Saturday, May 01, 2010

Expanding Your Horizons--No Time Like the Present

Our local beading guild, The Loose Bead Society of Greater Milwaukee (yes, I'm head bead) has a great theme for 2010--Expanding Your Horizons.

And, our Web Goddess Traci Otte issued a challenge to members to post ways they have reached past their usual and comfortable jewelry making habits on our site. Some have taken a class on tatting (fellow member Marilee Rockley taught this at our Spring retreat); some have tried peyote or right angle weave stitches for the first time (ouch--my brain hurts just thinking about it); and some have ventured into the puzzling world of chainmaille (many rings, so many ways to cross my eyes)!

Me? I've been fighting my urge to dive into PMC until this week. Oh, I've dabbled a bit: a rollover pendant class here, and a Kate McKinnon workshop at the Bead&Button Show there. But nothing ignited a fire under this b-u-t-t to make it jump up and run toward all of silver clay's potential.

[Note: I admit this had more to do with my readiness than my past teachers or workshops.I've recently discovered that I tend to like to work directly with jewelry materials. I like fast results, instant gratification, and a high rate of excellent results. (Anyone see why steel wire and I get along so famously? A quick bend of the wrist yields a fabulous right angle. Simple. Done.) Media that have more steps, scarier tools, or longer bench-times take longer for me to warm up to.]

As a matter of fact, my friend and fellow designer/author Debbi Simon and I have threatened, but have never taken the silver clay plunge. Until this weekend!

A two-day workshop taught by Irina Miech (author of umpteen books on the subject and owner of Eclectica), yielded these (and a few more) sweet silver pieces!

This class was just what I needed--a short, concentrated time period (two full days to fit our busy work/play/family schedules); a lot of bench time (there's no equal to practicing what's been demonstrated); and a flexible enough workshop format (Irina kept us class renegades interested but within our certification boundaries)!

And guess what? I did it!! I've expanded my horizons AND I've got a certificate to prove it! After all, leaders should set a good example for their members, shouldn't they?)