Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Sparkling Good Time...

 I had the distinct pleasure of joining Margot Potter for the first ever Design and Creativity Challenge hosted by Swarovski!  It was a special treat, because I rarely get to take any breaks when I'm in Tucson.  Usually I am too busy to do anything but work the shows.  So, taking the day to play and create with Margot at the Westin La Paloma was particularly sweet.  We had an intimate group of six participants who were all great fun!
 No one was cutthroat and mean-spirited.  In fact, everyone was very supportive and kind.  I had a great time!  I was a little surprised by this, because usually in a competition atmosphere, people can get nasty.  But all the other participants were just amazing!
 The first part of the workshop was devoted to creating a design board.  I do this as a regular exercise in my own studio, so I felt really comfortable.  I wanted to embrace color and really wanted to work with warm, rich tones in my challenge piece.

After a short break for lunch, we got down to it.  There were several tables loaded down with crystals and mixed-media supplies and tools.  It was just like a scene from Project Runway!

An idea popped into my head and I ran with it.  I created another collage with colored magazine pictures in the same burnt oranges and tangerine color family.  I then poured 5 minute epoxy over it and embedded crystals and seed beads.  The goal was to wash the paper backing off, leaving the ink embedded in the resin studded with crystals.  Then I was going to use the heat gun to manipulate the resin into these crazy, sculptural cuffs.  BUT... just like on Project Runway, sometimes even the best of plans just don't work out.  The resin started cracking and broke into jagged chunks.  I tried to fix it with more resin, but the more I used... the more it looked like someone tried to swallow crystals and threw them up.  Yuck!

I knew that my crystalized vomit design would not cut it.  So, I quickly went to Plan B.  With an hour and a half left, I went into overdrive to produce something that I would be proud to put up for competition.

This is the piece that I ended up creating.  One of the challenges was using the "mystery ingredient", which was cuplink chain.  While I like the look of cuplink chain, it's not particularly the easiest material to work with.  But I used it in a focal pendant, where I layered some filigree with a piece from TierraCast and a crystal-encrusted component in the center.  This was all attached to some Grunge Board by Tim Holtz that I painted gold.  I then used some filigree fans to dress up the focal and attached a small fortune worth of Swarovski crystal components.  I tied for runner-up!

I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed myself! I definitely recommend taking this workshop!  It was so much fun and we ended up taking a ton of swag back!  I had a wonderful time with Margot and the rest of the participants who did WONDERFUL jobs!  We had a champagne toast to celebrate the winners!
Swarovski outdid themselves with this venue!  It was beautiful!  The Westin was situated at the base of the Catalina mountains and there were gorgeous views.
 Here is Leslie Rogalski out on the balcony.  Isn't she a doll?
 Doing a "renegade" demo of crystal iron-ons, Stephanie Dixon was showing how it's done!
 It's always delightful to see Krystal Wick.  She's such a positive force within the community and it was great to practice posing for pictures with her!
 I feel like the words "Fusion Beads" and "Swarovski" go hand-in-hand.  Here is Katie Wall and Mari of Fusion Beads.  It was so nice to spend time with them.  I adore them! Cynthia and I will be teaching at their store in Seattle in April!  Keep your eyes peeled for more details!
What would a Swarovski event be without Marcia DeCoster?  I didn't get to spend much time talking with her this year, but I had to make sure to snap at least one picture of this regal lady!

You never know who you're going to meet at Swarovski!  I got to meet First Lady, Michelle Obama... just kidding!  Her name is Lisa Wright and she's the author of, Oh No He Didn't!

I also got to see Anna from Kalmbach, who's working on another book.

The happy hour at Swarovski was definitely a nice way to end the day there.


Amanda said...

LOL, you got me with that Michelle Obama thing, I was like "Whaaattttt....I didn't know she was in town!" you silly jokster you! However, meeting Margot is just as exciting, if not better! Thanks for sharing your photos and your sparkly Swarovski experience, your necklace turned out great! I'm happy to see that you got to have a little 'you' time while in Tuscon, you were a busy little bee!!! It was nice meeting you :)

Margot Potter said...

So fun spending the day with you, my friend. Thanks for coming to play!


Sharon Driscoll said...

Thanks for sharing with us.

Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...

~*Andrew!*~ I LOVE what you created! :o) Thank you for sharing the story and photos. :)

BTW- Cynthia is joining in on this year's Charm Day! YAY!!!
I am looking forward to sharing her work AND seeing what you come up with to celebrate and SHARE!
April 28th is the date!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Looks and sounds like a great day! What stunning scenery (my camera and I are salivating)! Glad you were able to take a well deserved creative break. I really love the piece you created (would like to see more photos of it). Thanks for sharing.

Shai Williams said...

I am so excited that you are going to be in Seattle! I was so hummed art I couldn't so the Art Fest and I couldn't take one of your classes.

Jill MacKay said...

Looks great Andrew. Glad you got a chance to shine! You're divine!

CharmN Jewelry said...

Once in a way adding new flavor and challenges to your creation is good to keep the interest alive and the boredom away,I think the piece in amber has come out different and nice.Charm Bracelets