One day I got up at sunrise and worked out. The rest of the retreat I was running hither and thither...doing this, that, and the other. What fun we all had!
The first two days, I spent goofing off working at the gem show. When I say "working" I mean scouring the place for materials for designing and making jewelry (after all, that's part of my business...right?) No easy task since there are a bazillion different shows in different locations. I wanted to hit them all but I just couldn't do it. I think I got to four. These stones were some of my favorite finds. Love the tourmaline crystals embedded in quartz.
You see here, a little bit of what I was up against. Plus, I was with these three cut-ups for much of the time Ronnie G., Diane Cook and Riki Schumacher.) OMGosh...our first stop was Gary B. Wilson's booth. Dang! That one just kept sucking us back in. We tried to leave, several times but the gravitational pull of Gary's amazing offerings just kept dragging us right back.
Gary even took the time to chat with me about stones. I asked him about Oregon Holley agate and was pleased to look through his collection of cabs. The guy knows his stones.
Can you see the crazed gleam in my eyes? I was in gem heaven!
We actually got to have dinner with then, one night. Here's what I had: brussel sprout pizza with goat cheese and pancetta. I gotta tell you, I know some of you are gagging, right now, but it was glorious.
The first event of the retreat was a lovely little meet-n-greet. I got a chance to sign books (my first official "book signing) and meet up with some of our students. My publisher sent me these gorgeous, gigantic signs, for the event and the hotel set up a huge table for me. I felt like a queen...or a real author...or something.
Here were my helpers. Well, actually...they just came over at the end and made fun of me. ha! Love those gals!
Here I am getting a little student love from my pal, Yvonne. She kept me company at the giant table.
And then...let the classes begin! This was the first morning, before class. My classroom was fabulous, the hotel did a fantastic job and even the lights were great...a first for any venue I've taught.
Let me stop right here and say that Barb, our fearless leader, did a fantastic job, as well. If you've not attended one of her events, you really should try. I can tell you that you won't regret it. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming...a real retreat vibe.
My first class was my most challenging but well worth all the effort. You can see the beautiful results by student, Julie Ryen.
Day two was my Bench Beads class which was super fun for me, even though I had two horribly failed demos. Yep...it even happens to me, sometimes!
This was my student, Maureen, who had never done any jewelry making before. She was in class with her two sign language translators. By the end of class, she'd completed one beautiful bench bead and one Indian head nickel clasp...and she was absolutely thrilled! The thing that I loved about Maureen was that she was totally ok with finishing just one of each. In fact, she was quite enthusiastic about it. She was absolutely joyful to have gone through the process and learned some brand new-to-her techniques...and she walked away a happy woman. In fact, I believe I recall a little happy dancing going on.
Last day of classes was my Prairie Pearl Pod Pendant (I'll be teaching that one at Boots & Bliss, as well.) Student, Cathy Norton, did this one as well as a piece in Richard's class and Diane's class. Such creative students!
And then this happened...
I'm not sure what that was all about.
And then we went for dinner.
And massive amounts of chips and salsa...which I, of course, did not touch. Well...maybe I touched a few.
And, sure, I had to make a last stop at the gem show. I mean, who could resist? Look at those Umba sapphires...pink, blue, grey, gold. Thank you, Diane, for turning me on to those beauties. They are precious.
And then...home again, home again. We took the shuttle from Tuscon to catch the plane in Phoenix. What a gorgeous drive that is.
I love the desert.
Switching gears a bit...a little reminder; the first day of my online workshop, The Alchemy of Objects, is Feb. 14...in just a few days! Some of you have asked me if the workshop contains the same material as the book. The answer is not really. The workshop and book are both focused on design but in the workshop, you actually get to see me walk through my design process with several pieces. For the workshop I've also included a bunch of technique videos like how to use a diamond bit for drilling through bone and other of pearl, bead stringing and crimping and making wire rivets. We'll be working on focals, as well, with "Focus on Focals" videos. This is the only online workshop where I show how I do my chandelier crystal transfers.
Registration is still open for a while. I hope you'll join me!