Category Archives: workshops

Whimsical Collage: 2

Back in November I went to a fabulous 4 day Mixed Media Collage Workshop led by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Nathalie Kalbach. See my first blog post about it here.

It was such fun getting messy and creating colourful papers in readiness for our first 6 collages. We used pages from old books we had been supplied with – books that would otherwise have gone to landfill. The print adds a layer of texture and interest.mixed media collage workshop

And the books themselves make perfect little sketchbooks to carry around for those odd doodling momentscreating collage papers

Julie and Nathalie have a great way of introducing the theory of colour and composition in fun bite-sized exercises. Julie BalzerIn this one we were mixing tones of one colour using black and whitemixing tones, acrylic paints

no paint was wasted, we cleaned our brushes on more paperusing old maps for collage

collage paperand then experimented with stamps, building up layers of marks, pattern and colour – my memory is a of a frenzy of fun and activity as we all dashed off all these wonderfully inspiring pieces without really thinking

stamping, acrylic

In this way we gradually built up supplies and confidence, moving towards creating pieces we were pleased with.six 6 x 6 collages, mixed media

The background of this one is the newspaper I was using to protect the cloth beneath. I think at this stage it reminds me of textiles …. still more to do in those blue squares, but I’m not sure what yet……

newspaper as art paper

I wondered about adding a little knot of silk remnant

mixed media, sari silk

and maybe some stitching …… hmmm …. not there yet.

Julie’s first Blog post about the workshop  explains the format of Day One and Two.

There is a picture of me (the 8th one in) in pink Tshirt, working away, ( and a couple more later on) plus loads of pictures of fellow students and their work. This blog post alone is inspiring enough to keep me busy for weeks as I remember all I learnt and discovered.

And then we were ready to work towards some finished pieces.

Next up –  working in a series: six collages on 6″ x 6″ card

collage

Julie’s second Blog Post: Whimisical Collage in the UK Part Two shows lots of these from the group. You might be able to spot mine in amongst them.

mixed media

The best part – building the layers with stamps and oil pastel lines and scribbles

The next part is wondering if they are finished or not

mixed media collage

The 4 on the left have a story attached to them, but that is for another day ……

Joining in with Kate and her Scrap Happy January band of happy scrappers.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Whimsical Collage Workshop: 1

At the beginning of November, on my way up to Yorkshire, I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous 3 day workshop: ‘Mixed Media, Whimsical Collage Circus’ organised by Art Workshops and led by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Nathalie Kalbach.

It was a residential workshop held in the Holiday Inn in Coventry and there were about 36 attendees.

We were 6 to a table. Look at the contents of the goody bag that greeted usworkshop goody bag

The organisation was superb, and Nathalie and Julie are excellent tutors.

They would first do a demodemo in art workshop

 

Then we would go back to our tables with a simple set of instructions and create.

One of the first exercises was mark-making

mark making, art workshop

No paint was to be wasted – to clean our brushes we used up any excess paint on newspaper and old book pages.

See the wonderful creative flurry on our tableart workshop, mark making

The best thing was that we were only given about 5 – 10 minutes to do each exercise – no time to think, just paint – it freed me up so much.

At this stage we were creating papers we would later be using in collage.

creating papers to use in collage

Gosh it was fun!

Julie and Nathalie both create a range of foam stamps that were there for us to excperiment withfoam stamps

We could also buy packs of them, foam stampsbut by the time I had decided which ones I would like, they had been snapped up!

There was an amazing array of art supplies in the ‘shop’ and lots of shopping going on!shop

It is hard to know which ones to buy before using them – this one of Nathalie’s turned out to be one of my favourites. She had made a book with each of her Foamies stamped as a simple repeating pattern

Nathalie Kalbach stamp

The fun comes when you use the stamps over other layers of paint. Here’s what happened when I started to play with it

mixed media

The trouble is I like it too much to tear it up for collage. You know that feeling I’m sure.

We did some fun exercises and had lots of laughs – at the end of the three days we all had 12, 6″x6″ collages to take home.

I will tell more in a future post, but in the meantime, Julie created a Vlog about her whirlwind trip to Ireland and Coventry which includes our workshop (starts at about 18.40 minutes in) – she has such energy!

 

Happy crafting!

Snow, Ice and Guinness

Last weekend I went to Branscombe, Devon for a ‘Walk of Life’ workshop.

But

The Beast from the East was foretold and this Beast would clash with Storm Emma and cause all sorts of dire conditions

I wondered if the workshop would still take place, but Helen seemed very determined that it would go ahead so I decided to go a day early to get there before the worst of the weather was due to descend upon us.

I got there just in time, as just a couple of hours after I was cosily ensconced in Nestlecombe, the walk across the road to the Masons ArmsMasons Arms Branscombe was getting icy and the village was soon to be cut off for all except farm vehicles.

In the pub I found a log fire, a warm welcome and a handsome young French bartender. I ordered mushroom soup and Guinness… I do love a draught Guinness.pubGIn his strong French accent, the bartender asked me what I was doing in Branscombe.

“I’m here for a dance workshop on the beach,” says I

“I was not expecting that!” he said, we laughed!

After lunch, while the storm raged and the snow fell, I was snug back in my holiday let, happily watching ‘Shetland’ on iPlayer and doing some more of my Jurassic Coast blanket.crochet and laptop

This is currently my go to project when I just want to do rows and not have to think too much about the pattern. Easy to do in front of the TV.

I laid it on the bed to see how it was coming alongjurassic coast blanket in progress

Just coming up to half way.coastal colours, linen stitch

Keeping to coastal colours in Stylecraft Special DK, 4.5mm hook and in Extended Moss Stitch, which I think is also called Linen Stitch.

The view from the bedroom window

view

After the snow came the freezing rain and on Friday walking anywhere was lethal – lethal but beautiful icicles

so I just had to get out there with the camera – luckily I had my walking stick and Snow Grips with me. I’ve had them for years and never used them before.

snowgrips

There was a crust of ice over everything

ice and snow

which made a wonderful crunchy sound as you made your way across it

I have never seen the effects of freezing rain beforeicicles on creeper

this whole tree was encased in iceice tree

The photos don’t really do it justice as the light was so low

freezing rain

the effect was spectacular

iced fir

iced tree

I thought the pub sign had a touch of ‘Daphne du Maurier’ about it.

pub sign

and in the fieldsice on wire, freezing rain

so much beauty to be found

even the catkins were frozeniced catkins

more icy photos to come …….

Click on any photo to see it larger.

(PS. I was the only one who turned up for the Workshop! Wimps! Ha!)

Now I’m going to pop over to Cathy’s for a good ol’ Knit and Natter Friday

Check

~

home schooling:

free rein on the quest

for knowledge

~

DSCF8552

Last week Miss E and I went on the train to the Lymington Museum and Art Gallery where 22 Home Schooled children gathered to take part in the most wonderful workshop based on an exhibition of work by many different artists all creating pictures of trees.

The children were invited to leap into a painting and imagine themselves there – what could they hear, see, touch, smell. What would they need to take with them. how did they feel whilst they were there.

DSCF8537

They then chose a painting to look at for 10 seconds then turn away and draw from memory, then a different painting to draw just the outlines for 5 minutes, then 5 minutes to use colour. After that we went to the craft room to create a printing block of their drawing in polystyrene, to print on coloured paper.

On the train I was allowing the movement of the train to create wiggly lines in my sketch book as a quirky diary/memory of our day.

DSCF8569

Miss E noticed that the rain on the train windows made similar lines when travelling down the windows

DSCF8567

which in turn were similar to the lines of the branches of the trees in one of the paintings

DSCF8541

I just LOVE the way her creative mind flows.

Joining in with our 52 Week Photo Challenge, this week’s prompt CHECK

and

Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge, prompt words: REIN and QUEST.

I’m a little late this week as I have been away for a few days visiting my son and his three girls and then to Chelsea Flower Show with my sister! We had the BEST time – more of that soon. A highlight of the day was meeting up with fellow blogger Dorris – Wow! That was really special!

Textile Art: #1

I had a delightful day today learning how to make textile books with Frances Pickering.

imageSuch fun tearing fabric and sloshing paint to make the pages. This is going to be the first of my 9 pieces of textile art for my 16 for 2016 list.

It feels so good to be using bits and pieces I have had stashed away for years.

imageAll the pages are made, plus a fastening and a dinky bookmark.

Tonight I’m thinking about what to put on the pages

image

I am LOVING it and already have ideas lining up for the next 8.

image

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Kingston Lacy Haiku

Yesterday I went to a ‘Haiku and other Short Poetry’ Workshop at Kingston Lacy, a National Trust property.KL

First warm-up exercise:

We played a Haiku ‘consequences’ type of game:

We were each asked to write the first line of a Haiku – five syllables, with a theme of Spring. Then fold the paper over and pass it round.

Then the second line with 7 syllables, fold over and pass it on

Then the third with 5 syllables, fold over and pass it on. The words in pink are the ones I wrote.

And then we read them out:

Bluebells under trees

Spring has sprung out of the soil

Holding the moment

*

Petals underfoot

Deeply inhale the blue scent

The trees are alive

*

Morning has broken

Stepping softly in the silence

Trip over with joy

 

It was fun to co-create and felt pressure free with only one line to write at a time. workshop

I get such a buzz out of creating something with others, whether it is a design with my grandchildren or a Haiku or a Renga

 

 

Later we talked about flipping the first and the last lines to see if this would be an improvement, e.g.:

The trees are alive

Deeply inhale the blue scent

Petals underfoot

*

Holding the moment

Spring has sprung out of the soil

Bluebells under trees

*

And then used our own lines and flipping the first and last:

Trip over with joy

Deeply inhale the blue scent

Bluebells under trees

This seems like a fun way to play around with a Haiku to look for different emphasis and sometimes it seemed to create more poetic strength – I’m definitely going to try this one out in the Haiku challenges.

It was a fun workshop, I really enjoyed it, and then I had a wander around the house and gardens.DSCF6720

I’m just a teeny bit obsessed with bluebells at present. I bet you got that!

I love them for theirDSCF6742 fleeting beauty, their subtle yet heady scent and the way they mark the beginning of my most favourite time of the year, when all the Spring flowers burst forth in a soft fluffiness of colour.

 

A bluebell doodleDSC_0503

And they remind me of a bluebell time when love was in the air – oh that heady feeling, remembered each time I walk in woods carpeted in a soft purple-blue haze.

lying in bluebells

mirroring clear skies above

on high forever

*

Latin name for Bluebell: Hyacinthoides – that’s 5 syllables, the first line of a Haiku right there! Or maybe a better last line?

Trip over with joy

Deeply inhale the blue scent

Hyacinthoides

“Hyacinthoides non-scripta: The Bluebell’s Latin name, Hyacinthoides, comes from a Greek myth: when the Prince Hyacinthus died, the tears of the god Apollo spelled the word ‘alas’ on the petals of the hyacinth flower that sprang up from his blood. Non-scripta means unlettered and distinguishes this bluebell from the similar-looking hyacinth.” (from the Scottish Wildlife Trust site)

Does the scent of a Spring flower bring back happy memories for you?

Clay play

dolphin

After the slow business and concentration of learning the new skill of stone carving, Miss E thoroughly enjoyed working with clay and made this delightful leaping dolphin

000cla

Exploring a familiar medium in  a different way

The dolphin was left to dryD and the conversation turned to how the clay was used and stored etc, so Sarah showed Miss E how to recycle clay by smashing it with a hammer,

hammer

mixing it with water…………. and swidging it about

000ha

and then ..

000pr

which when held up to the light

000lig backlight

gained magical halos where the paper had absorbed the water.

It was wonderful to watch this process unfold as E was supported by Sarah to explore things as they emerged, E always taking a next creative step with what she was doing.

Even the board on which the model had stood provided a shape that to Miss E looked like a lion’s headtiger

can you see it?

print

and so a print was made.

For want of a printing press Granny’s great weight was used and because even that was not quite enough to make a decent print, I picked Elfie up and we jumped up and down on the board and … ta dah!

printt

She now had a picture of a .. oh , it turned into a tiger prowling towards the viewer. E was down on her hands and knees demonstrating just how the tiger was moving …

tiger22it’s no wonder Miss E recently won a prize at school for story writing – very proud Granny!!!

The three of us were entirely absorbed for those two and a half hours of wonderful exploration – a very special time  – and so lovely to be able to share it with you all.

Sarah runs workshops for all ages and family groups – tis a fabulous experience and makes a great present. Take a look at this website to find out more.