Blissed out. ArtBLISS 2013

 

 Follow your bliss.

I know this J. Campbell wrote may be used overmuch – but it is a mantra for my chosen life and creative career. And it relates to the past weekend where I spent a blissful time with friends, old and new, creating, learning, experimenting, sharing and socializing. 

ArtBLISS 2013. 

Many heartfelt thanks to Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix for the community they have created. Yes, its an art retreat; classrooms and a small sales venue. But its much more. Lifelong friendships are started, and nurtured. Support and encouragement offered freely. Inspiration and creativity are the daily norms.  

AB13

ArtBLISS faces

The only complaint – there arent enough hours in the day. Or night for that matter! So refreshing to meet faces that priviously had been a computer avatar. Equally satisfying – spending time with like minded people… 

AB 13 charm swap

The annual charm swap – gorgeous, diverse charms created and swapped amongst particpating students. Amazing packaging! Great work, a priceless momento. 

AB 13 polymer

Saturday I had the pleasure to work with Christine Damm for a second year. The pastels and crayons dazzled the eyes! Class mates Terri, and AJE teammates Karen and Diana working, each piece stirring new ideas… 

3 ring circus

Friday and Sunday I was taking class with Richard Salley and Jessica Papke. Two rings of their “Three Ring Circus” class series. It was so phenomenal… I am going to go a little more in depth into that experience in another post. Really. 

My Ab 13

My weekend’s treasures. A polymer work in progress – a palette, and a process to work with going forwards. The rings – as I said – the class was so rich, and so fantastic… and it carried extra weigth with me. I am giddy with pride at the results of my labors and so excited moving forwards. And yes – I am wearing them now – a talisman to keep in touch with the energy of the weekend. 

I will save my philosophical musings for another time – I have supplies to order, and artwork to create. Thank you one and all for making the weekend so magical!

 

Respect the polymer…

Polymer collage

So – Art Bliss – I know it was over a week ago, but I am still digesting some of what I learned. I took 2 classes with Christine Damm, a polymer and jewelry artist from Vermont. I had a phenomenal time, in fact I was only signed up for Saturday’s class but at the day’s end added Sunday’s class becouse I wanted to soak up more knowledge and inspiration.

I have been on a quest in recent years to respect the polymer. Its a clay. I love clay. It can be used sculpturally and texturally – as I use “real” clay. (Can you see my bias there?) Best yet – you can embed things in it and cure it in the oven. Cannot do that with stoneware…I see polymer work by other artists that I like, and others that I dont like. I have no desire ever to do cane work or color blends. The exacting nature of those techniques, the fiddli-ness, the precision, makes my creative muse curl up inthe corner and refuse to play. I worked in polymer a bit in the late 80’s/ealry 90’s. Teaching jewelry making at a Fine Arts camp – polymer was cost effective, user friendly and versatile. I was creating Art History pieces as brooches, all inlay – no painting. Imagine “The Scream” in polymer – that phase didnt last long.   So here I am: a sculptor, a jewelry artist, working in mixed media – and I was trying to add polymer to the mix. 

I am happy to report that I now like AND respect the polymer. Layering colors appealed to the painter in me. And a painter can create layers of subtlety that make me think: patina, age, weathered surfaces.I can now achieve intricate colors, detailed definition, shimmer, and a bit of mystery in the polymer. I am so taken with it: I went shopping immediately after returning from ArtBliss:

Heat set oils

RTV and blanks

And I made a new bunch or molds – I can use these for earthenware/stoneware as well – But I have some polymer ideas percolating!

Molds!

Oh – my work from class, you ask? ( Let me go snap a pix in natural light…)

Polymer from class

Top: ring and cuff bracelet. Bottom – experiment with copper bezel, Boudicca earrings. 

I have three bangles as well – LOVE them. Wear them all the time, and plan to make many more! So please stay tuned for more polymer pieces popping up soon. 

 

 

 

Art Bliss weekend. The third time & charms!

This past weekend was the third annual Art Bliss art and mixed media retreat, just outside DC in Northern Va. I have made it to all three – I wouldnt miss it for the world! Planned and organized by the dynamic duo of Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix – this is my favorite event of its type. Its hosted on a smaller scale, resulting in a more friendly, personable atmosphere than you get at the Beadfest/convention type events. Friendships are made and renewed every year. A very supportive sharing group that I am honored to call friends. 

Art Bliss

The welcoming mascot? Can a mannequin be a mascot? 

We have a winner!

Multi faceted and extremely energetic Dawn Gallup with her door prize win. 

Book signings!

Friday night’s Meet & Greet event was complete with book signings. Erin Siegel, co-author of  “Bohemian Inspired Jewelry” chatting at her table. 

Bead Soup book signing!

Lori Anderson, the creative genius behind “Bead Soup” with Sandi Volpe. 

Kerry Bogert and me...

Uber talented Kerry Bogert of Kab’s Creative Concepts – with me… and her new book “Rustic Wrappings”. 

Kerry's beads and cabs!

Kerry’s work  – colorful and fun. 

The party has started...

Reunion time! ( Me with Sandi Volpe and Jen Judd!)

Sally Russick and I are Birthday Twins. (But she IS younger…)

ArtBliss swag bags!

Sway Bags! The Art Bliss lunch tote and the collaged art of Dawn Gallup adorning our charm swap bag!

The 3rd annual charm swap!

The charm swap! Every year, just for fun, a few of us create and swap hand crafted charms. This year’s theme was “Fall into Bliss”. Its a very cohesive offering, great minds and all that…with copper, polymer, clay and beady beauties. 

The weekend is chock full of goodness and creativity,energy and laughter;  the coffee is on at all times, it is an absolute blast. I can only speak for myself – but I am refreshed and restored when I spend time with my fellow jewelry designers and artists. So often we are alone in our studios, and while I am thankful for the connectedness that the Interwebs provides – nothing beats the real thing. I hope art retreats NEVER go out of fashion!

Oh! Classes – yes! I took two and they were great! Let me get those pictures for you, come back tomorrow!

Up next – POLYMER!

Art Bliss.Pure and simply – art bliss! DC 2011.

Art Bliss 2011

The second annual ArtBLISS retreat was held in Dulles VA on September 23-25th. Our hosts Jeannette Blix and Cindy Wimmer created another magical weekend of creativity and camaraderie. In some ways its hard to write about… I find as an artist that I need times away from all of the life/human/house/pet responsibilities when everything is attended too and I can simple create. And be inspired, experiment, share ideas, and recharge. I work alone in the studio most days, with dogs at my feet. Although I do talk to them, they are not so well versed in critique and composition…

So this retreat weekend is very valuable to me. I made some good friends last year, and it has been a pleasure to see them on Facebook and the like. I anticipated more of that relationship building and networking. Add to that that my best friend Jen was coming! Hurrah! We met in college, in drawing class… but I will save that for a follow up ArtBliss post… 

Jen and I took “Rings and Things” a class with Robert Dancik to work with his material Faux Bone. I had worked with it on my own, and liked it, but wanted to go straight to the source as it were. Here is my workspace early into class – and a ring in progress. 

FB begins 

The material is a plastic, and it is incredibly durable and versatile. Saw it, file it, sand it. It sculpts on a belt sander like soft clay! Its non toxic, and takes color…The ring below was sculpted out of 1/2″ thick material and designed to showcase that antique button. 

FB rings

But I decided it needed to have another focal, and so this button is interchangeable! So sweet. Never would have imagined. But I had never used the myriad forms of microbolts before either…. Each button has a microbolt epoxied to the back where the shank was – and that is what connects to the ring shank itself. Ingenious!

Fb ring 2

Glad I finally got to work with Robert – it was a great class. 

Davies and Dancik

Saturday night – a trunk show of my ceramic beads and charms. Thats Jen there sketching in the room. It was such a party! Thanks to everyone who came and made it a success! I hope to see your creations here on the Interwebs in the future! I got to meet so many beaders/designers/artists whose blogs I read, whose work I follow. A pleasure! 

JKM and trunk show

On the second day… there were watches. “Watch this” with Richard Salley to be exact. I have know Richard for a few years, having met and worked with him at the Shepherdess in San Deigo. I have a huge stash of watches, and was seeking inspiration. Here is the day’s breakdown: 

Salley class1

Setting up: coffee, clean table, sketchbook. (Isnt the pen bandolier the best? Cleverhands on Etsy) 

Salley class2

In progress/sketching: I wanted to use the antique cigarette card of Athena – so I wanted to take the time to plan and thing things through. How to create tabs? Where to rivet? What embellishments? To do her justice and not mess up the only one I have…

Salley class 3

Working: tools strewn around, notes, seltzer…

watches WIP

This was the end of the day. The Strongbow cider lid/watch needs Faux bone for the backing. The Athena watch awaits resin. I will post pix when they are done!

watch crew

The crew – thanks for a great class, and being a part of a great weekend. I wish I had taken more pictures! The Meet and Greet, the charm swap… The whole experience is so rich – I will come back another day. Stay tuned. But for now – back to the studio, and a heartfelt thanks to the teachers, the organizers, my fellow attendees…It really is aptly named “art bliss”