Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2009 Metal Clay World Conference: Week in Review

Last week was the Metal Clay World Conference in Chicago. Jackie Truty, Tom, & Katie Baum of Art Clay World USA organized an awesome conference experience & I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity to listen to so many artists share their knowledge! Meeting & making friends from all over the country & world in a hotel that was like a huge beehive? Sweeet!!

Monday & Tuesday: Caged glass beads with Cindy Pankopf

First off, helping Cindy with her class & running around after hours was just uber loads of fun!!

Finished projects in all their fired, yet unbrushed glory, success!! No pic of the beads before they went into the kiln as the glass reacts with the silver clay & an etched ivory & copper green bead lost its frosted look & beacame brown & turquoise. Or an ivory bead with red frit turned brown & blue, just awesome!

Of course, a class pic
(Thanks Emma!)

Wednesday: Sears tower & Charm Swap

Ok, the Sears tower is now the Willis tower???! Taking pics on the glass bottomed Skydeck was fun with gals from the Art Clay UK Guild members. :)

Goodness some people made 100+ charms for this swap! Prosmise I'll be more prepared next time!

Thursday - Saturday: Conference speakers
There was not much sleep this week & I wish I could have gone to everyone's presentation, but after hearing each talk, I just wanted to hole up with my clay & play!

Keynote Speaker: Alan Revere

His talk on jewelry & giving to others is pretty much summed up here:

During his talk, he passed out gold & silver colored foil & challenged everyone to create a ring. Then to go with the giving to others starts here & now, he gave a bracelet with the MCWC logo to someone in the audience & we swapped foil rings with our neighbors.

Clasps: Carol Babineau
So much eye candy, & so playful! Besides seeing the technicalities of how some of the clasps work, the way she designed her clasps to be a focal that doesn't look like a clasp is amazing!

Masks & Faces: Lis-el Crowley
For me, demos speak a thousand words because sometimes the key is in the details of the way a certain tool angle or the way a small lump of clay becomes the missing detail. I missed the open table session with her, but I totally need to get some polymer clay to experiment with her way of making molds for faces, quite intruiguing!

Snake Charming & Coils: Cindy Pankopf
Making coils & snakes is probably considered a basic technique for clay people, though the way Cindy incorporates them into almost everything, is fascinating. Her tips/tricks & sound effect loaded explainations really do de-mystify coil making lol. (yeah, I was scared of making them until recently!)

Tomozuke technique: Ryota Mitsuhashi
As the "Rebel without a kiln," I appreciate the offers from others to fire my pieces (& yes, I'll be taking you up on that!) but anything I can do without a kiln intrigues me!

So "tomo" is to pair & "zuke" is to attach. Fusing brass & copper to fired silver clay pieces, Rio order can't arrive soon enough!

Teaching: Maria Martinez
People tell me I should teach..but I'm scared! Maria broke the orgainization & process down into manageable bites & I found her anecdotes inspiring :)

Negative caning: Holly Gage
Ok, I REALLY REALLY want to try adapting her caning technique with torch friendly combustibles! Like I bought tortillas this week to try this out! :P

& there's the baby titanium pieces..

Photographing your Art: Jen Lowe
I enjoy checking out the crafty stuff on Jen's blog, & wondered about how she got such nice looking pics! 2 thumbs up for the tip of steadying your camera hand by wrapping a string around the camera & holding the other end with your foot to steady & pulling the camera away from the ground for a steadier shot.

Silver screw: Ryota Mitsuhashi
OMG, the tool answer I've been looking for is "screw tap" to make threads for screws!

Water Etching: Lyle Rayfield
I keep reading about the technique & am curious to check it out. Wonder if wax resist would work as a patina mask too...

Complex Hollow Forms: Gwen Bernecker
I found Gwen's process for making hollow forms interesting as I haven't made many. Demystified the way to make a template for walls when you already have the floor & ceiling of a piece.

Bench Tricks for MC: Lorrene Davis
I'm so glad I went to this talk! This maybe an utter "Duh!" thing, but making the tools work for you & not the other way around...well, duh! & the blade bending technique she was showing at her open table session? I am SO going to play with that!

There's all the new "toys" I've come home with...yay!

With love to all my new muses & old, thanks for the inspiration!
~ Michelle


  1. Looks like fun! And of course, you are the youngest in the group again, lol.

  2. It was! We need to find a time for you to come over & play :)