Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures in metal.

Last year around this time I was searching for a class in metalsmithing. I actually found one that I wanted to take, but it was full and registration was closed. I put it on my trusty google calendar to look for this year.

When January rolled around, I was on it like a hawk! I registered and paid for my 3-day workshop, Basic Metalsmithing Techniques, the day it opened up. I was so excited. Then the waiting started. Waiting for confirmation that there were enough interested students. Then waiting for the supply list to be released in April. And, of course, waiting for June 24. Waiting, waiting, waiting!

Well, I'm not one to wish away spring, that's for sure, but I was happy when my weekend finally came up. It was Friday evening, all day Saturday, and most of the day Sunday. I was nervous too. I've never used a torch, a belt sander, a rolling mill... I could go on. That's why I was taking the class though. There were 12 students total, a couple of them were in the same newbie boat as me. Our instructor was a gem, no pun intended. She is an awesome artist and just an awesome person! Her name is Ginger Seiple, you can google her to see her gorgeous jewelry.

We spent the weekend watching Ginger's demos, learning to properly handle and use various tools and completing some of our very own projects. It was really a ton of fun. I'm really glad I put my fears aside (those of setting myself on fire with the torch, cutting myself with the saw or hammering my fingers... lol) because I got so much out of the class!

This is what my workbench looked like towards the beginning of the class. We worked mostly in copper and brass as it is simply cheaper than sterling silver at the moment and not as painful if you mess something up. Not a problem to me, I'm a copper fan. Brass, not so much, but it was good to have the mixture at times.

This is my first soldered piece! A pendant. I believe it will eventually live on a leather cord, just have to make a clasp. This one is textured brass (palm) on top of copper, which I textured with the rolling mill, and a hammered piece of bronze wire that I drilled to serve as the bail.

My first ring! We were given the option to work in sterling silver for the rings, and, well, I am a silver girl, so I did opt for it. I love the mixed metals here as well. I textured the cup with one hammer and gave the band a different hammered finish. This one is not perfectly round, but, what can I say, it was my first attempt!

This is probably my favorite piece. I had the half drilled pearl from one of our Vegas trips where I stopped at the Pearl Factory. I thought of it on Saturday night as I was driving home, and I thought I'd take it in Sunday for our ring projects. I really love the way it turned out and I've gotten several compliments on it and the other ring. I would look for some rings in my Etsy shop in the near future. Yes, they will be round. :)

In the end, I faced one of my all-time biggest fears: public speaking. Since I was new to Craftsummer, Ginger asked if I would address the group of all of the classes taking place that weekend, telling them about my experience. I guess it was around 48 people. I couldn't tell her no, so I sucked it up and made it through okay. It really wasn't so bad, I guess. Wouldn't want to do that for a living though!

On top of all of that, I ordered a kiln on Friday before class! More to come later on that lucky deal!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two shows in a row.

Well, that was brave. Maybe bordering on crazy. In my wisdom, I decided this year it would be a good idea (for some reason) to do back to back shows. One on Sunday, the next on the following Saturday. It's not that it turned out poorly, it just added a little bit of stress to my week in between. After the previous week's successful show, I was down 11 pieces, so I was scurrying around all week like a mad woman trying to get some new ones made!

This time around it was the 7th Annual Village Green Fine Art Fair in Fairfield, Ohio. It was my first time at this venue. Again, great organizer, lots of help unloading and setting up. One little snag: it was raining when I left the house and it didn't stop until about an hour or so in, and then really just tapered off to a drizzle. Now, it wasn't pouring or anything and, thankfully, not storming. Just enough to be kind of a pain for setting up the tent. Once the tent was up, thanks to the help of Mike, one of the awesome volunteers, it really wasn't too bad.

Then there was some waiting for shoppers. And more waiting. Finally the weather started to break and it cleared up somewhat. At least it stopped raining. By mid afternoon, the sun was shining and all was well. I had decent sales, although my first was a pair of earrings around 11:30 and then I didn't have another until about the last 45 minutes or so. Two lovely ladies came by on recommendation of their daughters who told me earlier "they would love your stuff!" Thank you, daughters, for sending me your moms! They purchased six pieces between the two of them. And then another browser from earlier came back to purchase a pair of earrings she had convinced herself she had to have! Love it!

A rainy view from my booth. The park was very pretty... look at those lush hostas! They didn't mind the rain.

This is the lady's booth from next door to mine, Jan West. She made these incredible sculptures out of used bailing twine (used to bail hay). Upcycling at it's best, I'd say. Kids were delighted that they were allowed to touch and pet these creatures. Jan says they are made to go outside and that they elements won't hurt them. Very cool garden art!

This is their adorable pup, Maggie, who was best in show. Okay, okay, Jan's booth won best in show, but Maggie's pretty darn cute!

Jan ended up taking home best in show as well as the people's choice award. She was so surprised. It was very cool and she and her husband and dear little Maggie made nice neighbors!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Third time's a charm.

This year marked the 3rd Annual Trillium Art Fair at Glenwood Gardens, which was also my third year as a participant. Once again we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day, this time only around 80º – perfect for meandering around an outdoor event. This was very fortunate, as from what I was told, it had been in the 90ºs and very humid all week leading up to the fair.

If you caught my previous post, you know we were enjoying Hilton Head Island up until Saturday. When we arrived home Saturday evening, I unpacked the car from vacation and then packed up the car for the show the following morning. I thought it may have been the wrong decision to book a show for the day after arriving home, but I was actually well-rested and prepared. I actually had gotten a couple new pieces made during the long car ride, so I was A-okay.

People seem to come out to this show to actually spend. My sales were over $330 for the day, so I was very pleased. Volunteers and park employees were their normal helpful selves giving artists a hand with set up and tear down. This is just a wonderful show for artists as far as I'm concerned and I hope to be back again next year!

I had the same area as my previous two years and here are a couple views from my booth:

And here is my ever-evolving new set up. I finally broke down and bought a rotating earring display. I don't know what I was waiting for – I love it! It's so much easier than the frames I was using prior to this and is much easier to store, pack and transport. And, it enhances my booth, giving it a more professional look. Perhaps next will be a new necklace display.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our Lowcountry vacation.

I've always stumbled on the word 'Lowcountry' whenever I've seen it in print, always mispronouncing it in my head as 'low county'. Having just returned from a week on Hilton Head Island, I decided I should find out what that actually means. It was driving me a little crazy seeing it all over down there! Turns out it is "a geographic and cultural region located along South Carolina's coast", says Wikipedia.

Well, enough of that. Let's get to the highlights and photos.

My husband and I piled into my in-laws' mini-van along with one of his sisters. We met his other sister, her husband and their little boy, as well as his brother and his wife at the Shelter Cove Mariott on Saturday evening. We picked up a stack of pizzas that night from a local favorite, Giuseppe's, there in Shelter Cove, and had a family game night as we got settled in for the week. Delicious! I loved the white pizza.

While we were out driving around, we stopped to snap a pic of these amazing trees! Not sure what type they are or what causes them to grow in such interesting shapes, but they were all over and just so cool looking!

Pelicans, I believe.

Throughout the week, we had a nice mix of going to the beach, which was waaaay across the street, and using the resort's pool. For the most part, we all took turns cooking dinner, but a few nights my husband and I went out to sample the local restaurants. (Note: I do not care to cook or eat 'at home' on vacation!) We visited Stacks for breakfast, The Smokehouse for bbq, San Miguel's for (not so authentic) Mexican and One Hot Mama's for more bbq.

On Tuesday, the guys all went on a chartered fishing trip, so the girls decided to head to a spa for massages. We ended up at Fountain Spa and I had a most wonderful deep tissue/Thai yoga massage with Marty. It was spectacular and I would recommend him, and given the chance I would go back! We hit the Tanger outlets, where we all found a few good deals.

Thursday morning we went on a 2 hour kayak tour with Outside Hilton Head. Our guide was Jason Z., and he did a really nice job of explaining the eco-system of the Broad Creek – from the oyster beds to the grasses and birds. We saw a dolphin almost immediately after getting out there, who hung around playing in the water for most of our tour. I only wish I had brought along my camera, but, it's not waterproof. That afternoon, my husband and I went to the island's bead shop, High Tide Beads, where I found a nice selection of Thai silver that I hadn't seen before in any shop around me. The ladies in there were very friendly and helpful. While we were in that plaza, we noticed a frozen yogurt place, Delisheee-Yo. We thought it was time for an afternoon snack. It was fantastic! Tart frozen yogurt with a good selection of fruits, candies and sauces for toppings. Yum!

For our last night, my husband and I headed out to One Hot Mama's because we had read that the bbq was good there. We shared a ribs and brisket platter. Oh my goodness! It was fantastic! We found out that the owner, Mama Orchid, is a finalist on Food Network Star. She happened to be chatting with some guests at the table behind us. Well, I would certainly recommend checking that place out if you like bbq!

Saturday morning I just happened to wake up earlier than I needed to, so I walked out on our balcony and snapped a couple pics of the sunrise over Broad Creek. Good morning, Hilton Head! Thanks for a lovely week!


Related Posts with Thumbnails