Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oy Boy! I'm super chuffed (as they say in the old country) to announce  that I'll be teaching at the Cornwall School of Arts, Crafts, and Jewelry in Merry Old England next fall (that's 2015). So very excited. The last time I was in Europe was 1980 when my jazz choir performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Our tour visited The Hague in Holland, Switzerland, a tiny corner of France (for a brief overnight stay in between gigs), Germany floating down the Rhine, and I think maybe Brussels, but not sure really. I also visited a couple of pen pal friends in Denmark (where I visited the inspiration for the castle in  Hamlet), but never got to Great Britain, Italy or France. So this gig is a return to the MotherLand, and my first long flight in over 30 years. Donna Penoyer is teaching in England and Belgium at the same time, so we're gonna take a few days to explore and make a real vaca out of it. Woo Hoo!

CraftCast is having a 20% off sale just in time for Thanksgiving, so now is a good time to pick up my two workshops on Hollow Rings and Slip Printing (or slip stenciling as everyone else calls it). Just use the code "Harvest2014" when you check out. In each class I put together, I try to throw in a lot of extra techniques and tips, so these cyber classes really are almost as good as the real deal (an in-person learning experience). And as a little teaser, I'll tell you a little something that I thought of in a recent texture class here in Richmond. Slip Printing makes use of stencils - the kind you use with paint to decorate your walls or scrap books. You can buy them commercially - or pierce them out of thin (26 gauge or thicker) brass with a jewelers saw. But as I was demonstrating to my students, I thought of another way to use a stencil.

• Roll the clay out to the desired thickness with no texture.
• Place the stencil over the clay (and spacers) and roll again. Voila! A fancy design pressed into your clay! This is the way I created the texture for the Hollow Sculptural Form bracelet I'll be teaching in England.

• Now comes the brainstorm - for even more impact, roll with no texture as stated above, then lay the stencil over the clay, THEN lay a piece of lace, skeleton leaf, or other thin, flexible material over the stencil and roll. Now you have a double textured design! So cool. And so easy.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of this technique to illustrate the modification. I'm a bad teacher. :\  Forgive me. But it's really cool. Take my word for it, and then try it out for yourself.

It's Thanksgiving here in the States, and I'm really grateful for all of my followers, friends, students, and fans that visit this long neglected blog and still have faith in me. Have a wonderful feast with friends and family - even if it's not your national holiday too.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

One More Time

I've just spent the best part of two hours reading a blog. From the beginning. It's a WordPress blog platform, and I think the author opted to hide posting dates, so I was hoping it was a relatively new venture. But alas - I had miles to read before I could sleep (or watch Resurrection), and I sadly decided to put it aside to binge again another day. But reading it made me miss my own blog, and I'm going to re commit to writing a post at least once a week. There. That's some kind of promise, right? Now I have to do it? And will you all hold me to it? Ok then. We're on the same page.

Let's start by getting to know each other again, shall we? I'm Lora Hart. I'm a Senior Instructor with PMC Connection and teach the miraculous jewelry art of metal clay. That's what I'm hoping to blog about more than anything else. That, and my life, and influences, and inspirations, and other day to day happenings. I don't promise that the content will be cohesive.

I moved to Richmond, Virginia 3 years ago from Los Angeles, where I'd lived my entire life. I wanted seasons. I wanted a slower pace of life. I wanted less traffic. Be careful what you wish for.

Seasons back east means 6 months of cold weather. It's relatively mild in Richmond, so the snow isn't obnoxious to me, but the cold portion lasts so long! Perhaps what I really wanted was cold weather for about 6 weeks. LA gets heat year round. Which some folks might love - but I thought it got monotonous, and really, who wants101ºF weather on Halloween?

The slower pace of life is actually wonderful, but a slow life in the south combined with older age and MS symptoms means that I have all but atrophied in the past year or so. In summer it is hot, muggy, and my porch is my favorite place to hang and watch the world wander by. In winter, it's too chilly to venture out for more than the time it takes to go from my heated home, out to my heated car, then into my heated destination. Spring and Fall (and temps in the 70's) are too short and I'm too lethargic from the other seasons to have time to reboot and really get busy. It's not that I actually spend all my time at home or at the studio, but I seem to spend all my time at home or in my studio! I had envisioned walks in the woods (of which there are many), trips to the museum (I've been less than 10 times in 2.5 years), excursions to distant lands (well, I've visited home, Atlanta, Washington DC, and a few other locations - so I guess I've done a fair bit of traveling).

Lack of traffic is bliss. I have nothing bad to say about that. If I want traffic I'll drive to DC or Baltimore, or go to Virginia Beach where I get to drive on a 5 lane highway. I'm fine with the lack of traffic.

So this is my attempt at re motivating. What I'd really like is for us to be interactive. For you to comment and ask questions and engage in mutual communication. So let's play a game. It's my favorite "getting to know you" activity. It's called "Two Truths and a Lie". I'll start. You guess which statement is NOT true.

1. I was born Laura Elizabeth Freed
2. I graduated college with a BA in psychology
3. A very trusting (or high on crack) conductor once let me 'drive' a train for a mile and a half

Now it's your turn. Who are you?  What are  your thoughts? What motivates your cyber surfing? Where shall we go from here?