Last weekend, March 3rd & 4th, I was one of the lucky attendees of the NC Black Shell Forming Workshop that took place at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. Once again, Andrea Kennington and Les Bryant returned to Colorado Springs and taught a two day, fun filled, packed with tons-o-information workshop. All of us loved it.
The picture at the top of this post shows all of my projects from the weekend. As many of you know, I am a firm believer of investing in yourself by taking workshops to help me grow as an artist. Let me tell you, this workshop delivered. One of the great things Andrea & Les do in a workshop like this is that they start you out with a project to learn a basic technique and then you build on that with each successive project. At the end of the workshop, you have a nice little bounty of items to refer back to as you continue to work on the techniques.
Last fall, I attended the demo when Les and Andrea were here. Of course, I invested in a number of their tools at that time, knowing they would be returning in March and my plans were to take this workshop. I wanted to experiment with those tools before this workshop and just never managed to do it. However, I think it worked out so much better to go in to this workshop, ready to learn from the pros without any bad habits I may have developed from my experiments. It all came together on Saturday and Sunday.
One of the first things Andrea said to me was “these techniques will take your work to a new level”. The first person who ever said that to me was my dear sister, Lexi Erickson, a number of years ago. Andrea’s statement to me was filled with as much conviction as Lexi’s was and I knew, yes I knew it to be true.
We started with the hardest project first. This tiny spiculum; a tapered tube that starts out as a flat sheet of metal. It’s made from 26 gauge brass. With each of the projects we did, either Andrea or Les would demonstrate the technique. Then we would proceed to replicate what they had showed us. This little spiculum may not look like much, but it was the foundation for what we would build on for the next two days. We went from making this to learning anticlastic raising to synclastic forming. What a blast! As I work on more of this, I’ll post details about a particular technique in future blogs.
As you can see, we made bracelets, little flowers, and my favorite….leaves.
This was my last project of the day on Sunday. I was beaming with excitement as it literally unfolded into this form. You will definitely see things like this finding their way into my future works, along with many of the other things we learned.
There are so many great things about attending a workshop like this. The little tips and tricks the teachers share. The hands on when you just don’t have it figured out and then they revisit it and you have that ah ha moment. The interaction with fellow students, each of us having our learning ups and downs. It’s all part of the comradery.
Quality tools are worthy investments in my opinion. As you can see, I bought a few and that Micro Sinusoidal Stake (the squiggly steel) caught my eye on their last trip. This time I got to ‘test drive’ it and knew I had to have it.
Will my work be going through a change? You bet! I think it is so important for us to continue to grow and learn, develop our work and push it to new levels.
If you ever have a chance to take a class from Andrea and Les, do it! Don’t ponder, don’t fret, don’t debate; just embrace the opportunity. I promise you that you will not regret it. Even though I’ve been under the weather for over a week and was feeling pretty bad this past weekend, I still left that workshop feeling revitalized and invigorated. Definitely inspired!
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.