For someone seeking to find and learn from a "master" or "mistress" of the art form of wirework, my choice would have to be Dale 'Cougar' Armstrong.
To Whom It May Concern:
An artist seeks to grow and improve in their artistic endeavors. Unlike the hobbyist, who is content to reach a certain level and remain there, the artist is continually striving to improve and add to his or her creativity levels. They may do so by researching, by trying new ideas, attending seminars in their chosen field or even by seeking out one on one instruction from someone else in their chosen field whom is considered a “master” of the craft.
For someone seeking to find and learn from a “master” or “mistress” of the art form of wirework, my choice would have to be Dale Armstrong. In the five years I have known Dale, I have witnessed her endless energy for this art form, her willingness to answer any and all questions, her ability to kindle a fire of excitement and creativity in her students unlike any other instructor I have encountered. She goes the extra mile to aid someone just learning this art form, steps in to help the more advanced student with encouragement and ideas and keeps in touch with everyone despite a hectic show and teaching schedule.
Her “think out of the box” technique is what makes her work so exciting and fresh after seeing so much wirework that looks like it rolled off an assembly line. “Make use of your imagination, stretch your creativity…try it and see if it won’t work. Don’t be content with reaching a level and staying there, reach for the stars and grab them.” All of these statements make up Dale and more. Dale firmly believes in networking with her students, being sure they network with each other, looking for the best prices and sources for materials, whether its crystals, wire, beads or miscellaneous findings. By doing so, she has created a small world of connected individuals who promote the art form by using their own creativity to do so, as well as promoting an instructor who has ingrained in them that sense of worth and sharing attitude not found in other mediums.
So, yes, I have been “Cougarized” and I wear my paw prints proudly. I am still learning, still walking on padded feet and am smiling all the way. I encourage anyone who is seriously interested to contact Dale. Your life will change, mine did.
Mary W. Bailey