mmm.... I'm slowly coming back down to earth. I feel like I was totally absorbed and outside of myself and my usual life. Thanks, yet again, Valley Ridge Art Studio! I left early on Friday morning for the drive out to the west, enjoyed the colors of the changing leaves, and that sense of departure and transition as I left behind the chores and the shopgirl life for a brief moment. I even left behind my usually diligent record-keeping/photographing habits.... So, apologies, but I took NO pictures of the process!
We had three marvelous days with Michelle Ward as our instructor, Katherine was her usually wonderful hostess and we feasted at noon on meals provided by the Cook's Room. My classmates were inspiring on their own - that is one thing that I really love about in-person workshops as opposed to online learning; I get as much from seeing what other people do, seeing how we all start with similar supplies or techniques and then run in completely different directions. This was the last workshop at Valley Ridge in its current incarnation, though I already see workshops on the schedule and tempting art getaways as well so I have no doubt that the art and the inspiration and connection will go on.
Michelle led us through a series of exercises and shared so many techniques. The general idea was to take three pieces of paper and turn them into a book, using punched holes to guide us as the book developed. I really enjoyed making collages and trying to meet the challenge of remembering to consider what would show through the holes.
In addition to circles, the general theme was moon & sun & stars so I spent quite a lot of time the week before gathering images and song lyrics, even making up little packets for my fellow classmates. Moon & stars might be my most favorite topic. I did decide that I might branch out from just blue and purple. The yellow/gray combination that is so prevalent has finally worn down my resistance to yellow so I also spent the week before mulling over colors, checking my Pinterest boards (on sunshine and grey sky days, nothing but blue skies, lavender and lemons), thinking about gold and silver, navy & plum.
And even though it is pretty close to my usual, the addition of gold is new for me; I'm quite pleased with myself. Of course, it was fun to use the gold scraps that I brought from the shop (as well as those shared by my tablemate). I've always been more of a silver person, and was quite a stickler when I was younger, but I do love the warmth that it added.
Much of the workshop focused on the painting techniques but of course I had to jump into collaging, even if I only used a small fraction of the pieces that I had brought with me. And the very day that I came back to work, several other pieces arrived (tissue paper used for stuffing had interesting pathway/map markings on it, and constellation paper arrived from Italy. Maybe I'll have to make another book).
I sure do love Golden's ultrafine bronze paint. And I used another dark grey that had some little grittiness from glitter mixed in. Michelle mentioned using metallics sparingly but I'm not sure I could comply with that.
Interestingly, someone commented that my collages are really full - that they are deep with lots of layers to look at, and I realized that pretty much describes my merchandising style as well. Regularly people tell me they have to go back over the store a couple times to make sure they see everything. Guess no one will ever accuse me of being too minimalist.
On Friday I worked for about 12 hours, with a stop for lunch and dinner; and then ditto on Saturday (though, since dinner was a leisurely dining/celebration, the 12 hours took me closer to midnight). On Sunday I worked for another 6 hours. What a treat to be able to work on art and nothing else!
As usual, I can't sustain a single project for that length of time so I brought other things to work on. I didn't work at all on the brass/enamel necklaces that I need to restock for the holidays, but I did get one step further along on my batik papers. Now I just need to iron the wax off. I'm still in the learning/experimenting phase, but I think I managed to create some pages that will stand on their own in a frame; there are others that will just be "scrap" and will work better as book pages. Every holiday the book arts group that I am a member of exchanges 2" x 2" books so I will be using some of these pages to stitch into small accordion books.
And then I got home and started to think about moving on from where I'd left off (going to the thrift store to find an iron for the batik paper since mine fell off the ironing board and broked into lots of little pieces), momentarily forgetting all about my bed quilt which I need to finish up by Oct 22. Once I remembered that, it was back down to the basement sewing room. Mom helped me for a little while so I'm out of panic mode but still just on the edge. It's going to be a bit of a push to get this done. Today has been rainy at the shop and I'm glad I brought the squares to trim. Tomorrow I don't have to work late so I'll deal with the final seams, find/wash/iron/cut/sew borders and backing, it might be a late night on Friday and Saturday, too. And, yes, I realize I am not expanding my color palate much at all - but since my bedroom used to just be blue, adding purple and aqua and green IS an expansion.