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My Rio certification class was wonderful and informative! I highly encourage everyone to take it if you have the opportunity . I feel as if I had gone in as a novice and came out as seasoned.

My class was hosted by Dynasty Stamp’s, Candace  Gates at her studio, in San Juan Capistrano.  Candace was the hostess with the mostest. She had two fabulous friends including Louise Shadonix from Sha Sha Beads, helping us as well.

I knew this class would be awesome when we were greeted with a  sweet foamy latte.  I needed coffee, I had gotten up at 4 in the morning to be able to make the 1 hour and 45 minute drive, before the traffic got too bad. Capo Beach is not far from LA and traffic can be a bugger!

 Patrik Kusek, our  extremely, talented,senior certified teacher, was insistent that this class was going to be no stress, I, some how, missed that message. Our first project was a lentil bead and my nails kept getting in the way of sanding. I was not enjoying the process because I was frustrated! However, Patrik was prepared and he had brought the rubber finger tips that are used in offices. This trick worked and I finished my bead at the same time as everyone else. Sand, Sand, Sand,and brush off!  I was covered in dust, check out the picture Candace took of me. I really put myself into it.

Our pyramid was extremely hard to do, it was very time-consuming!  Sand Sand, sand, at an angle,oh and brush off!. I again struggled during the assembling because of my nails. The dremel tool was at my finger tips but when I thought about how much I paid for them! I just could not do it. Realistically I will always do my nails, Therefore, I’d better figure out how to work with them!

 While the first two projects were put into the kiln, we went on to carving, Ahhhh, that was freedom! Finally something that did not require me holding my breath the whole time.  Weaving Paper PMC came next, hey, I knew how to weave! Finally, I was beginning to feel comfortable.   In between all of this we patinaed, and  hand polished, The pyramid needed to have a mirrored finish and I was not allowed to make it look like my bathroom mirror that has makeup and dried hairspray stuck to it. This process was the longest  step than I did! I think I worked on it for at least 3 hours to make it look clean and bright.

I must tell you dinner was marvelous, Candace, Patrik and I went to P.F.Changs and shared dinner and some relaxing chatting.  I must admit I had done so much work that each day went by with a blur.

We worked on rings on day two, yet again my finger nails made filing the flat shank a bit difficult. However, I plugged on through and I was able to work it out. I like making the shank on the self-made mandrel the most, I was able to file it easier. Dry to dry connections, not too hard at all!  As the days went on I began loosening up. 

I must back up though, for the first two days I seemed to have the silver gremlins haunting me! Little thing kept happening to me, things were not in my kit each time I went for them, sending Patrik off to find one. Little flaws appeared in my work, that were not normal, of course my nails and a few other hiccups.  I got to the point that I just started joking about it,however, many of my faults became teachable moments. It’s funny how art imitates life!

Patrik, was a very patient teacher and as we went through the weekend the other six people and I gave him a run for his money. Some rings snapped, some pyramids, flattened, yet with each boo-boo, he stayed as calm a cucumber.  By Sunday we were all feverously trying to finish our creations and he never put pressure on us. With each chore done he would make a big deal out of it when it was checked off. Taaa-Daaa!!!! It kept us feeling good about our progress.

The last project was to build a pen. I was so freed by this project! My seams were jagged, my stamping was sloppy! Yet I felt as if I was a kid at school paying in play dough. It turned out to be sooooo funnnn! I wanted to give it the distressed look and that is exactly what I did.  What truly assisted in this was the unlimited stamps we had available because of Candace’s wonderfully designed rubber stamps.  We were able to pick out our favs from all of them. All of us were like kids in a candy shop. 

Speaking of candy shop, Candace and her friends kept us all filled up with candy, desserts and lattes all three days. I figured out I gained —lbs, this weekend.

I will blog more later today so keep checking back,Lori