Sunday, June 19, 2011

Master Class in Milwaukee

Myself and Carol

Two weeks ago today, I started out on my first day of the bead weaving Master Class at Bead and Button with Carol Wilcox Wells. Can I say it was an amazing three days with a true bead Master? Well, indeed, I can. Carol's class was about "Creating a Common Thread". Each day we all sat in a circle and shared what we wished to accomplish and how, or what we discovered about our selves being there in class with so many other talented beaders. Carol would then show her journey through slides on how she developed her true voice by experimenting and establishing a style totally her own. She encouraged all of us to do that too, but the key to finding your own style or voice is to first master the venue you are wanting to excel in. So by taking us each day through the different steps in Mastering Right Angle Weave, we slowly grew and learned to take the different projects and make them our own. Carol was a fantastic teacher. Her approach was open and gentle. She taught the way I like to teach, taking time with each student and patiently listening and watching to make them not only comfortable but achieve the lesson without being overwhelmed. Carol's laugh is something I'll always keep with me. It was so true and so filled with joy. Carol's assistant was her daughter-in-law Annette who was just as open, just as charming, and just as joyful as Carol. Annette would patiently sit next to anyone helping them to understand the thread patterns while Carol was on the other side of the room helping another student. Annette & I talked about dogs (she'd just lost her dog to cancer), her children, her adopted children and everything else in between. She was such a welcome addition to this class & I think she herself is a great teacher.
Third Day project

Carol shared with us stories of how she progressed from making amulet bags to baskets to sculptural jewelry pieces. She showed us slides of her studio in the Appalachian Mountains, her garden, and her family. I felt like I was taking back a piece of Carol with me along with the skills to Master RAW. When I got back home, I was so immersed in this bead weaving technique that I even found myself dreaming of the twist and turns of the needle and thread. I dreamed of taking what Carol had taught me & reworking all the old necklaces I'd made using the foundational skills I have learned. Oh, it was such true journey for me those three days to "see" how I can take this one bead weaving stitch and use it on my own style. Thank you Carol. Thank you Annette. Thank you Bead & Button.

My entourage was with me during the second day class:
yes, I take my beaded beanies with me wherever I go.

Class photo

As for the Master Class location itself, we were shuttled to the Milwaukee Area Technical College each day. For me, it was just as fast for me to walk from the Double tree hotel each morning and afternoon. Every morning waiting for us was a luscious breakfast hand made. No microwave or thawed out donuts for us. A group that I forgot to get their names made us breakfast and a delicious lunch each of those three days. I would be so full that I could barely keep my eyes open but there was my favorite beverage all the time. I asked one of the guys if I could take a picture of him making my omelet for me. He was thrilled & did a little throw in the air to make us all laugh. I have to share with you this little thing about the MATC...the bathrooms on the 6th floor had the best view of downtown Milwaukee! I told my class mates this & we all rushed to the ladies' room to check it out.

For my classmates, we had people from all over the US there. We laughed, we shared stories, and we sat quietly beading away. One of our classmates was from Japan, and we all loved looking at all the beading treasures she was using in class. I got to share three wonderful days with women around my own age which for me was the best part of the Master Class.


Beadwright said...

I am so happy you had a wonderful experience. Yes people like Carol are what make it all worth the trip.

Anonymous said...

Awesome story, looks like it was a wonderful time! I love the project you were working on. :-)

Heather said...

You summed it up amazingly! Great that you've updated your blog with so much from Bead and Button. Hope to see you next year :)

Heather said...

You've summed up Carol's class perfectly! Good for you for getting it on your blog so fast :)