My friend Mallory sent me a link last night with a question, “Is this you?” Well, by George, IT IS! I remember Jennifer Heynen (Jangles) taking the photo but figured (as all women do) that I wasn’t the most photogenic in the class so it wouldn’t be showing up anywhere.
How wonderful it this. I get my next 15 seconds in the limelight courtesy of Bead and Button and Jennifer Heynen's blog. I’ve been holding back talking about Jennifer because I was just waiting for my projects to arrive and I wanted to show them to you along with this post but now they’ll get their own mention, they’ll be arriving soon.
I haven’t worked with clay much since college. It is not my thing and everyone knows the story of me and clay at Northwestern Michigan College. When I was taking my art classes there, the usual prerequisites to a degree in commercial art, the teachers insisted I sign up for classes outside of my area of expertise. They thought I would get more out of the experience if I tried something I truly had no interest in. Uh huh. I was happy making lithographs, ecstatic painting, silk-screening was the bomb….but clay. UCK! That meant getting my hands dirty and I didn’t like getting my hands dirty – really.
You want to know how much I didn’t like getting my hands dirty????? I’m a hand washer – maybe my mother was afraid of germs. I had five pneumonias. So it was drilled into me, “Keep those hands clean Sharon”. Top if off with when ever I got things under my fingernails I cringed until I got them clean. Weird, weird, weird kid. Now these professors wanted my hands dirty……hmmmmm. Wasn’t it enough that the printing was clean and impeccable and my ink work unblemished with spots? I was great at keeping ink off of my hands and my work.
Into the clay department I went. And everyday out of the clay department I’d come and vomit. Yup, that’s it. A gut wrenching goodbye to my coffee and breakfast. Everyone thought that would go away. Every time the clay dried on my hands off I would go…..and back I come…back and forth…..12 weeks of it. Finally the other students felt so bad for me that pots began showing up on my bench with my initials carved in the bottom. A whole semesters worth of work contributed by the other students so I could pass. It was a good thing because after all of the running I think I had about five pieces and they looked a whole lot like my first kindergarten work. I passed the class and made a ton of friends that semester.
I also eventually recovered from the ‘dirty hand syndrome’. Good thing because I like to garden and I like the clay. I’m planning to use the clay as a mixed media component to my beading and metalwork. I’ve started on a few things – they’re small and as they evolve I will post them. And, when the class pieces arrive from Jennifer I will post them too. I’m excited to see how they turned out.
If you don’t know Jennifer Heynen – look her up – she’s Jangles. She wrote the great book you see the jacket cover of. It gets an unabashed two thumbs up from this critic. Everything she teaches in class is in there and more. It’s well written and concise. Then there is Jennifer herself. She is high energy, high smiles, and high on her medium. It’s great when you can get those virtues all in one teacher. She is not JUST a technician, she’s an artist. She’s a talented and cleaver designer so you’ll enjoy the advice you’re given while you are working on your pieces. I’d HIGHLY recommend taking one of Jennifer’s classes. I also think if you have a guild or group you could pass along that she is one of the teachers you’d like to have brought in…you won’t regret a minute of it.
Buy the book - Available at Amazon and Jangles.