Thursday, 31 March 2011

Masterclass with Kate McKinnon

Ah!! Where do I begin? I bought Kate's book Sculptural Clay a while back, and it totally changed the way I deal with my stuff. I was just so blown away by the information, that when I came across a picture online I followed the link to her blog and sent her a mail thanking her for the information. To my complete surprise she wrote back immediately! I went on to read some of her blog and discovered that she was going to be doing a masterclass about 150 miles from where I live. Even more surprising there was still a space on the course. I then (as I do) ummed and ahhed and decided I just could not justify the cost. Wrote and told all involved. Got a lovely message back saying I could come for a shorter period for a cheaper rate. Still in my head had decided against it, working out how many tools and books and supplies I could buy for the equivalent. Slept on it, woke up and apparently in my sleep had decided to go!!
The lovely BF suggested we make a weekend of it.

Saturday morning: Hadn't been able to make the get to know you meal the night before so made sure I was well early so as not to be the last 'billy no mates' to arrive. Was very pleased BF came with me as the directions said turn left at the substation. I had no idea what a substation was!!

Anyway, I was the first to arrive and met Kate. Exactly how I imagined her. Also a tall lady (which I really liked), funny, warm, generous. We had name places round the most wonderul studio, and I was sat right next to her. She had brought us each a double DVD of hers as well as a few little items that she knew we weren't able to get hold of easily in this country.

So, it started at 10, and I sat there totally enthralled for 3 hours while she demonstrated the things she thinks are most important. Then we went for a wonderul lunch, again I was sat next to her and again she was just the greatest company. You know what it's like when you meet someone and think 'yep - I really like you'!

Back in the studio in the afternoon and again she demonstrated more bits, components to make, different ways to use the clay and I think if I was going to pick out just a couple of things I have really taken on board, (since reading the book) it would be the way to cut and dry without leading to all that bloody sanding. I had always questionned the sanding thing and the logic of breathing it in, and here was someone saying, just don't do it, get it right and you won't need to.

I had tried putting her techniques into practise from watching her DVD but when you actually see someone do them it just all falls into place.

What I love about the clay, is the full firing, and now I just adore hammering the silver into oblivion - I mean submission - sorry I mean into a nice solid strong piece. The same way that you get with sterling. I am finally proud again instead of being slightly worried that I was taking an easy way out, that is just not true, I am working with a very pure material, that when treated properly is every bit as good, if not better than sterling with bits of copper and nickle in it.!!

Am I rambling? mmm

So, eventually we got down to making. Now to be honest, that was the bit I wasn't really looking forward to, I am not someone who can do things like that in front of others, I just become all fingers and thumbs, and hey presto I made the most rediculous mistakes ;-)

Lovely BF was supposed to collect me at 5, but the class continued and continued and eventually I made my apologies and left an hour and a half later.

I had the best experience, I have no funny stories to tell, I was just enthralled all day, and that isn't really that amusing!

(The only amusing thing actually was that in that gorgeous part of the world, in the village / town we were staying on a Saturday night, the BF went hungry, all we could find to eat were two packets of crisps!! - amusing for me maybe not so much for him).

This is my proud attempt at a rivet spinning ring - I have no idea what it is actually called, but it's a beast and I love it!


YorkAvenueStudio said...

You describe meeting Kate like I picture I would feel meeting you! I really enjoy reading your posts and I'm so glad you had the chance to take this class! I know it must have been tough not being the last one to leave, your BF is very patient!
Great photos and post and I love your spinner ring! Super clean lines and done so well!

averilpam said...

Your ring is stunning, I love it! It sounds like that was a brilliant experience, well worth the cost :)

Somethingxtraspecial said...

York? that is such a lovely thing to say thank you! I do wish cyber land was a bit closer and more real, it would be so great to meet so many lovely lovely people - can you imagine? just choosing people from all over the world that you have loads in common with? how amazing that would be!

Averil - thank you!! It was and it was, and the second we got there I completely forgot the cost. Money just doesn't really count when its about value does it!

Dawn DiGesare of DaVoria Jewelry said...

Thanks for sharing your experience! What a great story. I also have Kates book and have watched her video over and over. Her work is perfect and she just glides through it.

Envydesignsjewelry said...

Great post Sue! What a fabulous experience! You two look like peas in a pod!
I too wish we were all a little closer so we could meet in person! Guess I'll just have to put England on the list for our next trip!

Somethingxtraspecial said...

Dawn - its odd, once you watch her, you wonder why you didn't do it like that all along. Experiences are wonderful things eh!
Envy - Do come to England, when its good its just fabulous, sadly there are about 10 months bad - but choose a good month and you'll love it!

Jennifer Kistler said...

Sounds like you made the right decision to go. I loved reading about all that enthusiasm! I do far too much sanding and would love to know what her techniques were for avoiding it. I had actually just been thinking about that very thing earlier today.

Somethingxtraspecial said...

In case anyone is interested, I know what it's like to write on a blog and not go back and check for the answer, so if anyone else is interested in the sanding thing like Jennifer, leave a comment here and I'll write you directly - I think its so important.