Tag Archives: Melanie West

Pushing on through…

DSCN5221Still working on the Black and White Skinner Blend push the envelope activities.  More results pictured! I have played with overlapping discs for years with varied success.  Louise Fischer Cozzi taught a great technique in her Craftcast class which I applied in the necklace on the left.  When I strung up the large bead necklace (below right) it looked reminiscent of Melanie West’s necklace which became the Travelling Sisterhood necklace!  I acknowledge the spirit of that in this creation even though that was not my original intention!!

Today I was looking for the exact words of a loved quote to send to a friend. Christopher Robin says to Winnie the Pooh: …there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”DSCN5216

And in looking I found some others I love: One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.

And “What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”  

DSCN5218And finally, as a deaf person, I loved: If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear [Ed: or deaf].

Post Eurosynergy

And actually post wedding but written before hand as internet availability expired.  I am nearly caught up!! (How much of an illusion is that eh?)

IMG_2503Having been on the move for several months, and pretty preoccupied with tasks at hand, I am looking forward to some unstructured time in my studio. After the wedding!  Time to integrate all that I was exposed to at Eurosynergy; time to think about the ideas and techniques, themes, discussions and dreams. Time to look through my notebooks of random thoughts and to allow it all to percolate. Time to play.  And Lindly Haunani (L) is a great one to inspire play!

There was discussion about copying and inspiration and I think a very important step in that journey from slavish copying (or just making what you have been taught in a class) to finding your own artistic voice is that of play.  Taking what you’ve learnt and pushing it, experimenting, adding ideas of your own.  Asking yourself what would happen if I…?  Mixing that new information with what you have already discovered and using it to say what YOU want to say.  You could do a million classes with Melanie West (R) and even thoughIMG_2424 she was a generous, skilled gifted teacher, what you made would never look like hers. Nor should it.  I want to explore how using some of the techniques she taught can be adapted to making something that looks like mine!  All the teachers of the workshops and seminars I attended were incredibly generous and giving.  None of them want people to go out and make reproductions of what they do. They want to equip us with resources to find our own voice.

For me, that means experimenting, fiddling, playing, not putting pressure on myself to MAKE something good.  It means looking through my journals and seeing if a sketch I made might happen if I do a bit of this and that that I learnt somewhere.  It means telling myself I do not have to make the perfect piece, the one that totally expresses all I want to say.  I can put an awful lot of pressure on myself which means I am much more likely to start cleaning my desk, or eating, or (less likely unless really overwhelmed with a procrastinatory need) do something domestic.

For a terrific way to see how one design can inspire a whole range of voices, read about Dan Cormier’s Broken Internet Project here.  We are going to share this with the ladies as it powerfully says so much so succinctly!

Pinching myself at Eurosynergy!!!!

There’s a momentary lull in wedding preparation* and I am going to use it to do a couple of posts reflecting on the incredible Eurosynergy experience.  And not hope to capture the excitement of it!!

Attachment-1In the 90’s, when I was discovering polymer, my bible was The New Clay by Nan Roche. I was particularly enamoured with a photo of work by Kathleen Dustin. Polymer odalisques connected to become an amazing necklace. In those pre internet days, the few rare books about polymer that one could find in Australia were highly treasured.  The photos of what people were doing with this amazing material were beacons of possibility. I even made my own version of an odalisque which still hangs on my mum and dad’s wall, learning so much on the way (primarily that it was VERY hard to do and that this woman Kathleen was a genius!!) To actually meet Kathleen Dustin in Malta was wonderful. That she commented on one of the necklaces I wore  BLEW MY TINYIMG_2545 MIND!!!! (And it wasn’t only Sona’s that she liked!!) Here is me with three polymer goddesses: Tracy Holmes, Kathleen and Bettina Welker. I am trying to look vaguely calm.

And this, for me, was a huge part of the joy of Eurosynergy. I met SO MANY of my heroes. And found so many more!!!  The overwhelming sense of generosity, sharing, delight in creativity and possibility was infectious. Artists from 29 nations united by a passion. A passion that was not just for an artistic medium but about the importance of creating.  In many of the workshops and seminars, people spoke about creating being as essential as breathing.  These were people after my own heart!!!

I almost leapt out of my chair and hugged Ronna Sarvas Weltman when she reflected that making her art was about celebrating life. It was about joy and sharing.

I did a lot of holding myself back from leaping out of chairs.

IMG_2503In her clothes, in her art, in her teaching Lindly Haunani, brimming with generosity, celebrated colour, the beauty in food. Angela Garrod was alive with the spirit of gleefulIMG_2540 investigation, again, shared with excitement, generosity and joy.  Here is Angela (R) with the amazing Connie Brockstedt (middle) and help me, I am hopeless with names, two of the gorgeous German artists. Melanie West buzzed with her enthusiasm about nature as a source of inspiration, experimentation as a source of growth.  In this photo with DSCN5017Kopila and Melanie, there was no point trying to look calm. The face says it all: Can you believe I am really here?!!!! (I am wearing the necklace KD touched. Had to pop that in!)

That’s enough for now but there will be more Eurosynergy reminiscing. I am doing a few posts (rather than the traditional bombardment of information) using the the wonders of scheduled posting. Back to the bride.  Bride and groom toppers need reskewering.

*PS: I must say that a pregnant bride-to-be is a very chilled out version of a B-T-B! People suggested that Bridezilla would emerge but even days before the event, BTB is calm, relaxed, happy, and aware that her wedding day is a happy day vs the happiest day of her life. Thank goodness.