Friday, September 1, 2017

Class Offerings for 2018

It's time to plan ahead for next year's classes!
My teaching schedule is full till the second half of 2019, so I figured it is time to post about the new projects that are coming everyone's way from Alaska to Florida and everywhere else inbetween. 
Let's start with this Mandragora:




In the center of this composition we have a delightful precious metal clay hand sculpted medallion by the talented Cynthia Thornton.  The bracelet has the feel of enchantment, playfulness and childlike innocence. Kind of like a magical garden. It's a great project for those who want to experiment using fabrics in bead embroidery, and those who want to play with a more three dimensional approach. Or just those who think the piece is so darn cute, they just need to make one for themselves.

Then, we have the Heart of the Ocean:




This piece may seem pretty straightforward, but it took a whole lot of planning. The older I get the more I appreciate how my brain works..
Oftentimes people ask me how do I come up with things I come up with. Is there a long process of trial and error, how many times I need to make things to perfect them, and such.

The truth is by the time I sit down to make something, I have already thought it out. Most of the times I have assembled the potential suspects ( beads that will get used, any other material needed) way ahead of time. I have spent hours constructing the piece in my head. The way things look at this point in my mind's eye, is like a 3D object I can rotate back and forth, observe, but it's still foggy in places.
So then I start sketching. 
This really helps to finalize the little details, add anything that was missing and change things up, if needed. By the time I start beading, the piece already exists. Which is great, because doing things this way allows me to move in a pretty speedy fashion. 

What I wanted to achieve with this  particular project was to create a deep, dark greenish, tealish, glow, something you would see floating in water, looking upward. Also, I always loved malachite combined with amazonite, but let's face it, some things make great one of a kind pieces and impossible class materials.
 Why? 
Because no one is going to pay $350 for a class kit. Understandably so. Also, there are just materials one can not source in quantity. So how to create a feel that I loved about that precious combination of deep greens and blues? This is my answer to my own question. It does glow, and it is aquatic, and after watching the Titanic, it even looks a little bit like the giant blue diamond in the movie.

Now the best part for me is that I successfully created a piece that is entirely usefully multi-functional. It goes from pendant on a rope to slinky wrap bracelet. It was not an easy task to make this happen. The shape had to be just right, the weight and feel had to be just right. But it worked!



Now, on to Kiss my Bass.




I think the main selling points for this project as a class are twofold: 
First of all,every time you get a compliment on your new bracelet,you can go like:  "Thank you, it's called Kiss my Bass."
Then of course the obvious: Just look at that sterling silver badass bass among the aqua fuchsia waves! Husbands all across the country will be finally ecstatic about their wives beading workshops. Yes, Honey! Go make that bass bracelet! 
Ok, jokes aside, there isn't anything super fancy technique-wise here. But the piece is super fun, super wearable and it will also come in a more grownup bronzey colorway, in case hot pink is just too sassy for you.


And last, but not least, here we have Dark Celebration.



Thanks to all of You, Lovelies taking my classes and buying my kits, I now get to go to Tucson to find exciting components at the gem show. And that is how I found this lot of vintage purple abalone cabochons, of which I was able to get 80. And the wee ones that are harder to see on the bottom. There are two of those on both sides of the big cab, bezeled.
Tucson happened back in February, and the idea for this has been gestating ever since. 
See, that is what I mean on things existing before existing. By the time I sat down today to crank this piece out in one sitting,I had everything ready to go, ideas in place, sketch, materials.
And bam!

The interesting thing about this piece is that there is very little contrast, but it works. The dark purple, the rich burgundy, the teal, it all is pretty dark. It's not something colorwise that I would normally do. I like a piece with different values. And this is all dark. But I had a feeling that it would do, and I went for it, and the outcome is a sinuous, curvy, elegant, sexy sort of bracelet. 
What do I mean on no variation in value? Well, let's take a look at this piece in greyscale.
See, how the whole thing is all the same shade of grey without much contrast? 
This normally would not do.
But here is why it works: Look at the textures and patterns even in grey. They are so intricate and enthralling, the textures legitimately take the place of what I normally would assign to contrast of value.
Because I only have enough materials for 4 classes, this class will only be available about 4 times next year. That is, in its current form. I could surely make something similar with different materials, but that is for another day.


Finally, before I finish up this post, I would like to point out something,that has been on my mind for a while. Every time I travel for workshops I have a bunch of eye candy to look at. Stuff that's one of a kind, and inevitably there are the questions of when and where is it a class?  The answer is just no. It isn't, it won't be, it never meant to be, and just no.
Some things are one of a kind, and they can not be classes. I just lug them around to share them with You All, for fun. For inspiration. For the sake of sharing.

And sometimes I even feel like I should not, I should just hide them, give them away, hoard them, whatever, because it does get frustrating to become a source of infinite disappointment when my inevitable NO surfaces.It is not because I am such a tease that I make those things, or that I show them at the places I teach at.

It is because by making one of a kind pieces- just for shits and giggles- that I learn, that I grow and that I am able to come up with ideas I can successfully implement in stuff that I can reproduce to make up class materials and kits.  It is my playtime.

I am ever so grateful for being able to make a living now on what I love doing. But without the playful experimentation things would get boring. Not just for you guys, for me too.
Even my most awesome job would become tedious, repetitive and un-enjoyable.Consider this:
 It is so much, much, much easier to come up with opulent, over the top, crazy expensive or simply too impossible one of a kind designs, than to be able to come up with something I can teach over and over with materials I can buy enough of, and with techniques that I can explain. Does this mean that class projects are inferior to one of a kind pieces?

Nope. It does not have to mean that. It just means that my own experimentation paves the road for more clever class projects, and that rightfully so not everything I have ever made or will ever make will become a class. And that I really should not be made felt guilty for "keeping things" to myself. 
And sometimes I feel like I don't even want to show new pieces I made for the sheer joy of creating because it gets so tiring to have to repeat, that no, not everything can become a class. 
I have made some pretty awesome new pieces inbetween the last blog post a year ago, and now, and they are nowhere to be found online, because I don't want to disappoint people by telling them no, you can't have this. Even though I got super good at saying no, I don't do it with a light heart. I am after all a pretty agreeable creature, aiming to please. 
But I am considering posting them all sometime in the next month or two. Take nice pictures of them and just put them up here... Just for the sake of sharing, like I said. Maybe they can serve as inspiration... Maybe there will be just never ending questions. And may this be my toughest dilamma this year. I am off to count my blessings.
Peace, Peeps!