Monday, October 31, 2011

Contemporary Craft Retreat - Canberra

Tranquil surroundings, creative and talented participants and good organization are ingredients for a great event. The Contemporary Craft Retreat was not just a great event – it was an exciting and inspirational learning experience. Congratulations must go to Lex Sorrentino, the coordinator of the retreat, who seemed to think of everything anyone might need, right down to extra cakes of soap and lolly bags for the tutors!
I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead two workshops. One was  the Bio Bowl – a wet felted vessel inspired by biological beauty.

The second was Message Sticks and Spirit Art Dolls with many beautiful imaginative and creative interpretations of my wrapped message stick art doll. I’m not sure anyone used  the collected wise sayings as messages,  but the dolls were inspirational on their own.



We were also privileged to see some amazing “show and tell”. This beautiful art doll by Janice Laurent was created with a bottle as an armature, and what you can’t see in this photo below are the tiny circus dolls inside the bottle. You will see this beautiful doll  in Art Doll Quarterly to be published in February 2012. Weren't we fortunate to see it "in the flesh" in Canberra?

Demonstrations from various tutors each night were also popular and enjoyable. Here is my friend Hector Vera (Vera Designs) demonstrating the art of kumihimo.

Most of all, it was a weekend of fun, friendship and free expression, so please don't miss  the 2012 Retreat :12-14 October 2012. More  news and more photos of the retreat  are on Facebook
And will the stick doll workshop participants ever look at ordinary garden sticks in the same way again?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sherrill Kahn in Townsville

I am ashamed to say that It's been  a month since I returned from Townsville where I thoroughly enjoyed a week's workshop with Sherrill Kahn, celebrated artist and author, and I am just getting around to reviewing my photos.  The  sample of Sherrill's work pictured above is a good example of the art techniques and composition and design principles we learnt.   Having been inspired by Sherrill's  books prior to the workshop,  I had doubts about whether I had chosen the right I have had very little experience with paint. However, I soon found myself experimenting with so many different techniques both on paper and fabric. Sherrill gave us many demonstrations over the five days, and we had plenty of time to try each technique ourselves. I have a pile of great samples!
One of  my favourite techniques was to use inexpensive hair gel with paint .... this is still a work in progress, but I am working on this for the ArchiTextiles Exhibition next month.
And I am still amazed at these results on black fabric ...  extraordinary outcomes from the  ordinary- a  foam tray as a print block, a ball point pen to create the designs and some acrylic paint.
 I was delighted to make some little dolls during the workshop. Sherrill's method of stitching and cutting painted/ coloured fabric images is also simple with stunning results. Besides the ones I made in class, I have been experimenting and using the technique to create pin dolls with commercially printed fabrics and with stamps I already had.

One of the really great " asides" of the workshop was the exercise to " see" our surroundings. Sherrill asked us to take 20 photos each day, and I have been doing that most days since taking the class. At first, I thought, what could be interesting in school grounds ( after all, I spent most of my working life in schools and their surroundings). Mistaken again! I now have hundreds of really inspiring images... here are four I took on the first day of the workshop in Townsville in the grounds of the Cathedral School.

Thanks to the sensational Sherrill and to my wonderful class mates for a really creative, sharing, inspiring and fantastic week.

For more photos, please go this blog's page entitled Sherrill Kahn's Townsville Class, or at flickr