Monday, June 9, 2008


Home again. I had the most phenomenal time in Milwaukee. I packed so much activity and social interaction and laughter and shopping and creating and good food and coffee and Jack Daniels and strong emotion into such a short time that while I was THERE I didn't have time to be tired. When I got to my gate at the Milwaukee airport that splendid, determined momentum began to gently drift away...leaving me sooooooo slleeeeeepy. My flight was delayed due to bad weather at my destination airport in Flint, Michigan, but only for about half an hour. We boarded, I fastened my seatbelt, fired up my iPod and was asleep before the plane took off. I didn't wake up until we hit some major turbulence which caused some LOUD shrieking from a few soon as things smoothed out I was back asleep. I woke up again when we were a few feet over the runway in Flint.
So had been waiting for me in the van at the airport, when the weather quickly changed and security rounded everyone up to get inside into the washrooms. She saw a tornado much closer than she really wanted to. But by the time I got there, the sun was out and there was no wind.
I was pretty blase by this time as we had several serious tornado warnings while I was at the Bead and Button Show...and on Saturday evening we were asked to stay in the classroom until security released us. It was only 6:00 and as dark as night. Shoppers up on the show floor weren't allowed to leave, as that room was fairly safe. There is a lot of glass in the Midwest Center and security were following their protocol. I'm just glad the power didn't go out!
I don't even know where to begin to tell about my week. I learned a lot and not just from the classes I took.
I have some beautiful pieces from Anne's three day workshop, and even better, I have good notes and learned skills I can adapt to my own ideas. I'll add pictures tomorrow.
My Japanese beadmaking class was very interesting, though some technical issues (propane tanks freezing up, propane leaks, torch issues) slowed the first day down a bit. Again, I have good notes and I think a good grasp of the techniques. Once we were finished our cane we only had time to make one bead...and my bead release broke which made it impossible to finish. Still I have my pathetic little bead as reference and look forward to trying again until I have it down. Akihiro is an amazing beadmaker and his work is breathtaking. Emiko was his assistant and translator. They worked hard to make sure we all got the help we needed. I'm not at all tempted by the Japanese torch, I was afraid I might be, but I'm much happier working with the Satake glass on my Minor. That fact saved me a lot of money!
It was fun to help Anne at Meet the Teacher, I had a bit of time to run around and see a few of the other displays, though not all of them.
Thursday evening there was a shopping preview, which meant the show was open but only to those taking classes, so it was a great time to wander around and get a sense of what was at the show.
I really do deserve an award for restraint. Seriously. I'll post details of my delectable and useful and amusing purchases over the next few days. I walked the show floor as time permitted over the next three days and saw as much as I could, though it would take even more time than I had to truly see everything.
Friday I took Anne's Viking Knit Woven Chain class, which I enjoyed a great deal, and again, I think I have enough of the technique in my brain enough that I can go ahead with it. We worked in 24 g wire, I have a spool of 30g which might be fun to try when this one is finished.
I had so much fun meeting people. I must preface that by a disclaimer...that for the first few days my enjoyment was muted by my usual tormenting shyness and anxiety. Anyone who doesn't experience this has no idea how painful it can be. I pushed through it and I'm grateful to Anne and to my new friends Cris and Gail for being so understanding. I'm also grateful to my good friend Jack who was remarkably helpful too, haha.
Once the shy factor subsided I really enjoyed chatting with so many people, strangers and acquaintances alike. It was a delight to meet Gail Moore and Michelle Goldstein. Dear Jean from Nortel asked me if there was anyone I would like her to introduce me to! I took her up on her offer and she introduced me to Jeri Warhaftig. Jean is hoping to bring Jeri to Toronto to teach, which would be fantastic! I would love to be able to make such perfect hollows. Jean also introduced me to Mike Frantz so I could give him a bead for his collection. He chose a Voodoo Fossil bead. Mike in turn introduced me to Griff, who introduced me to Andrea Guarino...I enjoyed chatting with them. I had a chance to say Hi to Amy Johnson and Lucy Weir, Kate McKinnon, Kerri Fuhr and Mary Poineal, and Leah Fairbanks who was one of my first teachers, her work grows more beautiful and inspiring every year. I introduced myself to Karen Bye, who was so kind to me years ago when I first started collecting art beads...and she remembered me!
I chatted with so many other nice people, including beadmakers and jewelers and toolmakers and importers. I really enjoyed it!
The amazing Susan Lenart Kazmer was in the classroom next to Anne's and I enjoyed snooping around at what they were doing in there when I had a chance, and later Anne introduced me. A few days later Susan stopped to chat with a group of us at dinner as we were all eating at the same Italian restaurant. She spotted the ring I was wearing and bought it right off of my finger! It was one of my heavy fine silver corset rings with stingray leather texturing. To say I am flattered and delighted is an understatement...I had a little tear or two. (At this point people were getting used to this.) To see Susan Lenart Kazmer wearing one of my rings around the Bead and Button Show was quite a confidence booster. I really did receive some great positive feedback about my work which means a lot and is very, very encouraging.
This post is as long as a novel and I have still so much more to say...but I'll close by saying that the nightly bedtime beverage sessions were generally the perfect end to the long days...we laughed so much my face hurt. It was a hell of a week.

1 comment:

Cristina said...

It was so lovely to meet you and i hope you will keep in touch, my new friend! I too am still exhausted from all of the learning and the general hilarity. What a strange and wonderful ride it all was!