Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simply Captivating

Not sure I'll be able to communicate just how wonderful my three day class with Andy Cooperman was. Needless to say I learned so much, met some really lovely people, had a grand time rooming with Tonya and came away with a new thought process.

Those of you who know me well will not be surprised to learn that I didn't complete my project. I almost never do in a class. My focus is all on the teacher and the techniques being taught. I'm not good at creating on the fly and have not always been pleased with my finished work in past workshops and classes so making something wearable is no longer a goal of mine. There's something to be said for hands on experimentation with a knowledgeable pro nearby to guide you - but experimenting with the parts doesn't mean you have to complete the whole.

Because I wanted to concentrate on individual tasks I used bits and pieces that I had floating around in my toolbox. And therein lies the crux of the problem. I had a piece of intricately pierced nickel silver made 5-ish years ago in my very first ever hard metals class, a commercially die punched 4 leaf clover shape that I bought at a hobby shop to practice enameling on, and a little square of copper sheet that I did actually pierce in class to complete the design.

After texturing as much as I was willing to spend time doing and dapping the eye lid (great technique that you'll have to learn when you take your own class with Mr. Cooperman) I wasn't pleased with the way all of the odds and ends came together. Especially the die cut clover. The edges of that element are rounded off in a way that makes the piece really *look* manufactured. It was out of place. And the pierced edges of the nickel bit didn't add anything to the narrative I was trying to tell. And since everything was so thoughtlessly thrown together, even *I* didn't want to know the end of the story!

Then I decided to try to use just the nickel and cut an eyehole and dapped the lid in that. Better, but still not a winner. I hated the copper backing piece and just decided that I'd learned enough and put my tools away. By Sunday when Andy showed us a great way to tube set a faceted stone by using a flex shaft in an unusual way, I had lost all my creative juju. But that's okay.

There were hours of tips, explanations and brainstorming with all of us worshiping at the Master's knees (we were all sitting down - so never got a glimpse of his feet). There were demonstrations using giant hand carved wooden burs, the transformation of a flux container's lid to indicate the edge of a bezel and just where to place a burnisher to complete a setting and fun and games with a torch that simply would NOT be lit! Nice to know that even folks with 30 years of experience can have trouble with ordinary tasks.

(It's my birthday in November you know)

(Not even in my dreams)

Not sure what he's named this one, but it's made with an unusual hollow mollusk shell, sometimes referred to as a "Tusk".

There was a six foot table covered with samples (most of which I wanted to abscond with) and a breathtaking array of finished work to tempt our checkbooks. I was able to see pieces that I've seen in magazines and books. Tried some on, daydreamed for a bit, wondered what happens *after* the property management sends the 3 day notice to quit if you still don't pay your rent, sighed and snapped back to reality.

I'd take the exact same class again and I know I'd learn even more. I have an idea on how to salvage the eye brooch and will try to work on it this week.


andy cooperman said...

Thanks, Lora. What a lovely bit of writing. I am so glad that you enjoyed the class and found it valuable.

As I said in class, I never finish anything when I take a workshop.

take care, Andy

Cathy said...

Lucky you! How cool!

Phoenix said...

Nice stuff Ms. Lora. I appreciate your focus/goal idea. I could certainly do with a bit of that "it's ok not to finish . . ." intention. As always, thank you for the glimpse into your art-mind!

Lore said...

This was a great experience and class !
Thanks for sharing this with us Lora !