Monday, October 26, 2009

My mini-vacation and Kathleen Dustin workshop!

It's been a week since I came back from my mini-vacation in Florida with three other members of the Central Mississippi Polymer Clay Guild. We were in Florida to attend a weekend workshop with none other than Kathleen Dustin! These are the only two pieces that I have completed so far but I have several more in the works. This is so much fun and every piece is a surprise in the making!

My mini-vacation started on Wednesday when I met up with Annette and Myra, two of our guild members (and sisters, by the way) at the Jackson airport and flew to Orlando. We were picked up by Joyce, our guild President, who has a beach house not too far from Orlando. After taking several "scenic detours" to find the workshop location and the hotel where we would be staying, we headed for the beach. Lots of fun and laughter!

Thursday was spent lolling around. For those of you not familiar with that term, lolling is a good ole' Southern term that means just being lazy, relaxing at the beach, sitting on the deck and drinking margaritas as the sun went down. Then we headed into Orlando and our hotel.

Friday was a great day. We met Kathleen and admired her work. Then she put us to work!!! I was so afraid that what she would be teaching us was way over my head, but she broke it down with great demos and a good pace. She made sure that everybody was following along on each step before she went on to the next. But she did emphasize that this was not a class for beginners, that at least an intermediate knowledge of working with clay was pretty important to be successful. Just as important as the actual techniques was the wealth of information Kathleen shared on the basics of design and how they applied to her method. We worked through the process of the first two layers on Friday before going to Olive Garden for fun, food and wine!

Saturday started with my least favorite word – SANDING! Everybody in my guild knows how I feel about sanding. I do my very best to get everything as smooth as possible before I put it in the oven. Unfortunately, that will not work with this technique! I had to sand, and sand, and sand some more. Then check for gaps, fill them in with translucent, cure and sand even more. Then finally, I got to buff! Kathleen told us that if we did the sanding correctly, then the buffing just made our pieces shine. I was so pleased with the glow and you really could see "into" the piece!!!

In the midst of all this sanding, we also learned Kathleen's technique for doing transfers. This alone was worth the trip! I've tried transfers before and got sad, faded-out results so I was thrilled to learn how she does her transfers. She also taught us a cool new stack called lamella and some interesting things to do with simple stripes. The lamella stack was made of red gold leaf and translucent and just shimmers when sanded and buffed. Too cool!

I love the fact that every time Kathleen called us up to her table for a demo, she had on a different necklace. This was great because they actually look different on a person than just laying on a black cloth on a table. She had a beautiful variety and some rather unique items too. Her purses were to die for! But my favorite had to be the necklaces made with the end of a skinner blend roll! Be sure to check out her gallery.

Class wound down about 4:00 p.m. and Annette and Myra headed out for a visit with their niece while Joyce and I headed back to the beach… and more margaritas!

Sunday was a wonderfully quiet peaceful day – although just a touch chilly! The cold front that the Floridians had been expecting arrived with a fair amount of wind! A great day to relax with a good book and a glass of tea. Then Monday I had to fly back home and back to work! Vacation was over and the real world was once more intruding!

All I can say about the workshop is that if you ever get an opportunity to take a class with Kathleen Dustin, go for it! It was a wonderfully inspiring weekend and my mind is still spinning with ideas of how to incorporate these techniques into my designs.

I'd also like to take a minute to thank all the wonderful ladies of the Orlando Polymer Clay Guild. Everything - well almost, anyway - ran smoothly and they made us crazy Mississippi ladies feel right at home!


Alice Stroppel said...

Your pieces are beautiful. I'm so glad you got to meet and take a class for Kathleen. I didn't realize or I would have zip up to Orlando, I only live about 2 hours away. sometimes it's hard to keep up with everything. Can't wait to see what else you do with what you've learned.

Arlene Harrison said...

I love her technique and already have some ideas for how to incorporate it into my own style. I wish you had come up. It would have been great to meet you in person.

artsyclay said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I love your work. The texture sticks are a great idea. ~*~

Arlene Harrison said...

I LOVE my texture sticks! They are great for little areas where it's hard to get a texture sheet into. Sometimes you just have to think way outside the box!