Sunday, November 2, 2008

The End of a Busy Month

"Life is to be
fortified by many friendships.
To love
and be loved
is the greatest happiness
of existence."
- Sydney Smith

(The Raevn's Nest 'Elite' L to R: Bernie Berlin, Kim Nugent, Judy Wise, Michael deMeng, and Laurie Mika)
October was certainly a busy month for me. For three weeks in a row, I was busy travelling to different workshops that I had signed up to take, oh so many months ago. It was unfortunate that these classes all fell in such close proximity to each other date-wise, because I felt like I couldn't fully enjoy them. When one workshop was ending, I was already contemplating what supplies I would need to get packed for the next one. It all began with my Thomas Mann workshop the beginning of October. I was at Valley Ridge for 6 days...came home...and then 4 days later had 2 Michael deMeng workshops and a Laurie Mika workshop at Raevn's Nest Retreat in Cedarburg. The following week I went back down to Valley Ridge for 3 days for my Lynne Perrella workshop. What really sucked was that I literally had to unpack all my supplies from my metalsmithing workshop, and repack totally different supplies for each remaining class. I'm proud of the fact that I actually put away my tools, etc., as I was unpacking before I began dragging out a bunch of other stuff for the next class supply list. I couldn't bear the thought of letting the studio get out of control again...(not to mention the wrath of Kim Nugent , since she was instrumental in organizing the chaos!).
(The 'Michael Lisa' at Raevn's Nest)

Raevn's Nest Art Retreat in Cedarburg was a wonderful experience. My good friend, Kim Nugent, made her dream of hosting a gathering of artists a reality - using the quaint community of Cedarburg, Wisconsin as the backdrop for her venue.

(Bernie and Judy -- Bernie is taking a pic of me while I'm taking this photo)

Thursday evening was an informal get-together, where people could get to know each other, participate in the various swaps which were held throughout the night, while listening to
the gritty, bluesy sound of the Alex Wilson Band, a local favorite of Kim's.
(Michael and I striking a very studious pose)

She had assorted inks and feathers available in the center of each of the tables, so you could draw and doodle while listening to the music and chatting with friends.

(We're enjoying each other's company Thursday evening)

I had the privilege of spending the evening chatting with Michael deMeng. I have taken several workshops with him over the past few years, so it was nice to be able to just relax and catch up with each other. (Michael critiquing our Morpheus Box Shrines)

The workshops began on Friday morning. My class for the day was the Mosaic Shrine class with Laurie Mika. I have never taken a workshop with her before, but I very familiar with her work, as I purchased her wonderful book way back when it first hit the bookstores.

(Everyone's Morpheus Boxes ready for Michael's critique)

I love Laurie's unique style, coupled with her wonderful choice of color and design. She was a great instructor, and everyone in the class
enjoyed working on their own, unique tiles. I have to admit that conditioning the clay was rather tedious...Laurie loves to work the clay by hand. (I would much rather prefer to use a pasta machine and soften it faster).
(Here I am frantically assembling my Matchbook Reliquary)

The class ended around 4:30 p.m., and many participants got their pieces finished, or nearly finished. Mine, on the other hand, has a long way to go before it is complete. I am pleased, however, with how it was turning out. (The Shrine I was working on in Laurie Mika's Class)

The other two workshops I had signed up for were both with Michael deMeng. Friday evening was making Matchbook Reliquaries, and Saturday was the Morpheus Box. I didn't get either of those projects finished either, but I got a good start on both of them, and hopefully sometime this Winter, I'll get the motivation to finish them.
Kim's retreat was a huge success, and I look forward to attending it again next October. I admire her determination to make her dream of hosting such a huge undertaking a reality!