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Sunday, October 30, 2011

VisArts Enameling Workshop

Last weekend I taught a Basic Enameling workshop at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.  It was my first workshop there, and I had a great time.  The facility is very nice, fully equipped studio, friendly people, organized administration, fabulous students! 

Mark and I moved to Richmond this past January, and knew basically nothing about the city.  Someone suggested that I look into the Visual Arts Center as a place to work and to meet some interesting people.  I made an appointment last Spring and pitched my proposals for classes and workshops for the Fall session, and came to find out that VisArts was fully equipped for enameling, with four kilns and lots of old enamels, but they had had no one to teach it in years.  Lucky for me!  I proposed two enameling workshops and an etching and enameling class.  I was able to make my Basic Enameling workshop run with only three people, but I don't think my next workshop, Alternative Techniques in Enameling (Nov. 12-13) is going to make this session.  Oh well.  I already have five people signed up for my evening class, Galvanic Etching and Champleve Enameling, starting in a couple weeks (Tuesday evenings, Nov. 15 - Dec. 20, 6-9pm).  So that will be a lot of fun. 

Anyway, back to the Basic Enameling workshop.  Prior to the workshop, I went into the VisArts studio and made colors samples of all the enamels they had to offer.

I made handouts including some basic info and facts about enamels, descriptions and how-to's with the techniques we were covering, and some tips and tricks that just make things a little easier as you're going.  I made samples of all the different techniques we'd be trying, which were surprisingly a lot, given that this was a basic enameling workshop.  And honestly, it was a lot of fun to revisit those techniques that I don't often use.  In my first enameling class, we were presented with a whole lot of basic techniques like this, and then were asked to take this knowledge and make a piece of jewelry.  Well, that's all well and good, but there were so many different things that I wanted to try, I ended up trying to use several on one piece and it came out looking rather muddled.  I remember wishing we had been given some extra time just for making samples of each technique to try them all out and see what we liked before jumping into a piece of jewelry. 

So that's what I asked my students to do.  The first day, I did demos of several basic limoges techniques, and then the students did their own samples.  After lunch, I showed them a few basse-taille techniques, and they were free to make some samples of basse-taille or anything else they wanted to explore.

Since we only had three hours to work on Sunday, their homework assignment that night was to come up with a piece that they wanted to make based on the techniques we had covered.

Greg made a beautiful landscape tile:

Gwen made a gorgeous leaf-shaped pendant:

I thought everyone did a wonderful job, and we all had a lot of fun!  I hope to see them again in future workshops and classes.  Can't wait for my next class. 

Thanks VisArts and students!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blogging Slacker!

My, my, my... what the little blogging slacker I have been!  Here it is, the end of October, and I have not posted all month!  I may have had a few other things going on, though.....  here's a brief (ok, mabe not so brief) summary of my 4 jobs + life:

My main business focus has been CopperDog Studio.  I've been using what I've learned so far in my Marketing course to apply it to getting this business started right.  Unfortunately, I am only 5 lessons deep in a 12 lesson course, but I'm learning.....  I got the website up and running.  For those of you who have been following, we decided to go with Big Cartel as our host, and we have already made more sales than I've ever made from my CopperTide site through Other People's Pixels.  (I think I will switch that one over when review time comes up in a few months.)  So, that's going.  We made samples of each style of tag we offer, and came up with a clever display... on a dog collar!

We sent a similar display with order forms, etc. to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville, NC.  My friend Nicole works there, and is advocating for us.  We hope to have a good relationship set up with them soon, with 10% of the proceeds from sales made through BWAR donated back to them.  We also hope to set up similar sitiuations with other rescue groups.  This display set is going with us to the dog park this weekend to try our hand at person to person sales.  A little marketing tip on placement there.  The people are there, thinking about their dogs, so just place this right in front of them and start a conversation.

So there's all that for CopperDog, plus filling orders, etc.

CopperTide has fallen a little behind while getting CopperDog up and running, but I've made a few items, and I'm applying for holiday shows.  Check.

Job #3 is with NC Black Co.  I have been down to NC a couple times in the last month or so to work with them.  The first trip was supposed to be just a quick one to take photos of their new hammers for their website and for a catalog.

Well, that turned into a weekend trip with my teaching partner, Chuck, to Gatlinburg, TN to deliver tools to the store at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.  And we got to see some of the glory that is Gatlinburg.  Wow.  That place would make me want to vomit if it wasn't for Arrowmont.  But since this amazing craft school is there, it just makes the rest of the insanely weird tourist trap tolerable, and even hilarious.  It was a great time.  I love my job. 

So anyway, I took some photos when we got back to NC.  Edited them, and sent a CD of images to Grobet for their catalog.  Congrats to NC Black on the Grobet parnetship, by the way!  It's so inspiring to see a small company of talented people finding success!  I'm so fortunate to work with them and call them my friends!  I took another trip down to see them mid-month to take more photos for ther new website - this time, photos of the people behind NC Black.

And we spent some time working on plans and samples for a new workshop offered by NC Black, Etched Anticlastic Neckpieces.

Which brings me to Job #4 : Teaching.  Last weekend I taught an enameling workshop at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.  That was a great time with great students.  The workshop will get its own post tomorrow.  But I just wanted to mention it as another thing I have going on these days.  This was the first time I had taught this particular workshop, so planning was involved.  And that includes writing a handout and making samples, among other thing.  But I really enjoyed it, and look forward to teaching more at VisArts.  In fact, I have an evening class in Galvanic Etching and Champleve Enameling coming up, starting November 15, so I guess I better get on the preparations for that!  Plus, I've been writing class proposals and sending them in for Winter/Spring classes at VisArts and Sawtooth School for Visual Art.  Whew!

Sometimes it's hard to get my mind all organized around everything.  Especially when you throw in life stuff.  Mark and the pets and I have a lot of fun (somewhere in there), but there's still shopping, chores, and cooking to be done.  And there's that looming portfolio situation, and a big decision to be made with that.  But I won't get into that right now.  So hopefully it's understandable why I've been such a blogging slacker lately.  I do plan to get back on that.  And start one for just CopperDog Studio.  So I'm off to check things off my lists, add more things to them, and make Halloween cookies.  Nope, I'm not sorry.  There's always time for Halloween.   Cheers!