Saturday, October 13, 2007

Christi Friesen's workshop

I went to my first ever polymer clay class as a student on Friday! When I started claying around 7 years ago, there wasn't a teacher in WA, infact, aussiepolyclayers hadn't been formed yet and I just had no choice but to teach myself. I did get plenty of videos and books ofcourse and found friends through Polymer Clay Central who helped me a lot. Polymer clay groups are the friendliest and most helpful of any groups I've ever belonged to. It's been my experience that many artists in other fields tend to covet their 'secrets' of the trade and are stingy with their support and technical assistance...certainly by comparison to polymer clay artists. I wonder why that is? Fear of competition? Paaa! I always said there's room for everyone, we need more artisits in the world not less. Be generous with your help if others ask and encourage budding young (or old!) artisits to explore and find their own way but don't lock them out because of your fears cos you're locking your own heart out too.
ANYWAY, enough of the rant. It was triggered because I met someone who typifies the generous nature of the polymer clayer. I wanted to say thank you to Christi Friesen for coming all the way over to Australia from America to give what I can only describe as a joyous workshop! She is so much fun. And so incredibly generous with her knowledge, it was overflowing. She's going to Melbourne and somewhere else too so if you haven't booked, check her site for details and give youself a treat!
The pheonix which we made in class was BIG...a good tip for those teaching sculpting btw, it's easier for those learning to make a 5inch somethingorother than a 2 inch somethingorother. And mine got a bit squished on the drive back from Brisbane...she doesn't bake them, giving you more time to learn but there is always the risk of damaging your piece. We had to brake heavily to avoid a collision at one stage which doesn't happen normally...but ofcourse, it had to happen the day I have an unbaked piece in the car! Anyway, I resurrected it somewhat. It's actually still unbaked as I'm going to make another one of those jungley type mirrors for it to hang out in. The smaller one is only about 2 inches long, perfect for a necklace. We weren't taught this shape but Christi gives out fabulous coloured pics of all kinds of examples so that you can go your own way with shapes and stances and be guided by her examples. Next step? Buy some beads (and make some too) and create a necklace!
PS Actually, now I'm looking at these pictures, I can see that the larger pheonix needs a nose job, or a head job or something or other! It needs to be less prissy and more falcony like it's little friend. Thank goodness it's still not baked. Can still mess about with it. That's another thing I loved about Christi's class. I allowed myself to mess up...I really got into the moment of it...and Christi showed us several ways of tackling ways to change something you're not happy with. Will post another pic when I've made the mirror with the new improved head...I want it to express rebirth from the ashes, not cuckoo clutz...


Anonymous said...

Hi Melly
I'm doing the class in Melbourne next weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.
Everyone says she is a fantastic person and teacher.
Loved your 'thing' that you made.

Kathi said...

ya were the guys who stole Christi so she wasn't at SC!! Isn't she just a freeking riot? I love her to death and watching her clay or teach is so fun. I have even been in her studio! She only lives 35 miles from me so I guess sharing her with you guys is ok *g* Can't wait to see what else y'all make!

Mel said...

Esme, you're gonna LUVIT! 'thing' was a pheonix bird, couldn't you tell???
But interestingly, it's the symbol of rebirth, rising up from the ashes and all. And we have python snakes here at our place who are leaving their 7 foot skins lying around, another symbol for rebirth. hmmm, don't you wonder at the mystery when the signs and symbols are so powerful?

Mel said...

Kath! Yup, twas us aussies who stole her for a while. She's an absolute delight and we're lucky to have her for a few weeks. I promise you we'll send her back to you...and with ideas and inspiration for an aussie creatures book! Wouldn't that be cool!


Kathi said...

oooo an aussie critter book would rock! can hang on to her for a bit. I will run up and get the gossip from her about y'all when she gets back. btw...the calendar is winging it's way down under :)

Scarlett said...

stunning Mel!