Sunday, February 5, 2017

Teaching handmade jewelry making: my fused glass heart class at the cemetery!

First, some good news! My work has been accepted at Ridgewood Market's Nighttime Bazaar. Ridgewood Market is a monthly indoor market in Queens, NY and I've been trying to get in for a while. It's juried and is supposed to be a great place to sell handmade crafts.

Then on Friday, my birthday, I heard back from a store that wants to carry my pieces! I haven't yet hammered out the details of the deal, so I don't want to name the place just yet. But it's a really cute shop in upstate NY. This was the best present I could've asked for.

Yesterday I taught another glass fusing class at Maple Grove Cemetery. Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I had my students make mosaic glass heart pendants. Joining the class was my oldest friend, Lani, whom I've known literally since I was a baby and is like a sister to me. Here she is, showing off her work:

Lani loves Victorian history and old cemeteries, so we took a walk around Maple Grove before the class. She was intrigued with the historic graves and noticed that many people died in 1909. We'll have to do some research and find out what was going on during that year. The Spanish Flu came later and it was before WWI.

I knew that Lani would enjoy touring the administration building so I made sure we had plenty of time to look around. She had a blast going through the costumes and jewelry, and even wants to return to play a character in the annual "Spirits Alive" event. She also got a kick out of meeting Sky, the cemetery's canine mascot.

Soon, my students arrived and we got started. This group was a bit livelier than the last and I wished I had three hands to keep up. Firing the hearts was a bit tricky because I needed to make sure that they didn't overfire and turn into shapeless blobs. Also, a few students ended up making two pieces. So the firing process took longer than last time. Happily, everyone finished at least one piece.

Well, except for Lani. I'd warned her beforehand that if I didn't get to her piece, I'd just finish it at home since she was staying over. Sure enough, this was the case. I put her heart in the smaller kiln with another woman's but ended up taking out Lani's because I didn't want the hearts to fuse together. Unfortunately, the pieces came unglued and I suggested she re-do them so she could fire it again later on.

Lani was NOT happy. She's sitting right here as I write this, so I can say this to her face as I type it in this blog: she was being a big, ol' pain in the ass. She kept on whining about her messed-up piece as I kept on apologizing, and I tried my best to stay professional. She then complained that she couldn't glue her pieces back on, so the ladies started loudly chanting, "Glue it! Glue it! Glue it!"

Lani later explained that she couldn't glue the pieces because the women were shaking the table. Instead, she took a break and had lunch... and that seemed to calm her down. Lani likes free food!

A couple of the other hearts didn't turn out perfectly. One woman's was a little overfused and needed to file the top of the heart to get a deeper V in the center. Another lady's was underfired and asked me to give it some more time in the kiln. However, the rest turned out well and everyone said they had a great time -- even Lani.

Right after the class, I had to rush home, grab my flute and then hurry back up the hill to do a performance at a nearby coffeehouse. I've played there a few times, but since this is my birthday weekend, I'd prepared a special program: I performed all '80s songs, including hits from Bon Jovi, Queen, Debbie Gibson, A-Ha and Tears For Fears, among others. I probably shouldn't have scheduled the gig so close to my class, but I wanted Lani to see me play. I got a nice surprise when some college friends showed up for the gig. They don't live nearby and had spent all day at a teachers' workshop -- and they still came out for me. It was very sweet. A few other friends came, too, including the rec director at one of the homes where I play and my music partner, Judith.

I had a great crowd, a great playlist and was all set to go... and my speakers wouldn't work. I tried playing with my laptop at regular volume, but couldn't hear the backing track and butchered my version of "Baker Street." It was humiliating and I apologized to my friends for the technical difficulties.

They were understanding and the manager had a speaker on hand. Hooray! I was able to successfully finish the show and even managed to hit the highest note -- a fourth octave E -- in Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You." Whew! At least my friends hadn't come out for nothing.

It was a busy birthday weekend, but I had a great time. I got to do my favorite things and spend time with my favorite people. Oh, and Lani did finish her necklace after we came home from dinner. She even wore it out to lunch today.

For the record, Lani is a wonderful person and a great friend. There's a reason why we've stayed close for 43 years. She's a pain in my butt, but wouldn't be herself if she weren't. She's already planning to terrorize -- ahem, I mean "attend" -- my next class.

Check out the rest of my work at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

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