Friday, August 16, 2013

WWW Retreats: Choosing Workshops!

The first question most participants of a Wild Wire Women retreat ask me prior to our weekend together is this: Which workshops will we be taking? A good question, given that we spend three very intensive days making jewelry during a retreat—using wire, sheet metal, enamels, rivets, beads, found objects, and various tools and techniques.
My answer is always the same: You get to choose! Instead of creating an itinerary for you, I ask each participant to send me a list of her three top-favorite projects/workshops taken from my web site, books, DVDs, etc.
Once I have lists from each student, I go over them to see if we have any overlap: two or more ladies requesting the same workshop. This makes it much easier for me to narrow down our choices to the few that we can reasonably expect to cover in three days. We can take three full-day workshops or six half-day workshops, or a combination of the above, such as one full-day workshop plus four half-day workshops.
For my retreat taking place September 26-30, I got two lists but each one was entirely different... so some juggling will commence! One student asked for fold-formed pins or earrings (see the two photos at the top of this post), which we can easily cover in a half-day. She also wanted to make a wire-woven dolly pendant like the one pictured above. This is a full-day workshop, so I suggested that perhaps we might make a wire-woven ring instead. Same techniques, different results, but the learning opportunity is the same. We'll see how that works out.
An introduction to torch enameling was another request; this can include small charms like the ones in the enameled penny bracelet pictured above, or other items such as enameled headpins, filigree beads, and copper metal charms. It would be ideal to spend an entire day on this, but if a brief introduction is all that's needed, we'll keep it to a half day.
Worm beads were the number-1 request of my second retreat participant. We could spend a day making a worm-bead bracelet with bead charms like the one pictured above, or we can spend a half day simply making a couple beads to incorporate into other projects. We're still mulling it over.
Earrings are another top request of many of my students. It's one of those techniques that can be briefly touched on in a half-day workshop, resulting on one great pair of earrings, or it can be explored in-depth over the course of many days. It's really up to my students to determine how much time they want to devote to this art form.
As a final request, I was asked if we could make altered penny charm bracelets (pictured above) and/or altered tubing bead bracelets (pictured below). Both workshops take an entire day to finish a completed piece; however, this is one of those instances where we can actually combine the two workshops into one. We could make a truly spectacular bracelet or necklace with altered pennies, tubing beads, wire charms, bead charms, twisted-wire jump rings, and a handmade clasp.
At this point, I've thrown the ball back into my students' court, asking them to reconsider their options—including combining some workshops into one, reducing some to a half-day, or even eliminating a class. This is the really, really tough part of the retreat! So many workshop choices, so little time to fit them all in...
How about you? If you were attending my retreat on Sept. 26-30 (we still have four openings!), which workshops would you choose? I'd love to hear your opinions!
Happy wrapping,

1 comment:

Ammu said...

I wish I could make it this year, but it isn't possible. Do you take reservations for your workshops a whole year in advance? ;)
But I love earrings, so I'd love to spend a lot of time learning different techniques to make earrings. I've made all the varieties in your 'Wire Art Jewelry Workshop' and adore all of them!
I'd also love to learn how to enamel. Wish you and your participants a whole lot of fun, and I look forward to reading about how the retreats go!