I'd pretty much lost my artistic groove after my bout with cancer in 2006. In some strange way, jewelry making now frightened me, possibly because I had used a lot of glues and lacquers to make assemblage, and that, for many years. I knew I needed to take what I used to know, be brave, and start over.
I had made friends with an Ebay customer who had dealt with some very difficult health challenges. She found that taking classes helped her stretch and keep moving. After reading METALCRAFT DISCOVERY WORKSHOP (North Light, 2005) I met Linda and Opie O'Brien of Burnt Offerings. They filled me in on what was new in the world of craft and even suggested some routes I might take.
This is me with them on one of my summer-day visits when they still lived in their place up by Lake Erie. They have now retired from the teaching circuit and live in a fabulous artists' co-op in the Berkshires. I love these guys.
Linda and Opie told me that the IT girl in the world of craft was Susan Lenart Kazmer. They knew her well....told me of her beginnings, her dedication as an artist. I actually had her book, MAKING CONNECTIONS. My own work had actually appeared in a publication by Lark Books published before I fell ill, just a few pages away from some of hers.
At the urging of my friend from Ebay....and the O'Briens....I decided to go that year to Glenny Moir's ART AND SOUL artisan retreat in Hampton, Virginia.
The last class I took was Susan's.
The class was about mixing and pouring ICE RESIN
The window opened. Light poured in.... I jumped through that window.....ran.....and never looked back.
Susan is a caring and attentive teacher; we learned numerous techniques but when it came to casting, I'm afraid my ADHD brain was already on its own creative circuit, going its own way, playing at my desk. I couldn't stop filling bezels with resined paper and bits of debris on my work surface.
There is Susan, teaching the class....me taking pix and then off doing my own thing. ACK, I hate that I do that. I could have learned so much more, but I always take another fork in the road when I get on a tack.
So....long story short, as she was instructing us about how to cast resin, I made the necklace. I felt so in my element, as though I had been on a long journey, got lost and all of a sudden, found my way home.
That's one of her signature bezels, given to us as part of our class kit. The backing piece is a bit of B'sue Boutiques brass that I patina'd via my gingerbread method:
The wire is my take-off on a little wire embellishment she showed us. The pendant is hung on a twig I had in my doofus bag, brought to the class....wrapped with some sari ribbon I bought from her assistant that day.
Inside the bezel is a bit of resined paper from an old math book, watch parts and some copper scrap from my desk.
Here is the back:
The piece went together like Kismet. I came home feeling validated! Yes I WAS still an artist! How wonderful to realize that I was no fraud, just selling all these bits and pieces, and watching everyone else do the work. I was ready to develop my own NEW body of work.
Taking a class from a teacher who inspires you can force you to take a turn in the path you were on, or rediscover a path you have lost. It can open new doorways, create new revelations. This was not the first time I'd played with resin. I'd done it for 20 years--at least! It was not til Susan's class that I finally GOT it, and realized, sheesh!
Brenda Sue, YOU are a *mixed media artist*.
This piece is extremely sentimental me. It was a sign by the road that pointed me in the right direction. Do you have a piece like that?
May 16-18 we will be hosting Christi Friesen for the FIRST ever B'sue Boutiques artisan retreat. I have not taken a polymer clay class before, but I believe in starting at the top when you can. Just as I started at the top when I went to Art and Soul and met Susan, I'll be starting at the top when Christi comes here for the weekend to teach the class. And no, it ain't my first rodeo with clay. I expect I'll be having many NEW ones after Christi comes.
The class will max out at 35 students and it will be another life-changer, so....my advice?
COME AND JOIN US. Write me through the website at B'sue Boutiques for details.
Now, then: If I could dream, I would dream that Susan Lenart Kazmer might come this way, someday....and that maybe some of *you* might show up.
Y'know, since I took *her* class and got busy pushing out videos at You Tube some of *you* have hopped on planes, come here, spent a weekend learning right here in my shop....with ME. I've been told that was a creative breakthrough for those artists. Amazing. WELL: imagine how fine it would be to attend a class of your peers in a low-key, focused study of something you can REALLY use in your journey.
Your own personal Sentimental Journey.
Thanks to Susan Lenart Kazmer for being the amazing person she is, sharing her knowledge through two great reads, MAKING CONNECTIONS and RESIN ALCHEMY...and for being my teacher that day.
I have never been the same.