Monday, April 12, 2010

Australia!! Part Six

The afternoon of opening night for the Creative Soul Retreat, Eva drops me off with all my luggage at my room at a Country Place. I take a nap to ensure I have plenty of energy for vendor night, which I have been looking forward to all week! How fun to see the art of a whole new group of talented artists! I also have to get organized for the next four days of classes. I soon meet the fabulous retreat owner, Bevlea and her assistant, Lucy, who give me a warm welcome to the group and am shown the room I will be teaching in for the next four days.

After a scrumptious dinner, which flew by in a haze of nervous anticipation, the vendor fair opens. I am introduced to the wonderful work done by Australian artists who are impressive in their talent. So hard to make a decision....but I select a three pieces of jewelry to take home...

A beautiful etched "booklace created by the talented Jen Crossley. I loved her pieces and it was hard to decide what to buy, but I loved this "family" and took them home with me. And who could resist her house charms shaped like small birdhouses...I ordered one that should be coming to me soon...something to anticipate!!
And from the lovely Ro Bruhn, I bought these gorgeous earrings that shimmer and gleam in the light as they dangle.

And from the wonderful Chris Atkins, this beautifully cast bronze walnut on a twig, with a pearl inside. And of course, there was the incredible jewelry of Susan Lenart Kazmer and polymer clay art of Laurie Mika, fellow Americans who taught at the retreat, as well to drool over and that filled me with inspiration and a sudden urge to lock myself in my studio and start creating. But soon it was time to say goodnight and get some rest before the next day's class began.

My first class up is the encaustics class. I have worried my way over the ocean hoping I will have no problem getting my beeswax into Australia, but all went well and I am excited to teach in this medium that I have come to love for the versatility and range in which it can be used. I have a great class, who is eager to learn and, thanks to Elizabeth Harms, a skillet and griddles to heat the wax.

We first created collages on MDF board and then covered the surface with a layer of fused wax. And then the fun began. We used colored beeswax, oil pastels, grease pencils, foil, cutting tools, transfers and layers and layers of wax to finish our encaustic pieces.

The lovely Eva, whose help was so invaluable to me during the retreat and grand hostess supreme, took a bit of time off from the retreat to try her hand at encaustics.

Kaye Wolf, from Australian art magazine, Get Creative, was able to join the class for the day.

At lunch, Elizabeth ran into town to buy a bottle of orange shellac to use on our encaustic pieces to create patterns in the wax. With a coat of shellac and a few matches(well, actually the whole box), we created amazing patterns in the wax.

And, voila!! The finished pieces were amazing!! It's so inspiring to teach a group of talented artists such as I had in my class and I learn as much from my students as I teach. And I am always up to a "what if" suggestion and a little experimentation and unorthodox use of materials!

The class flies by in an instant and all too soon, it is time to stop our fun and get ready for dinner and a bit of relaxing at the end of the day. I am so impressed with the students here. So open and down to earth, full of laughter and comradery and curiosity in how far they can push their art, sharing new techniques as they invented them. I look forward to my next class, Mixed Media Faces, and dinner with new found friends.


Eva said...

Oh Jan ... I so want to do it ALL again! So .. have you booked your return ticket - yet? (lol)

Not only are you a fantastic guest (now friend) - but such a knowledgeable and talented teacher/artist!

Thanks for sharing the 'other' side of you - ie: class teacher!

Eva :-)

Suzanne Reynolds said...

Wonderful, Jan! Your students must have been thrilled; with you and their artwork. Love the jewelry you nabbed.

Tory Brokenshire said...

Jan how I wish I could have been in that class around the world, it all looks great.

Jen Crossley said...

Jan we so miss you down under. Although I didn’t do any of your classes, my time with you was truly wonderful I will never forget your words of encouragement to me and my art. You are indeed an honouree Aussie and a gentle soul

Renee Troy said...

How wonderful seeing all the creative energy produced by your class. Very inspiring...
Love the purchases as well.
Thanks for sharing...

Paula McNamee said...

Jan, thanks for sharing the student artwork from your encaustic class and photos of the gorgeous jewelry that you bought at vendor night. It's fun to read about your experiences down under.

Queen Of Toys said...


I was so worth the drive down the mountain to get your shellac and yes the gas gun to stop you from burning your fingers. LOL

Such great photos you have and really fond memories of us Aussies.