Overflowing with Art

Hello World! I’m back from a week long art retreat in Portland, Oregon called Art and Soul Retreat. SO.VERY.ENGERGIZING.AND.INSPIRING. If you find yourself near any of their upcoming locations I encourage you to check it out: authentic artists, inspiring teachers, sharing participants. I could go on and on…and I shall… 🙂

Art and Soul Retreat-ing

Pics to follow and teacher info below for “enquiring minds” like myself who like to read ahead. They were all AH-MAY-ZING teachers who shared a plethora of information and technique (and supplies!) and I highly recommend checking them out (in person if you are nearby – they’re from all over).

I took 6 day-long classes learning the following:

  1. Wet (Nuno) Felting – made a scarf!
    (LeBrie Rich – Pen Felt)
  2. Doll making with cloth and paper clay – WIP! 🙂 Paper clay is fun!
    (Lulu Moonwood Murakami – lulumoonarts)
  3. Needle felting with a sewing machine – made 3 bases I’m in love with! (broke some needles – I’m not proud – “it’s part of the process” – more on that later)
    (Rebeckah Meier Designs)
  4. Gold leaf and copper strung African beads on a half ostrich egg bowl – featured below!
    (Debbie Rijns, who specializes in Precious Metal Clay work in South Africa – I couldn’t find just one link that summarizes her artistic work – best to internet-search her)
  5. Hand stitching and embellishing the Alabama Chanin Way – after all these years of hand-sewing I learned a new way to thread, knot and sew. Amazing. (WIP! I bought a shirt pattern…there’s A LOT OF HAND stitching to do…hopefully I can finish it while I’m still this size. 🙂
    (Natalie Chanin designed the pattern and technique – Patti Calande taught the class)
  6. Basket weaving with sea grass – another WIP (boy did I dig this one! Weaving is so meditative for me.)
    (Donna Sakamoto Crispin – the amazing artist/teacher blend we’re all looking for! Donna was great!)

A Finished Product: “Home Base”

I enjoyed figuring out this artistic vision as I went. Layer work is still a challenge for me, though I learned so much about the value of strategic layering throughout the week.

This one is named “Home Base” because it incorporates elements of all my home bases (virtual, physical and metaphysical).

These photos are staged on the lobby floor of the hotel in a brief moment of Oregon sun (yes, I was laying on the ground taking pictures when my significant other arrived…he wasn’t surprised and offered to help…bless our lovies!)

African album beads and grass seeds, copper wire, seashells, monkeywood base, gold leaf edging
African album beads (red/black around edge), grass seeds & Ethiopian silver (red/green hanging right side), copper wire, seashells, monkey wood base, gold leaf edging, armadillo symbol from Sand People drawings (for me on this bowl this represents my hometown of San Antonio, TX).

 

A look at the inside of the bowl. African porcupine quill at the front.
A look at the inside of the bowl. African porcupine quill at the front. I learned how to “stitch” with copper wire (lesson learned: it pretends to be like thread, but it absolutely isn’t thread in some crucial ways – blergh!). I especially appreciated the way Debbie taught me to “hide” the wire behind each inside disc. That’s some tricky sh*t that took me LOTS-O-PRACTICE to secure those beads.

 

I had a touristy seashell bracelet in my stash, so I cut i apart and stitched the seashells onto the ostrich shell with copper wire. They had 2 holes each already drilled so it was pretty easy to incorporate.
I had a touristy seashell bracelet in my stash, so I cut it apart and stitched the seashells onto the ostrich shell with copper wire. The shells had 2 holes each already drilled so they were pretty easy to incorporate. The image at the bottom of this view is the Coral Tree seed pod, which grows in South Africa and ALSO in Southern California (in my front yard!). It was a nice connecting home image for me, and it sits opposite the armadillo on the bowl.

 

The tiny coiled copper wires are the beginning and end of my beading work (fun shadows!).
The tiny coiled copper wires (left of photo) are the beginning and end of my beading work (fun shadows!).

It was good layer work for me – I started with the green wash paint inside and dots in the middle, and they ended up guiding the bead design.

 

Lovin' the sun on this one!
Lovin’ the sun on this one!

I really enjoyed this class, learning about gold leaf and incorporating South African Sand People images into my work (there’s also: giraffe and the “thread of knowing,” which represents our collective conscious dreams).

Get out there and try something new!
Crafting on…!

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Thoughts? How are you making art and living life these days?

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