Sunday, June 08, 2008

Looking for the Way

I'm back from Bead & Button with class reports.

I'm thrilled to report that my first workshop, titled Looking for the Way and taught by Robert Dancik and Louise Duhamel, was absolutely fantastic! I learned so much that I can't even begin to itemize. Suffice it to say that I've started another piece at home to consolidate what I learned and shopping for new tools has commenced.

Here are process images of the piece I created. First, the green (unfired) metal clay. You'll notice that my piece suffered a bit of nibbling. That happened after looking at the tray of drying clay, almost all impressed from the same molds of an antique button -- I just had to "break the mold. "

Here are two shelves of other's work, so you can see how similar they all started. Of course, they were all very different by the end. Even though there was a specific project to do, there were myriad opportunities to personalize the work. Some people left the flange of extra clay on their pieces. One person brought a clay mold from home, so their piece was really different. Everyone did different accent work -- syringe, CZs, snakes, etc.

Here's mine after firing and patinaing, shown from the back. You can see the blue tape closing up the hole, filled with blue-tinted epoxy resin. I placed an image of a swallow and a faded transparent "believe" behind the epoxy after if was cured overnight.

I really loved the faux bone, which is a PVC material introduced by Robert Dancik -- we learned to shape, stamp, carve, bend and twist this stuff. I made several passes at engraving my prickly pear cactus on the back before I got the crevices deep enough to take enough paint to make the image well visible. The faux bone started out as a 1/4" sheet, so we had to saw, file and sand to get the shape we wanted, then mark it however we wished. This part of the pendant was even more different amongst the class members. One person left theirs very large and rectangular with intent to frame it. Another carved a heart; another a rounded triangle. One person even made hers look like a slice of deer antler!

Lastly, Iriveted the metal and faux bone together and added a bail and the accents at the bottom. I got a lot of compliments as I wore this throughout the show. Oh, by the way, it's about 1.5" in diameter.

My photos of the class example are a bit blurry, but you can get the idea:

I heartily recommend Robert and Louise to any of you considering a workshop with them in the future. I wrote one word on my evaluation in big letters: SUPERB!!