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

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? 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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Virginia Teacher Spotlight: Lisa Chin

We're so happy to have Lisa Chin as a member of our Art & Soul Virginia Beach family! Lisa has been an artist and maker — of one kind or another — for her entire life. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Art from the University of Utah and has explored many art forms through both formal training and self-taught opportunities. After being introduced to fabric dyeing in 2005, she quickly became obsessed with surface design and discovered a multitude of fun and interesting ways to accomplish her visions. And at Virginia Beach, she's going to show you how to bump up your game when it comes to custom mark-making on surfaces! Take a look at what she has to offer this October...

Basic Stamp Carving
In this Monday evening workshop, you'll learn the secrets of stamp carving, which will allow you to create one of kind stamps for use in all of your paper and fabric art. Knowing how to carve your own stamps is a skill you'll be able to use forever. There is nothing better than being able to use your own images in your artwork again and again!

Hand Carving Repeat Patterns
Motifs arranged in a regular pattern are often used as a background, filler, or the main focus in our art, collage and other mixed media projects. In this full day class, you'll take your stamp carving to the next level by learning to draw and then carve a repeat pattern stamp to be used on paper, fabric or clay. Lisa will guide you through all the nuances of making your patterns look consistent for absolutely stunning results.

Mixed Media Travel Dumpling
For those who have sewing experience, in this all-day workshop you'll create a mixed media travel dumpling (is that just not the cutest and most appropriate name for this kind of mini travel bag?!). You'll start by collaging your favorite paper ephemera using stamps, stencils, paint and markers to create a lovely piece of "fabric". Then you'll sew your collages to create your very own dumpling. The finished bag will be a one-of-a-kind mixed media masterpiece and it's the perfect size to store your miscellaneous art supplies, or any other small items you need to corral on your travels. So adore-able!

SunLess Printing
Creating sun printed fabric is an easy and beautiful surface design technique, but has it’s limits. In this Thursday evening workshop, Lisa will show you an easy way to “sun print” in any type of weather, and at any time of day. The results are just as fabulous, and you'll gain one more rainy day activity!

So, as you can see, Lisa has some great workshops to offer at this year's Virginia Beach event. What I love about the classes she's offering is that for every single one of them, not only can you use what you've made over and over in your artwork, but you can take what you've learned to create an unlimited array of mark-making tools for yourself. The possibilities are endless! And that's what we love about our Art & Soul workshops... they're not just a one time thing. You can take this knowlege home with you and take your art to the next level. So, go ahead and check out Lisa's classes... and for more information about our Virginia Beach retreat, visit our website...

October 1-6, 2018
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel  
Lisa has been a guest on Quilting Arts TV, taught classes on Craft University, had her art published in several books and written many articles for magazines such as Quilting Arts and Modern Patchwork.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Highland Fling... What's Your Thing?

If you've ever been to an Art & Soul retreat, you know that every year we have a specific theme for our retreats, and for 2018 it's Highland Fling! We love to carry that theme throughout each event in lots of creative ways... our event programs, class tickets, opening night party, dressing up, trades, and even some of our classes and vendors feature projects and products based on that year's theme. We really go full tilt! Or should I say... full kilt!

There were so many reasons to choose the Highland Fling theme.... ummm... being Outlander fanatics was probably high on the list. We love the struggles and triumphs of this land and it's people, the amazing costumes from that time period, and the lush landscape of Scotland. But it's so much more than that too. Scotland is rife with a magic and lore all it's own, which is why shows like Outlander are even made. From the gorgeous stone castles, the significance of tartan garb, kilts and clans, to myths of mystical fairies, legends of giant sea creatures, and how an indiginous thistle plant could stop an entire invasion, well... there's so much to love about this highland country.

So what we want to know is... What's your thing with this Highland Fling? Are you an Outlander fan? What do you love about Scotland? Have you ever visited the country? And if you've been to any of our retreats this year, how did you express your Highland self? We'd love to hear your stories!