I love AIY; I've attended for the last three years, and this was definitely the best so far. I registered for five classes and I loved all five. I'm usually pleased with my choices, but there are often one or two classes I like less than the others. On the way home my friend and travelmate Cheryl asked me which was my favorite and I honestly couldn't answer. To borrow a phrase from The Last Crusade, I chose wisely.
Day 1, Rethinking Dinner with the talented and fun Cheryl Strait. As promised, I will never look at dinnerware in the same way. We used spoons and forks to create jewelry, and I had a blast pounding, sawing, filing, drilling and torching.
Our class kit consisted of what we'd need to make earrings and a bracelet or two.
I sawed off the handle of the spoon to use on the bracelet. The earrings feature the tines of the fork. The round pieces started as chunky buttons that I pounded the @*%! out of.
The next day I changed gears totally. The class was called Soft Sculpture Puppets with Lisa Lichtenfels. Ordinarily I have no interest in dolls or puppets, but I have always been fascinated by soft sculpture pieces and jumped at the chance to learn how it's done. Lisa is very famous in this world (I didn't know that when I signed up), and aside from being talented, she is a lovely human and an excellent teacher. Check out one of her sample pieces, Albert Einstein.
Pretty amazing. Here is my sweet old-ish lady.
Lisa guided us through the process step by step. It certainly isn't easy, but it sure was fun.
We used pins....lots and lots of pins....and fiberfill to form the features. At this stage it is just plain frightening.
Once we began the sewing and removed the pins the heads looked much less creepy.
The addition of the puppet body and hair made all the difference. Now, I very much doubt I will be attempting this again, but just in case, our class kit included a DVD with every step explained in full.
Day 3 was Sacred Hearts with Lesley Venable. I was so looking forward to this class and it didn't disappoint. I got to solder all day! What's not to love?
Day 4, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves with Andrea DeMeng. This was my second, and I'm sure not my last class with Andrea. I love her style, and her teaching is on point. She is so organized and her suggestions are spot on. We did fairly large collages and everyone did an outstanding job. Here is my....well, not a gypsy, no tramp, not a thief.....I believe what I have here is royalty.
The last day, Embedded Heart Shrine with Laurie Mika. My third class with Laurie. You think I like her? Nope. LOVE her! I know I can (and sometimes do) work with polymer clay at home on my own. But I just love her projects and the energy in her classrooms.
One last thing about AIY, and another reason I feel this year was the best. Every attendee receives a handmade name tag (which is really like a little purse to hang around your neck, with room enough for a hotel key card). We were encouraged to make charms as a trade, and by the end of the week, the lanyard was completely covered with charms from art friends new and old. It's now hanging in my studio right above my computer, along with those from 2012 and 2013 to remind me always of wonderful times with my "tribe."
Many thanks to Sallianne McClelland & Ellen Legare, the extraordinary organizers of this event. They get us, and know how to create an environment that nurtures us. See you in 2015 ladies!