Metal Magic mega post!

by Cindy on March 16, 2011

Hello all

I feel as if I’ve been in my own little bubble for days.  First it was preparing for the Metal Magic workshop with Stephanie Lee, and now getting back to the “real” world and focusing on our busy schedules.  What has really overshadowed my thoughts though are the recent tragic disaster in Japan, my distant home away from home.  I am very proud to say that I am half Japanese and was born in Japan.  The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan has really left me feeling down as I watch the news and reflect on those who have lost their family and homes.  While we are all feeling so helpless, I know that many prayers are being said and sources of tangible help have been established.  It did feel almost unfair  though to have experienced the tremendous weekend that we did with the art retreat,  meanwhile so many are suffering such horrible devastation.

In an area not too far from DC, many of us were experiencing a weekend full of magic.  All of the things you dream of  if you are able to go away on an art retreat.  For several people that we met, this was their first time taking a workshop. For others, the weekend was a little reunion with friends.  Or in many cases, and myself personally, the amazing chance to meet a few of my blog friends in personJeanette and I were really over the moon that Stephanie Lee came all the way from Oregon to teach at the ArtBLISS event.  I know we speak for many when we say we are grateful and honored.  Not to mention totally excited to learn the many new metalsmithing skills that we did.

Without further ado, I’d love to show some images from the Metal Magic retreat.  These photos truly depict what a memorable and fantastic retreat is all about! 

  • A retreat to remember begins with one of the best teachers around – someone who is knowledgeable, approachable, and has the best sense of humor.  I loved the way Stephanie started the class by telling us that she was here to help us reach our goals whether they involved simply learning new techniques, or leaving the class with a finished piece of jewelry.   She put us at ease while we used a torch and chatted simultaneously!


  • At the heart of a FUN retreat you’ll find great students.   New friends, old friends, blog friends, friends that you feel like you’ve known forever (and wished lived in town so you could meet for lunch next week).  These students/friends share supplies and look over your shoulder and offer help when you’re stuck.  They admire your blob of solder and say it looks great.  Have you sat next to someone like this before?


Lois and Cynthia.  Cynthia has started a Metal Magic Yahoo group!

Lois and Cynthia. Cynthia has started a Metal Magic Yahoo group!



Cat and Ingrid - such sweet sisters!

Cat and Ingrid - such sweet sisters!


Cat traveled from FL to NY to VA to attend the workshop with her sister…. read her great blog post on the weekend here.  Cat, you have an amazing way with words, my friend… was truly one of the highlights of my weekend.  I can’t believe we actually met!!


Me, Lori and Erin

Me, Lori and Erin


I finally met another long-time blog friend, Erin!!  Erin came all the way from Wisconsin and was one of my tablemates in the Junk Drawer Metalsmithing class.  I enjoyed spending time with many friends who I initially met through their blogs such as Lori (yes, 2 weekends in a row!),  Sandi and Melissa….and meeting new friends such as Cynthia and Leslie.


Erin and Sandi

Erin and Sandi


Gathering with the Metal Magician

Gathering with the Metal Magician

  • You know the retreat is going to be a success when you find yourself making amazing projects!  I snapped some pictures of works in progress from both the Handbook of Elements Class and Junk Drawer Metalsmithing.  I finished my necklace as soon as I got home.



Books in progress by Michelle, Lois and Bette

Books in progress by Michelle, Lois and Bette


Junk Drawer pieces in the making

Junk Drawer pieces in the making



  •  What’s a retreat without great food?   After some serious difficulty, we found a place that could take a large group and where we wouldn’t have to wait for an hour to be seated. Amphora happens to be one of our favorite local restaurants and has tons of variety in the menu.


  • The BEST retreats ever involve many wonderful people.  Thank you to all that came out and shared a magical day or two with us.  Thank you to our super talented instructor, Stephanie.  And last but not least, thank you to my friend and co-host, Jeanette! 


We’re looking forward to the next ArtBLISS event….coming in September!  We’re busy working behind the scenes now and will keep you posted with all the details soon!


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

esther March 16, 2011 at 3:45 am

what a great class and fantastic results!! everyone musty be so proud !! congrats to all!!

Virginie March 16, 2011 at 5:31 am

wow, what a great workshop it must have been. I love going to courses and I’m always so excited to learn new skills so I understand how eager to learn and enjoy everyone must have been. Thanks Cindy for sharing ^_^ Virginie

Lana Kinney March 16, 2011 at 6:55 am

Hello Cindy, first let me say my thought are with you & and friends & family in Japan, my heart aches as i watch the news, yesterday though i just saw a piece of news as it ran along the bottom of the screen that they found 3600 people they had feared died and were all found alive what a miricle amist all the sadness. Well u luck girl to adend a retreat with all of these wonderful people i have met blogging. i am a newby blogger and have been having so much fun i envy(not in any type of mean spirited way at all ) all of you, here in Canada we donot have any type of workshops or beadshows. It is my big dream to go to one some day and meet all of you. Miss Erin & Miss Lori are such sweeties. I just love the soldered pendant you made it is abso fabu and must have been fun to learn. Have a great day Cindy ttfn L 🙂

Kerry March 16, 2011 at 7:22 am

such wonderful photos and memories to go with an amazing weekend! i know i have told you about a million times, OH how i wish i was there with you all and i can’t wait for september. those creations are fantastic and stephanie sounds awesome!! i loved her during homesteader’s e-course. i am betting she is even better in person.

i’m thinking of you and your family too. it is really hard to phathom just what is happening in Japan.

Patty March 16, 2011 at 7:48 am

Oh I am soooo jealous! Art is You is coming to the town below me in I think October. I am actually thinking of volunteering just to SEE a class. What fun to be with like minded individuals!!! Beautiful work! ….and yes the sad news of what is going on in Japan has weighed heavy on everyones minds and heart – My heart goes out to their children.

Barbara Lewis March 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

What a great post! All that you mentioned are the absolute best things about workshops! You and Jeanette put so much thought and effort into your workshops that the attendees feel as though every one of their needs were considered in the planning. The work is beautiful … and just think, you can lay claim to the fact that you got Erin over her fear of fire! That is no small thing, my friend!

Jenny March 16, 2011 at 8:11 am

I was sorry to miss that one! It looks like it was a great weekend, fun had by all! Jealous…

Stefanie March 16, 2011 at 8:12 am

Oh Cindy, thanks for sharing. That looks so amazing. Oh my, I wish I could have joined you. Please do a event like this in Germany some day. I’m sure it would be a success and I would take every single class:-)

Erin Prais-Hintz March 16, 2011 at 9:48 am

Truly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. To attend this retreat, to suck up the goodness swirling in that room (along with the smoke from the flux!) and to embrace blog friends and meet new friends was truly a highlight. Miss Stephanie is kind and generous and so giving of her knowledge. I want to be just like her when I grow up 😉

I can’t wait for the day when I can come back and play with you girls again!
Enjoy the day!

Judy March 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

I look forward to the day when I can join you girls! What a great time you must have had while creating fabulous pieces!

cat kerr March 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

Its as though the giggles just creep out of me as I read your post…hehhhee..I’m feeling excited all over again..and even though the days have passed..I wish time would back up a bit and give us all another taste of such a wonderful adventure!!
I love your photos!!..and your finished Necklace…Wow..I know we keep saying the word Magical..but thats what spills out when I look at your piece.Really Beautiful.
Such a magical time and I am so thankful that I was able to experience it all.Thankful for you and Jeanette,for Stephanie,for her hubby that helped,for Panera’s(yum),for facing my torch fear,for driving up and down with Sis,for learning new things,for meeting new people,and for sharing a hug with my friend Cindy.
Blog Hug,Cat

Brandi March 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

This sounds like SO MUCH FUN! I wish I had gone – it would have been awesome to meet you!

Lori Anderson March 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I had SUCH a good time. I was in awe of all the creativity in that class — those books were amazing but there was no WAY I could have come close to the beauty those ladies put out! And I loved the necklace you made — it’s terrific to see it go from the pendant stage to the finished stage!

Hope to see you NEXT weekend, too! I’m so spoiled.

Sally Russick March 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Oh, I wish I was able to attend! It looks like everyone had a fabulous time! I will definitely see you in September, can’t wait to see what you two have planned! Great pictures!!!

Melissa M March 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Thank you Cindy. You and Jeanette are so kind and are extraordinary workshop coordinators! I had so much fun on Sunday, and I am so jealous of everyone who got to participate in the other days…those books are to die for as well as all those other cool pieces of yours!

lynsey brooks March 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

oh every thing is soo gorgeous, beautiful photos as well

sandra March 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

wow, looks like you had a great time! great photos!

lynn gonzalez March 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Wow looks like you had a great weekend, and found some friends too!!! Love the new treasures too.. Lynn

diane cook March 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

My sweet Cindy…I didn’t realize you were half Japanese….the sorrow and grief they are all experiencing in Japan too has my heart aching. What a tragedy.
By the looks of your photos, everyone made amazing pieces….I love those little metal books Stephanie designed. They are so very, very cool.
I love your little soldered box & mica box necklace. Your work is always so polished Cindy. I could spot it anywhere =)

Renate March 17, 2011 at 2:30 am

I have no words for the tragedy in Japan – only anguish in my heart…
The world needed the wonderful magic you were experiencing last weekend – and I swear, I can feel the magic through your post halfway around the world.
Just sad I couldn’t be there with you…

mary harding March 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

I have been so upset and sad over what has happened in Japan Cindy. I have never been there but my son has lived there and has close connections to Japan. And so do family friends. I am glad you could have such a wonderful workshop. It sounds wonderful. Seeing the pics is to be full of the warmth and creativity that happened there.

Janet McDonald March 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

Everyday when we put the News on its cringing to hear. And the developments seem to be getting worse! I dont think weve ever experienced anything to this magnitude. Its just unreal. My heart really goes out to Japan and its residents.
This looks like you all had a super great time! Wow those books are really beautiful!!! And your jewellery Nicccccce Cindy! Its nice to see all these nice friendly people, Lori and Erin too! xx

Alice March 17, 2011 at 8:58 am

Cindy, do you still have family and friends in Japan? I say prayers every day for the people of Japan, but it never seems like it is enough.

What a blast you had at the retreat! It must take a lot of work to get one of these organized, and I’m glad you were able to play too. It would be amazing to meet all these lovely ladies!

Yep, I’ll admit I’m green with envy!

Tracy March 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

What great photos! Everyone’s work looks just amazing. I can’t wait to participate in September!

Cynthia March 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Cindy, what a great post, recapping our wonderful adventures this past weekend. It was so magical to meet you and Jeanette and all the other amazing women and take part in these fabulous classes with Stephanie. I love your pendant, especially the loops made with coiled wire. And yes, it did seem so removed from the terrible events taking place in Japan, my heart goes out to everyone there struggling through the aftermath and those who are separated from them, worrying about their safety.

Stacie March 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Wow, looks like this was a great party!! This was a nice break from the news today…love the mica pendant!! Beautiful work!

Christine Damm March 19, 2011 at 8:10 am

Once again, it seems that ArtBliss has provided the magic that it promised– and all thanks to the diligent efforts of you and Jeanette! I’ve never felt the money (and it’s been substantial!) I’ve spent on workshops to be worth it and it’s good to know that someone in the world is seriously taking the time and thought to do it right! There is such great comraderie and sharing going on in the venue you provide– it truly is magical! Wish I could have been there but I will in September!

Sanda Reynolds March 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hi Cindy,
What a wonderful post and your work is simply LOVELY!!! 🙂
Yes, it’s almost unreal what happened in Japan, we hear and watch the news simply in disbelief. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan!
Lots of love,
Sanda xoxo

Jen March 21, 2011 at 6:54 am

I’m ready for September! Can’t wait to be there and join in with this amazing creative energy!!

Kitty Durmaj March 23, 2011 at 1:04 am

I enjoyed reading about your workshops and looking at all the wonderful things you made. Most of all I enjoyed the “people” pictures….everyone was happy and enthralled in what they were learning. As I read up on what Lori Anderson is doing I know that you got to hang out together at the workshops….you’re very lucky to have such wonderful friends…cherish them.

I purchased Stephanie’s book a couple of years ago and have shared that book with my beading friends as we all love working with metal and wire.

My thoughts go out to you and those in Japan that are suffering so much.

Thank you also for following my thoughts on my blog. It is quite a remarkable community.

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