Sunday, August 30, 2009


Not only is chocolate one of my favorite things to eat, it is also one of my favorite movies. Chocolat, with Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp, is beautifully set in 1950's France and is rather quirky and fun.

In the Altered Sisters Round Robin that we've been doing for several months now, I was faced with Heather's book called Cinema. Each artist has to do a spread on their favorite movie. This is a toughy for me as I'm definitely NOT a movie-goer and seldom watch one on TV. What to do? What to do? My favorite movie list is short: Shrek, The Princess Bride, Chocolat and You've Got Mail. Pretty lame, huh?

From past posts, (here, here, here and here), you may remember that I vowed to complete each spread in this Round Robin with an altered photo. I couldn't come up with any photo to alter for this one so I cheated a bit and used my 12 year old's alphabet photos that she has taken over the past two years to spell out the name of the movie. I tried to make the background look somewhat chocolate-wrapper-like with foil and various browns. When the group sees this at our next meeting, I'm prepared for lots of wise crack comments because I NEVER work in brown and am quite vocal about avoiding the color in most everything I do.

I think I'll go have a candy bar now. My tastes aren't extravagant: I'm happy with a Kit Kat or a Hershey bar with almonds. But, a piece of good Belgian chocolate sends me into orbit.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Recent Workshops - Just Take the Plunge!

In July I had the pleasure of teaching The Art of Paste Painting and then a Paper Mosaics class at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. The classes were filled with many wonderful ladies, many of whom took both classes so we were able to get to know each other a bit.

Here's an idea of the mix of interests and backgrounds of some of the ladies that came:

* A mom and daughter just looking for a fun thing to do together, as well as an experienced graphic designer, played with mosaic patterns using commercial papers and had great success. (I must admit, I've not used commercial papers before but definitely see the possibilities after seeing what they did.)

* One gal found me at the Portage Library Book Arts exhibit last winter during a terrible blizzard. Now that's some serious interest! She did a great job with her colors, especially the blues, and made a beautiful frame. I think there will be more in her future.

* Another woman is a calligrapher and had tried paste painting before but wasn't able to achieve the watercolor-y look she was after. I think she succeeded with this look after taking the class.

* One papermaker friend plans to turn the mosaics into jewelry. Are you kidding me? That's really tiny!

* One gal is an all around creative person: altered books, collage, painting. She is always exploring as one artistic interest usually leads to another!

* One gal is a teacher's aid and is always making things for her students and her own children. This lady has talent, an abundance of energy and lots of smiles!

* A friend of mine from our days together in Jr. High and High School is going to make a large frame for her son and his fiance in the colors of their wedding party. She quilts beautifully so she was easily able to pull together colors.

* And finally, a lady who was signed up by a relative and thought she was going to a cake decorating class. This could have been a teacher's nightmare: someone who didn't want to be there. However, she was won over quickly, was delighted with the process and did some beautiful papers that she plans to make into cards. I'm glad she came.

The lesson here is that anyone can create, you only need to give yourself permission to do so. If you need a push, take a workshop, get a taste of what you can do, and then go for it.

A sheet of mosiacs drying.

So beautiful. I want this!

An almost finished frame. Lots of glue to dry.

Making a small tray with scraps around the outer edge.

So, what are you making today... Money? Friends? Art? Trouble? Nourishment? Good choices? Let me know.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Guests in the Garage

Periodically over the past couple of years a local mom has been asking me if I would teach a group of her daughter's friends to make paper. "You bet," I'd always reply. "You get the group together on a date that works for all and we'll have at it." Well, it never came together but I knew the interest was sincere. Finally, another one of the mom's in the group of buddies was able to pull it off and we met in my garage last Tuesday evening for some colorful papermaking fun.

We worked from 6:30 to 9 in the garage and on the driveway. It was a beautiful summer evening and the Michigan mosquito only showed up toward the end of the party. The girls learned basic sheet forming and how to use pigments/inclusions. They also learned a few fun papermaking tricks like dragging a piece of thread through the pulp to make a "line" of pulp as well as how to stamp into a wet sheet to add interest and dimension. We used boards as our drying method.

As usual, I only remembered to take pictures after the workshop was over. Here are the girls (moms declined the picture opp) proud of their work and ready to come back for more.

To my local friends: think about this for a birthday party, girls-night-out or some other gathering. It's a great way to relax, have fun and create.

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