Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Its like this every year.

In late October I go through this period of withdrawal.

I crave the noise. The laughter.

I long for a garage full of tables and tools.

There are exponentially less people around the dinner table. And that's kinda sad.

And it's kind of funny because I'm really a homebody and a quiet person.

But in October I meet up with some of the most fabulous talented friends - and we spend the most amazing week together. And its loud and chaotic and hilarious. And tiring and touching and just OH so much fun.

Talking the same language, sharing favorite foods, working until late at night - or going to bed early  - its a week of freedom. No expectations. Just hanging out in a lovely lake setting.

And now its quiet. *sigh*

And I'm counting the days until next year!!!

This year's retreat was maybe one of my favorites (of course, I probably say that every year!).

While there were certain things we wanted to see or share or try - everyone has skills and has the ability to just jump in and work. As the years go by we all just settle in more and work. As much as we want....when we want. There is an incredible amount of respect and sharing. It's an amazing cohesive group.

Every year we have a group exchange of some sort - this year's group gift 'thing' was a charm swap coordinated by Nancy. YAY! AND, Wendy brought us fabulous gifts from China - I am now the proud owner of a tea cup (not like any teacup you've seen though) and a water temperature testing thingy - I forget what its called, but its a watermelon with a frog and it apparently squirts water after it soaks up water...I dunno - I'll fill you in later.

I know if you are still reading that you're hanging in for photos. So, here is a teaser....
Back row (L->R) Lisa, Janice, Christy, Tara, Angela, Rina, Anne
Front Row (L->R) Linda, Sue, Saree, Wendy, Nancy

Some of my work from the week:

handcrafted sterling silver necklace with gemstones
Fabricated - sterling, charoite, peridot garnet, onyx, citrine

This was my 'big' project this year. I created all the components playing with the theme of shapes/geometrics. I am really pleased with how this turned out and think it could be the start of a new series.

handcrafted sterling silver necklace with gemstones

Fabricated - SS, plume agate, amethyst, smokey topaz

I actually made this pendant last year, but had not set the stones. I was really happy to find the original stones and set them!

handmade sterling silver pendant
 Sterling Stackers - SS and sapphire
(Each year there are one or two items that catch on and a bunch of us make. This year it was Lisa's a stacking rings - her 'galaxy rings' she teaches in a basic metalsmithing class. I've never made stackers but I'm hooked!)

SS, 14k gold, garnet (copper back)
These began life intending to be something very different. They are layered ss over copper, textured, and given a satin finish. 14k gold textured sheet stirrups allow the earrings to sway and a garnet bead (on front and back) offer a little pop of color.

 More photos to come!