Every February, my friend Judith Cassel-Mamet and I co-teach a 3 day art retreat. We strongly believe that every participant needs to take home a finished piece of beautiful mixed media art as well as a reference notebook full of information that can help them become better artists. It's always a challenge to design a retreat that doesn't depend upon using sewing machines because we want our participants to come without having to lug heavy equipment or buy any supplies.
For our 2017 retreat, Judith and I are working with a new material that neither one of us have used before but functions like paper AND fabric. This satisfies both of us since I can add stitch and Judith can add paint!
Here is a glimpse on the piece I'm working on now. So far, I have sewn some decorative lines using my machine, sprayed some acrylic inks, stamped with archival ink, stenciled with metallic acrylics, enhanced with water color pencils, and just painted over the surface with more watercolor.
I love how this layering process results in amazing textures and patterns. Now, I shall start adding hand stitching.
Sigh. I'm in a happy place!
I have always been a creative person. Mostly, that expressed itself by breaking rules and many times, that got me in trouble. But many times, it led me to thinking about new ways of doing things and being viewed as "unique".
This weekend, I drove to Salida, CO where my nephew, Scott Bouldin, opened his new venture -- HUBBUB Brewery. More than 1,000 people came to sample his 8 beers and hang out to listen to wonderful music.
The next morning, he took me on a behind the scenes tour of how he creates his unique beer.
What an education! So many times, we think creating something unique is easy. Just "do it" as Nike says. But as artists, we know thats really not the case. Creating something unique takes years of practice, understanding and learning new and old techniques, trying something new without worrying about the outcome, and just going where no one has gone before.
I salute my nephew for his courage and hard work in creating a brewery unlike any other. I am inspired by him and see that creativity happens in all industries and we, as fine artists, can take these ideas and incorporate them in our own work.
I'd like another glass of Fresco Y Seco, please!
I never believed in a creative Muse that would sit on your shoulder and help you create. I always thought if I concentrated enough, something would pop out of my head and on to my sketchbook or into my hands as I just worked at making art.
If you talk to enough artists, you know you are not alone when you confess to being in a black hole. Often this happens after you finish a major series of work or close down your solo exhibit at a gallery. There is a let down and a wondering "what's next"? This is where I am right now.
This week, I had the chance to visit fiber and mixed media artist Susan Dillon's studio at GRACe. Her studio was a delightful, energetic and chaotic place and new work was simply outstanding. Susan is not one to just do one thing — she explores all her creative ideas at once. (This is not an easy thing to do!). She works on several completely different series but manages to keep exploring each one to it's fullest.
I have known Susan ever since I moved into RiNo. She and her husband had a retail location on Larimer street where Susan created amazing hats and accessories and her husband worked as a professional photographer.
Eventually, they morphed and Susan is now back in her roots as a fiber artist and manages the newest building for creatives called GRACe in the RiNo district of Denver.
Besides introducing you to an amazing artist, I also wanted to confess that I was very jealous of where she is right now. I could just see all the ideas she is working on and just how exciting and unique they are. If I don't get out of my funk soon, I'm going to ask her if I could just sit quietly in her studio and watch her work. Perhaps SHE is the muse I need sitting on my shoulder!
I am so blessed to have a beautiful studio in the Dry Ice Factory. I love creating in the RiNo Art District so am happy I didn't have to leave my artistic home for the last 7 years.
Amazingly, everything I had in my gallery fit into a much smaller space, Thanks to my friend Bruce who re-built all my storage shelving and put together some new metal shelving to serve as a storage space for my art, I even have room to store MORE art!
This is the view from my sewing machine table. I like to keep the door open so I can meet new people. But I'm tucked into a corner so things are pretty quiet.
You can barely see the large windows on the left that bring so much beautiful light into my studio. So much light, in fact, that I had to hang some curtains so block the afternoon sun. (you know that sun and fabrics don't get along!)
But it makes me happy to open my studio door every day and the atmosphere inspires me to create! If you find yourself in Denver, come visit!!!