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Organically Inspired. . .

Metal Clay Mojo 2015

What was up two years ago, when I completed two blog posts and then failed miserably at clicking on the “publish” button on either one? It just leaves me shaking my head. Truly, these are too good not to post, even though they are inexplicably delayed. Enjoy!

Metal Clay Mojo, also known as heaven for metal clay addicts, was exactly what I needed to spark my creative flame and fill up my well of happy vibrations. This gathering of about 75 metal clay artists was something special for sure.  The setting at a retreat center in rural Connecticut, and the particular people who were drawn to the event made for a magical week.

I can’t write about Mojo without recognizing Lis-el and Alexis Crowley.  Lis-el is a passionate metal clay maker and teacher with a drive to build communities. She started the Metal Clay Artisans Guild in Connecticut, which has grown to become a supportive and dedicated group of artists and friends. Without Lis-el, there would be no Mojo.  She envisioned the kind of conference she would want to attend, and she made it happen – twice!  I don’t know where she finds the energy, but I’m eternally grateful.

Lis-el Crowley demonstrates the unpredictable, totally freeing process of painting with alcohol inks.
Lis-el Crowley demonstrates the unpredictable, totally freeing process of painting with alcohol inks.

Throughout the conference, our days were a smorgasbord of presentations and demonstrations with plenty of time in between for hanging out and catching up with friends.

Terry Kovalcik brought clever visual aids for his presentation on painting with slip.
Terry Kovalcik brought clever visual aids for his presentation on painting with slip.
Lis-el leads a session on creating textures with Scratchfoam and Photopolymer Plates.
Lis-el leads a session on creating textures with Scratchfoam and Photopolymer Plates.

Each evening, there were creative activities to enjoy for fun and inspiration.  I dyed a silk scarf.  I’m sure you would never guess, but it’s purple!  We painted with alcohol inks on Yupo (synthetic coated paper).  I tried out the Pebeo Fantasy Prisme and Moon paints, which were super-cool. I see a Dick Blick order in my future.  Many participants generously gave their time to demonstrate different materials and tools each evening, and I appreciate every one of them.  I particularly enjoyed playing with porcelain clay with Noortje Meijerink, the master of combining porcelain clay and metal clay.  More about that in another post.

This odd-looking pose is me blowing alcohol inks around on the paper through a straw.
This odd-looking pose is me blowing alcohol inks around on the paper through a straw.
Bill Struve demonstrates a type of 3D printing using BronzClay extruded through a powered syringe. He is building a tiny model of the Eiffel Tower. Very cool!
Bill Struve demonstrates a type of 3D printing using BronzClay extruded through a powered syringe. He is building a tiny model of the Eiffel Tower. Very cool!

Susan Lumoto, the author of the Daily Art Muse blog, lives nearby on the Connecticut coast.  Susan and I became friends when she executed the re-design of this website last fall.  On the last evening of the conference, Susan stopped by for a visit.  I wanted to make sure she met and saw the work of the titans of the metal clay world that were gathered together.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when she featured Terry Kovalcik on her blog just a few days later. I’m hoping to see more posts about the other artists Susan met that night.

Susan Lumoto checks out Terry's incredibly detailed creations while Kim Paige looks on.
Susan Lumoto checks out Terry’s incredibly detailed creations while Kim Paige looks on.

There were other factors that made this conference so special.  The Guest House Retreat Center is a lovely facility.  It’s not fancy and it’s not new, but it’s comfortable and well cared for.  Behind the center is a short walking trail that passes by a meditation labyrinth.  I enjoyed walking the path, setting my intention for the day and thinking happy thoughts about the people buzzing about inside the building.  One section of the walking trail is covered in moss and looks like something out of a fantasy film.  Magical!

Walking meditation labyrinth at the Guest House Retreat Center.
Walking meditation labyrinth at the Guest House Retreat Center.

I must also mention Carol Douglas and her fantasy meditations.  Throughout the conference, I had three opportunities to sit quietly with eyes closed while Carol spun a fantastical tale.  Each story was different and each was a journey.  Carol’s voice would lead me from one place and experience to the next, urging me along the way to fill in the details in MY version of the story.  These sessions were fun and inspiring, and I appreciate this gift that Carol shared with us so freely.

A bit fuzzy, but perhaps that's fitting. Carol Douglas likes to keep things fluid and interesting, as the creatures inside her head seek their turn to come out and play.
A bit fuzzy, but perhaps that’s fitting. Carol Douglas likes to keep things fluid and interesting, as the creatures inside her head seek their turn to come out and play.

As a closing thought, I want to express my gratitude to all of the kind, generous, smart, funny people who gathered at Metal Clay Mojo.  I was grinning from ear to ear throughout the entire event, and that’s because you all bring out the very best in me.  I love my metal clay family and I look forward to our next opportunity to connect. I’ve found my tribe!

Anna Mazon and Wendy McManus share a smile during Metal Clay Mojo.
Anna Mazon and Wendy McManus share a smile during Metal Clay Mojo.
Amy Heitt demonstrates making a tiny ball.
Amy Heitt demonstrates making a tiny ball.
Anna Mazon and Deb Steele share a moment.
Anna Mazon and Deb Steele share a moment.
With friends Julie Booras and Lynda Cmara.
With friends Julie Booras and Lynda Cmara.

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