Thank you, lucky stars. (And thank you Ricë and Jen!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Art & Soul 2011- Part Two

Had a wonderful time yesterday in Lisa Call's "Charm School" workshop at Art and Soul. Playing with PMC (stands for Precious Metal Clay) for the first time made me nervous at first. After much trepidation and doubt on my part, I did finally learn that I actually can push myself a little and end up with a lovely bling-y reward in the end! Yes, my friends... PMC + fire = nearly pure REAL silver charms that are uniquely your own!
My charms really show their organic handmade-ness... which doesn't bother me in the least. I'll admit that I hurried through the process of rolling, stamping and cutting out the clay bits, due to fear of not getting them finished, dried and into the kiln by our lunch break. I can see now that I'd have rather put more thought into choosing the rubber stamps and shapes that I used, but I still love the outcome.

Some of the other students had previous PMC experience and weren't quite so intimidated by the necessary careful handling... fear of having it stick to everything, drying out too soon, etc. I saw some really wonderful  textures and patterns in some of their charms!

You can see that many of our charms look to be sort of tarnished... and that is by design. They came out of the kiln looking a rather funky matte white, then were wire-brushed to a bright, gleaming silver which I didn't get photos of. These have all been dunked in a bath of liver of sulpher to give them a dark oxidized patina, then tumble polished.

These next shots are Janne's work... a woman who came to Art & Soul all the way from Norway, and turned out to be friends of another good friend of mine. Such a small world! Janne managed to get her bracelet assembled and it looks really wonderful.
We also learned how to make our own headpins from fine silver wire by melting the end in a torch flame to form a lovely little silver ball. I'm now asking Santa for my own Blazer butane torch.
I'm still working on polishing my coiled links and jump rings, then will get busy assembling my bracelet. This was a great class and reinforces my desire to take off in this direction and make more jewelry.