Sunday, July 13, 2008

Staff Craft Night

Every so often our store staff likes to get together to just make stuff. We call them Craft Nights. It is part quilting bee (without the quilts), part coffee klatch (without the coffee) and part girls night out (with the girls and night and out.) We have food and various beverages and work on projects of all sorts.

This past Saturday we had a Craft Night at Panopolie. We did it in the style of Panopolie's Slumber Parties which means I had it catered by Ferlo's. Usually the staff just brings pot luck yummies, but I wanted it to be an extra treat and the fabulous white pizza, olive salad and rice balls hit the spot.

Since we are open seven days a week and have two locations we rarely are all together in one place. It is so much fun to see each other and have the opportunity to chat and share our talents. Emily taught her signature beaded ring. She is moving at the end of July as her husband's work with the Mexican consulate takes them to work at the United Nations. We'll miss her but now a lot of staff members have rings to remember her by. Many of us besieged Jane with questions about Shrink Plastic and we made some fabulous charms and had some exciting moments. The heat gun vs. toaster oven debate got a bit heated (pardon the pun!) and I found out that 45% is actually pretty small. Ndidi shared her metal etching skills with us, too, with great results for all of us.

I decided half way through the evening that I had to weave a tiny basket of wire. I have been interested in this since I saw the newish book by Mary Hettmansperger (Fabulous Woven Jewelry.) I grew up making baskets and just knew I had to make a wire one. Now, a reasonable person would have had her copy of the book at hand, but I think we have established that I am not generally reasonable. The book was also sold out at Panopolie (but we have it at Ornamentea!) I could have waited to make the basket, but I really was eager to do it. I decided to dive in.

Let me just say that wire is very different from reed. It took me an hour to remember basketweaving. I know, I could have just gone over to the computer and googled it but I wanted to see what my fingers remembered. After an hour or so and many, many pieces of mangled wire I was able to get a passable tiny copper basket and decided to move on to the sterling one I had planned. I was practically singing with joy as I made this, it was so pleasing to me to just twist, weave, twist and have it turning out more or less as I imagined.

For me, Craft Nights are like mini art vacations. My days are so filled right now with time with my girls and time at work. I squeeze in a bit of time during the day or late in the evening to work on a project here or there but to have a long stretch of hours with good food, good company and a compelling bit of wire at hand is such a luxury. I loved it.