For the love of PMS

I can shout it from the rooftops. I adore PMS. Silly roos, I know what you’re thinking. Not that PMS.  Paper and Metal Scrappers, my hometown paper arts store where the oh-so-talented owners (and my dear friends) have been graciously allowing me to teach mixed-media scrapbooking, collage and jewelry to their lovely customers for 5 years now.

Karen and Teresa wiring up their Industrial Chic projects. Look at the focus!

I recently taught an Industrial Chic Playdate class at PMS, where some of my absolute favorite ladies spent the morning making some great found-object inspired necklaces using the charms and components from Susan Lenart Kazmer’s Industrial Chic line that’s exclusive to Michaels stores.

Teresa's colorful and fun bracelet. Fits her personality to a T.

Seriously, this is how cool my friends are. Susan’s line can only be purchased at Michaels craft stores, but they knew that I would add my own educational twist on the class by teaching the ladies various jewelry techniques for wire wrapping and incorporating fibers into their work.

Look at all those choice in the middle of the table. Oh my, how does one pick what to create with? I told them to simply pick the charms that spoke to them.

As per Brenda’s request, I left my torch at home (even my little propane one scares her). But then again, it is a paper arts store and her livelihood. Not to mention the creative hotspot of Payson, Arizona, so if something happened and our favorite store went up in flames, we’d all be devastated.

Not to worry, I managed to work around my hands being tied behind my back without my torch by teaching everyone how to create chased headpins using a steel bench block and a ball peen hammer. They loved getting their aggressions out on those little pieces of wire and realizing that once one learns to make a headpin and a wirewrapped loop, the world of jewelry-making spills wide open.

This student had NEVER made jewelry before. She was such a quick learner that she inspired me with her fearless attitude!

Thanks ladies for a terrific day. I look forward to PMS every single time! I’ll be there again October 22 teaching a wirewrapped ring class.

Architectural Salvage Makes Me Swoon

It was a busy weekend with a trip to the Valley (aka Phoenix) to attend my nephew’s 9th birthday party. We live in the mountains, the place where Phoenicians flock during the summer months to get out of the sweltering 110-115 degree temperatures. So when my family has to decend into the heat (reminds me every time of Dante’s Inferno), we can get quite cranky.

Hubby, the kids and I were driving home along 7th Avenue, just north of Camelback in an area that’s quickly becoming a hot spot for funky home decor, vintage and architectural salvage. The corner of my eye caught a glimpse of a green metal trunk and I yelled to my husband, “STOP! Turn around NOW. I have to look at that trunk!” My son groaned and told his father to keep driving. My husband, of course, turned the truck around because he knows the thrill of the hunt for that perfect vintage or architectural salvage piece for our home or my studio is one of my life’s great pleasures.

I jumped out, looked at the trunk, checked out the $89 price tag and stood there a moment, lost in thought. Then I turned my head to the inside of the building and my chin, literally, fell to the floor at what my eyes saw. A visual feast every place my eyes landed. Vintage vignettes so artfully conceived and executed that I had to whip out my iPhone so  the inspiration could stay with me much longer than the mere 20 minutes I had to look.

I managed to do some serious damage to my checkbook in the little time that I had to shop. I passed on the green trunk, but absolutely had to buy a rare metal French vintage seed cabinet that came from the South of France and carries the gorgeous patina of a full life lived in the land of sunflower and lavender fields.

I could not pass up a rhinestone sacred heart vintage metal ornament. It was $39, (minor ouch) but what its speaking to me to become is priceless. I also bought some red metal signs for my kitchen and some vintage grocery tags for a soon-to-be journal.

I had planned to do a whole write-up here on my blog about Sweet Salvage, but it’s just too good to keep to myself. Stay tuned for an article that will also feature my photography. I can’t say where yet, but I can promise it will be beyond fabulous.

Unraveling still from Art Unraveled

When I finished teaching my last class Monday evening at this year’s Art Unraveled, I was so happy to be heading home to my family. It’s been a busy summer and Art Unraveled was the last gig on my schedule until the end of October. I felt like all I did for 8 weeks was pack teaching supplies, pack clothes, get on a plane, have a blast at whatever event I was at, come home, unpack, do laundry, love on my children, make dinners and then pack again for the next trip.

Jen and a sweetie customer at the Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin store at Art Unraveled

So many of my fellow artist friends have been doing this kind of schedule for a long, long time. When I was an outsider looking in on their lives, I thought they had it made. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore teaching and am so grateful to be living the life of my dreams, but it’s tres interesting to get a full 360-degree view.

The beautiful Karen Michel doing what she does best -- inspiring and teaching

I seriously LOVE Art Unraveled. Linda and Chuck Young, who conceptualized and organize the event do a fantastic job creating a totally inclusive art retreat where everyone — teachers, students (every single person being artists) get to learn, test boundaries and grow in the air-conditioned comfort of the Embassy Suites in Scottsdale. The creativity of everyone there is an art high for me. I have trouble sleeping because I get so keyed up on all the joy and sharing one absorbs at this event. Seriously, it’s the closest thing I can think of to a hippie love fest, only its even better because it’s all about ART, particularly mixed-media art!

Kim Schulick and Susan Lenart Kazmer enjoying all the happy people shopping at vendor day Saturday at the SLK ICE Resin booth at Art Unraveled. Kim does all our shipping and receiving for ICE Resin and she is AWESOME!

In addition to teaching two resin classes, I joined in a book signing event with 13 other artist/authors hosted by the ever-amazing Ricë Freeman-Zachary. This woman is on my Top-10-coolest-people-in-my-life-ever list. It doesn’t hurt that her husband, Earl, is beautiful (inside and out) too.

Ricë Freeman Zachary being Zen? One of the many reasons I seriously love this woman. She knows how to have fun in any situation and LIVE life to the fullest.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book signing event where Ricë asked each artist to talk about where they find inspiration. Sitting at this long L-shaped table with my friends — Kathy Cano-Murillo, Karen Michel, Traci Bautista, Michael DeMeng, Ruth Rae, Mary Beth Shaw, Stephanie Lee etc. was an exhilarating feeling and I was so in the moment listening to each artist’s response that when my time came, it took me a beat or two to find my words. Actually, I spoke about how words inspire me and wend their way into everything I create visually.

Shiela and Sandy have a grand time making mixed-media art papers in my Resin paper Rocks class.

The best part about Art Unraveled, by far, was being in class with the students. We had such a grand time doing all kinds of mixed-media surface treatments to paper and then applying resin to transform them into something totally magical. Also, the people in my class “Eternally Beautiful Butterfly Necklace” were so kind to me and so eager to learn resin and metalsmithing techniques, I got quite a buzz from their happiness as well. Smiles, are indeed, contagious.

Another one of my beautiful students and the gorgeous necklace she made in my intensive 9-hour resin and metalsmithing class.

A quick note about the people who attend Art Unraveled. While every person is on their own path artistically at the event, with various levels of skills and abilities, every single person there is a born creative. Their artistic sensibilities and innate design sense inspires me every time to up my game and continue to work on my craft as an artist. There are people taking classes who are professional sculptors or big time book artists whose work blows me away.

Sweetie and cutie patootie Traci Bautista standing in front of this amazing mural at the Barrio Cafe Mexican Food in downtown Phoenix. Shush..don't tell Traci, but I see a resemblance. Do you?

I teach one more class locally at my favorite independent store, Paper and Metal Scrappers in my hometown, this Saturday. Then I settle in for a nice, long break. Plenty of work to do, columns to write and art to make, but at least I will be able to put my suitcases away in the closet for a while and hunker down at home, which is really my truest haven of all.