Two workshops – two very different approaches

We’ve had over 200 days of lockdown in Melbourne, and I’ve been hosting online ‘crafternoons’ with friends since April 2020.  The COVID pandemic has meant much more use of video meetings, and I doubt I’d have been able to attend a Ford and Forlano class in ‘normal’ times.

I did two workshops this year – both were great but different in many ways.  I did Dan Cormier’s Building Better Beads.  This is the third course I’ve done with Dan – you choose when you read the materials and watch his videos which are posted over the 4 weeks. You can post pictures or questions and receive comments back.

Here are my two finished pieces from Dan’s course.

The focus was on constructing a bead (quite a large bead actually) – rather than on the patterned veneer – so I prepared the veneer before the class (Dan has other courses which teach different techniques for creating veneers). We saw step-by-step construction techniques, and how Dan gets such a lovely finish on his work. Watch this video about the class and see his other courses here.

Dan is extremely particular about everything he does, from cutting his sheet of sandpaper to sanding and finishing.  It’s a great discipline, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to continue to aim for quite that level of perfection.

I was excited to see that Steve Ford and David Forlano were offering an online course – two 2.5 hour sessions starting at 4pm.  Well, that was 4pm US time – 6am here – but worth getting up early for.   I’ve loved seeing their work since I bought the book The New Clay in the 1980s.  You’ll see a piece in my gallery where I’ve been inspired by their ‘3D’ tubes. Check out their work, it’s incredible.

Steve and David did some demonstrations as they discussed how they work – really inspiring.

Their approach is very different to Cormier’s – Ford says “I don’t believe in perfection” and when asked about keeping the work free from contamination (from other colours) they were very relaxed about pieces left on their workspace or their pasta machine marking their work – it doesn’t seem to matter.

I can see myself using some of the techniques from both of these courses. 

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