Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Weekend at Art in the Loft

My final day at Art in the Loft (Alpena, Michigan) was marked by mixed emotions—sad on the one hand to be saying goodbye to such a terrific group of people, yet very pleased and proud to see their work displayed on our show-and-tell table at the end of the weekend. We had spent two intensive days making wire-art jewelry, including the Grateful Heart necklace and the Autumn Dance technique, which can be used to make a pendant, a cuff bracelet, or a pin.
But I'm getting ahead of myself! Let's start on Saturday morning, when I woke up to this amazing view off the balcony at Nan's house where I stayed for the weekend. A fairy-tale forest leads to the lake's edge, and her balcony is decked with flowering shrubs and chairs set up just right for a picnic tea in paradise.
This is Sammy, Nan's adorable little dog. He loves to play... and play... and play... all day if you let him, and into the night, too! We wore him out tossing his favorite stuffed animals (you can see Sammy's piggie behind him) into the kitchen where he cheerfully fetched them back. His teeth are showing in this picture so he appears to be growling, but I assure you, he is the sweetest little dog you could ever know.
We arrived on Saturday morning and got set up with our tools and wire, etc. and then took some time for a quick nibble on the lovely breakfast set up by volunteers at Art in the Loft. They provided yoghurt, juices, muffins, bagels, fruit, coffee and tea. Amazing! I've never taught anywhere else that provided breakfast. The picture above shows some of my students getting set up and starting to work at their tables; we had another table close by with the second half of the class. We divided ourselves this way to take advantage of the lighting.
Best friends Kathy (left) and Teresa shown here sharing a table and working hard on their jewelry pieces.
Here's one of the displays of art for sale you can find at Art in the Loft. Such a lovely space for workshops as well as art sales! If I was to design a workshop space of my own, it would be exactly like this.
Using bail-forming pliers to make jump rings and other large links for the Grateful Heart necklace...
This photo (above) shows another angle on the Loft. Gorgeous!
Here's another beautiful display of handmade art: pottery that was simply irresistible. Yes, I bought some!
Another pair of good friends sharing a table and making beautiful jewelry with wire.
After class on Saturday we went out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant and I had to snap a few photos of the gorgeous sunflowers growing right in the parking lot!
Pictured above, my Sunday class. This photo was taken in the morning before we got started on our Autumn Dance workshop, which is why everyone looks so cheerful and perky!
Here's Teresa hammering away on her looped wire in preparation for wire-wrapping beads onto it.
Choosing beads and their arrangement on a wire pin is a challenge, but it's all part of the fun.
At the end of the day, we set out our jewelry pieces on a show-and-tell table, and everyone snapped photos for later inspiration.
Here you can see a few unfinished jewelry pieces from the previous two days.
While most students worked in copper wire to save money, some brave souls used sterling silver to great effect. Silver is about $19 a troy ounce right now, so I admire anyone who is gutsy enough to make something new with it.
More jewelry samples: A heart pendant from Saturday and two gorgeous pins from Sunday's class.
We all enjoyed admiring each other's work. I hope that my students learned lots of techniques that will help them to make more beautiful jewelry in the future!
Happy wrapping,

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