Monday, March 29, 2010

Wild Wire Women Retreat was toooo much fun!

Of all the photos I took during our Wild Wire Women retreat this past weekend (March 25-29), this one of the messy table seems to say it best! We had fun, made a mess, ate lots of great food, drank some excellent wine, and made lots of jewelry samples.
Most important of all, we made lasting friendships. Here's Susie from Leesburg, Virginia. She and her sister Dagmar flew out together and landed at LAX—not my favorite airport—and it took them about three hours to drive up to Idyllwild. I hope that when they return next time they'll consider flying into Palm Springs airport, about 25 minutes from my house!
Anyway, they arrived just in time on Thursday for a big glass of wine and then we were off to Cafe Aroma for our welcome dinner, which was delicious as usual and accompanied by live music. We visited late, and by the time we got back home again it was time for bed. "Breakfast starts at 8 am," I had informed my guests, but their time clocks were way out of kilter with California's so we were all up and gulping hot coffee and breakfasting by 6:30. Then it was down to the workshop for our first lesson, "10 Trippy Tricks 2," a sort of wirework 101 class. We also had time for a lesson on making headpins with a kitchen torch (we used copper wire), and the Chunky Leaf link (also found on my DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop), plus a link from my Snake Vertebra bracelet workshop (also found in my book, Wire Art Jewelry).
Pictured above you see a sample bracelet in progress, with some of the links from this class. This is Jen from La Mesa, California. She's more quiet and studious than the rest of us, and you can see her displaying the proper hand position as she creates a tight spiral with her thumb pressed firmly against the wire. Jan (on the left) from Princeton, Wisconsin sat next to Dagmar from Howell, New Jersey. Dagmar is Susie's sister. Before the weekend was over, we all felt like sisters. Jan's holding up her links from the Snake Vertebra bracelet workshop. I taught the gals how to make this link in addition to a full day of instruction, and some of them wanted to use the link to make a bracelet during their free time. Not that we had much free time, I keep everybody very busy during my retreats! Here's our workshop mascot, Ivy. She loves to sit in the baskets on top of my cabinets, looking down on all the action. She's saying, "Hey, whydoncha put a pair of pliers in my paws?"
On Saturday we tackled the Etruscan Spiral necklace (Susie's partially completed necklace is at the top of this post) and I also demonstrated some earring basics.
It was a long day because we started off with a review of all the basics we had gone over the day before. The wrapped eye-pin loop is a challenge for newbies, so we spent some time on that. Thankfully, in a retreat setting there's plenty of time to go over things repeatedly until everyone really gets it down pat.
Pictured above you see the sample pendant from my Autumn Dance workshop, one of two that I taught on Sunday. We also learned the knotless netting technique with wire (found in Wire Art Jewelry), and finished with using liver of sulfur and some polishing techniques. Dinners out were fun; on Saturday we got some delicious Chinese takeout, which we devoured at around 9 pm. On Sunday night, our farewell dinner was held at Cafe Aroma again.
Dagi really surprised us all. She came to the retreat with the idea that she would learn a few techniques but really focus on making some jewelry pieces to wear home. She told me she doubted that she would actually make any jewelry after our retreat, so it was important for her to return to New Jersey with some finished pieces.
On Sunday evening after dinner, down to the workshop she went to work on her Autumn Dance cuff bracelet (pictured above). We don't know how late she worked, but it was well worth the effort! By Monday morning, she had finished her gorgeous bracelet to her great satisfaction.
But even better, Dagi found a new passion to pursue: wire-art jewelry. Susie called me later to tell me that her sister is now well and truly hooked, and Dagi has written several times to tell me how much she loves her new hobby. She's buying tons of books and DVDs and tools and wires and beads.... and on it goes.
Those of us who love to make jewelry with wire know just how addictive it can be... and how much fun. There's nothing like making wire jewelry! I'm so glad I was able to share my passion for this art form with other like-minded artists.
If you'd like to come out to Idyllwild for a Wild Wire Women retreat, I still have some openings on the following dates:
June 10-14
July 29-August 2
August 12-16
September 30-October 4
October 14-18
October 21-25
November 4-8
Drop me an email for more information!
Happy wrapping,
sharilynmiller@mac.com

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