Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Goodnight, Virginia...

Wow! Look at all these amazing instructors we had at our Virginia Beach retreat for another uplifting, creative, soul-soothing week of mixed media workshops at one of our all-time favorite locations. So much talent in one room! Our time alongside the Chesapeake Bay was delightful as always, although it was also bittersweet... but we'll get to that in a minute. Let's talk about all the fun we had first...

As always, there were a fantastic array of classes on how to make mixed media jewelry, assemblage, dolls, painting, books, metal etching, sewing, collage and so much more at our event this year. The wide range of offerings brings in an even wider range of attendees, who are always up for going outside their comfort zone to learn something new. One of the things I absolutely love about our Art & Soul tribe!

Take those brave and willing students and combine them with dozens upon dozens of the most talented, patient and nurturing instructors and what you get is some gorgeous artwork. I absolutely love to see what each of the attendees creates, because every one of them brings their own personal tastes and experiences to the projects being taught. It's kind of mind blowing! And also very rewarding. It makes my heArt sing!

The overall vibe at Virginia Beach this year was filled with the usual camaraderie of friends and love for the sacred time we all take to feed our creative souls. But this time together was a bit more precious than in previous years. You see... the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel — that we've called home for a week each year — has been sold and will be completely refurbished. An endeavor that may take almost 2 years. At that time, it will become part of the Marriott franchise.

The hotel was beloved by so many of us. It was old, quirky and, eventually became in need of renovation, but it was also a quaint beach resort. A little hideaway small enough that we didn’t overlap with many guests and pretty much had the entire facility to ourselves. The staff became family to us and took excellent care of Art & Soul. Even with much of the hotel in a state of inevitable pre-closing repairs and limited staff (as their jobs would be over at the end of our stay), we all had a remarkable event. We relished our time together and grew in so many ways that week. I cannot even begin to thank all of those who joined us for that cherished time together.

Boy, not only will we miss the hotel, but how about this gorgeous view? But it's time to say goodnight, Virginia... at least for now. Once the new hotel is up and running, whether they will be willing or able to accommodate Art & Soul is an unknown. But fret not! We have done our homework and found another seaside location for you in Ocean City, Maryland...

That's right! We are so fortunate to have contracted the next 2 years with the Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort Hotel. They are so excited to have Art & Soul, and have already connected us with The Ocean City Center for the Arts, who will be hosting an open house one night during the retreat next October. It's really a remarkable location and I hope that many of you can join us there! We are currently working on the final details, class information and schedule and hope to have our inaugural Maryland retreat live on the website mid-November. If you want to stay up-to-the-minute on all the details, be sure to get on our mailing list so you can receive our newsletters.

And once again, a huge hug of gratitude to each and every one of you who joined us in Virginia recently, or any other year for that matter. We know your time is precious and that you choose to spend it with us speaks volumes! We look forward to seeing you in Portland, Colorado Springs and Ocean City in 2019!


photos courtesy of Lynne Suprock, Jen Crossley, Jacqueline Sullivan, Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort Hotel.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Announcing our 2019 Theme... Red Carpet!

Lights... Camera... Action! We are so excited to introduce our Art & Soul theme for 2019... Red Carpet! Can't you just see the flashbulbs popping as you walk down the runway dressed from head to toe in glitz and glam? All that fancy fun is what inspired this new theme. Well, that and group I belong to had a New Year's Eve party last year with a Hollywood theme.... and it was a fabulous time. So, no worries... I've done the dress rehearsal for us. It's gonna be grand!

This year's theme was created by Michelle Bernard, who also just happens to be Art & Soul's in-house Graphic Designer and a mixed media artist herself. She was able to take our idea and turn it into an exciting yet sophisticated representation of our theme. Michelle's process starts with extracting everything possible from me about the what and why I like the chosen theme. Then she does lots of research on the subject, followed by brainstorming and sketching out of ideas...

I'd say she hit the nail on the head. And it's so sweet to know that in this digital age — where everything's created on the computer — that there is some old fashioned drawing going on out there. Thanks, Michelle!

So, of course you know that we're going to have a smashing opening night party! I can't wait to see how you all play the part of red carpet celebrities in your best event attire. Heck, who are we kidding... I'm expecting ball gowns in class! The whole week long! Bring your whole wardrobe and your confident, self-assured, awesomely amazing selves. You are all stars in my book!

Glenny xo

Monday, October 1, 2018

Don't Forget The Groceries!

We're so excited to boast that LeBrie Rich — one of our very own amazingly talented instructors — currently has an exhibition of felted works! Grocery, is LeBrie's series of life-size branded food products, such as Fritos, Ritz Crackers, and Reese’s, that were lovingly felted and stitched with painstaking attention to detail. The almost irresistibly soft texture of wool felt and the many hours of labor clearly spent on each piece invite you to slow down and (re)consider your connection to these familiar products. This particular body of work is both a tribute to and a critique of not only the foods that have shaped our lives and our memories, but also their branding. Through her careful rendering, each piece becomes a precious, tactile totem of our throwaway culture and an opportunity to reflect on our relationship to it.

Felted Artworks by LeBrie Rich
on exhibit now through October 28, 2018
Wolff Gallery • 2804 SE Ankeny St • Portland, OR 97214
So if you are in the Portland area, do yourself a favor and go check out LeBrie's Exhibit... it's the most adorable gallery show I've ever seen! And in the meantime, to find out more about her exhibit, processes and inspiration, here's a great article about the work.

And now that you know what an impressive artist LeBrie is, check out what she has in store for you this Spring at Art & Soul Portland....

Your Perfect Felted Handbag - Sunday - March 17 
Felted Slippers - Thursday - March 14 
Welcome Spring! - Sat Eve - March 16

LeBrie Rich is an artist and educator living in Portland, Oregon. She is the proprietress of PenFelt, a line of felted accessories and objects that are available in select craft galleries nationally. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications, for print and web, including The New York Times and 1000 Artisan Textiles by Lark Press. Her work has also been shown in diverse settings, including museums, storefront windows and art vending machines. LeBrie has been teaching feltmaking for 10 years and loves to introduce people the miraculous and fun process of transforming raw wool into felt! To find out more about LeBrie, her workshops and all our classes at Art & Soul, visit our website!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Virginia Teacher Spotlight: Susan Lenart Kazmer

We are always beyond blessed and excited to have Susan Lenart Kazmer teaching at our events! Her work is built on years of researching cultures, repairing ethnographic adornment, art school, training in the craft of metallurgy, a strong fashion background, and time spent in the commercial jewelry field. This has made her work — that she likes to refer to as Expressive Adornment — a unique voice in the industry. Susan’s gorgeous jewelry includes talismans, prayer boxes, amulets and repurposing everyday items in a magical way for the fashion, museum, gallery and commercial world for over 20 years. Her work has been in numerous traveling exhibits including the Smithsonian Museum and the Art Institute of New York. Now that's pretty impressive! Here's what she has in store for us in Virginia Beach this year...

Caging Hollow Forms
In this 6 hour hands on workshop, you'll explore the cage form in sterling silver as small wearable relics by creating your own unique hollow form pendant. You'll learn or refresh your skills on proper metalworking techniques for soldering, shaping and clean up, while you delve into the process of combining filigree bezel wire, round silver wire and sheet metal. By the end of class you'll have a finished jewelry component complete with a leather adornment.

Building Bezels: Soldering & Setting Druze and Hollow Forms
In this full day workshop, you will build and strengthen soldering skills using fundamental metalworking techniques to build a box bezel from sterling silver. Susan will guide you on how to set a druze stone within that bezel. You'll also learn practical metal cleanup and polishing techniques like brazing, filing, sanding and finishing to create a small wearable piece with leather and attachments.

Wire Caging with Druzy Stone
In this 6 hour smithing class learn to anneal, solder, pick, shape, draw a bead and all skills necessary to build a unique cage-like bezel to encase a druzy stone... using an open form technique created from forged wire. This particular bezel allows you to view all sides of the object that you are encasing. Students will finish one pendant in the morning and the afternoon will have an opportunity to forge and braze a wire neck form. You'll  leave with a complete neck form and pendant.

Industrial Bangle Bracelet
In this informative 3-hour morning class you'll learn to build a unique bracelet in Susan's style and complete your own bangle bracelet, adding charms or druze stones to accentuate. Susan uses this technique as a core structure to her personal jewelry and fashion assignments. Expand your vocabulary in jewelry and learn to hand hammer, anneal and patina 14 gauge wire to create a bracelet with comfort, durability, and sophistication. Draw a bead for closure and learn to flatten the bead to create a gorgeous industrial look.

Wire Links: Forging with Ancient Techniques
In this 3-hour afternoon workshop students will learn the usefulness of an age old technique reminiscent of our ancestors long ago. Using 10 gauge bronze wire, you'll learn the correct methods for hand hammering and annealing wire for malleability and ease of creating structures. Your link bracelet will have a gorgeous, rustic look and feel and can be used as the start of a Talismans charm bracelet or for housing amulets, fringe or personal mementos.

Ancient Artifacts: Casting Resin
In this 3-hour evening class, you'll focus on new works in jewelry using resin as it has never been presented before... in casting! Students will sand, scratch, and scraffitto their way into creating unique objects and ancient artifacts in jewelry in combination with metal... learning new techniques and application for scratching, crackling, engraving, transferring of imagery, making marks and coloring surface with foils and tints. Each student will leave with a beautiful pendant and a journal full of ideas and a whole new direction to focus your work.

All Things Resin
In this full day class, you'll explore the vast possibilities resins have to offer in jewelry when you combine it with metal bezels, objects and organic materials. This hands on workshop offers many foundational techniques from filling hollow bezel forms with photos, text, foil and layering of materials. Learn proper mixing, application, combining and pouring layers, safety tips and a whole lot more. New techniques to take your jewelry making to the next level!

October 1-6, 2018
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel  

So, as you can see, Susan is one extremely talented lady. In addition, her playful spirit and willingness to share make her one of our most popular instructors, and her classes those that fill up fast. So if you haven't signed up for one of her extraordinary workshops, hop on over to our website and claim your spot today!

Susan Lenart Kazmer authored her first book Making Connections: A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists in 2008. She also authored the book Resin Alchemy, which was on Amazon’s 2013 best seller list. It includes a pioneering ten-year body of work combining metal and ICE Resin®, a jeweler’s grade resin she developed and brought to market. Susan She recently built the successful commercial line of components called Industrial Chic. Susan’s innovative new work has been seen in the March 2014 issue of U.S. ELLE magazine as she re-enters the fashion world and on the runway in New York and on her website at susanlenartkazmer.com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Are You Calling Me Chicken?

My love affair with animals started at a very young age.  I spent the summers with my grandparents on their ranch in South Dakota. They raised Hereford cattle and owned a couple thousand acres. Oh, how I wish I had that land now! Grandpa was the original "horse whisperer" and was considered the local vet. He had an amazing relationship with all creatures. Ranchers and farmers who lived miles apart depended on each other for various areas of expertise. I grew up traveling to visit sick cattle, pigs, horses, cats.... you name it, we took care of it. So, I was on a horse as soon as I could walk and sit up by myself. I still have my first pair of cowboy boots.

Rojo was my rooster.  I didn't realize it then, but it was a bit unusual for a rooster to follow a youngster around the ranch. He lived for a few years, and always seemed to remember me when I returned for the summer. Fortunately, I never learned if he eventually became dinner.

Portland, like many urban cities has a love affair with chickens. Unfortunately, people don't realize that along with the upside of wonderful fresh eggs, the required daily maintenance and care can be quite challenging. In addition, chickens can be loud and irritating to neighbors. Healthy chickens may lay eggs up to seven years – but that is a lucky average, and they can live as long as 20 years!! That's quite a commitment.

I live in the country and actually have the perfect set up for them. However, I really didn’t want the responsibility of a coop.... especially in the Oregon rain. To put it bluntly, I’m not certain I can visualize myself going out twice a day in the pouring rain to clean up chicken poop! So... no chickens.

Clockwise from top: Eggwina, Hennifer Lopez, Ethel & Lucy

Then one day, I received a call from a friend who needed to re-home his 4 girls. I totally surprised myself when I said “yes” to an adoption! And after a month and a few hundreds of dollars later, my free chickens are a part of the family.

Are they laying eggs? ...you ask. Uh... no, not really. I’m happy if I get one a day. The chicken whisperer says it’s just too darn hot these days, so we shall see when the rains start. In the meantime they delight me daily with their antics. Ethel has totally bonded with me and will sit on my lap. If she sees me inside the house, she pecks on the glass door wanting attention.

Hennifer Lopez
The Polish Frizzles are hilarious, but the poor things cannot see because of the feathers in their faces. They are sort of like those wind-up toys that run into the wall, bounce back and hit it again. I can’t let them out to roam during the day with the others because they get lost. I’ve played chicken search-and-round-up a number of times. Eggwina was totally in coyote territory last time I found her.  Not sure how she survived that adventure. Fortunately, I have an ample enclosed area for daily scrounging.

The dogs were curious, but now guard them. Fritz, the cat, thinks he’s a mighty bird hunter. He will stealthily approach, make a quick dash and when they screech, it scares the crap out of him and he runs the other way.  Daily entertainment at the cottage!

We shall see how the winter goes. I tell myself that hiking to the coop is good exercise. I am too unsteady on my feet and really need a sturdy handrail along the trail. And my dang wrist can’t even open a jar of peanut butter let alone carry a full bucket of water. So I’m trying to find a handyman to install a watering system that won’t freeze and is easy for me to operate, and who can also put up a handrail. A little easier said than done. So those are my main winter concerns for the girls, from my current chicken to-do list.

Other than that...what could be better than free chickens???


Monday, August 13, 2018

Virginia Teacher Spotlight: Susan Shaffer

We're so excited to have Susan Shaffer — the owner of Joyful Arts Studio — teaching at our Virginia Beach retreat. She firmly believes that art transformed her life, allowing her to reveal herself to the world. Susan also believes that creativity is within each of us and it's her goal to help others discover how to find it and use it. She wants others to have the same opportunity she did, and to explore their own creativity to find which art form they most enjoy. Susan is a nationally exhibited and decorated artist and is passionate about the power behind the creative process. She hopes to inspire wellness through art within each of her students. Here's what Susan has in store for you at Virginia Beach...

Perfection Is Overrated
Join Susan for a day of fun therapeutic art exercises as she talks through ways to overcome that pesky perfectionism, which can negatively affect our art and life. She'll encourage you to concentrate on the creative process and how it feeds your soul. In class, you'll have fun sloshing around in paint with brushes, fingers, plastic gift cards, water spray, lace, onion bags and who knows what else! You'll create layers and layers of acrylic paint using lots of surprising techniques. We'll leave the perfectionist behind as we practice painting without rules! Everyone will leave with their own unique, one-of-a-kind painting, reflecting their own personality.

Creating Your Way To Joy
In this class you'll experience a day of fun that's all about letting go, giving up control, laughing, collaborating, camaraderie and learning to follow your intuition. Like Susan's Perfection class, you'll be sloshing around in acrylic paint with brushes, your fingers, plastic gift cards, water spray, lace, onion bags and lots of other items for unique and interesting techniques. This loose style of painting will force you to go with your gut instinct, and you'll have a blast creating a work of art that is distinctly you!

Cardinal In The Snow, Watercolor Batik
In this workshop, you'll get to discover the combination of watercolor and hot wax resist on rice paper. You will paint a vibrant red cardinal hunkered down in a snow covered Juniper tree, using multiple layers of watercolor paint and hot wax. You may also try your hand at using watercolor crayons and pastel pencils too. Susan will gently guide you through all the tips, tricks and techniques to creating this wintery masterpiece and you will be thrilled with the end result!

We're so excited that Susan is here to not only teach you creative techniques but to make sure your heart and soul are involved in the process. No matter what level of art experience you have, you will surely be uplifted and changed after one of her classes! For more information on Susan Shaffer, her classes and our Virginia retreat, visit our website...

October 1-6, 2018
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel  

In addition to having nearly 30 years of experience as an art instructor, Susan is a former health care informatics professional, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art/Studio Art, with a concentration in Watercolor, a bachelor’s in Business Management with a concentration in Information Systems and a minor in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship from Wilson College.