Studio Saturday Road Trip Adventure

Welcome to Studio Saturday! 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 free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Last week’s winner is Gardanne of Upstate New York! Congratulations! You have won the Red Art Modern bronze pendant beauty made by Cindy Gimbrone! Send Cindy an email and she will get it right out to you.

This week we join Lynn Davis in her studio, as she unpacks and looks back at memories of attending Artfest 2010 in Port Townsend, Washington State, and the classes she attended.

Welcome to the studio, I just spent numerous hours unpacking and cleaning it up, it looked like a tornado had hit it. There were things strewn everywhere! Why was it messier than usual – Last week I did a frenzied last minute packing session to gather my class supplies and head out to attend Artfest!

I signed up last September and got two classes with Richard Salley right off the starting block, and by being patient on the waiting list I also got into the enameled beads class with Melissa Manley.

Here’s a picture of the classroom for Richard Salley’s class and the setup, the torches and enamels are back in the corner to the right.

Years ago I made a decision that I wouldn’t learn enameling, based on college art class experiences. Fusing glass, no problem. But I wasn’t going to learn enameling, and that was that. Not in the kiln, and really not with a torch.

But I saw the beautiful beads that Melissa Manley calls “Hard Candy” in her class, their bright stunning colors and shiny surface, and I had to re-think my decision. Who could resist them?

In her class I made two enameled beads that matched, both with a warm ruddy pink color on one side and a cool blue color on the other, for hot and cold running beads! I still need a lot more practice to get better at making them. I guess that means there is some more enameling and riveting in my future.

And if you’ve followed my adventures for very long, you know I’ve always been stricken with Torch Terror and stayed away from open flames.

Guess what! I had to come face to face with it and get over that fear in Richard Salley’s “Enameling 101” class and also in the “Hard Candy” class – both required lighting, holding and working with a propane torch. Spooky but necessary!

Maybe the days of Torch Terror are behind me now and I can get a propane torch for myself for my newly cleaned studio.

So here’s the question of the day, answer this one and you may win one of my pewter medallion medal charms from the Etsy shop – (I’m not good enough with the enamel yet to give these first efforts to anyone):

Have you recently challenged yourself by taking a class or using a tool you thought you wouldn’t be able to conquer? Is there something you thought you’d never tackle that you’re ready to consider again, either on your own or in a guild or class setting? How do you push those “CAN’Ts” aside and turn them into “CANs” in your creative life?

Answer the question with a comment on this post, you might be the winner.

Posted by Lynn Davis, who vacuumed the studio and now doesn’t want to get it all dirty again…

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26 Comment

  1. Pearl and Pebble
    April 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    OH I am so afraid of the torch too!!! Maybe I'll get my nerve up someday-your post was pretty encouraging. I've had a kiln for almost a year now-last years birthday present. I have been wanting to work with PMC and have everything except the ounce of nerve! I signed up for a PMC class that starts in a couple weeks. I think classes are key. At least for me. Great post!!

  2. HopelesslyAddicted
    April 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I just attended a workshop in Galena, IL, conducted by Jess Italia Lincoln and the wonderful Vintaj girls. We used altered blanks, the Cuttlebug, stamped, inked. All new skills for me, has made a difference in my willingness to be daring! Nice to know how many others hold back, we need to be free!

  3. carrie
    April 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    When there is something I really want to learn, i visualize the end result, that always pushes me to try it……..

  4. Susanm
    April 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I have recently started making felt balls by hand – I have been working with felt to make jewelry for almost 3 years but have always bought the balls. They are surprisingly easy to make and fun. I still have ot work on my consistency, but it is coming along.

    For the recent Turquoise Challenge, I made my own clasp out of wire and did fancy wiring wrapping. I have admired hand-make clasps, but didn`t think I would be very good at it, since my simple wire loops are just ok. Again, much easier than I thought it would be, and the results looked better than I anticipated.

    For me, Bead Challenges are a great way to push myself and try new techniques. I may go back and try making glass beads again.

  5. BahamaDawn
    April 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    i have recently learned silver fusing and am on a two year constant journey to teach myself flameworking πŸ™‚
    i am very intrigued by your enameled copper….might have to give that a go one day, since i am over my fear of the torch!

  6. Alice
    April 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I have a fear of the torch also. But I so want to learn how to use one (even if it's the small handheld ones) for things like making headpins with balls, etc. There are not classes near me that I've found, but I'm still on the search. Though the idea makes me shake in my shoes, I need this to take my jewelry to another level.

    Love the enameled beads you show here!!!

  7. TesoriTrovati
    April 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I admire your courage at the torch. That is something I have not been able to conquer…yet.

    I love the look of etching. So I took a class last year at Bead & Button. But what I came away with is that it is a complicated process with icky chemicals. But I still want that etched look. I am taking one more class, an all day-er, with Sherri Haab and I am hoping that this will teach me a better way. If not, I may abandon that and reach for the torch!
    Enjoy the day!

  8. GailW.
    April 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I am thinking about going back to stain glass,but not the copper type,the leaded.It calls for alot of hard work,it's so much different than copper foil.I've got all the tools,though I'll have to buy new glass &that's fun!

  9. Boot ~C
    April 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I am currently taking a jewelry class where I solder. Usually I am @ home just stringing & twisting wire. The torch requires a little more care(fear & respect) & precision. I have tried my hand @ enameling a little in class & I really want to pursue this! I can see renting studio time in my future.

  10. Anna
    April 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Beautiful beads, and I really appreciate you writing about the creative process behind them. I've been wanting to learn metalwork for several years now but am afraid of heat… A friend just showed me how to use a soldering iron so I could make some copper findings, and once I master that I do want to move onto torchwork so I can do silver and other metals, too. So, thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Malin de Koning
    April 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Hi, I looooooove those things you made on that course. Very nice with the twisted and turned wire along with the beads that has such a nice surface and more and more. It ALL comes together very beautifully. Enameling seems to be so much fun! I have never done it myself. But I am on the verge. Do not know of any course here in Sweden though. No I am wrong now. I DO know of one at least, but I would have to travel for that one. I might get one of Barbara Lewis's tutorials and test it by myself. Perhaps with a friend who woould also like to learn.

    In general I think I am good at challenging myself to things I don't know yet. It is not really any challenge since I very much enjoy testing new things. Last year I tried sailing by myself in a kind of boat called 2.4. It is small and for only one person. I knew nothing about sailing! But I loved it of course, and went back there more times, although it is a little bit scary also. Will go back again this year. I also went to a jewellery camp on my own. I didn't know anyone there before. It was great! New friends and learn a bit of glass-fusing, makramΓ© and silver-clay. Also last year I learned a few beadstitching techniques. I had a lot of respect for that. About a month ago I headed off and bought some polymer clay. I participated in ABS march challenge with a bracelet where I made some parts in polymer clay myself. THAT was a challenge for me. Very nervous to publish my work and have it judged by people I admire so much. Started a blog about a month ago. Also scary in the sense that you have to produce rather professional things and also be able to present yourself.

    WOW! Now I am suddenly very impressed by myself. What a list I created there.

    Hurray for me!

    To try to make my way into the beading community that I wish to be a part of is also a challenge for me. For instance to write here.

    To know when I should stop ….. πŸ˜‰
    Bye for now,

  12. Janet
    April 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Hi well I took some lampworking classes and loved it…thought Id never make a round bead but I did! It was very exciting! I just was determined to do it. If and when I want to do something Im just determined that I will indeed succeed and conquor! I fig if others can do something then I sure can too. Sheer determination is my Motto.

  13. SharonP
    April 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I conquered my torch terror with the help of Richard Salley, who made it look so easy at Art and Soul.

    I have a healthy respect for fire so I was elated that I did not set myself, others, or the building on fire in the Enameling 101 class! Now I'm torching at home and loving it.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with fire!

  14. Nicki
    April 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    The first thing I want to say that I am so glad that there are more people that are scared about torches….. I have not taken a class recently, because where I live, the only thing you can learn in a class is stringing and that's it. But I tried Chain Maille from an online class, and enameling also, the latter to be repeated and the first one is clearly too detailed for me. I wish I could take a "live"-class. It must be so much fun.

  15. sasha and max
    April 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Great post Lynn, and glad you're overcoming the torch terror. I took a silver jewelry course last year – something I've wanted to do for 25 yrs. the torch was ok ( bit scary) but my fear was the soldering – we worked with such fine pieces and it was hard to keep the solder in place. So I got solder fear ! Also naively, somehow by doing the course I thought I might be able to take it up at home, not thinking through the implications of open flame, apartment living and 2 large curious cats. So it was back to beading for me , but sure would like to do another jewelry course – we are limted in Australia as its a smaller target audience πŸ™‚

  16. Pretty Things
    April 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Lampworking is definitely been my challenge. Every time I sit down, I wonder if the propane tank is going to blow up. Or if a glass rod will explode (happened once). But I'm getting more comfortable with fire!

    I also thought I'd NEVER be able to solder a bezel, but I did that, too. Yay me!

  17. Sweet Willow Designs
    April 4, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I've wanted to add the use of metal to my polymer clay work so I took 6 (yes, 6) metal working classes at the recent Bead Fest Santa Fe. It was a dream to learn to use a torch, etch, make cold connections and color metal. I've found that to learn a new technique, I take a course from an artist I admire so I get two benefits in one. The technique and the inspiration that comes from working with a a talented artist. Learning new techniques from a variety of artists, keeps it possible for me to believe I can.

  18. Susan Z
    April 4, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Well, I took a metal clay class last summer and with the price of the stuff and the need to use a torch to finish it I was a little leary. But it was fun and turned out just fine.

    Now I have bought myself a new challange–Photoshop Elements 8! I really love those artzy photo pictures and have been taking photos for years. So now I have to conquer my fear of all things "technological" and learn to use it.

  19. mairedodd
    April 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

    sounds dumb, but metal fusing and using the saw… i am taking a class with ruth rae that will take on both of these things… i was the kid who went from kindergarten to first grade and asked my mom if it was going to be too hard for me…

  20. peggy
    April 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    your post was very encouraging because i, too, have a reluctance to use the torch. but we recently bought a small one which i plan to try out soon.

  21. Dale
    April 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Wow, these beads look so very great! I really love the enameling work you did here… would love to try that myself, but not much access to workshops here in South Korea.

    How are they split down the middle like that? Two domed pieces, riveted together? Very, very cool.

    As for things i never thought i could do, i've always been kinda adventurous. However, the jewelry saw is a little intimidating for me. Still, looking to buy one and as soon as i do will give it a shot…

  22. Connie
    April 4, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    LOL! I deal with this all the time and write about it on my blog! I LOVE power tools, so I have quite a collection. That doesn't mean I USE them, I just have them! I finally used my metal cut off saw after having it 2 years! I now use a propane torch all the time – but i have an oxygen/propane torch …i've had it for 5 years! still too scary for me…..but i really need to use it! But i have learned to use the glass saw, the drill press, and my latest – an electric buffer! I LOVE that machine now…but it sat there for YEARS! i am always surprised at how EASY the power tools are, once i get over my fear….but i am still, even with this knowledge, TERRIFIED of anything new!

  23. LLYYNN - Lynn Davis
    April 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Hi, friends, well the process continues since I bought a MAPP gas torch like the one we used in class, I actually got it out of the package and used it to anneal some copper. It was scary putting the torchhead onto the tank, but I just made myself work through it and I'm glad I did.

    Sounds like I'm not the only one with Torch Terror out there!

    I was the girl in high school who took woodshop class because I wanted to use power tools. It's something about FLAME that gets me. So nice to know, I'm not alone…

  24. quiltingjewel39
    April 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I too have have torch fear but would love to be able to do some small things at home. I am taking an upcoming PMC class and I want to learn to rivet. It seems like everytime I see something new – I want to learn how. I loved your new earrings – they looked great to me.

  25. Erin
    April 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Recently took a class in lampworking. Way outside my comfort level, but worth it. Not really ready for the investment in resources or the learning curve, but glad I tried it out!

  26. The Joy of Nesting
    April 7, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Sometimes circumstances just force you to put your water wings on and belly flop in. I thought I would take learning the torch in steps. You know use the smaller butane torches and move up the ladder as my confidence grew. I had a change of plans and went from start to the Propane "phatt boys" as they are called here. We don't have access to butane πŸ™ So my cute little butane torch only looks good sitting on my bench while I work at taming my "Chico Gordo"!! πŸ™‚

    Pattie πŸ˜‰
    Mazatlan Mx.

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