Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend the ArtBLISS retreat for the fourth time! (Four of four - I haven't missed one...) The weekend for me is a chance to replenish, renew, and feel reinvigorated. I try to select classes that will challenge me and inform my body of work. This year I was taking "Three Ring Circus" with Richard Salley and Jessica Jordan; two of the three days of ring classes if not all three. I have worked with Richard before; having met him over 10 years ago at The Shepherdess in San Diego. (Any chance I could get, actually...) and I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica online and recently, briefly, at Beadfest. I knew the weekend was going to be great - but ...
|Spinner band textured and soldered. Day 1.|
I have a tendency to drop into conversation that I studied metal smithing in art school. It was one of my areas of concentration. Like I am name dropping someone famous... while I feel that was crucial to my development as a designer, to creating my sense of self as an artist... I haven't soldered since. Yes, you read that right.
|Bezel soldering demo. Richard in motion. Day 3.|
Why not? When I learned, torches were attached to large tanks, chained to the tables in the studio. Propane. Oxy-acetalyne. I learned all the basics, and love sawing to this day. But the large tank set up wasn't applicable, or acceptable to apartment living after college. And now, 20+ years later, the technology has changed so, making the tools readily available and safe for the home studio. Where to begin? What to buy? Add to that a love of cold connections, the challenges inherent in problem solving the right way to attach and integrate pieces together. Sans glue, of course. Glue is a four letter word. So I can explain away the absence of soldering in my life.
|Enameled focal, bezel, sterling ring shank. Day 3.|
|Bezel soldered. Ready to design and saw. Day 3.|
|Test fit of enamel. Tube setting in place. Day 3.|
|Day 3. Final pieces.|
|Top row right - purple and green ring by AJE teammate Melissa Meman|
I got a little emotional, I will admit - to have back what I had thought was gone. Maybe it was not gone, but not currently accessible. This may not make sense to everyone - if you recently learned _____ ( you fill in the blank ) skill and enjoy practicing it and continuing to learn - that is very different from reawakening a passion. My classmates were happy with their class, their acquired knowledge, the experience, and their pieces. SO was I - but it was deeper than that. It felt like a part of me that I had lost was returned.
But - enough philosophy! I have an order to place, and pieces to sketch... its an interesting journey. As I pick up seed beads to do a bead embroidery piece I am ordering solder and CZ's. Wishing you all a day with joyful contrasts and rejuvenation!