Sunday, November 30, 2014

Gathering Grace

It's a second dreary, rainy day and while rain is desperately needed and we're happy for it, it's still a rainy day and lends to contemplation.

My thoughts travel to the future art retreat in Kauai next spring with myself, Roxanne Evans Stout and Susan Wooldridge.  Gathering Grace, Flight of Spirit is the title.  We will be gathering together, gathering nature, gathering words, gathering experiences, fun, friends, laughter, and island magic.

I will be leading natural dye classes where we will gather leaves and flowers to dye with as well as rusted and iron items and indigo.  We will bundle nature in fabrics and paper to steam, shibori dye fabrics, experiment with rusted metals on fabric, and other tie dye techniques.  I've been dyeing fabrics for over 30 years (really longer but then I'm telling my age and I don't want to sound ancient). But I did start dyeing in high school, tie dyed t-shirts.  I was honored several years ago to be part of a natural dye group that got invited to have five days of personal time with Michele Wipplinger in her studio in Seattle.  We had to submit a proposal of what we wanted to learn. I chose to learn how to take natural dyes and create colors by mixing them.  How to get black was the hardest but I was able to do that with Michele's guidance.  Now I use natural dyes as well as fiber reactive dyes and acid dyes and sometimes pigment dyes.  However, the retreat will focus on natural and botanical dyeing.  We should have lots of sunshine in Kauai to focus on solar dyeing too!

I invited Roxanne and Susan to join me because I admire their works and felt the three of us have different art forms that would mix wonderfully to blend into a finished island art book.

I met Roxanne at an art retreat and while we barely had time to say hello to each other while we were there I felt a kinship with her immediately and we made plans to gather with each other.  Roxanne came to teach a class in San Jose so I signed up and invited her to come early to explore the idea of us teaching in Kauai.  My sister lives about 30 minutes from Roxanne so she rode down with her to visit and also take the class.  We spent a day in my studio botanical dyeing and talking.  Then in her class we got to explore collage.  In Kauai Roxanne will give lots of ideas and technique for collage with a focus on nature, collaging 3 dimensional items, and stitching.

I took a class from Susan years ago at Art Fest.  I already had her book Poem Crazy and found her writing exercises tremendously inspiring.  So when I had the opportunity to take a class with her I was so thrilled.  She has a way of helping you get the words out in a fun way that becomes thought provoking.  At the end of a writing session it's very surprising what comes out by way of word tickets, really surveying your surroundings, and other writing techniques you explore.   Plus Susan's a lot of fun as she hosted a dance party at the end of Art Fest!

I know this retreat is a bit expensive because it's in Kauai, BUT it IS in Kauai and will be so worth every penny.  7 days to explore nature and the island, to work on projects at your leisure or optional choices.  One option is a watercolor class with Marionette Taboniar who is a local island artist.  Marionette offers ongoing classes of which I signed up for two of them when visiting the island one year.  Her studio space is near Waimea Plantations where the retreat is and she is scheduled to come to the Plantation one afternoon to teach watercolor if you choose.

The Waimea Plantations are on the Westside of Kauai right on the ocean with a black sand beach.  There is a restaurant on location and also a day spa for massage in one of the cottages.  The Waimea Canyons are also in the vicinity which are awesome!  The retreat is being hosted in The Kruse house.

I hope this gives you a little more insight into the retreat and that you considering joining us.  Click here on my events page for full information.

Aloha and Mahalo!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gathering at The Prairie


n. noun
1. The action of one that gathers.
2. That which is gathered or amassed; a collection or accumulation. 
3. An assembly of persons; a meeting.
Art Retreat at the Prairie was all of these.

Barb Solem of ViviMagoo Presents chose the perfect place to host an art retreat.  Rachel Ashwell's Prairie consists of the main lodge, several small cabins, a barn, and the main house where the shop and kitchen/dining room are.  All have been decorated in Rachel's shabby chic style and are so comfortable and homey.  The secluded, intimate setting lends itself to introspection, creativity, and coming together with friends, new and old.

I stayed in the Liliput Lodge or as it was being called, "The Big House" (not the one that Johnny Cash sings about though).  Here is a picture of my bedroom and the bathroom.

 Sweet little amenities

My teaching space the first day for botanical dye printing was on this lovely screened in porch that you see Rachel Ashwell sitting on the steps in front of.

It was the perfect place for dyeing but the second day of class the rain had set in and it was too chilly and damp to be out on the porch so we moved inside.

These rooms were transformed with extra tables, botanicals that had been collected, and all sorts of rusty items along with fabrics and ribbons to dye.  I am not very good at documenting with photos.  I get busy and distracted and forget all about taking them so you only get to see the pristine setting before we converged with all our "stuff".

Students work

After two days of botanical and rust dyeing the scene changed. Students arrived to reconstruct unloved shirts into a new garment.  Again I only have pics of one student's work and I'm sorry because there were some great garments being created and I have nothing to show.  Perhaps the students will send me some pics?

Here's Stevie in her upcycled art shirt.

At the end of the day the table looked like this as wine was brought out to toast our wonderful time to"gather".

At dinner there was a bit of shenanigans going on with lots of fun and laughter.

Thank you Barb, The Prairie and all my students and friends!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Autumn in Missouri

October is a wonderful time of year to visit Missouri.  The weather is still warm and sunshiny and the leaves turn incredible colors.

As the days go by I see more changes.  

A big oak tree on Main Street in Poplar Bluff branches upward and outward dwarfing the two story house it shelters.

Leaves turn even more intense color, 

some begin to brown

the wind comes up and scatters leaves whirling and twirling everywhere

bare trees begin to silhouette the sky

the weather becomes chilly and shadows seem longer

October ends and November looms ahead with more travel.
I've been in Missouri for 10 days and will be leaving tomorrow to fly to Texas.  Art Retreat at the Prairie here I come with some wrist wrap cuffs my sister Jan and I have been working on all week.