Tudors/Castles/Ruins… Oh My!

Hello All,

My last post was last Friday, since then I’ve managed to settle in a bit more, and have a few more adventures!  Let’s get caught up, shall we?!  **Nerd Alert**  While in England, I have noticed my history nerd coming out more and more – I love it!  However, the more places, palaces, castles, ruins, homes, etc. I come into contact with, the more history that may enter these posts.  I will try to keep it short – or tangent off into another post completely if I get carried away.  Feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat history!!!

On Saturday, 17, January 2015 one of the other Artists in Residence, Naomi and I took a little day trip off adventuring.  Stopping briefly at a church in main Odiham (see pictures below) on our way to Odiham Castle.

Only the outer shell and keep, built around 1207 by King John remain of Odiham Castle.  King John (of House Plantagenet) was the youngest of five sons of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (who was previously married to Louis VII of France) and reigned from about 1199-1216.  King John was also brother to King Richard who was on the throne during the time of the Crusades – King John is also noted to be the influence behind the villain Prince John in the Robin Hood legends (major Womp!)).
The ruins were pretty cool.  Nestled along a river in the country, we had to cut through a field to reach the path – following the river to the castle itself.  For this days’ adventures, I remembered to charge the GoPro.  It was a great day to start testing out what this camera is capable of and how I can take pics with the “selfie stick” I purchased just for this trip!  Here is a small sampling of what testing this baby out came up with.

Hope you enjoyed those…  I had fun trying to figure out the GoPro, and realized later on that I could have taken some awesome selfie’s within the main area of the ruins. Oh well, better known for next time!
Next up on the adventure list: The Vyne.  A 16th Century home built for King Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain, Lord William Sandy.  Only 1/3 of the original home still stands, however the Tudor style Chapel (fit with stained glass), grounds and history still present are stunning. The home is nestled within woods and wetlands of Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.  I must admit, I enjoyed the grounds more than the home, however there was a very cool old man who works for the home who was chalk full of interesting historical facts about the home and its former inhabitants. I could have stayed and talked history shop for hours!  However by this time, is was getting late, and Naomi needed to get back for work.

On the way out of the grounds, Naomi and I noticed some AMAZINGLY orange colored wood – the product of a tree cut down recently and damp from the rain.  Excited by the color, and interested in seeing what the wood looked like when it was dry, we snatched a few small bits and took em home.  I am currently in the process of making some jewelry out of it.

Over the rest of the week, I have started a variety of projects, more to come on those as they come about (I don’t want to ruin anything) and lots and lots of sketching.  It’s also been a week of getting into a routine, running errands (sending a postcard to mom – Hope you got it!) and getting to know some of the people here a bit better.  Hanging out with Hannah and her friends Kelly and Lucia.
This week also gave light to that first bit of “feeling alone.”  Even though I am almost always around someone, or people, I’ve had some down time and have starting missing some things about home.  Thankfully there is Google hangouts and Skype and those lovely technological marvels that allow me to text, talk and see the people I’ve been missing.  There has been time to slow down, think about what I want, and what I’m working towards.  Time to contemplate projects, trips and how to see/adventure to ALL of the places on my list. – It all left me a bit overwhelmed.
One thing at a time – Narrow down and follow through.
Remember, it’s only the second week! haha
Here are a few pictures of hang outs and from the bench.
**Make sure to follow me on Instagram (@mstibj) – I post pictures daily.**

I think that is all for now.  Stay tuned for a possible excursion to London, an adventure to Bath and Bristol, along with a tale from Oxford??!!??!! Oh and maybe even Stonehenge…

Until next time, take care.
-Meredith S. Tibjash

Exploring Farnham

Hello Again,

This week has been wonderful.  It’s been a lot, with a whole new environment, finding a place to live (forever grateful to my housemates for taking me in), settling into a routine, and getting back into the academic/time to make work mind set.  While at the Uni (University) this week, most of my time has been spent being walked through the different tools, and studios and going over safety.  I’ve been slowly meeting the other residence and some of the different students.  The ceramics studio links to the small metals/enamel/cast/chemical studios which then leads to the wood show, which then leads to the forging shop.  It is all a bit of a maze – however it makes for a cool roof landscape:

UCA rooftops
UCA rooftops

Everyday for lunch, between 12:30pm-1:30pm the studio’s shut down and everyone leaves for lunch (weird huh… they stop to each lunch here).  One day I decided to venture into town for Fish n Chips and find a nice place outside to enjoy.  I ended up at St. Andrews, a church in the center of town. Now, I was not impressed with the inside mind you, but the outside and grounds were stunning! Take a look:

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Another day, Hannah and I just sat in the field behind the school for a bit while we ate.  It’s cold out here and wet.  It tends to rain on and off, even with blue sky’s.  I’ll have to explore more next week. Cant wait to share the next adventures.


That’s about it for now.

Until next time, take care.
-Meredith S. Tibjash

Is this real life!?

Hello Everyone!

For people who know me, this trip has been on and off for over a year now…  For anyone new joining in (Welcome!), I was accepted to an Artist Residency at the University for the Creative Arts in June 2013, to join from August 2013 – September 2014 (ish).  Unfortunately, things did not come together and there were too many unseen difficulties on both sides.  They did however graciously leave the space open for me to possibly attend the following year (September 2014 – August 2015).  Sadly again, the issue seemed to be obtaining a passport in order to stay in the UK for over 6 months… so we changed it up a bit and I would now be going for 6 months (the maximum legal limit without a visa). Also, instead of venturing to the UK in September, I stayed home to participate in a short term residency at Touchstone Center for Crafts and would head across the ocean in the new year.  Which brings us to the present:

Ok, here goes…  This post may be a bit long.  Also, find me on Instagram (@mstibj) for more constant picture updates throughout my trip!

The past 12 days have been filled with a whirlwind of sights, sounds, feelings and experiences. It’s hard to pin point where, or even how to start describing it all.  The day I left the home to embark on this trip felt as though I was leaving for the weekend to hang out with my cousin Lauren in DC and I’d be home again soon.  I had decided to write notes each day; just something little each day about where I was, what I’d done and anything swimming in my head that maybe I had been over thinking about – I tend to do that quite a bit.  A kind of journal, log, or foot notes guide.  My one big regret about my only other trip across the ocean (in 2005) is that I did not keep track of the places visited, things seen and routes taken.  This time, I wanted to be prepared.

(**side note to those who really know this story – going through customs this time around I realized that I couldn’t have lost my passport on the plane going to Europe because we went through customs After getting off the plane… so my clever self lost it between the airport and the hotel… haha. Still wouldn’t have changed a thing**)

My flight was out of DC, and thankfully, my cousin Lauren currently lives in the DC area, so I had a travel buddy.  I was able to drive down on a Saturday and stay with her for a few nights before my flight out on Wednesday.  Lauren however was traveling to New York City that Monday for a networking event, leaving me on my own before embarking on this grand adventure.  It was odd, even as I arrived at the airport and was waiting to take off (for some 4 hours), I could not wrap my mind around the fact that I was about to start a whole new stage of life.  I try to have few expectations; to take things as they come, and I fully believe things will go the way they need to and lead me in the right direction.  My only hesitation, an unwavering sense of unease – the formidable feeling of being alone.  I was essentially packing up my life in 4 bags and leaving everything I knew behind, not really knowing anyone, or where I was to live, or what to expect.  That feeling of being alone was my biggest worry.

Now, with that being said, I am thankful that generally, I am able to make friends easily. Have you ever felt alone even in a room full of people?  That’s what I was worried about; feeling disconnected from my surroundings.  Which I already was feeling since leaving Touchstone.
**I want to give a shout out to Lori and her husband from the DC airport, thank you for chatting and reminding me to take a breath and let the adventure guide me.**  (they were headed to Iceland for a few days vacation – I hope you both had a wonderful time!!!)

Once into the UK, I left Heathrow airport and made my way to Farnham – to the University for the Creative Arts and finally met my contact there: Rebecca Skeels.  Rebecca had been helping me the entire way through: the whole visa situation, trying to find housing, get in contact with the other residence, everything.  Thankfully, one of the residence, Hannah, was gracious to open her home to me until I found a place of my own.  I arrived in the UK on Thursday, January 8th, 2015 around Noon.  Over the next few days I got a phone, started reaching out to more places for a room to rent, and tried to get a feel for how things would be at the University.  Each studio has it’s own safety run through which I need to be signed off on and will be done over the next week.  The facilities are amazing, and I will have access to a forging set up equipped with coal forges and a power hammer, etching/anodizing, enameling, small metals/jewelry studio, wood shop, metal supply store in house, and possibly an engraving studio. And the best part, students and faculty are around working creating that learning and productive environment.  Here are a couple of pics of the UCA set up.

There’s a Castle in town!  And an 11th century Abbey ruins nearby!  The University is not open on the weekends, and only open from 9am to 5pm during the week, which allots for a multitude of exploring and ranging.  Farnham Castle once housed Queen Elizabeth I and her “entourage.” And the Waverley Abbey ruins were the first Cistercian abbey in England founded in 1128.  So many cool historic places to visit, castles to explore and things I’d like to do while here, I will have to plan my time out carefully.  I would walk everywhere if I could, but the time it would take to walk to some places, the day would be over by the time I get there.  Here are some pictures from my adventures!

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The weekend of exploring ends and my first week at the Uni (University) begins with inductions into each studio and beginning my sync back into the habits of making work.  I have begun sketching ideas for a flip (friction) pocket knife, a locking pocket knife, and a jewelers saw. I also have some ideas formulating for some small metal works… more to come on all this in the next post.

Oh, almost forgot to mention, I have a place to live!!!  Hannah, her boyfriend Vince, and their roommate Lilla are letting me rent out the room I’ve been crashing in while I am here!  Yay!  I end this week with a comfy room of my very own in England, access to the studios I need to begin making, ideas percolating in the fingertips and the adventure bug itching to explore Everything!  I cant wait.  🙂


So what did I do this week besides inductions to the studio’s?
And what should I do this weekend…?
Anyone fancy an adventure?

Stay tuned to find out…

Until next time, take care.
-Meredith S. Tibjash


Closing 2014 and on to the Next Frontier

As the year begins to close I’m met with a whirlwind of options, opportunities, new challenges and a different outlook. After Touchstone, I’ve moved back home to Cleveland, Ohio, unemployed, living back with my mom and preparing for my next adventure come January 2015.

I have to say, it is an odd feeling being back home.  A mix of comfort, a feeling of uneasiness, frustration, yet still hopeful, with an itch to move forward with the next part of life.  Having a bachelor’s degree does Not guarantee a job, as so many of my fellow graduates can attest, let alone a job in your field of choice. Moving home and finding a job, any job to start paying back bills while still searching for that dream job.  I spent over 3 years in that “in the meantime” job, traveling when I could to workshops or taking classes to keep my mind on my craft.
Over the past year or so I have been struggling with the concept of being a maker as a career.  I have not been making work as diligently as I would prefer, the concepts are not in abundance, and I have not found my niche within the community I love.  I just have not been making – and there is a reason, albeit unknown to me.  But I do Love the metals community and I do Love creating and learning new techniques.  Working at Life Time Fitness the past 3 years or so, teaching swim lessons, and studio assisting at Touchstone I am reminded just how much I enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge and passion with others.

November and December 2014 seem to be manifesting about change, relearning forgotten things and learning new things about myself.  A chance to gear up, see what I’m capable of and push myself to new levels.

In January I take to the air and venture across the pond to England for an artist residency at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham.  I will be in the U.K. for six months.  To support this endeavor, I have launched a fundraiser to help cover housing, living expenses, food, travel, etc. to check out the fundraiser, click HERE.  Each donation comes with Rewards (you can see each reward here)!
I’d like to give BIG shout out’s and Thank You to the following friends and fellow artists for donating their work to be used as rewards in my fundraisers: Sarah West, Lisa Johnson, Jenny Butterfield, Shasta Krueger, Liz Steiner, Sara Brown, Stacey Lee Webber, Galatea Kontos, Amy Tavern, Liz Clark, Arthur Hash, Jim Bove’, Andrew Kuebeck, Anne Fiala, and Renee Zettle-Sterling. Thank you, Thank you!  I am very grateful to be a part of such a giving community of makers and friends.
Thank you’s also need to go out to Lauren Tibjash and Alyssa Shepherd for their support and guidance in putting it all together.

To sum up, and in the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I am deeply grateful for the friends and family in my life.  Truly thankful to be part of the wonderful men and woman who make up my community of makers.  And honored to take part in the upcoming adventures.

Change happens. It’s how you handle it and move on that decide your life, and you only live once so make it count. (hope that makes sense)

Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas!
Until next time, take care
-Meredith S. Tibjash


New Adventures – Fall 2014

Hello everyone,

With the summer at a close, my days at Beachwood Life Time Fitness hopefully behind me, and a new journey in the forefront starting with Touchstone Center for Crafts.

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September 2014:
Joined by Nicolette Absil (small metals), Greg Orloff (small metals), Samantha Momeyer (ceramics), and Bryce Hemington (ceramics) we embarked on a 2 month residency at Touchstone Center for Crafts in the mountains of Farmington, Pennsylvania without much cell service or internet.   This experience has been an interesting ride.  Everyone at Touchstone is wonderful, caring and generous.  Our time at Touchstone was at the end of the class season, with only a few courses being offered on weekends throughout September; Greg Gehner and Jody Best being the instructors in blacksmithing.

I had the pleasure of meeting Greg previously, his wife Cappy Counard is a jewelry and metals professor at Edinboro University where I used to studio assist once a week last year.  Both wonderful artists and amazing human beings.  Greg’s class was entitled Forge and Fabrication, the title speaks for itself.  Greg showed a few demo’s on rivits and a few forging techniques but let the students go with their projects, spending most of the class time helping them understand forging and fabrication techniques that pertained to their own project ideas.  I had a blast helping out where I could.

Jody Best taught a Beginner Blacksmith class.  11 beginner blacksmiths in one class… she is baller!  Jody demonstrated a few fundamental blacksmithing techniques: how to build a fire in your coal forge, and keep it going, how to hammer efficiently, taper, hook, etc. and then let the class have at their own forges.  Intermittently she would demo more techniques between bouts of everyone making hooks and walked around helping out.  Jody is a wonderful instructor, very patient and great at explaining technique.  After hooks, she helped everyone figure out what projects they would like to make and got everyone going.  Wonderful class!


October 2014:
In October, each weekend still brought activity to Touchstone.  The SNAG board had their meeting/retreat one weekend,  Keystone Metals Forum hosted by Touchstone another, a woodworkers guild came another.  Busy, busy, busy.

As our time at Touchstone was coming to an end, we worked more and more in the studios.  I set up a spot in the small metals studio and worked on pieces for my fundraiser.
Towards the end of October, during the Keystone Metals Forum, we set up a Artist in Residence Show, displaying the work we have been making while at Touchstone.


I apologize this post is rather short and under informative.  Since leaving Touchstone, change has been in an overwhelming abundance.  Beyond that, I have been ramping up for my residency at the University for the Creative Arts in January!  Stay tuned for more.

Until next time, take care.
-Meredith S. Tibjash

Summer Fun

Hello everyone,

It’s the Summer!  Which means beautiful weather and lots of people at the pool…
Which also means – no real news for this Aquatics manager…

Anyway, here’s the look at what happened with me this summer:

June 2014:
Hmm… I really had to think about this one…  Not much to report from what I can remember.
Just working at the pool – teaching swim lessons, paying bills and hanging out.
Also, told my boss that I will no longer be working at Life Time Fitness come the end of August.


July 2014:
4th of July! Happy Independence Day!
This year I spent the nations independence holiday with my girlfriend. Simple outing with some friends while watching the fireworks. (this girl has me hooked)

Jill and Pat’s Wedding! Which Alyssa (my girlfriend) came with as my date.  The first time I have ever brought a date to a wedding 🙂

Then, later in the month, Alyssa and I went camping with her parents.  It rained… the entire weekend.  What a great way to break in my new Keens!

Otherwise, work work work in preparation for leaving Life Time.

August 2014:
This was a HUGE month.
It starts off with my cousin Lauren venturing off to Alaska to fulfill a childhood dream.  Talk about your inspiration!  To read more about her trip, you can read the article here.

I also ended my 3+ year experience at Life Time Fitness.  Thank you team for making LTF a fun place to be.

Next up on my August line-up: a week long adventure vacation with Alyssa to Nashville (and may other places) for Nicole and Luke’s wedding.  I had the honor of making their wedding bands.
Here’s a run through of our jam packed adventure:

Thursday night – head to Cincinnati for the night from Cleveland.
Friday – Cincinnati Aquarium, pit stop to Horse Cave and zip line, then off to Nashville
Saturday – Nashville – Wedding Reception! followed by dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant and a quick trip to the Grand Ole Opry
Sunday – Nashville hang out, then off to Chattanooga to surprise Alyssa with a 3D I-Max movie and the Tennessee Aquarium.  Afterwards, off to Atlanta for “dinner.”
“Dinner” in Atlanta and off to “check out” the Georgia Aquarium to scope out the area when we “come back” on our next vacation trip.
Once in downtown Atlanta, we pulled into the CNN Center Omni Hotel to “park” and walk around.
Oh, did I forget to mention that we had reservations and surprise, going to the Georgia Aquarium all day Monday (it’s the largest aquarium in the world) with VIP, All Access Passes with backstage tour.  🙂
Monday – Georgia Aquarium then off to Alyssa’s cousins for the night
Tuesday – Swan House in Atlanta, then to Gatlinburg, TN to show Alyssa around Arrowmont School of Art and Craft – the Watering Hole in the Smokey Mountains and the strip. Finally off to Asheville, NC for the evening.
Wednesday – Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC for most of the day, with cool backstage architect’s tour where we got to go on to the roof.  The local town also had a blacksmith shop we were able to visit, and finally the long 8+ hour drive back home to Cleveland.
It was a perfect trip.  Check out the pics!

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Congrats and Best wishes Nicole and Luke!

After this amazing trip, I head to DC for about a week.  My cousin Lauren was just accepted to grad school at American University and I went to visit and see how she was settling in.  During my visit Lauren received a surprise visit from Jackie (her sister) and Colleen (our cousin).  We did some site seeing, got tattoo’s, met up with our other cousin Kelly and little Jacob for dinner, had a slumber party and watched A League of their Own, and had a blast.  Here are some pics from our cousins weekend!

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August was a thoroughly jam packed  month. So much that went on, and so much traveling all leading up to my upcoming adventures at Touchstone Center for Crafts; more to come on that in my next post.

Well, I think I mentioned everything… haha.
So, until next time, take care.
-Meredith S. Tibjash

Spring is in the Air

Hello Everyone,

A lot has happened during April and May… here’s a in depth look
And I forgot to mention, in March, I met a girl  🙂  more to come on her later…

April 2014:
This month, I embark on a journey to Minneapolis, Minnesota for The Society of North American Goldsmith‘s (SNAG) annual conference.  This year, I made it in as a New Professional Work Exchange!  This means that in exchange for working at the conference for 6-10 hours, I received a discount on the registration cost.  Win Win!  I love SNAG.  The people are just so friendly and passionate.  I always feel inspired when I am around my SNAG family. It’s a chance to reconnect with friends I see every year.  A chance to build connections, and a way to network and make new friends.
While at this years Conference, I took my opportunity to become more involved with SNAG and offered to update some very outdated educational and craft center directories.  Its just a start, but I want to help out if I can.


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May 2014:
In order to keep the excitement going, this month, I venture to Touchstone Center for Crafts with my good friend and fellow metalsmith Amy Green for their first annual Alchemist Picnic; hosted by Wayne Werner.
What a blast!  Touchstone is a beautiful campus nestled right in the Pennsylvania mountains.  This event was very laid back; sitting around campfires, artist demo’s -from Wayne Werner, Sharon Massey, and Todd Pownell, great food, and metalsmiths.  What more could a girl ask for?!  A way for students, professionals and makers to come together and share knowledge and professional journeys.
Also that weekend at Touchstone was their annual Jim Campbell Hammer-In.  A “Hammer-In” if you are not familiar, is a blacksmithing conference/get together.  Blacksmiths from around the area gather in one place for demos, tool swap, and general knowledge sharing.

I was on information overload!

While at Touchstone I also had a great conversation with their previous executive director Adam Kenney, who urged me to apply for their Artist in Residence program.  A chance to work for 2 months continuously without distraction from a daytime job.  It was exactly what I was looking for.  As you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity and applied as soon as I was home.
The whole experience was packed with excitement and new friends.  Also there for the Alchemist Picnic was Nicolette Absil, an amazing artist and individual who’s work with enamel and drawing is beautiful to say the least.

**Spoiler Alert**
I got accepted to Touchstone Center for Crafts as their Blacksmith Resident!!!  I’ll be living at Touchstone from September through October (maybe a bit longer).  More to come soon.

Let the making begin!

I would also like to give a shout out to my friends Leah and Joe, who got married this month!  Congratulation and Best wishes to you both!!!

Until next time,

-Meredith S. Tibjash

P.S. – personal note – I really like this girl 🙂

Winter Vortex

Hello all,

Not a whole lot to report from this icy winter vortex.

February 2014:
New boss at work, time will tell how things go.

Birthday’s galore!
Id like to take a moment to say Happy Birthday to my Birthday Buddies, Sara Brown, Kimberly Jackson, and Caitlin McDonald.
This year I turn 26, and frankly, I almost forgot about it with how much I was working, but no worries. My cousins know how to make me remember.  I do not have a particular feeling towards being 26, one way or the other, but if it’s anything like 25, it will be filled with it’s fair share of ups and downs.
And Happy Birthday Mom!

March 2014:
As March comes into action, and work is beginning to slow down, I find myself finally able to catch up.
My cousin Lauren’s Birthday – Happy Birthday Cuz!

Gotta love this Ohio weather.  One day you are in a t-shirt, then next, break out the parka, followed by a 50 degree day.  If you dont like the weather, just wait a day or 2, its likely to be completely different.

This month will be spent planning some kind of fundraiser, working on a few new pieces, finishing up a few applications, and updating my site.

Oh yea, did I mention SNAG 2014 is fast approaching!?!  In April, I will be venturing to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the Society of North American Goldsmith’s annual conference.  This year’s will be my 5th conference, and I have been accepted as a New Professional Work Exchange.  This means I get to help out at the conference in exchange for a partial reimbursement.  I will also hopefully be helping out Tara Locklear at the conference with the Raffle.  Lots to learn, good conversations to enjoy, new connections to be made, and of course great company.
Can’t wait!  More to come on this next month.

Until next time, take care and stay warm.

-Meredith S. Tibjash

P.S. on a personal note, I met a girl  🙂

New Drive – New Year, 2014

Happy New Year!
And Welcome to 2014.

New Years with the cousins (I am on the far Left)
New Years with the cousins (I am on the far Left)

This year, I have had a change of mind (cliché I know with the new year and all); no holding back and going all out for what I want.

January 2014.
This year is making me rethink everything.  So I have made a declaration to myself which needs to be completed by the end of this calendar year.
(more on this to come)

Time for another Adventure!
This time to East Carolina University for the ECU Symposium.  There, I met up with a few old friends, and get to hang out with a few new ones.  This time on my journey I had a friend and fellow metalsmith, Amy Green along for the ride.  We ventured on the almost 10 hour drive to North Carolina without knowledge of where we were going to stay the night.  Probably not so smart of a plan, but something in my gut told me to just go and everything would be fine.
I should listen to my gut more often, because when we got there, among the many artists, was Jessica Todd (whose work is pretty incredible, check out her site by clicking her name), a friend I had only recently met at 2013’s SNAG conference.  Jessica was gracious enough to let us crash with her for the conference.

Throughout the conference, Amy and I heard some amazing talks:

Gallery Exhibitions with pretty spectacular work:

  • I do.  … Do I?   @ The Art Room, curated by Nicole Jaquard
  • 50/50 Equal Parts  @ The Gray Gallery at ECU, curated by Tara Locklear
  • Reliquary Redux  @ Burroughs Wellcome Galley at ECU, Juried by Danielle James and Kate Speranza
  • Material Matters: Making Connections  @Art Avenue, curated by Maria Lee Ross and Samantha Clarke, Juried by Nick Heyl

Not to mention the Cocktails and the Saw File Solder Races @ Dirty Lam Studios

There were also some great Demo’s:

  • Cappy Counard  – I have been wanting to see Cappy do a demo since I’ve first seen her work, which is amazing!  Here are some photos from the demo.

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  • Chris Ramsy – Hey Look What I Found! – Chris had some really cool techniques and finishes I will be experimenting with in the future
  • Alison Pack – learned some new techniques on forming  🙂
  • Andrew Kuebeck – I’ve known Andrew since Bowling Green, he graduated as I was starting to take metals courses.  Over the years I’ve watched Andrews work, and exposure with admiration and respect.  It was great to final take part in a demo of Andrew’s and see some of his photo etching techniques and tricks.

This was my first ECU conference, I knew there would be a lot of familiar faces, and man was I right! This conference was spectacular, chock full of inspiration, great talks from some amazing artists, gallery crawl/art walk, laughter and outstanding conversations.  Even learned an interesting few things about Renee Zettle-Sterling that you would never find in her bio.  Lets just say, I thoroughly had a blast, and will be attending the ECU conference again in the future.

Great company, traveling, conversations, lectures, demos and all around great trip.
Next up: Winter Vortex

Until next time,
take care.

-Meredith S. Tibjash

Fall and Holidays Season

September 2013.
England is a no go…  (sad face)
The university was unprepared to assist me with help sponsoring my visa, and I could not put the funds together in time to leave for an extended period.
On the plus side, they have offered to leave it open  for me to attend next year!
This now gives me time to fund raise, find a flat and really branch out to set up some connections. (**fingers crossed**)

With my ideas of moving to England derailed for the time, I had to make sure I kept moving forward.

September 17th I embarked on a 9 hour journey to Southern Illinois University Carbondale for their annual SIMS (Southern Illinois Metalsmiths Society) conference.  Packed full of metalsmiths, a live auction with donations from local, student, faculty, and professional artists.  Guest artist Fred Crist also have some amazing demonstrations.

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October 2013.
In October, I made my way back south, this time to Memphis, TN to the Metal Museum.  This was my first time at the Metal Museum.  This past year, I was one of four(4) finalists for their Blacksmith Apprenticeship position.  Even though I was not what they were looking for, I wanted to help out with their Repair Days and put some faces to the names I had spoken with.  This trip was so cool in so many ways.  Not only did I get to hang out with Southern Illinois University Grad students again (SIUC and the Metal Museum are only 4 hours away from each other), but I made so many new friends most of which had only taken 1 metals class before.  It was great to talk to everyone and let the passion we all have for metalsmithing break free for a bit.

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On this adventure, I met students and young professionals, among them the amazing Sarah Rachel Brown, and Addison De Lisle; who are gearing up for some of their own incredible adventures this year; make sure to check them out if you have the chance (links attached to their names).

With this amazing weekend in Memphis coming to close, I got back in my car and prepared myself for the 9 hour trek back to Ohio.  Stopping in Nashville, TN on the way to see my good friend Nicole.   It had been years since we had seen each other, and of course, as soon as I walked in, it was like no time had passed at all.
***spoiler alert:  I just found out that Nicole and her then boyfriend Luke, are now engaged and getting married in August 2014 – Guess who was asked to make their wedding bands?!?***


November 2013.
Things seemed pretty slow this November.  I was not going on any crazy adventure, or working on any major projects.  This month was spent looking up different residencies, shows, and other opportunity deadlines.  Lets see what comes of it shall we?

To top it off, work was beginning to really take its toll on me.  I was getting ready to step down just to get away from it all, until my boss quit, and my cousin and I took over… hello long hours.

Thanksgiving was delicious as ever with the best company and family in the world.    🙂


December 2013.
In December, I traveled to Chicago for an interview with Life Time Fitness for a possible transfer and promotion.  The interview went very well.

While visiting I also met up with my mentor Brigitte Martin.  We spent all morning at Lillstreet Art Center where we got a full tour by Pam Robinson.  Lillstreet was pretty incredible.  Not only did the building go on for what seemed like miles, but the work and atmosphere was inspiring as well.  I hope to visit again sometime soon.
I was only in Chicago for a few days, but special thank you to Alisha Kurtz for putting me up while I was in town.

Christmas this year was wonderful.  I got mom a new Bike, and she got me 32′ Flat screen TV!

Well folks, I think this about wraps up the Fall and Holidays of 2013.
Next up: New Year/New Drive – 2014, and Winter Vortex

Until next time, take care.

-Meredith S. Tibjash

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