August 4th, 2015
If you want to know why we look so happy then read on…
IGMA Guild School in Castine
June 2015 was the 37th year that IGMA (International Guild of Miniature Artisans) held their School for teaching the art of making miniatures in the Maritime village of Castine in Maine, USA.
Over 200 enthusiastic students comprising of collectors and artisans joined 30 instructors for 6 days of lessons. Those numbers along must make this an organisational nightmare!
This was my first experience and I had a ball! I had to choose my class options way back in October 2014 giving 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices from 12hr, 24hr, 36hr and 48hr classes. Results are decided by a random raffle system. There were too many wonderful topics to choose from. My selected classes arrived by mail in January 2015 and I was delighted.
I choose to try 3 different subjects to try a variety of mediums.
Japanese Adrisia plants taught by Hiroyuki and Kyoto Hiruma from Tokyo.
We were shown how to colour clay, mould leaves and berries, warm and stretch plastic strips to make the trunks and stems. Then the paint effects and tips to assemble all the pieces to make realistic plants. Here is my attempt and one where I am collecting my achievement certificate from Hiro and Kyoto.
Eastlake Easel with Bill Studebecker.
My first experience with a soldering iron, and no burn marks!
We were shown how to measure and bend brass wire into strolls and patterns to form a free standing picture easel. Even the chain links are all individually made and soldered. I really liked this class and completed the easel in the first couple of days. I then went on to making a hanging wall bracket and swinging sign, with time to spare to experiment with the design and making of a small table.
Sculpting with Daniela Kaufhaber
My third class was with Daniela Kaufhaber sculpting and carving clay to produce a bronze ballerina. From a simple clay figure we were shown how to make a mould which was filled with the bronze clay.
Once the clay was backed in the mould it was possible to carve it with an xacto knife. the bronze clay was then fired in a kiln turning the clay into bronze – Amazing! Some polishing and the addition of a net skirt finished it off. Even if I say so myself the transformation from what started out as a ‘sumo wrestler’ to a delicate ballerina was very satisfying.
Evening Seminars, Live Auctions and Entertainment!
There were also seminars to attend in the evenings. I had a 2 hour lesson painting a Mallard duck with Beth Freeman-Kane and being taught how to handle acrylic resin in the construction of fish aquariums with Miyuki Habakashi.
The other evenings were filled with the welcome night, a wonderful Lobster meal, complete with bibs! There was also a live auction where we watched while some magnificent bids were being offered. All proceeds go towards future school weeks. As well as the auction, there was a mini sale where you could purchase miniatures from the instructors. There was a free evening so we went down to the water’s edge for a meal, the setting couldn’t be more picturesque.
Lastly we met up with our instructors for the last time at graduation to collect our achievement certificates and our precious miniatures.
The week was a roller coaster of emotions, successes, frustrations, laughter, exhaustion, and buckets of fun! I wouldn’t of missed it for the world.
I’ve already pre-registered for next year and wait in anticipation for the catalogue of classes to arrive to choose my options again.
If you are inspired by my enthusiasm and would like to find out more about the Guild school next year, here is their website with more information. www.igma.org
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