Monday, November 23, 2009

metal clay 101

What an amazing and empowering experience it is to attempt something totally new, outside of your realm... and make it happen!
Yesterday I attended my first-ever metal clay class.
Creating a piece of 99.9% pure silver jewelry was an amazing journey, something I have been wanting to try for so long. Now that I've tried it, I want to master it.
There is no way to learn this from a book as far as I'm concerned, and I'm glad and fortunate that a class was scheduled in my area. So many thanks to our instructor, brilliantly creative Art Clay guru Robert Reckers of Salt Creek Pottery in Elmhurst, Illinois, and to Amy Irwin of Imagine on Main in Oswego, Illinois, for making this opportunity a reality.
Above is my finished take-home piece, the Lonesome Road's maiden voyage on the metal clay highway... it won't be the first ride.
This morning, as I adorned myself with my new little silver friend, I remembered the excitement of the others in my class as our creations emerged from firing, scrubbed to a silvery shine by the wire brush, then emerging gleaming from the tumbler. (Okay, the liver of sulfur stunk up the place, but every cloud has a silver lining, pardon the pun.)
I'll just bet that I wasn't the only one proudly sporting a lovely new piece of jewelry today, handcrafted with excitement and wonder; a testament to personal growth and the love of learning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

lucinda williams in concert at chicago's park west

What an opportunity! On October 14th I saw Lucinda Williams live in concert at the Park West in Chicago. All the elements were there for a great night: one of my favorite performers plus a fantastic, intimate venue... it was a fabulous evening! This show was the second in a three night series covering three different eras of Lucinda's music; "Sweet Old World" (1992), "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (1998), and "Essence" (2001) were featured in this set, with bits of other albums (and some of Lucinda's own eclectic favorites) mixed in.

Park West is located in the area of Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, and I can say that I had never been to a venue quite like this. Hubby and I were in the front in the "dance" section... mere feet away from the stage. Like five or six feet.

(Sorry that I haven't posted actual photos of the concert... I overhead a cocktail waitress tell someone that Park West was unappreciative of flashes on cameras and I became a bit paranoid. I did take a little film footage, but nothing to get excited about. So, you get a photo of my t-shirt with lyrics from one of my favorite Lucinda Williams songs, "Joy" from "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.")

The first thing that struck me as she walked onstage in her low-key way, was how petite Lucinda Williams is. Her overall stage presence is at once powerful but subdued and reserved, almost shy and humble. Dressed in slim black pants tucked into some rockin' black leather boots, with a pink and black leopard print bustier peeking out from her short black jacket, she looked as gorgeous as her voice sounded. The venue and show format was ballad-friendly and she seemed pleased to perform songs that aren't typically part of the show set at larger venues. But when she rocked, she rocked! Lucinda is touring with the band Buick 6, and they were powerful, riveting and funky!

Hearing all of my favorite Lucinda Williams music performed was incredible enough, but to hear her perform Jimi Hendrix's "Sweet Angel" accompanied only by her guitar was also amazing. To my husband's "joy" and hilarity, the show ended with what Lucinda called one of her favorite rock songs: ACDC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll). The hilarity lies in the painful fact that one of my favorite performers was covering a song by a band that is in my top ten most-hated bands of all time, LOL. Irony is such a weird thing sometimes. *shakes head.*


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