The Creative Arts Studio

Explore the “Inner Game” of Making Your Artwork

Creative Arts Studio

The Creative Arts Studio is an online community designed to help you explore your art from the "inside-out".

We are all on a journey along the same river. We want to create something meaningful with our artwork. It's like a lifelong cruise, and we never really get to the end because there are always wonderful things to explore, questions to ask, and challenges to confront. This is the life of an artist!

Our artistic life includes both an "outer world" and an "inner world".

The "outer world" is fairly obvious; it's everything which is outside of us. It's your tools and materials. It's the steps, techniques, and information. It's your environment which inspires you. It's the people and resources around you which hopefully support you. 

   There are "outer world skills": these might include handling a tool, understanding the characteristics of a material, or recording the steps which gave you that result you loved. It's the technique of your art form. The technique is important. Without it, you will usually make a mess because you don't have control and you don't understand what the materials and tools want to do. 

When you take a workshop the focus is usually about learning the "outer world" skills and specific techniques. 


Your "inner world" is about what you are doing with the techniques you've learned and mastered. It enables you to create and express yourself. It's what makes your art different from anyone else's.


But there are also "inner world skills"

 It's difficult for your workshop teachers to pass along the artistic and creative skills which have taken decades to master and make their own. Sure, they can show you "how to" use a technique. With practice and commitment, you may even develop a high level of skill. But the burning question you are left with becomes...

These are skills you can learn and improve. They are not simply talents with which you were born. 

You can learn and improve YOUR creative and artistic skills. I know this because I've taught myself and my skills continue to grow and improve.

You can teach yourself to...

Become more creative
Improve your ability to think about design as you make your jewelry.
Make your artwork more expressive, personal, and meaningful.
Find your “inner child” who feels free to play without fear.
Develop new skills and improve your skills.
Learn to “teach yourself”.
Improve your ability to ask questions.
Become more confident with everything you do.


                                                       




I get asked tons of questions when I teach, but I find myself offering the same answer to my students, regardless of the question. This answer is "It Depends".  After more than 30 years teaching adults, I've finally figured out that not only am I teaching enameling, but I'm also helping students learn to figure out some answers to the question, "What does it depend on?". Once they get this concept, they are on their way to answering their own questions! 

 

 Many workshops and classes focus on techniques; you learn about tools, materials, and steps. Often there is an exercise in which you complete a project designed by the instructor. While this may be helpful, especially for those of us who already have strong backgrounds in art and design, it often misses the target for the student who wants to "be creative". This is the ability to develop your own questions and then figure out how to answer them from your point of view. 

You are a "co-creator" of our community.

This is not a place where Ricky tells you what to do or you ask Ricky what to do or how to do it. it is to learn to ask yourself questions and think for yourself as you challenge yourself to answer your questions.

No contraband allowed on board

You must make a commitment to begin the process of answering your own questions. 


we can add resources like classes, supplies and tools, books and videos. I will be adding my own classes to this. but i want to avoid providing the opportunities for members to take advantage of posts by constantly promoting themselves and what they are selling: classes. Maybe we should consider paid advertising?

What it is.

  • It is a place to explore your process, not just your results.
  • It is a place to learn about design, creativity, and self-expression.
  • It is a place to feel motivated and inspired to "do it"! A place where you will want to begin, persevere, stop procrastinating, and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and create enamel artwork which is unique, interesting, and personal.
  • It is a place to support each other's growth as an artist, an enamelist, and as a human being.
  • It is a place to ask questions without hoping that someone else will provide "the right answer" for you.
  • It is a place where you can give yourself permission to fail.
  • It is a place where you accept and embrace just being you.

What it is not.

  •  It is not a place to look for shortcuts.
  •  It is not a place to ask someone to tell you what is good.
  • It is not a place to ask for technical information. 
  • It is not a place to tell others how to do something.

As an artist, I strive to find my own voice. I must find my questions,I want to learn how to enable myself to succeed.


           

???????Learning to think about your enameling from the point of view that you are unique and begin to discover the changes which are occurring inside of us as we attempt to make personal and meaningful enamel artwork.

This is not a class guided by an instructor with specific goals for you to learn. We all have different creative paths and goals. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all have different levels of experience. But once we step outside of our comfort zones, we are all beginners. We will all stumble and fall. We will all experience frustration and resignation. A community of caring individuals can come together to support each other, learn from each other, and challenge each other.  We can learn from each other through our shared struggles and challenges, our failures and successes, and most importantly, our questions and possible answers. 

This community will only be as strong as it's members!


Learn to Enamel is my attempt to help you discover all of the things I cannot hope to give my students in a five-day workshop. There is just not enough time. It's what I would have wanted for myself and tried to do for myself. I know you don't have 40 years to do this. I think I can help get you where you want to go much quicker than it took me.

Why I Love to Enamel

Video

My Philosophy on Teaching and Learning Enameling

My philosophy of teaching can only be explained by exploring the layers of my learning goals. I think in layers as I imagine and create my enamel artwork, so. guess it's appropriate that I teach the same way. Here is my
"layered approach" to teaching enameling.

  • The one right answer to all of my questions is "It depends".  Anything else is probably incorrect. This is because there is so much science involved and so many variables that rarely is the solution just one thing. Everything effects everything else.
  • We teach ourselves through our experience. Our learning becomes internalized through trial and error. Quite often lots of error. I cannot give you experience. Just as I cannot give you my experience of "riding a bicycle" because you need to figure that out on your own, I cannot give you my experience of "knowing how to enamel".
  • I don't need to be "good enough" before I begin to think about "why" and "what" I want to make. If I don't know what I want to make, how would I know what I need to learn or how well I need to learn it? Learning design, be creative, and express ourselves is not something to be put off until after I learn the technique. Instead, these guide the direction of my technique.
  • My questions are what inspire and motivate me to act. Wanting to act to find an answer and having the confidence and trust that it's alright to fail as I try to answer my questions is how I am able to get off my butt and actually "do something". My limitations in asking questions limits my ability to make something meaningful.
  • I can create mini-goals so small that failure becomes impossible. As I achieve my mini-goals I slowly move towards my larger goals. This is true not only for learning technique but about learning to design, create, and express and communicate an idea.
  • I cannot communicate an idea without a vocabulary. My "enamel vocabulary" is what I know about my individual enamel colors and how I am able to put them together to create enamel images. I call these my "enamel words". As my vocabulary expands my ability to communicate in enamel expands. My enamel artwork becomes more compelling because I am communicating something I care about.

I want to create a community experience where you feel the freedom to explore, the inspiration to discover, and the sense of safety to allow yourself to fail. In my "live" workshops I try to create the feeling that not only is it alright to make mistakes and fail, it is expected. We only grow when we step outside of our comfort zone, and when you take that step you frequently fall on your face. 

Let's create a place where we can Risk and Fail. This is where and how our real learning will take place. It won't come from watching the videos. It will come from the hands-on doing and making. It will come from risking, getting results, paying attention to the results, and making choices about what to do next. Creating a "safe place" for us to fail is probably the most important thing we can do here. I find it's difficult to give myself permission to fail. I want so badly to succeed and can easily fall into the trap that "I shouldn't fail". When I give my students permission to fail and encourage them to fail it's amazing to see the transformation which takes place. Students feel lighter. The pressure fades away and they begin to smile. Let's give yourself this gift.

What will you find here?

  • You'll find information about enamel science, techniques, skills, and the basic "how-to" of preparing your enamel and metal, applying your enamel, and firing your enamel.
  • You'll find a virtual magazine with articles and inspiration. Each month new content will be added. Features include tips and tricks, ways to develop your ability to design, create, and express in enamel, scientific articles about enamel and metal, monthly enamel art challenges, and much more.
  • A community focused on helping you become the enamel artist you want to become. Learn new perspectives on making and learning from student members. A place where you can share your failures as well as your successes without the fear of being judged. Helpful critiques when appropriate.
  • Access to exclusive workshops designed to help you learn both the technique parts of enameling but the art part. Go beyond technique to learn how to internalize what you are learning so that you can use it to communicate what you care about.

I hope you will join me here. Learning to enamel can be simple. It's melting glass onto metal. And it can be incredibly difficult and challenging. Together I believe we can create new ways to learn this amazing art form!

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