22 October 2012

Anne Bagby Class Day 1

Just the day prior to the class our weather had been the best of the year - but with the beginning of the class the weather turned to our more typical grey, sodden skies - all of which made the colors around me 'pop'! This is one of my favorite "fall trees' in town. I look forward to it's blazing color every year.
I'm still somewhat reeling from all of the wonderful information that those four days in class provided my with. I think it's slowly seeping into my brain - transformed by the ways I'm comfortable working. What an amazing four days that was! I have come to one realization and that is that I work so much better at home - where all of the things I usually use are available. Typically, I bring all of things on the supplies list and then I realize that "Oh! I could have used this or that" or "if only I had thought to bring...". It means tat I generally don't finish much in a class - but take the beginnings home to work on in my own environment. I've always wished that I was a fast worked - someone who could produce in class - but I have to admit, after years of all kins of classes , that I have to internalize the information before I can really use it. Any one else feel like that?
Wonderful team leader and owner of Wild At Heart Heart Studios, Jan Murphy, on the left and teacher extraordinare, Anne Bagby, on the right

Using an image of your choice and making into something that is, uniquely, yours. We used images from magazines, the web (toner copies) - practically anywhere you find them. They can be used for the face - or for the shape - the form of human figure - or both as many did. Not being much of a clown person I chose to interpret the idea as a 'masked' person. This photo is NOT my work, but is that of a talented class mate.
We covered SO much in the first day that my mind couldn't absorb it all. An extra added, optional, bonus was carving a large stamp (12" X12") the Anne Bagby way. I love carving stamps but I discovered a lot of new, very valuable, information form Anne about how to carve smarter and better. Below you can see the inspiration for a stamp in the background and the carved stamp, a la Anne, in the foreground
I admit to not really having my 'listening ears' on. Anne's directions were to draw some faces and I somehow got it into my head that she meant sort of caricature faces - not realistic faces. Being new to concept of collage and assemblage I had to swift paddle to keep up at all. Agin, the images below are NOT my work - but another class mate's. There were several amazing artist's in the group who had taken classes with Anne and Lynn before and they, naturally, "got" it well and got it right!
Photos below: Anne keeps an envelope filled with myriad faces that she says she draws before bed every night. These are some of her faces - the envelope provides her with so many perfect option - so that as she works on a piece she can 'audition' what sort of face will work.
 Faces, Faces and more faces
We were told to bring four 5"X7" inch substrates. Two black, one collaged with lights and one collages with darks. I found that I was unable to do anything with the dark because I wanted to take it home and texture it the way I wanted to before I could "waste" it and slap something onto the clean black surface. I think I must have to work on my 'spontaneity' factor huh?!
Below is the lovely and talented Dawn of Mother Rubber. She had everything a person could want  and then some - and she was very generous in lending supplies! She's a really lovely human being and if you check out her website you are sure to find some unique goodies - she also makes custom rubber stamps - that's a resource I was thrilled to discover!

This was the piece that I completed from day one. You can see this as it was, unfinished, in class on the second photo below.  Once again, I just HAD to take it home to finish it and once I had done that I was much  happier. Had I not mis-heard the simple instruction this 'cool kat' would have had a more realistic face, but since my 'listening ears' had been turned off and I 'heard' "quickly drawn facial elements" this is what I drew in class that day.  I left the face intact rather than replacing it as a reminder to myself to listen more closely!
 Such amazing, wonderful, work from all f these talented artists! What a feast it was !
 More from these workshops to come!

16 October 2012

Anne Bagby & Lynn Perella : 4 days of Inspired Art Making

My classmates. An amazing, talented group of gifted artists who came from many places!
Lynn Perella is on the top row, the third from the left.
Anne Bagby is on the top row, third from the right.
We had five local people (residents of San Juan County) in the class -
 the rest came from all over!
It's difficult to know how to begin to tell you about the amazing class experience I just had with Lynn Perella and Anne Bagby. Four days of inspiration, excitement, and learning that will stay with me for a very long time.

First of all I had only been able to afford the first two days of this four day workshop. The amazing, delightful and warm hearted owner of Wild At The Heart Studios, Jan Murphy, took a giant leap of faith and told me that we would work something out to allow me to be able to attend the second two days of class. For two days I had an angel sitting on one shoulder and a wee devil on the other shoulder. One telling me that I shouldn't stay because I need to not spend money; the other telling me that I should stay because of this unique opportunity... you get the mental tug-o-war that I was experiencing! Then I discovered that this was Anne Bagby's last travel teaching class. In the future all of her workshops will be held at her studio in Tennessee. And so, yes, I had no choice but to stay and take on the bit of added debt!

Wild At Heart Studios will be presenting many more workshops here in our vacation destination home. Quite a few of the class participants brought their spouses with them. Have a look at the class line-up - which will soon be filling up with many, varied, new workshops, and consider a vacation trip  and workshop vacation for yourself!

We have a wonderful mixed media ship, Vital Elements, owned by Retro Rose Rhonda Scott (6th from the right top row in the photo) . Rhonda hosted a spectacular meet 'n' greet soiree for all of us the evening before the workshops began. What a great way to begin the adventures - and people seemed pleased to find special mixed media gear to bring to class!

For those of us who live here being able to take a workshop like this and not have to travel is a very unusual thing. It was pure joy to be able to take a class and go home to sleep in my own bed. Because of some tiresome health issues I wasn't sure how I would deal with the intensity of this class experience, but thanks to a bit of Urban Moonshine Energy tonic and the ability to sleep at home I made it through three of the four days working on all cylinders - my energy stumbled on the fourth day but still I made it through!

From Lynn Perella's class.
My piece is on the left. A talented classmate's piece is on the right
I'd been enamored with Anne Bagby's work for many years. I have her videos but I wanted to experience a class with her. The videos will now be even more important to me because I will know what she means and will have seen her in action doing the techniques that she covers in her videos. The videos are extremely well done and, if you have an interest in her working style, I can highly recommend them - even if you will not be able to go to Tennessee for a workshop you will get a lot from them!

I've never taken a mixed media class before and this was an amazing place to start! I knew of Lynn Perella but had never considered taking a class with her - and I'm not sure why I say that - because I was not really familiar with her work is the best answer that I can come up with. Lynn is one of the best teachers that I have ever had in any medium. She's organized, calm, positive, encouraging and always has an inspired suggestion or two or three or four about how to make your design work better or differently. She's a truly gifted teacher and I am SO fortunate to have had this opportunity to learn from her. Her class hand-outs are artworks in and of themselves (photos will be forthcoming in another post).

An unfinished piece from Anne Bagby's class. (The face is a temporary).
The backgrounds are made from 'complicated paper'

The pace of the four days was fast and furious and I have to admit to not being able to keep up. Where some people would breeze though the required four panels I might finish one and a half. On the last day, when my energy lagged precipitously, I produced nothing whole. I set myself for failure by using a painted used dryer sheet as part of my base. We were working on gessoed red rosein paper. Although I was able to glue the used dryer sheet glued to the gessoed surface, nothing would glue (using ANY sort of glue) to the top of the used dryer sheet. So, rather than make myself crazed... which was sure to happen, Lynn suggested cutting out portions of the panel and making art tags from it. I did that and got some rockin' tags but not finished panel.
I was fascinated at how similar some of the techniques are to things that we do and use in textiles and quilt art. Complicated paper = fused fabric. I did use some fabric with papers to make some of the 'complicated paper'. Everything I learned in this class can be translated to cloth. An extra, added, bonus! I got to meet some of the most talented, wonderful, warm people too. Some I'd like to teleport to the island for days of creative play. It was a thoroughly inspiration four day!

I'll be covering the classes in more detail is a series of future posts. Now, I need to unpack, organize, catch-up and think of the 'real' world that I will return to (aka work) soon. This has been an amazing vacation. One of the best ever - and I didn't even need to leave home!

11 October 2012

Malabrigo Arroyo Yarn in 'Glitter': My New Favorite

I admit that I've been knitting a lot lately. It's just the perfect, meditative thing to do in the evening after work. I keep my other obsessions for the "brain awake" days of the weekends generally.

I've always been a huge fan of Noro yarns but my latest yarn love has been Malabrigo. I have become especially fond of this new colorway called "Glitter". It contains nearly all of my favorite neutral colors -even including my most favorite mossy green-y/gold-y color. My next project in this colorway will be Cheryl Oberle's Faroese shawl that I will use Malbrigo Rios (machine washable ). 

This is their Arroyo line:

Weight: Sport (12 wpi) 
Texture: Plied (4) 
Yardage/Meters: 335 yards, 306 meters 
Skein weight: 100grs, 3.53 ounces
Gauge: 20 to 22 stitches = 4 inches Recommended needle size: 3.5mm - 4.00mm, US 4 - 6
Fiber content: Superwash 100% Merino 
Arroyo is mashine washable, using the gentle cycle with cold water. Dry flat. 

In case you're wondering what's on these needles - it's the super cool, super easy, "Hitchiker Scarf" by Martina Behm - available HERE on Ravelry

Tomorrow I begin a workshop with Anne Bagby and Lynn Perella  (page down just a bit on this link to see the class I'll be in). I'm just about to head out to a little "meet'n'greet". Our weather, unfortunately, has turned to the more typical, sodden and overcast variety but I hope that the visitors who've traveld from far and wide for the class will still be able to appreciate our island beauty. I've been waiting about a long time for this class to happen - so hang on for some soon-to-be-published photos of the class!

08 October 2012

ZuZU's Petals Cowl by Carina Spencer


My new position (not a desired change) at work has meant a bit of extra hours. Not only is it a reminder of how low my energy reserves are it leaves with very little extra ''juice" the evenings. Thank goodness for knitting! Knitting is something that calms me and I find I can always find enough energy to knit some rows even on those evenings when I feel like crawling into be at 6:30 pm!!

This pattern is called Zuzu's Petals and it by Carina Spencer. Available HERE at Ravelry. It's bit different that other cowls I've knit in that it is rather like a collar - it goes all of the around your neck - joined in the round. It's not at all tight so it's not constricting in any way.  I was a bit concerned that I would not like it as I knit it but now it's swiftly become one of my favorite cowls to wear!
The pattern called for some awesome yarn from Twisted Fiber Art but the piggy bank would not spring for it this time. Maybe next time around I'll be able to try it! I used a lovely merino and cashmere blend that was hand dyed by our own Julie Packard, owner of Island Wools. Her line of hand dyed wools are called Whimsical Colors. Very nice stuff indeed! Next time you're in her shop try a skein or two!