Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back From Art and Soul Art Retreat, Virginia Beach

I am just back from another amazing art retreat put on by the wonderful team headed by the indomitable Glenny Moir !  This was an especially important year for the Art and Soul brand as the venue was changed and there were several unknows that go along with such a change.  this year the retreat took place at the Virginia Beach Resort and Convention Center in Virginia Beach.  the venue was wonderful and right on the beach at Hampton Roads.  the staff at the Resort was incredibly helpful and accommodating and the location was terrific.  So enough of the intro , where's the beef?? Here it is!!
(Remember, you can right click on any of the photos to see a larger image!)

First I want to share with you the special apron that I created just for the event.  In past years I have wanted to do an apron like this but time has always been against me.  this year I made time.  I used all of my own surface designed fabrics for this piece, mixing sun prints, rust prints (the owl and gear trivet) and some hand embroidery ( my name in the top right hand corner) one of my hand dyed doilies and some gelatin mono printed fabric.

The apron also served as a walking advertisement  as Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts was the proprietress of the fabulous on-sight store and she carries both my sun prints and my rust dyed fabrics. ( Several people asked me about the fabrics and I was able to direct them to the store- my rust dyed owl prints sold out during the retreat!! Whoo Hooo!!)

Below you can see several shots of the fabulous displays of treasures that Judy and her design team set up for all of the retreat attendees.

                         The amazing on-site store run by the wonderful team from Artistic Artifacts.
One of the wonderful displays of treasure at the On-site store.

My Rust Printed fabrics on Display at the on site store.
Here is the display of my Rust Dyed fabrics before the shop opened to the public.  Today at noon, Judy and her crew broke down the shop and packed it all up for the return trip to Alexandria.

On Thursday I helped my dear friend Leslie Brier teach her first adventure in teaching at an Art and soul venue.  Her class was titled Mixed Media Robot Assemblages.  She had 11 students and we worked all day taking apart clocks and radios, flashlights and small machines; harvesting parts and building wonderfully whimsical robot creatures.  Leslie was masterful at conveying her techniques and we both worked the room helping with various deconstruction challenges and suggesting various methods for construction.  The atmosphere was inspiring and creative and so much fun!! Below you will see several pictures of robots created by Leslie's students.
A delightful example of a robot created in Leslie's class.  I love everything about this piece!!!
Two  class creatiosn from the Robot class taught by Leslie Brier.

The gorgeous Leslie Brier surrounded by her class of Robot  engineers.
I was also the resident official photographer  for the class and got several great shots of Leslie with her class and their creations.
The view from our classroom windows for the Robot Class and the Resist Dye Class!!  the beach was about 10 feet beyond the windows.  No distraction here!!!!!
This class and my fabulous Resist Dyed Felt class the following day were held in one of the nicest ballrooms in the resort.  this was the view form the huge picture windows.  We were literally 25 feet from the bay beach!!! Heaven even though it was only March!  "When you are lucky enough to be at the beach, you ARE Lucky Enough!!!!"
The next day (Thursday) I had the class that I had been looking forward to all year.  Resist Dyeing on Felted Wool with dye and fiber Artist Extraordinaire Chad Alice Hagan.
A selection of some of the items to be used for clamping and resist along with sample so patterns produced by those pieces.
Here you can see samples of wool felt dyed using various pieces of metal and wood to create dye barriers thus causing wonderful patterns in the wool.  Her is a close up of some of the metal parts that we used.  The black circular disks are vintage rotary phone dials and we have no idea what the other spinney things are, other than Way Cool !
First things first, Chad taught us how to wet felt the needle punched merino wool batts that she provided.  Learned quite a bit at this step alone.  then she described the resist dye process and how we would spend the rest of the day.  First of all, she said that we all had to forget trying to control the patterning in our pieces. This was more difficult for some students than for others!
The newly felted wool, wrapped with rubber bands and ready for the first dye bath.
Here you can see three big bins of undyed felt wrapped with various rubber bands to go into one of three dye baths for 45 minutes.
Chad handled all of the hot dye process to avoid any accidents and to keep things running smoothly with so many students(18).
Felt folded and clamped with various resist pieces and ready to go into dye pot #2.
After the first dye bath the rubber bands were removed and the wool was folded in various ways and clamped between sets of various metal and wooden resist pieces.  We learned that if the wool had not been wet at this point , the resist process would have failed as the water and the clamping are both necessary to keep the dye particles from getting to the wool fibers that are under pressure from the clamped  bits.

Chad as Dye Master and whip cracker- we had to hustle all day to get to the finished product.  A truly terrific experience!
Chad went thru and checked on the clamping process to avoid tangles before she put the whole batch into the boiling dye bath.  Each of us had stitched on small Tyvek number tags so we could identify our pieces.
The sorting of the clamped wool bits after coming out of the steaming dye bath.
When the samples came out of the dye bath, they were placed in the bins and handed out to each student.  At this point all pieces were terribly hot and steaming .  We removed the clamps and resist bits and refolded and reclamped to prep for the next dye bath round in a darker color.
My resist dyed felt pieces.  Wish that you could feel how lusciously silky and soft these bits are!!
Here you can see the wool felt pieces that I created in this terrific class.  I must say that these pictures do not do these fabrics justice.  They are all creamy soft and vibrantly colored and patterned and I cannot wait to stitch and bead them.
One of the very best parts of these retreats aside from learning from fabulous teachers , is connecting again with old friends and making some wonderful new friends!!

Julie Thompson and Jen Crossley meeting in the flesh , for the first time!
Here is a picture of the amazing Julie Thompson and the delightful and wonderful Jen Crossley, all the way from Australia!!! I took a very quick evening class with Jen and had a fabulous time ( pictures to come in my next post) and I managed to see Julie only very briefly while passing in the halls before she had to leave for her home in Arizona.  We did make plans to be in touch on line.  Next time we will be sure to carve out some down time together.  Julie also taught two wonderful classes for 30 very lucky students!!
Judy Gula working the torch and creating enameled beads.
For my next adventure, I was in an enameling class with the awesome Jean van Brederode.  this gal is an amazing teacher.  She has 30+years of experience teaching English to 8th graders and all of that experience has led her to an amazingly organized and information packed teaching style!!  In these classes we , as students, have 6 hours to learn and create, and that time literally fly's by.  Having a teacher as organized and on top of her game at Jean is, is a true joy!! If ever you get the opportunity to take a class from Jean , do not hesitate!!!  Above you see a picture of my pal Judy Gula learning to torch fire some enamel beads.  It took several of us to move Judy away from her store venue and actually relax enough to enjoy a class.  We had such fun together and Judy was able to create a piece of art for herself , for a change!!
Herself at the torch making enameled beads.

Yes, Judy did manage to grab my camera and shot some pics of me working at the torch as well.  I simply had to document Judy doing something other than running the Store- so folks at home would believe that she did take a class.  I guess pay backs really are a B@#$%**!!

My birds nest Bracelet

I enameled each of the beads and disks for this piece and added sari silk and sparkling yarns to fill out the piece.
To top off my retreat experience, I won a Fiskars Craft drill.

I must say that if ever you get the opportunity to attend an Art Retreat, give yourself a gift and GO FOR IT!!  Retreats are amazing experiences that will change your life.  You will be surrounded by creativity of every imaginable sort and you will leave totally inspired and full to the brim with food for your artistic soul.  You will meet wonderful people, connect with on line friends and interact and learn from talented and giving instructors.  Start putting a few dollars away now so when the opportunity arises you can jump in with both feet.
I am very excited to announce that I will be teaching at Art and Soul Portland in October of 2012 and I hope that you all will take a few moments to click on this link and see for your self what these amazing retreats are all about!!


Judy said...

WOW! What a retreat! Your felted pieces are wonderful and I know you can't wait to begin creating with them. Will you be able to do more of this on your own at home? So fabulous!
Thanks for all of the pics.


Anna M. Branner said...

Obviously this retreat was once again everything you hoped for AND MORE. What a fantastic opportunity! SO exciting about Portland!

Gerrie said...

Yay - coming to Portland! We must meet.

Saturday Sequins said...

I love the apron! Your fabrics are incredible. I just started painting fabrics with acrylic paint, so I'm excited about all things fabric. :)

That retreat sounds like it was a blast! I've never been to a retreat before, but now I'm just itching to look them up on Google. Time to save my pennies!

I think you'll love the Fiskars drill! You can even drill metal with it.

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

Fantastic experience Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing so many photos!!! xox Corrine

Jacky said...

What a fabulous retreat...and you got to meet the lovely Jen Crossley!!!
Thanks for sharing all the pics from the retreat.

Jacky xox


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