Sunday, November 20, 2016

Arrowmont - Closing act 2016 - last class session of this season.

Whew, my oh my!

I saved all year long for this one.  And to say the least my class with Joanna Gollberg did not disappoint in the least.  Before I get to the class let me show you a few pictures from Arrowmont.  If you haven't been there, start saving!  I've simply never seen a better equipped studio to work in. Private benches, foredoms, and the tools.  Holy crap - - - - the tools.  Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Our classroom, as taken from my bench!

Half of the tool room in between our studio and the one that Mary Hettsenberger was teaching in.

And this hall was just outside of our studio.  Inspiration was everywhere!

This is such a limited view of the expansiveness of the buildings on the campus.  There were buildings for woodworking and their studios.  Ceramic studios, printmaking/painting, and textile studios.  There are galleries all over the building.  Galleries in the halls, by the store, in the wood working building just before the studio.  Auditoriums - yup several of them.  Resident studios too.

I was excited by my class and in awe of the surroundings, can you tell?  

We were encouraged to visit other classrooms.  Not to be there when lectures or demos were going on but to visit in between and see what was going on.  The creativity was staggering.  Indigo dying, felting on armatures, printing in patterns, mixed media, wood carving, metals.  

Every night there was a presentation of some sort.  Teachers, Teachers Aids (artists in their own right), Residents, the Quilt show opening complete with wine/beer and a snack table that was as good, if not better, than any I'd ever seen at an opening.  The residents even had shows in their studios complete with wine and beer.  

I'm still basking in the glow of  a week long stay.  And to remind me of the wonderful time I had...Joanna left me with a little handiwork.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lucky Me - I have won the Cathy Finegan Scholarship to attend the ISGB Gathering in Las Vegas 2017.

I've put off adding this to the blog.  And why would you ever do that Sharon????  Really!, huh - huh!
I've thought about that.  First, I wanted to wait until it was announced by the ISGB.  But, I still put it off.  I just wanted to jump up and down all on my own for a little bit.  I've done that for two weeks.  I felt like the Scholarship was the beginning of an incredible "lucky me" run and I wanted to save it for the last post in this Lucky Me series.  It could also be called a "very grateful me" series too!

Let me tell about when I first met Cathy Finnegan.  She wouldn't possibly remember it.  I've never seen a bigger ball of energy.  She was running around an ISGB Gathering and making sure everything was perfect.  I didn't much understand anyones role at that time but I was sure to ask who she was and I certainly admired her ability to multi-task.  Plus, she seemed to know everyone's name and have the same energetic smile for all of them.

Remember, my whole career (non-artist) was to observe the social interaction and behavior of nearly everyone around me.  Being the introvert I am I guess it never much turned off no matter where I was - but luckily using the observations only applied at work.

Years later after a Gathering I had the opportunity and pleasure to sit and visit at the after party where everyone was doing Karioke.  My roomie, Lillian Rogers was there, as were Cathy and her parents, Sara Sally LaGrand and many others.  She was as nice as I had suspected.  And, as the saying goes - the nut doesn't fall far from the tree.  Her parents were charming in every way.  So aside from being this fire brand she was sweet, her parents were the same way and I've felt like a silent supporter ever since.

We had to supply some photos for the scholarship entry.  One was of some of our beginning beads.  I don't know about everyone else but I have a string of them right by my bench.  I find they keep me humble and remind me that every time you learn something new you have to start at the beginning.

I was lucky and had an interesting batch of teachers on that round.  Toby Upton was the instructor. He was primarily a boro guy and hot glass worker but he was full of interesting info.  Filling in for Toby was Al Young.  Like wow, His work is in Habitat Gallery.  We used Spruce Pine batch from the kiln that had been pulled into rods for us.  I suspect the leftovers from whatever they were running.  But, what they wanted for for us to feel it was "non-precious" and could be manipulated and thrown away. We were there to learn techniques.  This is the set of beads from that class.

We learned to manipulate tweezers, pairing knives, scissors, and various tools.  It was great.  They've stood the test of time - physically and technique wise.  

Thank you first teachers.  And, thank you all of the teachers since then.  

What does the Cathy Finnegan scholarship mean to me?  I've been thinking about that for two weeks now.  It's not such a casual thing to me that it went without that thought.  To me, it's an acknowlegement of 20+ years of work in the field of glass, it's practice/ practice/ practice, it's being honored and encouraged by the ISGB throughout my career (I've never had them say, "no, I don't want to share how I did that!"), it's all of this and so much more.  In my quiet house I danced like a crazy person barking at the moon - in public, a smile and a wink - but I can tell you my insides are like jelly when I talk about it.  Thank you Cathy Finegan for being the person I knew you were when I first met you and your family.  There wasn't a scholarship back then.  I've seen many fine people since then apply and attend the Gathering since that time because of your contributions.

I am honored - I am molten glass container in steel - I am grateful beyond words, and I am humbled by being chosen.

Thank You * Thank You * Thank You

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lucky Me - Shopping the GL&W Show in Asheville

Have I dropped from heaven and having a good month, or what!!!

I love bead shows, art shows, bead shops, fossils, and on and on.  Back in Michigan there was the GL&W show and it was held near Detroit.  Over the years its dealers dwindled.  It was a shell of its former self and I wondered if the only way to get to see another great wholesale show was to attend the annual in Tuscon, AZ.  Something I'm sure I will never be able to afford.  By the time you paid for plane ticket and hotel - although I have a friend close by I could stay with - you could say a total goodbye to any funds to spend.  And then I'd still be paying off that plane ticket for awhile.

Anyway, I digress.  So we moved here to NC from Michigan.  I love the area - one set of children are fairly close by (although I miss the others) and low and behold...  There isn't only one wholesale show nearby - - - there are THREE.   And two sets a bi-yearly.  The ones in Franklin are by far the biggest but the ones in Spruce Pine are larger than the old one in Michigan.  The Asheville one is only the GL&W Show but considering the other two were early in the year, I'll take it.  

You're not supposed to take any photos in these shows so I snuck these.  I'm not quite sure what it is people were doing with the photos they took that made them ban them.  But, since I have no ulterior motives I hope no one will be too upset.

Attending these is entirely too much fun.  After we parked, in a parking garage instead of on the street somewhere, we found we were at the back of the Civic Center.  Around the center we went - - up the darn hill.  Really?  Does any place I need or want to be around here (Asheville) have to be a low incline?  Some how I figure it's heaven's way of forcing me to exercise.  Around we go and then - whammo, so not done yet - - - another block to the front of the Center and there are photocopied signs plastered in each and every door in the building.  OH TELL ME IT ISN'T SO!  Yup, the entrance is moved.  We must have had this really befuddled and pitiful look on our faces.  A sweet guard came to the door and said, "Oh my, I bet you walked around this building - Come on with me....I've an elevator and can take you right down to the show floor!"  Whew, and thank you southern hospitality.  

We still had to walk up a hill and back to the parking garage but the reprieve provided by that sweet lady certainly made my day. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Lucky Me - A byline in the Bead Release ...

For years I've thought there must be some way I could help with the ISGB.  I've always loved that group.   But to be honest, although I can be a firecracker on-line or in an email - I'm a total introvert so it's not like running for office is a good idea and I'll admit it.  I will never forget the first Gathering I attended.  I believe the first one I went to was the first one they had in Louisville, Kentucky.  So many many really really nice people.  I learned a lot and there wasn't anyone who wouldn't answer questions or help out with tips to move my lampworking forward.  I was in awe.  I think I still am.

When I saw Jeri and Shermo at Hot Times Jeri asked if I might consider helping out with the Bead Release.  Well sure, I'd be delighted.  Actually, I'd be rabbit hopping happy to do it....but gheeze Sharon, try and be a little cool - will ya!!!  She put me in touch with Kris Schaible and we exchanged some emails.  I worked up a few articles with Kris's encouragement.  I'm kind of a fill in writer - where the subject fits in and all the moons aligns(which means in Sharon language that I haven't written in Klingon or something).

And whoo hoo - the first one was accepted and published in the Release.  Kris said she heard good feedback on the article so that's wonderful.  It's encouraging.  I'll take it!

The article was about collaborating with another artist on a show piece.  I've seen so many great collaborations.  I've written a second article branching out from the first one.  Off and on for years I've teamed with teaching partner and taught at Beadfest when its been convenient for the two of us. Fingers crossed that it too will be well received.

Feeling very grateful!!

And hey, if you've never heard of the ISGB here you go.  Click HERE.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lucky Me - Hot Times

This is going to be a short series of posts called "Lucky Me".  It's been a busy couple of months which is why I haven't posted much....excuses, excuses!

I had been wanting to attend Hot Time in Mountains for quite a few years.  This year was especially sweet for me as it was a class that  Mary Lockwood was teaching.  I've admired her work for a very long time. Unfortunately by the time I inquired it was sold out.  Then there was an opening but I knew I wasn't the first to ask about a slot so I just let it pass.  Then, tah dah - Jeri called me from Hot Times and told me they had a seat if I'd like come and spend the second day there.

Well heck yeah I would.  It was great.  A Touch of Glass is such an interesting old building.  An old firehouse.  It is full to the brim with just the greatest batch of goodies.  I so love searching in every nook and cranny of wonderful places like that.  Oh gosh, and that was besides the fantastic class.

These are photos shots from this great mini-conference.  I know the Spring Hot Times is full but they are taking people for the wait list so just google Hot Times and get yourself signed up!!

Jeri Warhaftig doing a demo
The old fire pole in A Touch of Glass (Asheville)

Dragon by Mary Lockwood.

Fun stuff guys!!

Yeah, I know.  Some times it looks like I've given up lampworking for other art forms.  No so, but right now I am working on an awful lot of things to go with it.  

Have a great evening!

Monday, October 24, 2016


Wow, I've been so busy.   Everything around here has just been a hopping.  I'll fill you in the next couple of posts.  Here is a follow-up about the Navajo stamps.  They are so much fun and stamp so beautiful.

I've found that the best way to align them is to mark both the metal and the stamp.  On the metal I drew concentric circles with a cross hair.  On the stamps I marked the top center and bottom center. It's easy to get stamps rolled in the wrong direction so I find it a lot easier to do it this way.

Here's are some photographs of the progression -

This is the log I've set up to stamp on.  I was so lucky to gt this one.  I'd been looking for one but had wanted it to be only about a foot tall and really wide.  One day when we were cruising down by the River Arts District in Asheville we ran into a county tree service cutting down some trees in one of the lots.  They were simply huge - and just what I was looking for.   The guys were so very nice and not only helped me and hubby pick one out but one young hunky guy carried it to the car for us. SCORE!  I tried to get him to accept a tip so he and the guys could get a pop or something but he refused.  What a nice young man.  Nice people are just EVERYWHERE!

That's all for now.  I will try and be more consistent with posting....honest!  

Hugs to All,  Sharon

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Hi Everyone!

We were doing process posts and I thought I'd show you how I decide on a pattern for a symmetrical stamped piece of work.  The previous ones were somewhat asymmetrical. 

Firstly, there are a lot of places to get stamps now days.  My first ones came from either Rio Grande Jewelers Supply (which was very limited 20 years ago), and Indian Jewelers Supply.  You could get letter stamps from Harbor Freight or some very tiny ones from Otto Frei.  After that, Beaducation jumped on board and you got all of the fonts you could ever want and lots of designs that up until that time were unavailable.  Lately though it's been back to my roots - I had started with a variety of Native American Stamps.  Today, it's handmade stamps from House of Stamps.  They are strictly Navajo handmade stamps and they ROCK!

Now, it's not to say there aren't other stamp makers.  ImpressArt makes some great stamps but I've never used them.  There are other handmade stamp makers but there is nothing like a stamp made by someone with generational experience.  You can just type in "stamps for metal" in Google and check it out.   So, if I've missed your favorite stamp store, I apologize.  But I'm only going to talk about what I know and I've been using metal stamps for a long long time and have a very extensive collection from all kinds of companies. 

So lets talk about my favorites.  Those are from Lyndon Tsosie and the family at House of Stamps.  Lyndon is an Navajo artist.  His work is "to die for" exquisite.  So, not only do Lyndon and his family run a business to sell original and handmade Navajo stamps by the "makers" Lyndon disseminates major amounts of tutorial information on the stamp facebook page.  If you have not joined yet - do so!!  House of Stamps (this is the Facebook page).  I can't tell you what a relief it is not to have someone forcing at me a pay for it tutorial so I can understand how best to use their product.  And it's the aim of Lyndon to see to it that our questions are answered and that we can use those stamps to the best of our ability.  He, and his family, are the best cheerleaders for original stamp working I have ever met.  And, on top of that they are great people.  What a joy to work with them.  I have never been disappointed in my stamps or in the way they conduct business. 

Go and join their Facebook page.  They "kind of " BIN out the stamps on both their Facebook page and their Web site.  See for yourself.  You'll meet lots of great people, get good tips, and maybe even purchase a stamp or two.  Tell them I sent you.  I don't get anything out of asking you to mention me.  You know how I am about passing along good info and these people and their operation are good people.  I just want them know I'm shouting them out.

Now, on that process to decide on what I'm going to stamp - and how....

These are a fist full of the stamps I've been accumulating.  When I get a stamp I stamp it in my drawing tablet for a quick reference since my studio is downstairs.  I keep my HOS stamps in the boxes you see in the pictures.  All of my stamps have boxes or containers.  It's just plain easier to find them. 
Here you see what I do.  I pick a stone (that came from HOS too) - draw around it.  I give myself a little room for a bezel, move the stone, and start stamping.  Trials are to the left.  You can see the line of stampings I did.  When I find something I think is perfect I begin.  I didn't like the star pattern I added last (too visually light for what was going on).  But there it was, in permanent ink!  When I feel like I've got it down why do it over.  I just stamped various "other" possibilities on an index card and cut them out.  One by one I moved them over the star until I decided which option to use. 
After the holiday is over maybe I can get this stamped out.  I still need a stump.  I used to have a good one but left it back in Michigan.  That wasn't the best plan.  We are hoping today to cut one from a tree the neighbor cut down.
Have a great Labor Day and I hope you enjoyed the links!  

Sunday, July 31, 2016


I said I'd show you what I've been up to - - actually I think I had already begun that before the Op Ed post.  These are what I call process photos.  I will often take photos of what I'm doing so I can go back over them in the evening (if I think about it). 

Have you ever taken a photo of some work and all of a sudden there is this glaring mistake you didn't know what there?  Boy oh boy have I.  All of a sudden you will see there was a hairline fracture in stone, a solder seam that you could have improved on earlier in the process - you know. 

While settling in here to NC I've been looking around to improve my skill set - and make some new friends.  I have to say I am a tad concerned about that one, the new friends part.  It was easier to meet people when I was thirtyish.  Now that I am sixtyish it seems that people already have their "friends" groups.  I sure hope I can begin to include myself in a few of them.  So while looking around for classes, although I think I already knew, I've found the Asheville area is a wealth of artistic riches.  Penland north, Arrowmont in TN, John C Campbell, William Holland, Haywood College, and everything in between.  Be still my heart!!

I've signed up for a few for the Fall.  In the meantime I've taken two and updated a strong skill set. 

Currently I'm continuing to metalsmith and working with glass and found object.  This is one of several pieces using sea glass.  I love the stuff found on beaches and roads.  Fingering through Grandma's button boxes and my own cigar boxes of cracker jacks goodies cemented that forever in my aesthetics.   Let alone the fact that I grew up in Detroit - the epicenter of assemblages of parts. 

Here is one of the current pieces.  I hope you like where I'm going.  And again, if you have a question, ASK.  I love talking process.

Here is the drawing of the piece.  I do typically take whatever object I'm going to bezel and draw around it in my sketch book.  From there I work out around it.  There are often variations on a theme and many designs and as I post about what I'm doing you are often going to see photos with a star and maybe some highlighter.  The highlighter is so I can find them in the sketch book.  They're the ones I've decided are worth exploring more.

What are you currently doing that works for you?

Everything is all soldered up fitted. I've out the piece of glass in several times to make sure it fits. And I've made some design adjustments. I liked the holes on the original drawing but thought the lacier look of loops would balance better on the left side final piece. Now to clean out the solder globs on the inside of that bezel.  The last thing I want to do is to crack that glass when I set it. 

The next photo shows this piece with all of the bells and whistles added.  The stone (glass) is fitted and now it only needs to be oxidized and finished up. 

At the bottom is one piece I've completed.  It contains a malachite cab that was given out as a bonus when I purchased some Navajo stamps.  I thought it would look great in this piece. Just need to get that final photograph ready for Etsy.  I'm switching my regular Etsy (Right Turn ArtWerks) over to finished jewelry.  A new site, Right Turn Part Werks will eventually contain all of goodies I so love to create to add to my pieces.

Now for the finish!
This one is complete.  Sorry the photo isn't as "crisp" as I would like.  It's just one of my "process" photos.  Not the dazzler I should have to list it for sale.  (Smile!).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Good Grief, It's an Op-Ed

I would post the offensive video but it and the original comments were removed from Facebook - I only have a Facebook post I will show you was all that was left.  But if anyone has the original stuff - add it to comments.

Oh My!  Tonight I saw this video link posted by Leslie Villarreal.  It was of some kids, obviously gang bangers.  And how would I know this? - worked with those kind of kids for a long time.  What they were doing was horrific.  They were video taping and a member was attacking what appeared to be another member of a disenfranchised group....maybe homeless, maybe addicts, I don't know what the mix of adults was.  But one lady who confronted the young man was hit (perhaps knocked out). 

It was hard to watch - and trust me, as someone who worked in the business for a long time it was even very difficult to listen to when these kids had to recount their crimes.

What surprised me was the number of people who said (because of Leslie's posting) that had they been there they would have shot the kid or done something.  Really?  Now, I will fully admit what happened was awful, there is no excuse for it.  But, there were over a dozen adults there as the young man carried out his mayhem.  So many people, not all, but many who posted implied they would have done something, if only they'd been there.  Really? 

I noticed that Leslie herself hadn't said what she would have done - although she was the one who reposted the heinous video.  So, I asked her - what would she have done.  She said she would have shot him in the balls, not killed him - just shot him in the balls. 

Oh my.  I wondered whether anyone had taken a really good look at what they were watching. and I stated that.  There was a kid (accomplice I called him) video taping the event - and at least one or two others visible, also in hoodies.  There were also many others in the background and to the left just off of the screen.  Where their alliances  stand within this video'd group I could not say.  But, what I did was to reply to the "shot off their balls" comment.  You can not draw a gun in a group of people and shoot someone when it is not your life in danger.  That is for a policeman, whether you are registered to carry or not.  Should she have drawn a weapon in this situation she would have been arrested, or worse yet killed. 

The broad conviction that you could and should shoot their balls off seemed very much like vigilantism.  Yes, what happened was gruesome but we can not just shoot someone.  We can, and should call the police.  I suggested that picking up a gun to shoot someone because we are shocked by what they have done is of no difference than the vigilantes who took up guns against the police because they too were disturbed by other videos.  When does this stop?

It's simply crazy to think this can continue to be perpetuated by even well meaning citizens....and I'm using that term very loosely.  How well meaning is it to stir the pot?

As I said, I have done this for a long time.  Those kids wear hoodies to hide guns, drugs, knives, whatever.  All of the adults sitting around in that video had no reaction to what happened - other than to move a coffee out of the way and scoot over.  To that, I asked her "Why?" I wanted her to think about that.  THEY knew something us "video-bite" observers did not know.  That, these kids were dangerous - that if they intervened they would be in harms way.  They (the people who were standing around) did indeed seem to outnumber the thugs.  I'm guessing they knew damn well it wasn't going to be a fair they stayed out of it.  They might have even bought drugs from these very kids.

Another Facebook poster noted that the thugs had later been arrested.  And, that is the way it should be.  And, no armchair quarterbacks had to be involved.  Hallelujah!

I guess I struck a nerve or two or three.  WOW.  Never did I say I wasn't concerned about the victim - nor did I mention whether I am a conservative or liberal.  Just because I worked a difficult job for the State of Michigan - and a good paying one with exceptional insurance, it doesn't much indicate a whole lot of anything.  I worked with Republications, Conservatives, Democrats, and I dare say a good number of great Christian people who would take Leslie to task on her shooting someone.  Although all of them were hunters.  I never even stated anything any differently than I stated it here - although shorter, for sure.

But, look at what posting arrived on Facebook - just before the entire posted nonsense was deleted from Facebook:

"What really gets me are the people commenting on that videolink Sharon Driscoll- totally unconcerned about the victim but more conerned that one of us conservatives has the courage to defend and protect others by personally taking the liberal down. OMG totally insane thinking, I wish you would all move to Syria an Lybia for a while.. then you might appreciate reality here in America." ,by Leslie Villarreal.

There is no way to take that's too angry and distorted. 

Moving on!  Tomorrow, some great jewelry!  Good to be back.