Meetings

Fall 2017 Updates

September is our planning meeting and as usual members took the time to map out our next few months.  See below for details.

October meeting will be Sunday, October 15:  Colored Pencil on metal workshop.  $3 materials fee.

Lis-el will bring most of the materials necessary to work with colored pencil on metal, including copper pieces, colored pencils, gesso, working fixative, etc. She has emailed a pdf that Terry Kovalcik created for Mojo this year. It has the basic directions. There will be a materials cost of $3 per metal piece to cover her costs only. Please take the time to read the pdf and decide what you want to do before you get to the meeting so we can get right to work. If any members have prism color pencils of their own, they can bring them. Otherwise, there will be one really large set to share.


November meeting will be Sunday, November 5: Pushing Design beyond the chain: finishing neck pieces in creative ways.  

This meeting is to explore different ways to finish neck pieces besides just hanging them on a chain. Members are all encouraged to come up with some interesting finishing ideas, i.e. leather, fiber, making your own chain, kumihimo, etc. Clasps will also be discussed, i.e. the clasp can be the focal, handmade clasps out of wire, handmade clasps out of metal clay, etc. Members are encouraged to each come up with something really unique to share with each other.


December Meeting will be our annual Holiday Party December 3 - This will be a potluck party and we will unveil our boxes for the box challenge. We will also have a Gift Grab Bag. Gifts are to be hand made by members with a materials cost of up to $30 as a guideline. We will also discuss our past year, what worked, what didn't, and brainstorm for the coming year.


Our next retreat will be April 27-29 at the Guest House We will know how much it will be by our next meeting. Lis-el is waiting for them to send her a contract. We will discuss program ideas in 2018, but we want you to have to dates to get them into your calendar.


Shout out to Bettina, Lynda, Sara, Michal, Bevlynn and Sharon for doing such a great job on this year's Wee Faerie Village Installation. It's stunning!!!


Spring & Summer 2017 Updates…

March…was a “working” meeting, members brought metal clay of choice and used the resources and inspiration of the group to move their current pieces forward.

April began with our Spring Retreat at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT.  A weekend filled with art workshops and inspiration from various teachers.

May brought us Guest Speaker Marlene Richey.  Marlene is the author of Profiting by Design: a Jewelry Maker's Guide to Business Success. Marlene is a well-known speaker on business topics related to the jewelry industry and was a regular columnist for Art Jewelry Magazine. She focused her talk on designing, pricing and selling jewelry.

August reunited the Guild with artists and Guilds from across the country and around the world at the 3rd MetalClay Mojo Retreat organized by Lis-el Crowley.


February Meeting 2017

Great meeting yesterday. Thanks Lynn for getting us all excited about the possibilities with Polymer clay. I love the alcohol ink on metal leaf effects. I think you may be getting us addicted.

Just a reminder that I will be writing an artist statement for the guild and a show description for the upcoming Alchemy show at Lost Acres Vineyard. I will have them written and send them out for your comments, additions by the end of this week. I need you to read and get back to me within a few days so I can get them to Michelle at Lost Acres. I also need images of your best work to send her a selection for publicity purposes. Please get those to me by this coming Saturday, February 11. make sure they are high res and good quality photos. I don't think she'll use all of them, but I want to give her many to choose from.

Bettina is the point person for Wee Faerie Village installation this year. Helping her is Lynda, Bevlynn, Sara, Michal and myself. If I missed anyone, let me know. It is a lot of fun and I am looking forward to making wee faerie things!

Eve will be booking a speaker for our May meeting, more information to come on that. 

Mini Mojo is shaping up. Doing demos will be Bevlynn, myself, Denise, Lynda, Sara and Robert. So far, Bevlynn will do keum boo, I will do Fused glass, setting fused glass in metal clay, leaf shaped rings and rolled cuffs. Sara will do finishing. Lynda will do kumihimo, Denise will do whittling in metal clay and Robert will do stone in stone and possibly something else. I will ask him. Some materials fees will apply but there are no teaching fees, so this is a great opportunity for us to learn from and inspire each other. If you are not yet signed up, email me and I can give you the details. I'm really looking forward to this.

Business for next meeting is finalizing program and schedule for mini mojo, firming up details for alchemy show and assigning tasks, working out trunk show/demo ideas, etc. 

Next meeting is also a "work" meeting. Bring your metal clay of choice and we will all work together. This will be a great opportunity for asking questions, getting feedback and just plain having creative fun.

April meeting is the retreat.

May meeting is the guest speaker. First Sunday in May.

June meeting is take down of Alchemy show on June 11. If we can, we will meet at Lost Acres. Perhaps we can have a closing reception and do demos or have a trunk show. I will discuss with Michelle and see what she thinks and get back to you all.


January Meeting 2017

1.    We didn’t discuss the Alchemy show because we felt Lis-el should be present for that. We will cover that at the next meeting.

2.    Challenge ideas- We still like the idea of a box challenge that we had considered previously. We decided to have a box challenge, and give ourselves all year to make our challenge piece. We plan to present our challenge pieces at our annual Holiday meeting in December. It will be a fun time for our “grand unveiling”.

3.    In conjunction with the box challenge, we would like to have a meeting sometime during the year with the topic of hinges. This can be determined in a future meeting.

4.    We have decided to make the focus of March’s “working” meeting about base metal clays. (March's meeting topic was switched in December from resin to a working meeting.) We will be working in, and discussing, base metal clays while we work. Those who do not wish to work in base metal can bring silver clay to work on.

5.    Incorporated into all future working meetings, we’d like to have “how do I…” question and answer sessions. So, for example, while we work, someone may wish to know how to do something. Others in the Guild can help answer that person’s question.

6.    Topic ideas for future meetings include mixed media with metal clay (i.e. concrete, polymer clay, found objects, faux bone, etc.); bezel setting and metal clay; resin; and clasps and findings.

7.    February’s meeting will be about working with polymer clay, demonstrated by Lynn. We will also have a short discussion of how to calculate shrinkage/enlargement for metal clay.

8.    We are still stumped on ideas for workshops/teachers. Sharon volunteered to talk to the Boston guild to see if they have any ideas for us. The group is still interested in Marlene Richey, and I will contact her.  (https://www.amazon.com/Profiting-Design-Jewelry-Business-Success/dp/0971349592/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483911782&sr=1-1&keywords=profiting+by+design)

9.    We had a brief show and tell, and then Bevlynn did an outstanding demo of how to do Keum Boo, as well as presenting many amazing test pieces she created. Thanks again, Bevlynn!

10.    For February’s meeting- Lynn suggested bringing:

-polymer clay of your choice, as many colors as you want to work with-a polymer pasta roller machine if you have one-a work surface, such as a tile or piece of glass-cutting tools, such as an x-acto and/or tissue blade-a rolling tool-saran wrap-alcohol wipes or a bottle of rubbing alcohol for clean-up-a light bulb or other rounded form to create your bowl shape-non-food cookie cutters or other types of shape cuttersDid I miss anything?

Also for February’s discussion of shrinkage and enlargement- bring your fired test strip along with the measurements you took of the dried strip before firing. Or, if you have figured out the shrinkage rate on your own, bring that percentage number. A couple of tips for the test strip measuring- millimeters works best. Also, if you have a digital caliper to measure the strip, that is best of all. The more precise you can measure, the better the result. That said, there can still be variables. Fire to your favorite firing schedule that you will be using the most for that type of clay. I checked my test strip template, it’s 1 ½ inches by ½ inch. I get a dried test strip that is 13mm x 30 sometimes 31 mm from it. I do 4 cards thick, some like to do 5 cards thick.


November Meeting 2016

Today’s meeting was different from the plan that we had previously put together. With members having busy times, and traveling, a structured meeting didn’t seem appropriate. So instead we had a relaxed, conversational meeting.

Lis-el updated us on her latest experiences both teaching and taking classes. We had our show and tell, seeing new work and discussing new techniques that members are exploring.

We then talked about many topics, ranging from doing shows and experiences selling our work; to personal stories about meditation and dealing with the stresses of everyday life.

It was Bettina’s birthday, so we also enjoyed sharing some delicious birthday baked goods!

Our next meeting will be December 11, at 1:00 p.m. It will be our annual holiday party. Bring a potluck dish and, if you wish to participate, a handmade grab bag gift. Materials to create the gift should not exceed $30.

Although topics for early 2017 meetings were set at the September meeting, we decided to keep it fluid and change if need be.   

We did confirm another Guild retreat to be held at The Guest House on March 31 and April 1. Contact Lis-el if you are interested in attending. The summer retreat was a huge success!

September Meeting 2016

September is always a busy time as the Guild refocuses from summer and looks at the year ahead.  For planning purposes, the meeting dates for the next six months have been set with a specific focus for each.  Please see the side bar on this page for a list of those dates and topics. If you have ideas for future meetings, please let the group know as we look toward scheduling the spring.  With the grand success of the summer retreat, planning for a spring retreat has begun!  Keep an eye out for more info.

The Florence Griswold Museum is once again celebrating fall with the Wee Faerie Village Exhibit and again the Guild will be participating.  Members have worked hard this summer to design and build their outdoor sculptural work inspired by Notre Dame and will be busy installing it the beginning of October in time for the opening event on 10/7.  More than 30 “ Faerie-sized" sculptural installations will be spread across the museum’s 13 acres and will run through October 30th.  Please come check it out!

October’s meeting is on the road as we take a field trip the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum in search of inspiration.  Details will be emailed to members regarding meeting, car pooling and lunch. 


Summer Retreat 2016

The Summer Retreat at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT was two days of sharing techniques, working in metal clay combined with other mediums, and just fun and relaxation. Members stepped up as teachers and lead the group through inspiring workshops that included leather working, polymer faux-cab techniques, tear away texture plates and techniques for the new EZ960 clay.  The overwhelmingly positive response to the retreat was to begin planning another for the spring!

June Meeting 2016

June's meeting covered a lot of territory.

We began with the topic of the possibility of the Guild creating an e-commerce web site. After much discussion, we decided to table the concept for the time being. Members felt the project was too complex, as all members are experiencing very busy times right now and none have the ability to devote time to setting this up.

Lis-el shared her experiences with recent travel to Cool Tools for video-making and Bead and Button for teaching. She had the exciting news of testing a new clay created by Bill Struve, EZ960. This clay will be manufactured by Bill's company Metal Adventures and will be sold exclusively by Cool Tools. Lis-el created some fantastic new projects while testing the clay and demonstrated her adjustable ring technique.We also had a great show and tell! 

Spring Meetings 2016

Spring has sprung and our last three meetings have flown by!  Our new “Show & Tell” format is helping members receive much appreciated and personalized critiques of their work.  If you are interested in participating in this exciting opportunity, please sign up for one of the slots at an upcoming meeting.  Our three big topics have been our upcoming Guild Exhibit at the East Hartford Public Library, our Summer Retreat and moving forward with an Online version of the Coop we have been discussing.  In addition to all this we have seen some great member lead demos!  In February Lis-el debuted CoolTools new stone setting templates that she has been working with the company to design.  In March, Eve gave a great metalsmithing demo on simple techniques to forge intricate ear wires.

Business Updates:

EHPL Exhibit:  Meeting at the East Hartford Public Library on April 28 at 6pm for all those who intend to participate in the exhibit.  Members will have an opportunity to view the display/exhibit set up and tour the historical items that will be used as inspiration for this themed show.  If you are interested in participating but cannot make this meeting, you may contact Jason at EHPL to set up an alternate time.

Summer Retreat:  Official Dates are July 31 & August 1 at the Guest House Retreat Center.  There are 11 people committed, we need one more to secure the event but have room for many more!  Start thinking about programming and workshops we would like offered for the retreat - that will be the major topic of our May meeting.

Coop Update:  Our explorations into the potential of a Guild Coop have moved from brick and mortar to the digital world.  We will looking into hiring a professional to create and maintain an online website for selling guild work.  Once we have a quote for the cost and idea of what people would need to provide, we will look at our options.


January 10, 2016

Planning for a new year brings a new meeting format and new opportunities for the guild.  The Show & Tell portion of the meeting will now be limited to 5-6 members with sign up in advance, slots have been filled through the April meeting.  We will resume meeting on the first Sunday of the month from 1-4pm in the DayHill Business District of Windsor, please see Lis-el’s email for address/directions.  The Guild revisited the idea of forming a Co-Op shop/teaching facility and a sub-committee was formed.  Please contact Sara B. if you would like to participate in this group.  Future venues for our semi-annual exhibits and topics/demos for our monthly meetings were discussed.  


December 6, 2015

“The camaraderie.”

“Show and tell.”

“The conference!”

 These were a few of the answers to the question “what did you enjoy most about being in the Guild this past year?”

 The question was one topic of conversation at our annual holiday get-together. Guild members shared delicious food and amazing handcrafted gifts with each other. Everyone enjoyed a relaxed, sociable meeting.

Although the focus was on celebrating, a little bit of business was discussed. We will be meeting  next month to plan events and meeting topics for 2016. Ideas for demos, meeting topics, potential spaces to mount shows, and how to structure future meetings will all be talked about.

 But for this meeting the main “topic” was having fun together!

Bring:

Ideas for future show locations

Topics for meetings in the New Year

Ideas for demos

 

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November 7, 2015

Getting Ready

This month’s meeting took place at Get Baked Bakery in Windsor as we prepared during our final meting before our exhibit opening here in December 4th.  We examined the space, planned for the show and had one of our most exciting “Show & Tells” yet as members revealed many of the pieces they were creating for our themed exhibit “Comfort & Joy”.  Please check your email and complete all artwork registration promptly.  If you have any questions, please contact Lis-el.  


Artwork drop off of framed pieces ready-to-hang will be at Get Baked Bakery at 2pm on Monday November 30th.  The installation team will be there to receive the work and install the show.  



October 4, 2015

A Wee bit of Excitement…

As we continue to prepare for our winter exhibit and trunk show, the team working on the Wee Faerie Village at he Florence Griswold Museum has been busy creating their installation for the Castle-theme exhibit.  Please find some time to check out this extensive and engaging show, open through the end of the month.

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September 13, 2015

Falling Back into our Groove

Camaraderie - Techniques - Empowerment - Confidence - Perspective - Energized - Laughter - Reflection - Community - Creativity - - - these are just a few of the words shared by Guild members as we reflected on the incredible experiences had at the Metal Clay Mojo 2015 Retreat this past August.  Inspired by our experiences, the work at Show & Tell again raised the bar as we discussed motivations, techniques and problems left to solve.   Our meeting turned to future endeavors as we discussed our new meeting place for the fall, the Windsor Public Library, were introduced to two perspective members and our December Exhibit where we determined our show theme will be “Comfort & Joy” to challenge us each to make work united by that theme, but maintaining our individual artistic voices.  Today’s demos were lead by member Sara Brown who shared her practices for hand-finishing surfaces that ranged from matte to highly polished.  A great new perspective for us to all consider in our own work!


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July 19, 2015

Summer Fun

Today’s meeting began with announcements. We discussed venues for future show possibilities for the Guild, including the Pearl Street Gallery and the Hartford Public Library’s gallery space. These will be explored at future meetings for possible Guild projects in 2016 and 2017.  Plans are also underway for a holiday-time show to be held at Get Baked. The best time for an opening reception for that show was discussed. As the Guild gets more information from Get Baked, we will be able set a date. A theme will be needed for the show.

 The upcoming Metal Clay Mojo Conference was discussed. Lis-el is putting the final touches on the agenda for the Conference, and we talked about ways the Guild members could be of assistance.

 There was a brief show and tell and then Guild member Krysia Stronski demonstrated her new technique, Die Forming with Metal Clay, which she recently developed. She had some very unique and interesting twists on creating “dies” and how to form metal clay with them. The Guild members were excited about the possibilities.

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 Dates to note: The Rhythm and Blues show at The Bean is coming down Sunday, August 9 at 3:00 p.m. Please go the The Bean at 3 to pick up your work.

For Guild members participating in the Wee Fairie Village project, please meet at the Bean at 1:30 on August 9 (before taking the show down), for a planning meeting.

 There will be no August meeting this year, as we will all be attending the Metal Clay Mojo Conference!

 The next meeting will be held Sunday, September 13, from 1 to 4.  Sara Brown and Bevlynn Gallant will be demonstrating hand-finishing techniques, with emphasis on sandpapers. Please bring ideas and thoughts about a theme for the Get Baked show, questions about hand-finishing metal clay, and items for show and tell.


June 7, 2015

The Digital Age

The Metal Clay Artisan Guild of CT was excited to welcome Paula Pierce of HostingCT.com as she lead a lively discussion on building our digital presence.  From building websites to e-commerce to email marketing, she shared information that resonated with all our members; from those not yet ready to launch digitally to those who have been managing their own sites for quite some time.  She spoke to the logistics of setting up sites, to the concerns about security and even the reality of liability.  Paula is a great local resource for small businesses that puts a friendly face on customer service, please check out her site for all the services she offers.

Rhythm & Blues…

The second half of today’s meeting focused on preparing for our summer exhibit “Rhythm & Blues” that opens Friday June 26th from 5-8pm at The Bean @ 226 in Windsor.  The show runs through August 7th and features the work of 12 guild members who explored this musical theme. The work will be the featured exhibit at this Jazz Cafe for the summer.  Works were shared, mounted and framed in anticipation of the show hanging event.  

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May 3, 2015

E.Y.E. is for Inspiration

At today’s meeting we were welcomed by artist Robert Dancik at Studio E.Y.E. (Express Yourself Endlessly) in Beacon Falls, CT.  We began with a discussion of our upcoming Rhythm and Blues Show opening June 26th from 5-8pm.  All work should be brought to our June 7th meeting for framing.  Please contact Lis-el if you have any questions about participating.  We had an exciting round of Show and Tell, where Robert offered critiques and shared his thoughts on how the way a piece is held together should forward the aesthetic of it.  He toured us through his new studio, shared upcoming opportunities and demoed a number of techniques, including:  building simple structures to display work in, basic riveting, riveting bezel cups, gypsy setting bezels, firing nuts and bolts in metal clay to create threaded components, using a vibratory engraver, and tube setting gems.  It was an inspirational afternoon and we are grateful to Robert for his warmth, knowledge and openness.  


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April 19, 2015

Springing Forward!

Today’s meeting touched on the many opportunities the Guild has coming up in the next few months.  We want to congratulate member Ruth Levine as she enters the Master’s Registry program.  Member Denise Rathbun returned from her 3 day workshop with Lisa Barth and shared her inspirational experience and beautiful new work.  Next month we will visit Studio E.Y.E. in Beacon Falls where Robert Dancik will be hosting us.  Please check your email for more information about the visit and plan to bring a delicious treat to celebrate at this meeting.  June will bring guest speaker Paula M. Pierce presenting on the business side of art and our “Rhythm and Blues” themed show and sale, so start working on those pieces (each member can submit up to three)!  As we move into summer, Krysia Stronski will be here in July to demo 3D forming techniques and we are all getting excited for the conference in August!  As we look toward fall, the 2015 Wee Faerie Village team has formed and is planning their initial trip to the Florence Griswold Museum, please contact Lis-el if you would like to participate.

Today’s demo was courtesy of member Lynn Zettlemoyer who walked us through a variety of pasting techniques, including using organic forms, making hollow form pieces using cork and using handmade paper as a base for folded forms.  She shared tips on reconstituting clay into paste by grinding it up and passing it through an enameling sifter to keep it smooth.  Lynn also shared her D.I.Y. dehydrator made from an inexpensive hairdryer and organizer box.  
Thanks, Lynn for all the great info!




March 1, 2015

A Riveting Meeting!

We welcomed another new member this month with an exciting round of Show and Tell.  After sharing techniques and critiques, we discussed a number of upcoming opportunities.  The bulk of our meeting centered around a “riveting” demonstration of cold connections as member Eve walked the group through designing a stone setting with rivets in mind, riveting the pieces together and then setting a stone.  The meeting closed with discussion of the upcoming Metal Clay Mojo Conference in August.



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February 1, 2015

A Colorful New Year!

The meeting began with guild members introducing themselves and welcoming a new member.  After a great round of Show and Tell, members shared news of upcoming opportunities; including Eve being contacted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust regarding her new wholesale line and Denise being juried into Swift Water Artisans in Willimantic.  We are planning our “Rhythm & Blues” themed guild exhibit for June and our end of the year exhibit based potentially around the idea of Bird “Houses” to possibly show at the Audubon Society.  This month’s demo was done by Lis-el Crowley who lead the group in Alcohol Ink Painting Techniques.  By playfully exploring the qualities of this medium we were given new approaches to applying it to metals and other surfaces.  Next month, Eve will be demoing various cold connection techniques.  Check out the info bar on the right for upcoming meeting topics and speakers.  2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the guild!  Remember, if you are interested in learning more about the JoolTool (our demo from last month), visit JoolTool.com where you can put in coupon code “Lisel” for a discount on your purchase.




January 11, 2015

New Year - New Opportunities!
The guild is beginning 2015 with a member challenge:  create a piece for our March meeting that combines leather and metal clay.  Inspired by one member’s recent leather bracelet designs, we have challenged one another to see how far our members can take these simple materials.  Those looking for leather components should consider Antelope Beads or Etsy.  Also, next month’s demo includes making hollow form beads, which some may want to incorporate into their challenge pieces.  We also discussed the possibility of a show and sale in June with the theme of "Rhythm & Blues”.

Members are off to a great start with some exciting new work in 2015, which we shared during show & tell.  This transitioned into today’s demo by Lis-el of the JoolTool, which she is now an official vendor for.  From removing fire scale on the backs of enameled pieces, to grinding out gouges in the metal to creating a super high shine; this tool did it all.  The demo allowed members to try their own work on the machine and seen how easy it was to change the wheels for different finishes.  The portable machine is light weight and makes fast work or formerly tedious sanding techniques.   If you are interested in learning more about the machine, visit JoolTool.com where you can put in coupon code “Lisel” for a discount on your purchase.

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December 7, 2014

Year End Wrap-up
It was a jolly afternoon filled with holiday spirit, delicious food and good cheer.  We reflected on the exciting accomplishments of the Guild for 2014, shared new work and brainstormed what we would like 2015 to bring.  We have moved our meeting time up to 1pm for our future meetings and 2015 dates can be seen to the right.  For January, continue to think of ideas for speakers or demos you would be interested in for future meetings, we have already scheduled some exciting topics through the spring.  Next meeting, we will also be continuing our discussion on our 2015 exhibit, so bring ideas for themes and places we might approach to produce a show at.  




November 23, 2014

Member Updates
Those who participated in the Fall Artisan Markets at the Shops at Yale gave a recap of their experiences.  This month, member work can be seen at the Farmington Valley Arts Center and Wesleyan Potters for their Annual Holiday Exhibits and Sales.  Evelyn Pelati has added Exeter Fine Crafts to the galleries where her work can be found.

Show & Tell
Another exciting month for work produced by our members.  Krysia shared her recent enameling work done on Art Clay Copper.  She walked us through her process of firing the copper in fiber blankets, rather than carbon.  This process allows her to also enamel in the kiln without worrying about small black carbon flecks contaminating her enamels.

Future Plans
As we wrap up the year, we have begun planning for next year.  Tentatively, meetings in 2015 will be on the first Sunday of the month from 1-4pm.  This will help us plan speakers further in advance and can be adjusted as needed.  Potential topics/demos for 2015 include:  Business Essentials, Casting, Pasting Paper, Alcohol Ink Painting, Etching, Hinges, Soldering, Riveting & Hollow Core Forms.  Please come to our next meeting with suggestions of topics that you are interested in or potentially techniques you would want to demo.  Themes for our next major exhibit were discussed; they included:  Mythology, Space Exploration, Connections, Shoes, Conundrum, Intuition, Memoir, Either/Or, Patterns, Portals, Focal Point.





October 19, 2014

Fall Celebrations...

Wee Faerie Village Installation
The guild's installation at the Florence Griswold Museum was completed September 30th and has received really positive feedback.  The guild's installation was among those cited by both the Hartford Courant and Better Connecticut in each of their recent features of the exhibit.  We celebrated the efforts of the core group that spear-headed this and look forward to participating next year.


Show & Tell
There was much excitement over members' current work as we presented, critiqued and problem solved the work shared.  Discussion of clay bodies, techniques and equipment gave folks various perspectives.  This lead to talk of how our work could fit into future exhibitions and what we might want to plan for 2015.  Please bring ideas for show themes to our next meeting for discussion.

Welcome Violet
Congratulations to member Marge Renno on the recent birth of her daughter.  The guild celebrated with a heartfelt welcome party for baby Violet.  Just a month old, we were excited to get to meet her and see all her artistic potential!




September 14, 2014

Applying to Juried Exhibitions
Lis-el shared with the group a recent experience she had, submitting a piece to a "mock jury" at the Metal Clay by the Bay Conference in San Diego. Her piece was scored on a scale of 1 to 25 for design and execution. The intention of the exercise was to demonstrate what goes on behind the scenes of a juried event. Lis-el was given her scores to see, which normally doesn't happen. While her scores were excellent, it was interesting to hear about the range of the scores.

The lesson for us was that the scores are based on individual taste and/or the specific parameters set forth for the show you are applying to. Reasons for rejection can often be obscured.

Evelyn had recent experience with some juried applications in which she received comments, also a very rare occurrence. These were intended for feedback for business decisions. Some of the comments she shared were very helpful and a few were quite vague.

Online applications services, such as CAFE (Call For Entries) were discussed, as well as the need for excellent photographs to accompany applications.

The take-away lesson for the group was to definitely keep applying to juried events. We will all experience rejection, and often times will never know the reason. But there will be times when we are successful, and these can provide excellent experiences as well as something to add to our resumes.

Next meeting: Sunday, October 19, 2 to 4 p.m.
Topics: Summary of The Florence Griswold Museum Wee Fairie Village installation and opening. Information for the Guild's participation in the Wadsworth Atheneum's Festival of Trees event. Planning for the Guild's annual holiday meeting and charm swap.In addition, we will have our usual Show and Tell and metal clay troubleshooting.



August 10, 2014

Maker's Meeting...

Today's focus was working on elements for the Guild installation at the Florence Griswold Museum's Steampunk'd Wonderland Exhibit.  While the core group coordinating the installation is creating the elements specific to our chapter in the story using metal clay, the rest of our installation involves a variety of materials.  The Guild has been assigned the section of chapter 1 where Alice has fallen down the rabbit hole and is surrounded by doors, so doors we made!  It was really exciting to see all the different interpretations and artist voices coming through.

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As our summer exhibit, Inspired Objects: Metalworking through the Ages, comes to a close, we are preparing for a variety of events this fall.  We are moving forward with the production of the show catalogue, work has been photographed and the layout has begun.  The exhibit comes down this week and pieces will be returned at the next meeting, please contact Marge if you need them sooner.  The WFV installation at Florence Griswold takes place the end of September, mark your calendars for the Meet the Artists Opening Event on October 9 from 4pm-5:30pm.   Those interested in participating in the Fall Artisan Markets in New Haven on October 26 & November 9 should be prepared to reserve their space next meeting.  Last, we will be finalizing plans for participating in the Wadsworth Atheneum's Festival of Trees and Traditions.




July 13, 2014

Looking Back and Moving Forward...

After Action Report:  Inspired Objects Exhibit
Our opening weekend for the Guild exhibit was a great success! We had 50 people turn out Friday night in that awful storm and 72 people Saturday (who signed in anyway). We were able to make a $155 donation to the historical society, which means the guild did $1,550 in sales over the 8 hours we were open. Saturday, the majority of the visitors commented on this being their first trip to the society because they saw an ad for the show. We should be really proud of the professional exhibit that we will be represented by this summer! In addition to our Pre-Show Promo segment on Better Connecticutthere was a great follow up article in the local newspaper after the opening.  Please come out on Wednesday July 23 at 7pm for the Metal Clay Lecture being given by Bevlynn Gallant, guild members receive a discounted entry at the door.  The show closes the weekend of August 9th, so showpieces will be returned to members at the August meeting, no need to schedule a pick up.   We are moving forward with the creation of a catalogue to document the show.  A photographer has been scheduled to come in to shoot the work while on exhibit and development of the book with take place this fall.  Please contact Marge with any questions.

Updates…
Lis-el updated the group on the Metal Clay Mojo 2015 Conference and has already begun accepting registrations.  Please check out the website for a list of the exciting presentations (and presenters) the weekend will be filled with!

The group coordinating the guild's participation in the Florence Griswold Museum's Wee Fairy Village exhibit for this fall has developed a site plan for the installation.  The August guild meeting with be a "making meeting" where we will focus on helping the team make some of the various components for the planned installation.  While the major elements for the installation will be made in metal clay by this team, at the August meeting we will be helping craft various other parts in a variety of media.  Look for the email on useful materials to bring or just show up ready to help with the pre-designed pieces!  Due to the time this will take, we will begin with our regular meeting at 12pm with a pizza party to celebrate our great year and plan to get to the making from 1-5pm.

Upcoming Projects…
Discussion centered around plans for the rest of the year.  We hope to participate in the Wadsworth Atheneum's Festival of Trees with a guild sponsored tree covered in charms as its "ornaments", so members should get to work on your holiday swap charms now!  You will need at least 1 ready for the October meeting to participate in this activity.

We have begun making plans for our 2nd Annual Holiday Show and Sale for November/December.  We are looking into the potential of renting space - from store fronts for a "pop-up gallery" to kiosks in high volume shopping areas.  Members are asked to bring suggestions with specific cost details to our next meeting to vote on the venue and begin planning.

Show & Tell…
Today's Show & Tell included designing reversible pieces, discussion on casting, tips on bezel setting stones and an example of 3D printed jewelry and how that process might influence us as artisans.  

The Toolbox Initiative was also brought up by member Evelyn Pelati as a place for us to consider donating metal we not be reclaiming.  The Toolbox Initiative is a volunteer effort created by jewelers Matthieu Cheminée and Tim McCreight in 2014. The goal is to assist jewelers with limited resources through the collective strength of the metalworking community and to create new connections worldwide.  Please follow the above link to learn more about this powerful global cause.



June 8, 2014

Copyright Protection in the Arts w/ Emily Danchuk

Today's meeting began with Attorney Emily Danchuk presenting on copyright protection in the arts.  Her informative and thought-provolking session gave an overview of artists' rights and responsibilities for protecting their work.  Please visit her website Copyright Collaborative for more information.

The upcoming guild exhibit "Inspired Objects:  Metalworking through the Agesopens at the Windsor Historical Society this Friday.  The show is fully installed and looks great!  We are looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Those participating in the upcoming WFV Show at the Florence Griswold Museum, set some upcoming dates to meet and begin a site plan for the installation, any questions please contact Lis-el.


  

May 18, 2014

Finding your Niche:  Creative Ways to Reach your Market

This month's meeting began by discussing a number of upcoming events for the guild.  Next month, Emily Danchuk will be joining us to present on how she works with artists to protect their intellectual property.  There will be a $5 charge for anyone attending the presentation to help offset its costs.  This is open to artists of all fields and non-members are welcome to attend.  We walked through our upcoming deadlines for the guild exhibit "Inspired Objects:  Metalworking through the Ages" opening at the Historical Society on June 13th, any questions please contact Marge.  A subcommittee has formed to participate in the Fall 2014 Florence Griswold Museum's Fairy Village Installation.  If interested in participating, please contact Lis-el this week.  Metal Clay Mojo 2015 is beginning to take shape and members got a sneak peak at speakers, workshops and programs.  The meeting wrapped with a lively discussion on Finding your Niche:  Creative ways to reach your market.  Members shared their own current successes and  long-term goals, as well as feedback on where they saw each other's work.  A number of marketing strategies and online resources were shared.

Postcard Front Marge




April 13, 2014

Show & Tell

This month began with an exciting round of Show & Tell.  Members shared works in progress, solicited advice on finishing and gave a sneak peek at works being created for our June exhibit.  Member Marjorie Renno even shared her copy of Lark Books most recent publication 1000 beads where her metal clay work is featured on page 52. 

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Topic:  The Art of Pricing 

Members participated in a lively discussion regarding pricing.  They shared their own work and what they charge along with comparable pieces from other sources and those prices.  This served as a springboard for discussing where prices come from, how they are influenced by our intended markets and the larger impacts of under-pricing.   From intuition to rigid formulas (and everything in between) the way to price work was as individual as the artist.    One member even shared a pricing guide and formula chart for those still struggling with this.  In the end, the consensus was that pricing is individual, and the most important aspect was staying consistant.

Update:  June 2014 Guild Exhibit 

Upcoming Deadline for the exhibit:
*April 21, 2014: Any completed pieces that are photographed should be emailed to Marge for promotional materials
*May 1, 2014:  EVERYONE participating needs to email Marge their Name, Piece Title, Price and 250 Word Statement which will be included with your piece in the show.
*May 30, 2014:  All work must be dropped off at the Historical Society




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March 9, 2014

Demo:  The Perfect Toggle Clasp Every Time! 

Member Evelyn Pelati shared her "secret" tips for getting the perfect fit on a toggle clasp each time.  Evelyn shared a variety of designs (some featured above) as she encouraged members to create clasps that reflect the spirit of the individual piece it is being created for.  She demonstrated by building a clasp for a bracelet she is currently finishing and showed simple techniques for getting measurements correct for the toggle bar fitting, while also keeping it flexible enough to manipulate through the open shape.

Member Report:  Visit to RaceCar Jewelry Co.

Members who made the trip to Pawtucket, RI last month to visit RaceCar Jewelry Company returned excited about the potential it may hold for some members looking to expand their potential market.  RaceCar is a full service investment casting and finishing shop specializing in working with artists of all experience levels.  They were warm and inviting as members were given a tour of the facilities and walked step by step through the process from quoting to mold making to casting.  Jewelry Manufacturing Specialist Daniel Grandi took the time to review work that members had brought to discuss its potential for casing and what artists need to consider as they enter in this process.  The guild hopes to have Daniel join us as a future guest speaker.

Topic:  Upcoming Guild Exhibit 

The Guild continued to move forward with our joint show with the Historical Society, Inspired Objects:  Metalworking through the Ages, scheduled to open June 13, 2014.  Members completed Intent to Participate Forms and Vending fees were collected.  Members also received a copy of the "Memo of Understanding" from the Historical Society which outlines deadlines and responsibilities.  For our April meeting, any members who have completed their exhibition piece are asked to bring it to be photographed for promotional materials.  Please contact Marge with any show questions.





February 9, 2014

Member Report:  Buyers Market of American Craft

Having recently returned from Philadelphia, member Evelyn Pelati shared her experience at the 2014 Buyers Market of American Craft.  She worked with Wendy McManus of Studio McManus to see what it's like as an artisan at the Buyer's Market.  While there, she also attended the workshops sponsored by the Arts Business Institute.  She shared with the guild her experiences in sessions which covered topics such as wholesaling, pricing, and the importance of copywriting your designs. 

Topic:  Upcoming Guild Exhibit 

Picking up where we left off last month, we finalized details for the June Show & Sale at the Windsor Historical Society.  The opening reception will be Friday June 13 and the day of demos will be Saturday June 14 in conjunction with CT Open House Day for State Museums.  While the day of demos and artist sales booths will occur that weekend, the exhibit of inspired objects will run through August 8, 2014  If you would like to contact the society or need to see items as a reminder for creating a piece inspired by their collection, please follow this link to objects page .  If you plan to participate in the exhibit, please bring your "Intent to Participate" form to the March meeting.  Contact Marge with any questions.

Demo:  Faux Enamel Effects with Pebeo Paints

Member Lis-el Crowley demonstrated simple techniques for adding color accents to metal clay surfaces with Pebeo's line of Prisme and Moon paints.   She presented preparation of materials/surfaces, layering of colors and recommendations for allowing them to properly set.

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Metal Clay Artisan Guild in

 CT

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Members Review Inspirational Objects w/ Curator of Collections Christina Vida

January 13, 2014
Topic:  Inspiration  

In preparation for our summer show and upcoming challenge, members met at the Windsor Historical Society to start today's meeting.  Curator of Collections, Christina Vida, presented a variety of decorative and utilitarian metal objects from the society's collection.  Members investigated the works and photographed items they felt a connection to.  These inspiring objects will be used as the basis for works members have been challenged to create for our summer 2014 show: Metalworking through the Years.  The inspired creations will be on display with the historical items for an event that sparks interest in historic metalworking, as well as our contemporary techniques.  If you missed the visit, photos of items will be available and Ms. Vida is available by appointment for you to review the items in person.  Please contact her at: cvida@windsorhistoricalsociety.org or 860-688-3813 ext104.

After finishing up at the society, we headed to the Windsor Art Center Studios, where we plan to hold our meetings for 2014.  Once there, we discussed show logistics, made plans for our February meeting and shared a lively round of show and tell, as members have been very busy in their studios this month.  The auction for our 2013 Guild Charm Bracelet is being organized and we will be contacting a local branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation about being the recipient of the proceeds. We even welcomed some new members and hope to see them return next month.





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December 22, 2013
Holiday Party 

Today's meeting was filled with celebration as the Guild reflected on the events of our second year and the opportunities we are planning for 2014.  Members revealed their responses to last month's challenge:  to create a unique charm representing their artistic voice.  The group rose to the occasion -  pictured above is the charm bracelet we will be auctioning off for charity in the coming months.  We have a few more charms coming next month to complete it, but all members participating walked away with a very special collection of charms from this year's participants - a great way to end the year! Thanks to member BevLynn for donating this hand-wrought sterling silver bracelet to proudly display the auction pieces on.

Join us next month at the Windsor Historical Society (follow the link on the right for directions) as we tour their collection of metal objects and look for inspiration for our upcoming show:  Metallurgy through the Years where we will be creating original works inspired by the Society's collection.  We will focus on meeting with the Curator of Collections, Christina Vida, to work out logistics of the show and developing our plan for 2014.  See you in the new year!





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November 17, 2013
Topic: Fall Show Recap
Our first major Guild Show proved to be a success all around!  We met our educational goals with a day full of well attended demos and we had a strong turn out for both days due in part to our listing in the Hartford Courant Calendar section and their Art Smart Blog.  We officially pulled names for the raffle prizes donated by guild members, which attendees were eligible for with the donation of a canned good.  Three large bags of collected items were dropped off at the local food drive earlier this week.  

Topic: MJSA Confab

Members Lis-el and Marge spent the day after our fall show in NYC at the MJSA's ConFab Event.  They shared their excellent experience at this one day conference designed for jewelry artists to examine their business practices.  Check out this blog post on Marge's website for more information about the event and speakers. A topic of ConFab that became a great topic for the guild tonight was Consignment:  Yay or Nay?  Our lively discussion included pros and cons from member experiences and ultimately the importance of contracts when doing business with any potential sellers.

Topic: 2014 Formalizing the Guild & Future Shows

As 2014 approaches, we have begun looking at the Guild's growth.  Marge will be touching base with the Historical Society regarding our next potential exhibit:  Metalwork Yesterday and Today where guild members will develop work for the exhibition based on inspiration from the society's  collection.  

There has also been much discussion of formalizing the guild as a legal non-profit and down the road creating a Metalclay Artisan Guild Coop Gallery.  As a first step, members are encouraged to read the following material in order for discussions to progress:

1.  Co-op 101 a packet from the Cooperative Development Institute with clear explanations and timeframes.


2. Steps to Starting a Marketing Coop a lengthier book by the Northwest Cooperative Federation.  For now, chapter 1 covers where our discussions are at.


3.  
Starting a Guild from the National Brewers Association website.  Check out this page and the various resources they have listed.  It is a comprehensive source for a coop model similar to what we have been discussing.


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Demo: DIY Photo Dome

Our surprise demo this month came from member Bevlynn as she shared her excitement in having successfully created a photo dome for under $10 using a hardware store lampshade.  This handy device has a simple support to cradle either a smartphone or small digital camera and the dome with an opening cut larger for the appropriate sized lens.  The bottom surface and the amount of exterior light needed varied depending on the situation.  Lis-el recently built one using Bevlynn's design and her stunning photos can be seen on the group Facebook page.




October 20, 2013
Topic: Prepping for our Fall Show

Logistics of our fall show Powdered Metallurgy in a Modern World were finalized, they can be found on the Facebook group page or by contacting Lis-el.

Demo: Working with Resin
Eve demonstrated some simple techniques for incorporating resin into metal clay work using Lisa Pavelka's Magic-Glos.  She demonstrated incorporating mica flakes to create color and dimension in the resin, as well as techniques for preparing the metal and properly layering the resin.  Eve also shared Susan Lenart Kazmer's book "Resin Alchemy" as a great resource for getting started. 

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September 22, 2013
Topic: Metal Clay Mojo Conference Recap

From Resin to Hinges to Rivets - Oh My!  This month's meeting was a social frenzy full of celebration and evaluations of the recent Metal Clay Mojo Conference produced by guild member Lis-el Crowley.  As folks shared their work from the month during show and tell, the question was posed as to how we can look at others' work without comparing it to our own and passionate discussion ensued.  


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Lis-el's presentation at the Metal Clay Mojo Conference
 "Fire & Ice: Fusing Glass and Metal Clay"

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Metal Clay Mojo Conference Opening Session: Presenter Panel Discussion

Terry Kovalcik, Jackie Truty, Robert Dancik, Pauline Warg, Linda Kaye-Moses, Wendy McManus, Suzanne McNenly, Wanaree Tanner, Kim Paige, Lis-el Crowley

 




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August 18, 2013
Guest Speaker:  Amber Jones 
Studio Pura, LLC

Today, the Guild was joined by Professional Photographer Amber Jones of Studio Pura, LLC from West Hartford, CT.  Amber walked us through lighting considerations and camera settings before working one on one with individual members to photograph their work and discuss their personal cameras, as well as give pointers on our own at-home set ups.  Those who participated in having work photographed will be receiving a login and password for her studio site in order to access your photos online and be able to download them into your own computer.

There was much discussion of photographing our work and how what we are photographing it for can really dictate what we must consider when taking the pictures.  In between, we did show and tell and discussed up coming events.  Lis-el shared about the Metal Clay by the Bay Conference that she had just returned from teaching at.  The subject then turned to the fact that the Guild is buzzing about the upcoming Metal Clay Mojo Conference and what an exciting time it should prove to be.  There are still some spaces left for those who need to register for the conference, as well as space in some of the post conference workshops.  The final aspects of today's discussion centered around "Kickstarter" and the sorts of projects some Guild members may have that would benefit from exploring it.




July 21, 2013
Demo: Etching Metal for Texture Plates
Today's meeting began by jumping right into our demo.  Marge presented techniques for etching metal.  While guild members worked out designs to do a sample piece using permanent marker as a resist, Marge walked through using tape, PnP and aquatinting techniques to create a resist for the design on the metal.  Please follow this link to her studio blog post on creating a resist for metal etching.  Once members had completed their designs, she walked the group through creating test strips to determine the "bite" of the etch and the safe use and handling of materials.  To see details on how to etch your metal once the resist is set, follow this link to her studio blog post.  The pieces can be used as pieces for jewelry themselves or, as Marge presented in Show & Tell they can be a great way to create a limited edition series where pieces are individualized with different patinas and finishing techniques.  Below are a few examples of etched copper samples completed by members during the demo.

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While our pieces etched we conducted our usual lively meeting, beginning with show and tell.  There was discussion of methods to protect pieces from tarnish, cloisonné in metal clay and experimenting with tension setting stones.  There was also much excitement for member Michelle as we celebrated her inclusion in the gallery section of this month's issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine.  Discussion shifted and included debate over how to "mass produce" work without losing the hand fabricated element - what happens when "success" means producing on a wholesale level and where we might find the balance.  

Upcoming Dates to Note:

July 24th (this Wednesday!) 
Chain-making "playdate" at Art & Soul.  Bring your tools and materials to do some experiments in chain-making based on last month's demo.

Sept 5-10
Metal Clay Mojo Conference & Post Conference Workshops
Contact Lis-el if you have not had a chance to sign up for these exciting programs.

Oct 12 & 13 
The Art Center of Killingworth is hosting an Autumn Art Trail with a show on the green in Madison.  Lis-el is looking into the possibility of us participating as a Guild.  We would be doing demos, educating the public on metal clay and members could  have their work for sale.

Nov. 1, 2 & 3
We are working to organize a holiday show and sale with an opening reception friday night.  More info will be presented at next meeting for those interested in participating.




June 23, 2013
Demo: Patina Resist Designs
Our June meeting began with our usual lively show and tell.  There was discussion of firing antique carnival glass in metal clay, uses for cold mold, better techniques for making repairs and various preferences for magnets in clasps, including neodymium magnets.  Members presented the chains they had made this month since last months demo by Evelyn Pelati.  There was also follow up from her hinge making workshop and the various places members have been using the hinge making techniques.

Discussion of potential show & sale opportunities  followed.  From Open Houses to working with Galleries to Craft Fairs, members discussed and debated how each have worked (or not) for them.  This was followed by a discussion of our potential guild shows in the next year.  A show & holiday sale is being planned for November for all interested members, with more information by our July meeting.  We have also reached out to the local historical society to work with them in putting together a joint show with our guild that explores metallurgy then and now.  

This month's demo was using Sharpie marker to create a resist design using a liver of sulfur  patina done by Lis-el Crowley.  Members shared (and demonstrated) their favorite tools for finishing, from flex shaft accessories to various tumbler medium to good old steel wool.

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Show & Tell:  Member Alexis Crowley's chain explorations after seeing last month's demo!




May 19, 2013
Demo: Chainmaking

This meeting's demos spanned several centuries.  Beginning with traditional jewelry making skills, Ev presented to us a demo on making a classic Loop & Loop Chain to finish our work.  Working with 20g Fine Silver Wire she demonstrated how to construct, fuse and stretch the links before bending them and assembling the chain.  

Demo: Website Building
Moving into more modern day skills for jewelry artists, Ev walked us through building an online shop using IndieMade.  You can check out her shop here.  She showed us everything from setting up an account to building your page design to listing items for sale.  This lead into Marge presenting our upcoming website for the Guild and answering questions about how members should prepare their work digitally for the gallery.  A vote was taken to use money from the dues to pay for the site name and monthly hosting.

In addition to our usual lively discussion during show and tell, there was discussion of upcoming meeting programs including etching copper plates and photographing jewelry as a program for one of our summer meetings.  Members decided to hire a photographer to come in to photo work and answer questions many of us have when trying to prepare professional quality images.  Rather than using dues, it was decided the cost of the photographer will be split among those members participating.





April 28, 2013
Demo: Creating PhotoPolymer Plates

Bevlynn presented a great demo on creating photo polymer plates to develop our own original texture stamps.  We were able to see how to build a simple (and cheap) system from household items and then compared the results to the kit now available from ACW.  

She recommends Maggie Bergman's website for those who missed her demo or would like more information:  http://www.silverclayart.com/ppplates-instr.htm
She also recommends visiting Boxcar Press to purchase Photopolymer Plates.  She did her demonstration with KF152 Letterpress Plates (Unexposed) from $15.45 (plus $13.00 S&H)  for A4 = 8.25" x 11.75"
https://www.boxcarpress.com/shop/kf152-letterpress-plates/

In addition to members sharing their current work, discussion included several topics.  There was even an illustration of using jeweler's investment to make ring stumps to control shrinkage during firing.  

Upcoming technical demonstrations were considered including new resources for building art websites, photographing artwork and fine silver fused chain making for finishing pieces.

There was also discussion of organizing an exhibit and sale for Guild Members that would take place in November 2013. 


© Metal Clay Artisans Guild in Connecticut 2013 - 2015