Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Archive for June, 2018

Nests … or should I call them Dots & Lines?

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/06/21

ProjectSample_SilverNests“Nests” are a workshop-project that I teach every now and then. It’s scheduled again for next Friday, June 29, at the North Hills Art Center. Online registration is available. If you’re interested, please sign up asap: the last day you can register is this Friday, June 22. There are two sessions listed, for afternoon OR evening. Sign up for your preferred time, but please let someone (me or NHAC) know whether or not you’d be able to participate in the other one (in case one or the other ends up over- or under-subscribed).

Having gotten the “promo” stuff out of the way, I’ll get down to the reason I decided to write a whole blog post on it: I’ll use that workshop to talk a bit about how an instructor builds up the ideas for a class. Different teachers may look at theirs in different ways, but this is the approach I favor.

Some “consumer arts & crafts” classes are designed so that participants all make exactly the piece illustrated. Others use the image as a starting point to explore a process or technique. I tend to teach the latter, simply because those are the classes I enjoy taking the most. Of course, participants are always welcome to make something very close to the illustration; it’s just that I encourage exploration, experimentation, and creative variations too.

Unless noted otherwise, I try to design each workshop so it will be great for beginners with metal clay, serve as a refresher for those with limited experience, and offer specific techniques so you can continue to build both your repertoire and your local metal clay community with each new class.

We start with the basics of rolling and texturing clay, cutting it into an interesting shape, giving it some dimension, deciding how to hang it, and more. Students are welcome to make a pendant and / or a pair of earrings.

What varies across my classes is what else we do each time. In this one, we explore ways to hand-decorate those creations with silver strings and balls. So I call the class Lovely Silver Nests because it’s really easy, and fun, to shape those into an interesting “nest” design, as shown in the first photo with this post, my usual illustration for this class.

But once you know the process, you are free to arrange the strings and balls in various other patterns, instead of or in addition to nests! We also consider several ways to decorate the other side of each piece: with more strings and balls, by using more complex textures, by adding layered embellishments, and more. My goal is to help you create a unique piece of silver art that is reversible.

As usual, those with some previous experience with metal clay are welcome in this class too. My target audience here is not folks who’ve mastered the medium and seek advanced challenges (those, more advanced, sessions are usually just held with a small group in my studio); here, it is people who are curious and interested in learning more about manipulating metal clays in their creations. They may work right along with the beginners, perhaps finding time to create a more complex bail for hanging their piece, or they may add this style of decoration to a more complex project they’ve already mastered. I’m often surprised when folks tell me how hesitant they’ve been to try these specific techniques before this class, and I’m delighted when I see the designs they come up with as soon as they’ve learned how to follow a few specific steps to make this work.

TechniqueSamples_LinesAndDotsSo, while I call the class Lovely Silver Nests, it’s not a nest-project class. It’s a strings and balls techniques class. They can be used in so many ways: on some of the simplest pieces, on many very elaborate designs, and even for pieces constructed solely using them!

That’s why I’m also including in this post a quick snapshot with (a) one pair of basic earrings, and then (b) the back sides (or as I tend to think of them: the simpler, other sides) of three pendants. Even if you only know it as the “back” you can still know that there’s another little piece of art hidden back there!

Hmmm, I wonder if I should call this workshop Dots & Lines then, or leave it as Lovely Silver Nests? I’d love to see photos (or even just links to photos) of what other folks have done with their own dots & lines!

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This Saturday, and next!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/06/07

SampleProject_LentilBeads_Reversible_WonderlandKarmaThis Saturday, June 9, is a “Second Saturday”! So I am, once again, planning a little Studio Open House. For more reasons than it’s worth listing here, this month I’m shifting the time a bit later than usual: 2 to 6 pm. I’ll have pieces for sale, along with information about the various workshops I have scheduled for this summer or might still add to the calendar.

The main reason for the slightly-later time is that the Regent Square Civic Association’s Second Saturday event will be at my building, and that’s scheduled for 4 to 7 pm. So I tried to plan my Open House to overlap: you can visit me from 2 to 6, if you’re able to come later in that range you can check RSCA out too, and I can still join them from about 6 until 7.

Follow either link above for a little more information on what each event offers. Stop by for the full effect!

Next Saturday, June 16, is my first workshop of the summer, where The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh will offer my reversible hollow silver bead class.

SampleProject_LentilBeads_Reversible_KarmaWonderlandSome people call these “lentil” beads, because their underlying shape is similar to a very oversized lentil. Others call them “saucer” beads, though I never imagined flying saucers that looked quite like these. Long-time readers of this blog will know, however, that I love making lentil beads, and I think they make a great class projet too. The photos with this post are meant to show that even a complete beginner can master the making of a relatively simple one that is still impressive! Those with some prior metal clay experience can work a few more advanced techniques into their designs, but you’ll have to come to class to see some samples of those!

At Artsmiths, we will cover ways to make yours so it can be worn all by itself as a pendant. Or, if you’re into beading, we’ll cover ways that are ideal for stringing it with a bead selection of your choice. Hint: the pieces in the photos here are designed for beading, but can be worn alone as pendants, as shown. Follow the class link, above, to see some more basic samples and to find out how to register for this session.

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And one miscellaneous musing…

Again, I’m really sorry I haven’t been posting much here lately. (I’m apologizing both to myself and to you!) Facebook is such a thought-sink! I’m not talking about how it can be a general time-sink; I miss all sorts of posts because I don’t spend much time browsing there. But I do spend some participating in a few relevant groups (on specific techniques and on art and jewelry in general; not all the possible ones, but a few!) where I oten find myself anwering questions or making comments there that, pre-Fb, I would have written up as posts here or on public blogs by others.

This bothers me: the class-link above goes to a public page I’ve written, while the two event-links above go to publicly-available Facebook-page events (perhaps with an annoying banner asking you to sign in / up to Facebook, but at least visible). But there’s no way for me to link here to something I’ve written in a “closed” art / jewelry group. I do understand the use of “closed” groups to help reduce the risk of spam, trolls, etc., but I’m still struggling with the idea of spending my time writing up useful information that is then limited in how far it can be shared.

If I’m going to write it up, I want it to be available to anyone who’s interested! Well, of course, I could copy my comments and post them here, but they’re often part of a thread, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable copying all that from a private to a public space; so that would mean re-writing everything to build up my own context. And that’s just more effort than seems worth it when I’d rather be making than writing in the first place!

Have you solved this dilemma? Do you know anyone else who has? Your thoughts (comments, links, pointers, whatever) would be much appreciated!

Posted in Events, Misc. Musings, Studio, Teaching Metal Clay | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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