Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Art Retreat in the Desert

Clockwise: dining at El Charro - the oldest Mexican restaurant in the nation; classes- you can get a glimpse of me at the very top creating a rhinestone necklace; The finished necklace; my handmade pendant from another class; two hand painted Russian icons from the gem show.
Some pictures courtesy of Barb Solem.

I cannot fully describe the astounding time I had in Tucson at the Art Retreat in the Desert. The retreat was organized by Barb Solem and her daughter, Erin Solem Leon, and their company, Vivi Magoo Presents. Vivi Magoo hosts three retreats each year: Art Retreat at the Prairie, Art Retreat by the Beach, and Art Retreat in the Desert.

The first day we met to go shopping at one of the gem shows Tucson is known for. Tucson is home to some of the largest gem shows in the U.S. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. and were let lose until 4 pm. I could not see it all in that time! However, I did manage to snag some really pretty beads, chains, and clasps. I also managed to discover the two, stunning, hand painted Russian icon pendants pictured bottom right. 

Getting to know the other participants and teachers was a joy. How wonderful to be with a big group who loved talking about soldering, beads, findings, metal clay, enameling, and many other techniques. 

On day two we began the workshops we registered for. I took two classes from the talented mixed media jewelry designer Riki Schumacher. The first day we worked on creating a hand made pendant and soldering rhinestones. The second day we focused on designing with vintage rhinestones. Both of these pieces can be seen in the above collage of pictures. 

I am feeling very excited about returning to my jewelry making with some new techniques and insight. 

Right now, I have entered Lent with the promise to give up purchasing new jewelry supplies for 40 days. Hopefully, those of you who observe Lent will have a very meaningful and reflective season.