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Category Archives: Workshops

brit hammer takes your art images from average to awesome

Every artist DESERVES to have WOW photos. The moment I ‘met’ Brit Hammer on Skype last year I knew she was the one who could help artists take those WOW photos themselves. Her boundless energy, dedication to her craft, to artists and to teaching made it easy to see that she is an inspirational teacher.

Art and Photograph by Christine Dumont

Art and Photograph by Christine Dumont


DAM reader and polymer clay artist Christine Dumont took Brit Hammer’s Photographing Fine Art & Craft Guided Study online course and she agrees!

“Before Photographing Fine Art & Craft, I used to waste hours taking uninteresting pictures. My camera was an endless source of frustration. The course made me appreciate that taking a photo was an extension of the creative act of making the piece. Brit took the time to find out what I wanted to say in my photos and helped me get there.

My camera is no longer a mystery. I can work quickly and produce images that express the vitality and spirit of my work. This is hugely empowering as so much of our work is judged on the quality of our images.

Photographing Fine Art & Craft is a superlative course taught by a superlative teacher.” – Christine Dumont


Art and Photograph by Christine Dumont, silver by Christiane De Haes

Art and Photograph by Christine Dumont


Christine Dumont did it.

Are you next?

The Photographing Fine Art & Craft Guided Study Class begins Monday, January 7th. Now YOU can learn how to take WOW photos yourself!

Start the new year right. Sign up now.


Read More testimonials here.

P.S. Just got a shiny new DSLR camera and not sure how to use it? Brit’s got you covered there, too. Grab her DSLR Photography for Artists tutorial. You’ll learn how to use your camera so you can hit the ground running.



brit hammer is teaching again!

Brit Hammer launched her online class in August and I am happy to report that Photographing Fine Art & Craft is quickly becoming popular among artists for a reason: It works. She’s teaching another session of the class in November and I don’t want you to miss it!

In this class Brit teaches you how to take photos that capture the essence of your art, how to curate those images and “how to craft a visual story for use in magazines and other publications.”

Before on the left, After on the right

As someone who views art on the Internet I need to be WOWED to go further than the Home page. Lure me in with your images.

Students in the Photographing Fine Art & Craft class report that they are learning much more than how to take pictures to the WOW stage and how to tell a story with images – they are, as one student said, “learning to shoot from the heart.”

Heba Barazi is learning quickly – see what she has to say below and read more testimonials here.

Click to see full size

Heba is learning, learning, learning!

“Brit’s approach to teaching artistic photography is systematic. She broke down the process of capturing images into small steps that I can understand. In just a couple of weeks, I made a whopping leap of progress. I am so glad I joined her class. Thank you Brit!” – Heba Barazi

Brit created a video of top ten tips for students in my website building class and she has graciously allowed me to share one of the tips with you today. Watch the video for one of her Top Ten Tips for Photographing Fine Art & Craft.  Want the rest of her tips? Sign up for the class (there’s even a discount for DAM readers!)

Recently, as I videotaped a series of website audits, I reminded each artist that they shouldn’t rely on text to tell the story of their work. It likely won’t get read by many people.

Let your photos tell the story of your art. Let Brit show you how to tell a story with your images. Really.

Stay tuned for more from Brit – and watch for a collaboration between Brit and daMuse in 2013. I look forward to sharing more of her student’s work in future posts.


ps. The class is designed for a DSLR camera. Shooting on automatic because you don’t know how to work with the settings on your camera? Brit can help with that too – check out her newest online tutorial, DSLR Photography for Beginners.


kahn and fago launch apprenticementor.com

A comment on Saturday’s post about my search for an apprenticeship on the East Coast sent me skipping to Apprenticementor.com, a non profit website where mentors and apprentices can find each other. The new venture was launched last week by apprentice Jennifer Kahn, and artist Celie Fago, a team for almost nine years.

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Celie, a jewelry artist, writer, and much sought after teacher, met Jennifer when Kahn was in college working at a gallery that sold Fago’s jewelry.  After attending classes taught by her, Kahn became a live-in apprentice and teaching assistant to the artist, and she continues in those roles today while making and selling her own line of jewelry.

Here’s a snippet of what the duo says about apprenticeships:

“Mentors have the potential to not only pass on their skills but to give those who could never have the time or the money or the know-how, the ability to invest in their passion. They can ensure that crafts stay alive and vibrant for future generations.

There are all levels of potential apprenticeships out there.  Some as extensive as the traditional 7 years and some simply lasting for a given event. For example, a potter looking for help selling their work at a craft show in exchange for teaching about how to sell at craft shows. It could be a live-in situation; an apprentice could work for their mentor for a number of days a week in exchange for room and board. Or it could be more casual, meeting once a week for a few hours. Simply go to the directory to peruse or create a listing. You decide what you are looking for or what you want to put out there.”

Celie Fago and Jennifer Kahn

The website is brand new, so there aren’t many people registered yet, but my guess is that will change soon as word gets out about this great service. Keep your eye on Apprenticementor – they have a Facebook page to make it easy for you to do that. I’m on my way over there to register right now – it’s free. Coming?

Many thanks to Angela Crispin for letting us know!


michael demeng transforms the common into the sacred

Michael deMeng is a mad alchemist. When the assemblage artist finds a discarded shoe or an empty sardine can he doesn’t see garbage, he sees a personal shrine. deMeng’s gift, transforming the common into the sacred, becomes clear when you study pieces like ‘Urning Rubber’, a mixed media reliquary meant to hold treasured objects, and ‘Hell Mask’, that boasts teeth made from a row of matchbook matches.

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Urning Rubber, mixed media urn


Guadalupe of the Heeling Sole, mixed media, 12″x 16″x4″


deMeng dementing doll parts


Using mostly cold joins, deMeng deconstructs and reassembles various elements, adding flourishes of drama and painted details, allowing the story to unfold until close inspection makes you feel as though you are inside the dark humor of a macabre comedy.


A Strange Case, mixed media assemblage


Daughters of Lilith {click image to see large}

He does copius amounts of research when he is working on a piece and he shares some of his insights and process on specific assemblages, like ‘Daughters of Lilith’, pictured above. Read the story behind ‘Daughters of Lilith’ here. deMeng also describes many of the components of this piece and how he came to use them.  Fascinating.


Hell Mask, mixed media


Heeling, mixed media

“These assemblages are metaphors for the evolutions and revolutions of existence: from life to death to rebirth, from new to old to renewed, from construction to destruction to reconstruction. These forms are examinations of the world in perpetual flux, where meaning and function are ever-changing.” Michael deMeng

Michael’s new book Dusty Diablos: Folklore, Iconography, Assemblage, Ole! will be available next month and his 2007 Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects into Art is still wildly popular. Next up for deMeng is a live 2-part Craftcast Masterclass beginning this Wednesday, February 17th, where he will demystify the process of creating an assemblage piece and teach you “how to stick it all together.”  You can also follow deMeng’s blog and become a fan on his  Facebook Fan Page.


Hipolite Rafael Chacon on deMeng:

“He characterizes his creative process as an arduous and hellish journey of self-reflection, but making art is also salutary, a cathartic release of internal demons. As in the ex-votos of Latin American altars, need and desire are balanced with belief and hope and deMeng’s works of art mediate between the ancestral past, the life of the living and an unknown future. In his shrines, color, pattern, texture, and repetition of form symbolize the cyclical nature of life and death. His process, evident in the work itself, embraces trial and error and reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit and the possibility of endless regeneration.


ronna sarvas weltman, hacienda mosaico, remembering beginner’s mind

One of my intentions for 2010 is to nurture my creative self.  I’m off to a good start: In January I set up a brand new studio (I’m still organizing and getting used to the wonderful large space), and I took an online class.  Next month I head to Baltimore for the Synergy II conference and March will find me in Mexico attending Ronna Sarvas Weltman’s week-long workshop/retreat at Hacienda Mosaico.

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Pendants, Ronna Sarvas Weltman 


The workshop will include plenty of technique, as Ronna teaches about resins in addition to polymer clay, wire, shaping and texturing fine silver, copper, bronze and brass, but there will also be a strong focus on connecting students to their own artistic voice and helping them ‘hit the sweet spot’ in their work. Students who have taken classes with Ronna say that her classes are empowering – couple that with a spectacular setting and you’ve got a winning combination for nurturing your creative self.  Here’s what Ronna says about the week:

“This week-long workshop will help you find your unique artistic voice through polymer clay and wire. We will experiment, play, laugh, create and transform as we explore and expand ideas about art as adornment. Rounding out the experience will be twice-daily optional (but free) guided exercise by Janis Levine, open studio at night, forays into Puerto Vallarta, and gourmet spa food for breakfast and lunch.” Read the entire workshop description here.


Ronna Sarvas Weltman, Pink Ring, polymer clay, wire

The venue is Hacienda Mosaico, a bed and breakfast in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico that specializes in art retreats. In addition to Weltman’s workshop, the 2010 schedule includes workshops with Michael deMeng, Robert Dancik, Hadar Jacobson and Opie and Linda O’Brien.


Hacienda Mosaico

“You will find cobbled streets, where tortillerias and markets catering to the locals rather than the tourists…..craft shops, cantinas, night life and adventure. Hacienda Mosaico is ideal for small retreats and intimate parties as well as a quiet respite from the busy world….a tranquil vacation destination in a tropical environment for adults.” From Hacienda Mosaico’s website


Hacienda Mosaico Workshop

I am excited about attending Ronna’s worshop – and I will approach it in the way that I now move through all of my days – with Beginner’s Mind. Beginner’s Mind is the Buddhist concept of approaching the study of any topic with openness, eagerness and a lack of preconception – even if you are at an advanced level of study. Last week I was listening to Tara Brach’s podcast (she helps me quiet the chatter of my ‘monkey mind’) when Brach related what is widely considered the most famous line in the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s, there are few.”

I find peace, release and comfort in exploring the world with a beginner’s mind. Won’t you join me – in Mexico, in Beginner’s Mind, in exploration?


Puerta Vallarta, Mexico


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