For nearly two years Christi Friesen and I have been planning her visit to Ohio....and now, it's already been a week since she's come and gone.
Christi has always been a crafty lady. She learned to sculpt and fire ceramic when she was really just a little girl. One thing led to another because hey, it was just in her blood.
At one point polymer clay entered her life....and her life exploded into the rich teaching and sharing experience it has now become. Our event featuring her expertise was May 16-19, 2014....and it came and went far too quickly.
It began for me on May 15, when Jordan and I picked her up from the airport. It was great because my pal, Marcia Tuzzolino, just happened to be at the same baggage claim to pick up Irene Hoffman, another friend from the B'sue Boutiques Creative Group .
We happened to just hit it right and everyone including Christi, came in about the same time!
Jordan, Christi and I set out to have dinner....since the Italian restaurant we love was just too packed out, we settled on Harry's Place, a local pub/eatery with the biggest fish dinners you ever saw!
Afterward we munched on the box of Mrs. See's Chocolates that Irene had brought for me:
Christi is a chocoholic....and we can't get Mrs. See's here unless we order them online. So it's only once in a blue, blue moon that I get any. That was a real treat. Thanks, Irene!
The next day, Christi came over to the shop early to shoot a short interview video with me. We got a little silly:
That's Christi's latest book in the foreground...sold out of them at the event. I LOVE that book....you can get one from her at http://www.christifriesen.com
By the way....here is a link to that video, which is very encouraging:
Later in the day, the event really began! We started with a PARTY, Friday night!
Here is a photo of some of the celebrants!
I was bowled over by the gorgeous big vase of flowers that the class gave ME:
They are still beautiful, but I am going to let them all dry and use them in resin cabochons as memory pieces of the class members' generosity.
There were actually 37! in the class.
That's a rather large class but I gotta tell you, from the get-go, EVERYONE was fully engaged, locked and loaded to LEARN! We had some who were already experts sprinkled about throughout the room, like Katie Oskin of Kater's Acres, Annette Carruthers, Cindy Peterson of Howling Dog Jewelry at Etsy, and Melody Kirby. There were others who were quite adept as well....and a number who had never touched polymer clay, previously.
The experts helped guide the large class through the MANY projects by keeping things on track at their own tables and sharing freely their own work.
The class on Saturday began with prep....first we set up Christi's selling table and work table:
I was really glad to learn via the class the important difference between Pearl Ex type mica powders and Perfect Pearls by Ranger, which we already carry:
They both have their place in embellishing clay, but both have different important features.
All of the clay provided by Polyform for the class had to be cut up. Rob, Javi and Jordan, among others took tissue blades and cut the clay into small chunks so the clay would last and each one would have just what was needed to do the projects:
There were so many things we learned....how to make Christi's signature heart, how to make turtles, how to make a stained glass effect with translucent clay, how to make a 'Lordly Lion', how to layer bits of stacked, cut clay from 'faux canes' on bead bases to make amazing new looks.
I am REALLY into making polymer clay beads.
My fave was this pleated faux cane technique:
These are Renee Webb Allen's bits from the pleated cane, which you see above. You simply roll out layers of contrasting color, stack, tear the stack several times, then put through the pasta machine. Instead of just letting it roll out, you put your other hand under the machine to sort of 'stop' the clay as it rolls out, which will automatically 'pleat' it.
You then slice bits off that 'cane' and layer onto your rolled out, plain round beads.
Here are some things I made in the class:
You can see some of those 'pleats' that I made on some of these beads! Of course in between it all I was taking pix and sharing constantly on Facebook, since we had many who wanted to attend and were not able:
More stuff I made.....
My son and partner, Jordan, really worked hard in the class....he was one of those who started pretty much with little experience:
By the end of the class on Sunday, he had gotten the hang of it and was creating some viable sea life pieces, which he has always loved.
Christi took pix with nearly everyone in the class....here is a great one of her and Melody Kirby:
Melody really has a knack for clay sculpture. Here's what her workspot looked like at the end of the two day adventure:
That lion doll in the back with all the fiber is outrageous....and he's made pals with a doll that Christi made and brought to class!
Judy Jones King made this brooch, I love this piece as it has a vintage 50's sort of jungle/funky edge to it:
Well, all I can say is the class was one rip-roaring delight!
And of course, our fearless leader and ringleader of delight is....well...inimitable.
She's agreed to come back, too, in another two years! Meantime, we're planning an artist retreat weekend at the same place, Das Dutch Village Inn next year at about the same time. I will be teaching assemblage as well as a technique I call "Vintage Triage". It's a way to separate the good from the valuable from the stuff only good to use another way, in a box of vintage jewelry.
Here's a video link to show you what I mean:
We will also have some other guest teachers, and some MORE time with group polymer clay therapy!
Then, in May 2016, Christi will return for another great weekend class.
Oh! forgot to mention: Sunday night, many from the class to came our little shop for an open house!
Here is my pal, Terry Matusyk, outside the shop:
Tell you what, they packed the little place out, but wow, did we have a great time!
Monday we had a fun breakfast with Christi and many got ready to journey home. Soon we ourselves were returning her to the airport!
But my great time STILL wasn't over! Marcia and Irene came back over to the little shop....and we made a video on Polymer Clay Embroidery as well as Christi's "Painterly Clay" technique:
Here is THAT video:
Marcia and Irene had never done video before and I sort of surprised them with the idea. But they were brave and jumped right on in! I'm sorry some of the camera angles weren't the best but if you hang in there with us, you WILL learn a nice new technique.
Every time I do video I swear I learn something more about making one! Of course the You Tube crowd will always let you know if something isn't up to par, LOL. They keep us on our toes, but all in all it's a good thing.
And again, Marcia Tuzzolino, who is a member of our Design Team, and Irene Hoffman did a GREAT job, they are naturals! Irene heads up our Polymer Clay Board at Pinterest:
BREAKING NEWS: our event board at Facebook goes on, no one wants to close it! SO: we're going with a joint collaboration Christi and I brainstormed when she was here; its working title is "Bohemian Vibe". This is gonna be a fun project full of challenges and spins and will incorporate clay with vintage bits and stampings, filigree from B'sue Boutiques
I'll keep you posted about that as soon as we have it all worked out, and are ready for more to join us!