Fall Make'rs Retreat

Fall Maker's Retreat ~

My mind is still spinning from my time at The Ranch in bucolic Snohomish, Washington. Randi Harper, instructor and facilitator extraordinaire put together five creativity stocked, fun-filled days and four nights (working into the wee hours) of full-on art, making, collaborating, learning, mind-opening, presentations, camaraderie, experimenting, sharing, giggling, happy-dancing moments a plenty! We explored a plethora of mediums, including but not limited to PMC, paper clay, faux bone, new concrete, encaustic wax, assorted metals, and pipe cleaners (haha).

I wish I had photos, but I was so captivated and engaged that I just couldn't stop to pick up my iphone and snap them. Links are provided, so please follow them to explore all of these remarkable artists and their works.

Patrik Kusek led us in making his PMC "poison" ring. He is a fabulous teacher, well organized, calm, very attentive. I'm always a little anxious when working with PMC (it's so expensive!), so I appreciated his approach. Patrik is one of nine senior instructors for Rio Grande, and his mastery of PMC really shows. He's a super nice guy to boot!

Robert Dancik is also an incredible teacher, but his style of teaching is exactly the opposite of Patrik's. This man is high energy, with ideas just bounding out of his head and fingertips! Metals, Faux bone, new concrete, patina, form folding, riveting, sawing, inking, burnishing, setting stones, annealing, coloring, distressing, encasing, building, just the tip of the iceberg. He does it all, and with expertise and panache.

Randi Harper introduced us to paper clay. She happily led us through a multitude of techniques. It was mind boggling to me just how many options are available for working with paper clay. I can't wait to get my finished pieces to see how I might incorporate them into some encaustic wax creations. Which leads me to the very talented presenters.

Larry Calkins presented his stunning encaustic wax paintings. He also brought supplies so we could all give it a go. For me, this was one of the main reasons I signed up, and I was not disappointed. He opened up a whole new world.

Andy Cooperman shared slides, ideas, musings, and samples of his jewelry. The precision, beauty and uniqueness of his pieces are inspiring.

Cynthia Toops and Dan Adams were also there to share their extraordinary talents, fimo clay and glass beads. They brought outstanding pieces of their work for us to closely inspect while Cynthia demoed different techniques associated with each of these pieces. Simply amazing!

We were lucky to get to know Alison Bailey, as she participated in the retreat. She presented her lovely pierced spoons and shared her metals schooling adventures with us all.

Each of the attendees brought something to the table ~ new techniques, art, experiences, attitudes, laughter. I wish we all lived in the same town so we could get together again and again.

If you have a chance to take a class with any of these instructors or attend an event founded by Randi, I would highly recommend it.

It seems this is the month for art classes, as last Sunday I was fortunate enough to take a class with Lisa Marie Sipe at The Workhouse in Bend. Lisa led us through the beginnings of encaustic wax painting and collage. She guided us we played and experimented with the wax. It was a marvelous day of exploring encaustic in the upbeat vibe at The Workhouse.

In the months to come I will be finishing up projects I began at the retreat, and embarking on new creations with the ideas ignited at The Ranch and The Workhouse. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Happy making to you all!

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