Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fire! and Water!

 I'm a week back from a great trip. . .Kiln enameling classes (Fire!) with Angela Gerhard in Holyoke, MA, and then on to Providence, RI (Water!), for the Certification course in Zentangle® (CZT®).  Both were bucket list experiences!  I'm going zero in on the enameling classes for this blog entry. . .

The drive up from Frederick, MD, to Holyoke, MA, was grueling - particularly the part through NYC!  I like having my car (hate flying) and being able to bring the kitchen sink (I am kinda high maintenance - from makeup to tools - not to mention my hanging rod closet).  For me, a Google projected 6.5 hour drive turned into a 10+ hour traffic marathon!  AND since I was attending two very diverse learning venues on this trip, I had twice the tools.  I tend to bring twice the wardrobe needed anyway!  My jewelry selection was well thought out and weighed 10 lbs. on it's own!

I arrived in Holyoke 36 hours before my enameling classes were to start.  I needed to rest and regroup before I spent HOURS learning kiln enameling!  Also, I had homework for the Zentangle Seminar (last photo).  I had never stayed in a Bed and Breakfast before.  That was a big part of this adventure!
Walnut Grove.  Beautiful Mini Mansion in Holyoke, MA.
As blessing and favor to me would have it, I was the only guest this weekend.  The room was charming and the hospitality from Hosts, Marjorie and Denis, was perfect!  Homemade granola and homemade yogurt along with fresh fruit, muffins, etc. made the PERFECT Breakfast.  The decor was complimentary to the house.  And art abounded throughout the lovely home (both hosts were artists.  Check out Denis' website).

Walnut Grove grounds!  Pool and bunny included!

Gracious living at Walnut Grove

The Kiln Enameling Class

I am a art class junkie (a hands on learner) and was so excited when Angela agreed to private lessons in kiln enameling.  I first saw her work on Facebook.  I approached her through emails for private lessons after viewing Angela Gerhard Jewelry's Facebook page!  I was already enrolled in the Zentangle Seminar in RI and hoped to piggy-back this experience before heading on to the CZT Seminar.  Angela is an amazing and talented young woman with an incredibly devoted work ethic.  Also, she was so candid and sharing.

Angela in studio.

The beast I needed to learn to use - just like mine at home!

I bought a kiln a year ago from a friend. As I said before, I learn by doing.  Unless I get hands on, I usually struggle with learning new techniques. Some tools (torches, kilns) require good understanding and techniques and as favor would have it Angela uses the exact same kiln as mine and even had an extra instruction booklet for me to bring home!

Oh, and I brought my torch enameling set with me to give her a demo.

She had dozens of "samples" to show me and for me to select from to learn the technique.  My intention for this class was to learn using a kiln for enameling and particularly to learn the sgraffito technique (her technique!).  I got great instruction for both and much more.  Two days of enameling bliss!

Angela's SAMPLES!  Any piece here could have been bezeled and worn with pride!  But they were just her"samples."  Drool!

Here are a few of my finished pieces displayed on my idea layout.  The pendant on the chain is the Zentangle pattern "Mist" done in the sgraffito technique.  I shared the black earrings with my B & B host (and new friend), Marjorie.  The pendant on the upper left was simply clear enamel over textured copper.  I have quite a few other pieces in various stages of completion.  I was amazed and impressed at the time and effort to complete each piece.  Kiln enameling is layer upon layer, firing after firing, completely different than the Painting With Fire® technique that I have been using and teaching the past 2 years.  There are some benefits to kiln enameling (specially for flat and larger pieces) and I can't wait to set my kiln up and give it a go here at home.

Also, since Angela's hydrolic press was set up in the studio, she gave me instructions on the press usage and shared piece building techniques using found obects.  More fun!  Another new tool in the future?

A wonderful learning experience!  Beautiful, peaceful B & B! I even found time to Tangle.
Little dried gourd that I tangled for display on the "Student Table" at the CZT Seminar.

"Certified Zentangle Teacher."  Next blog post.


Carol Dee Myers, CZT


  1. Awesome pictures Carol!!! Wonderful work : )

    1. Thank you, dear friend! It was a wonderful time. . .part two of this trip coming soon to blog land, I hope. Writing is a real effort for me! I really want to share but talking is more "ME!" Don't you know! ;)

  2. Awesome pretty lady. Sure miss ya


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