I just got home from a 3 1/2 hour drive from Wisconsin. I took a two day workshop with Nina Bagley at Valley Ridge Art Studio. http://www.valleyridgeartstudio.com/index.asp
It is a great place to take a workshop. They just expanded the workshop area so that you get your own little table. It is very spacious and nicely air conditioned. There are several nearby hotels and bed & breakfast places. Kathy always serves a wonderful lunch. They own many acres of land where the workshops are held. The view is absolutely beautiful. Kathy and Bill are great hosts. It is my second time there and it is always a great experience.
I got there just in time on Saturday. I got a late start because my daughter woke up and did not want me to leave. I was a little rushed when I got there. Things got off to a slow start but ended up being a really fun time for me. I stayed at the Victorian Rose B&B with a fellow artist, Lorraine. We had a lot in common and she was very interesting - fun to talk to and room with (yea, bad grammar). She owns her own jewelry business. I have been lucky with roommates so far.
Nina got off to a slow start due to airplane problems the day before. She showed us how to do some stuff and off we went. It is technique - process class. If you are looking for a structured workshop, then this would not be for you. She was very personable and helpful. She made a lot of helpful suggestions. I had heard some things about her from other artists and found them to be untrue. In my case anyway. I really liked her and how she went about things.
I have stopped taking a lot of workshops because I feel that I am not learning anything for the money. I cannot afford to go to them anymore just to play. I did learn a lot at this workshop. I think it is because I do a lot with found objects. I can use found objects in this type of art. It is jewelry that I can create using things that I already have. The two things that I really got out of this class was drilling underwater and the Nina knot. Make it three, can't forget how I learned how to make a clasp out of wire. I got it on my first try! I have also never used a Fiskars hand drill. There are also a couple of other tool things that I got to use that will be very useful when I do metal art. Loved the drilling and hammering.
I did not bring too much. I went pretty much with the supply list. I have a tendency to bring too much and tried not to this time. I forgot my hammer. People there were very generous and shared their stuff with me. I never would have thought to use stones in my found art. I will have to get my son now to go rock hunting for me. It's not like my family doesn't think I am odd for picking up stuff and asking them to save things that they consider to be trash.
Nina did several demos. In between, we all went to work. Those of you who know me and have gone to workshops with me before, you know how fast I work. I try to work instinctually instead of thinking about it too much. I would stop once in awhile and arrange it to see how it looked compositionally. More than once, I forgot to add something to the wire loop before closing it with a Nina knot. Crap, I did it several times per necklace and had to cut and start it again or create a separate wire loop/hole. Guess how many I did while I was there for the two days? Come on? No, it wasn't two. Nope, not three. Yes, it was four!
I realized after the first one that it was too big and too elaborate. I would never wear something like that. The next two were smaller and more simple. I will wear those. The fourth one without a chain is for one of my friends who recently became a grandmother again. I am going to attach a black rubber cord to it.
Overall, this has been one of the most fun workshops that I have been to this year. I do recommend this workshop to others. You do need to know that it is not structured and you will need to bring supplies and your imagination along. Nina is very helpful and patient with her people in her workshops. She is very generous with supplies that she brings to share. If you want to patina your wire, then you should do that before you come to the workshop. I also bought one of her more simple necklaces. Loved it because I used to climb trees as a kid. She has a salty sense of humor which may offend more sensitive people. I thought she was a hoot!
I am only going to be a a Michael DeMeng workshop this year and then I am done for awhile. I have a couple of exhibits coming up.
Just a side note: I was amazed how many great artists were at this workshop. Many of them were published and had art businesses of their own. I felt like a hobbyist. Wonderful pieces came from all of them.
Happy Birthday, Kathy!