Inside the Studio with Mary Harding of MaryHardingJewelry

              Bracelets by Mary Harding– in progress..you can see the threads… now all complete and many of them are at the Thousand Islands Art  Center in Clayton, Ny for their Wares and Wears Holiday Show which opens on Dec. 2, 2015.

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

Congratulations Denise McCabe
You have won a $30.00 gift certificate to Humblebeads.com.
Contact Heather to claim your prize!
This week I am takiing you into my studio to  see what went on during our annual Artists’ Studio Tour up here in Northern New York and to introduce you to my two wonderful guest artists who shared this event with me:


photos by Allan Nodelman
You can imagine how excited I was to have these two Canadian Polymer Clay artists in my studio for this weekend event.
This was the first time I had seen such a comprehensive collection of their work , and not in photos either.  The real thing to touch and to hold!!

The studio tour took place in our 1835 barn.  Mid afternoon a 5 minute rain storm turned it into a magical setting.  The shadow is Allan Nodelman who took this picture and the ones for the poster above of Sharon’s work and put together Claire’s brochure and kindly edited them for me to use today in this blog post.

                               Rainbow in a magical full arch   photo by Allan Nodelman
And now for the magic inside;

                           Polymer Clay  Vessels by Claire Maunsell

A large tray of Claire’s beads
Claire’s Owl Pendants
Demo of the Pouncing Technique by Claire Maunsell
One of the purposes of this Studio Tour is to invite the public into our studios and give them a chance to see the artist at work and in some cases, to try out a technique themselves.  In the photo above you can see Claire’s set up for demonstrating and explaining how she makes her Owl Pendants.  She uses the technique called pouncing.  I checked it out on Wiki and found that it is an image transfer technique.
” The most common method involves laying semi-transparent paper over the original image, then tracing along the lines of the image by creating pricked marks on the top sheet of paper. This pounced drawing made of pricked holes is laid over a new working surface. A powder such as chalk, graphite or pastel is forced through the holes to leave an outline on the working surface below, thus transferring the image. The powder is applied by being placed into a small bag of thin fabric such as cheesecloth, then dabbed onto the pricked holes.”  Claire has been very creative with this technique and adapted it to work well with polymer clay.  As you can see in the examples above it is the jumping off point for a great variety of results beginning with the same image. 
                 Claire enjoying some homemade squash soup ( my husband made it)
Sharon Nodelman‘s set up on the red purple table
Close up look at Sharon’s pendant necklaces.  Sharon deomonstrates a great sense of design with exquisite craftswomanship.  She works in polymer clay.  You can see more of her work on her just completed  website .  Check out the slide show option for the full eye candy experience of her work.
Close up of one of Sharon Nodelman’s polymer pendants-photo by Allan Nodelman
Sharon and Claire sharing polymer clay talk and supply info.  Those colors in the open tin are Derwent Inktense blocks.  
In addition to Claire’s Demo of pouncing, I shared a free Make and Take Earring project with visitors.  I did several demonstrations of soft soldering, using a disk cutter and letter stamping on metal.
Visitors made their own earrings using these soft solder flooded disks that I provided.
and this model of what they might make.
They were a creative group and all came up with unique earrings.
Below is a picture of  visitors working on their earrings.

     Visitors working on stamping their earring disks.

Completed earrings stacking 2 disks.
                                       Om Earrings made by one of our guests
I hope you have enjoyed this look into the Studio Tour of 2015.  Now it is time for the question.  So here goes.  Do you think a studio tour is a good way to see art work ?  Or any comment  you would like to make about the concept of a studio tour.  Like what kinds of activities would make you want to visit an artist’s studio.  Leave a comment below to be automatically  entered into a drawing to win a surprise package of my beads. 
Thanks so much for stopping by.

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22 Comment

  1. Ann Schroeder
    November 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I think a studio tour is a great way to see artists' work. It allows people to get a little sense of what goes into handmade. What a fun event this was! I love the idea of a make and take included as well. My city often has art walks where a group of artists open their studios. It's fun to see demonstrations – once I saw glass blowing live and it was so interesting. But a make and take would be a definite draw.

  2. Divya N
    November 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I have seen a studio tour once before but it was a strictly "look no touch" sort of a setup. But this seems more fun – a way to handle materials, tools and techniques and learn from the artists. Claire's transfer method is widely used in Aari embroidery where a printed gateway sheet is pierced with holes along the outlines and filled with a powder made by grinding tailor's. The result is a series of dots on the fabric which is used to guide the embroiders

  3. Mokki
    November 27, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I love the idea of studio tours. Every now and then there will be a series of weekends when some local artists of all kinds will open their studios. It's so inspiring and a great way to get to know some artists working locally that may have gone under my radar! 🙂

  4. Julie Wong Sontag
    November 27, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    A studio tour sounds like a lot of fun! it's so great to have a peek into someone's creative world! What an amazing idea to have a make-and-take – and those soldered and stamped disks are fabulous. Claire Maunsell is one of my very, very favorite artists – how lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with her and admire her work in person. xo

  5. Denise McCabe
    November 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Because I work on a desk in my basement surrounded by a mishmash of toys and other detritus of life, I would love to see a real studio tour only if I knew of one in the area. I really like the make and take earrings you had available. Great idea!
    And lastly, a huge Thank you all for doing these Friday blog posts!

  6. Kathy Lindemer
    November 27, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I love those stamped earrings. An opportunity to make something like those on a tour would be a real draw.

  7. Katherine Thompson
    November 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Absolutely a studio tour with the artist available to demonstrate or explain techniques. It gives a person who is not familiar with the artistic process to see what goes into a hand made piece. I also think it is good for people to see the face behind the product.

  8. Saraccino
    November 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    The tour you showed would have been one I love! To look around, see and touch and even get something to create on my own, that sounds good and I think also created an interesting atmosphere.

    I love to look in other studios, no matter in the people are painters, potters, sew or design or whatever. It is like a little look in the head of the people, to get an idea and impression what motivates and inspires them. It is the perfect way to show, that every singe piece coming out of this studio is special 🙂

  9. Claire Lockwood
    November 27, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Wow – This looks like such a great time, Mary!

  10. Erin S
    November 28, 2015 at 12:39 am

    I love studio tours. It's always interesting to see how other artists work, organize materials and decorate their space.

  11. Sarajo Wentling
    November 28, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Looks like you ladies had a great event! I love that you were able to offer visitors a make and take project and I'm sure that was a big draw. Studio tours can be such a great way to get to meet and see the work of a huge variety of artists in a short time. I've been involved with The Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander (wander instead of crawl since studios are spread throughout the county) as an artist for 3 years and as a "wanderer" it's first year. Some folks are just interested in shopping (and that is totally fine!) but many visitors are truly interested in what goes into my jewelry making behind the scenes.

  12. Shelly
    November 28, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I think studio tours are great. Letting the public see how the artist at work gives them an idea about how much goes into a completed piece. Getting to do some hands on in the studio looks like a lot of fun for all. Thanks for the posts. Happy Holidays.

  13. Rebecca
    November 29, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Wow, I wish I could have been there! I love studio tours. Getting a sneak peek behind the scenes, getting to see a body of work in one place – totally inspiring as an artist or an art-appreciater. I love seeing artists at work in all mediums! And it can only help for people to appreciate the end-product even more, if they have an understanding of the process behind it. Looks like you had a great day!

  14. beadrecipes
    November 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I love the idea of a studio tour, especially one that introduces new artists and new techniques too. It's always fascinating to me to see where and how an artist works, and to get to play a little would be icing on the cake!

  15. Sequana
    November 29, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Whenever I go on a studio tour, by the time I get home I've picked up a new hobby. Amazing how that works.

    Some beautiful work here, by the way. Thx for letting me join the tour.

  16. lake ave
    November 29, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Looks like so much fun! Such high quality work inspires us all. You know Renaissance artists used pouncing in those frescos if I remember correctly. How lovely to include visitors in the art process.

  17. lakesuperiorwaves
    November 29, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    To me there is nothing better than hands on experience as I am an elementary teacher. So the idea of a studio tour is amazing and wonderful; I only wish we had them where I live! Plus it helps people to see that it takes much time and patience for creating these beautiful pieces which is reflected in the price of a piece. It helps explain the why of the price.

  18. Lynn
    November 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    What a treat it must have been to be a part of this studio tour! I love your bracelets, Mary—so intricate and beautiful. Reading about the pouncing technique was so interesting and I love those soldered disks you made. What a very interesting article!

  19. LoriF
    November 29, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    As a bead/chainmaille artist AND an art lover, I LOVE studio tours. We have several which run in this area and I always look forward to visiting them for ideas, inspiration and wonderful gifts. For the most part, the ones run here do not have artist demos running, and I think that's a wonderful idea. I know it would certainly encourage me to visit a location I might otherwise pass over. What kind of things would I like to see? I love your idea of the simple earrings…I think that must have been VERY exciting for the participants! I'd also enjoy doing a simple polymer clay piece with assistance/information from the artist…mixed media work…leather stamping…cold connections. Anything, really to draw you into and give you a feeling for, the artists' work.

  20. windbent
    November 29, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I spent way too long at the silversmith studio in Colonial Williamsburg! My husband and friends were bored way before I was ready to go. I asked a million questions. I compared antique tools to modern ones. I looked at tools they had custom made. So, I think the answer is that people interested in a studio tour will come. Being able to watch an artist making things and ask questions is fantastic. Being able to make something is every better. The glass blowing studio by my house has fees for if you want to make your own ornament and they will work with you to teach you and insure your safety–then you have a nice piece to take home also.

  21. Shelley Graham Turner
    November 29, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    OMGoodness ! I love the work of both artists..so cool. I love Claire's use of color!! And Sharon's design using a door pull (my current obsession!) THEN there is the barn and its Right. Up. The. street. ( I'm south in Rome) – used summer in 1000 Island Park. And the idea of a studio visit is like the best! This was a great post, thanks Lori Finney for the heads up! – Shelley Graham Turner

  22. Carolyn
    November 30, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Mary, loved your tour. The three of you all had something different.

    The demos would be something that I would like.

    The make and take earrings were a good idea and something I would be interested in doing.

Comments are closed.