|Tracey Seder Donaghe, Diane Hawkey, Staci Smith & Joan Miller, Maku Raku|
|Lisa Peters -Russ|
Every time I passed Lisa’s table they would pull me me back to look again until finally I was struck by an idea to use them in mixed media wall art with textiles and metal or maybe Polymer clay. This was a bit of a bolt out of the blue since I’ve never really considered myself to be a mixed media or a wall art person but how great is it to pick up someones work and have it generate completely random ideas in your own head?
I’m a big fan of all things wire as you may know and this techniques adds nicely to my repertoire but as you can see from my class attempt I need a little practice…it’s not difficult but it does require some concentration to get an even tension but I will get there eventually.
The second week of my holiday was spent with Jenny Davies-Reazor and was always going to be full of creative play… you can’t stay with a talented artist and teacher like Jenny and not take the opportunity to learn something new. Jenny has been adding more and more bead embroidery to her work this year and since I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with seed beads I wanted to have go at bezeling cabochons. With Jenny’s guidance I managed to create this pendant around a shell fossil and a Labradorite cab. It seems I like my beads to sit very close together – too close in fact so the edging on this piece puckered a little but for a first attempt I was pretty pleased.
Jenny also showed me how to make this beautiful ‘Silk Road’ bangle – another one of Cooky’s innovative designs. I just love this – it’s so easy to take the basic design and really make it your own by the way you embellish it.
|Phot courtesy of Cooky Schock|
It’s rather fortunate for me that Jenny also lives close to Marsha Neal Minutella – a ceramic artist who has fallen in love with needle felting since she started working at Sarafina Fibre Art. I was hoping to be able to get in a Visit to Sarafina and maybe do some felting with Marsha and lucked out on both counts.
We went to see Marsha at Sarafina and I was just blown away by the work of artist and owner Sara Renzulli who not only creates incredibly realistic 3D sculptures but also in effect ‘paints’ with felt to create the most amazing wall hangings… How could I not be inspired!
Stunning work and way, way beyond my ability but when Marsha invited round for a pumpkin making session I was totally up for it – she made it all seem very easy and we had great fun picking out fibres and stabbing away watching balls of wool turn into these lovely little pumpkins.
I was so happy with mine and I think I may have found a new addiction. In fact I know I have as I made Jenny take me back to Sarafina’s before I left so I could buy just a few supplies…
Jenny and I also took some time out from our creative play to seek out inspiration elsewhere with a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the ‘Impressionists’ exhibition – sorry, no photography allowed there but I did manage to sniff out some beads and some pottery that took my fancy.
We also visited the ‘Torpedo Factory Arts Centre” in Alexandria – an amazing place full of artists studio’s and galleries representing a diverse range of style and media.
And it didn’t stop there…for the last leg of my trip Jenny and I hit the road to meet up with two more of our AJE team mates Jen Cameron and Karen Totten at Jen’s house at Lake James, Indiana. It was a long 10 hour drive punctuated by frequent stops for coffee and, towards the end sugar but it was so, so worth it. Jen’s house is in a beautiful location which in itself inspires…
We basically spent the labour day weekend sharing skills, bouncing ideas around and of course – playing with a few beads. Jen and Karen were also keen to learn how to bead bezel cabochons and I happily set to work on my second, more intricate piece using one of Lisa Peter’s cabochons and some extra stitches Jenny taught me.
Another of Jenny’s many talent’s is making hand made books – she taught me one Japanese stab stitch technique last year and I’ve made several more since then. We were all keen to have a go this year and tis time Jenny showed us another technique using Coptic stitch. Everyone’s books turned out beautifully and I will certainly be making more…
Over the weekend we also had a bronze clay session which Jenny wrote about in her post last week and with Cooky Schock’s kind permission I was also able to demonstrate the wire braiding technique for the bangle I made at Bead Fest.
On top of all this creativity, Jen’s husband James spent the weekend literally catering to our every whim…meals, snacks, cocktails and all top quality. So we played, we ate, we drank – a bit, we laughed a lot and had a thoroughly good time and speaking for myself, the time I spent with these funny, warm and talented ladies was both a pleasure and a privilege.
Looking back on my three weeks I can safely say that I enjoyed every minute of it and the people I shared it with and the places I went left me with a head full of ideas and a real hunger to get stuck into some new work. So what have I done about it since I got home a week ago..? Well unfortunately not too much since I’d barely set foot off the plane at Heathrow before I went down with an awful cold and throat infection…talk about post holiday blues! I have managed to do a bit more bead embroidery though – I re-did the edging on my first piece (I’m a bit of a perfectionist) and started work on some new pieces….
|Funny Face cab by Diana Ptaszynsksi, Lampork cab by Susan Kennedy, Ceramic feather cab by Caroline Dewison|
Obviously these new found passions mean that I had to do a bit of supply shopping but happily that was easily done from my sick bed!
I’m on the mend now though and looking forward to getting back into the studio and using my vacation inspiration to kick start some new work. Do your holidays inspire you..who are the people and what are the places that fuel your creativity?