I just came back from teaching my cardboard journal workshop at Valley Ridge Art Studio; the first time I had ever been to this place but I had heard so much about it that i carried with me a heart full of anticipation and curiosity. I returned home with a heart overflowing with tenderness for this beautiful rural place, a sanctuary of animals, trees, birds, mooing cows, and for the artists who come from hither and yon to to take my class and experience the magic of the place and the open-hearted welcome of the owners, Kathy and Bill, that starts when you set foot on the farm, and doesn't end until you've waved your last goodbye as you wind down the gravel road towards home. I felt so honored to be there and tried to take in every experience, color, and sensation and imprint it somewhere inside myself forever. If you've never attended a workshop there before, I do hope you get a chance to one day - you won't be disappointed.
I had a small group of students which was wonderful in that we all got lots of room to spread out and they got more personal attention than ever they could have in a large class. That's another postive about this venue - small, special, and intimate is at the heart of everything. Each of my students was a delight - I knew a couple of them beforehand, (Sueand I had met online about 5-6 years ago but this was the first time we'd actually met in person) but most I got to meet and get to know for the first time.
i watched this sweet little guy from the studio window
a spread kathy did in her book
The atmosphere was relaxed yet sparkling with energy as peole worked almost non-stop on their books, and each book was lovely and unique. Several people got at least part of the pages bound together and all said they will continue to work on their books at home, filling the pages with journaling, collages and other personal work. I've set up a photo album entitled Valley Ridge Art Studio so you can see some of their work in progress.
i grew up in the midwest, South Dakota to be exact, and it was so wonderful to be back around folks who talk like me, same lilt to the voice, expressions that are so midwestern you get teased about it when you visit some places - made me homesick for the midwest. Kathy took me to a little variety store in a nearby town (i remember variety stores!) so i could buy some rubbing alcohol, and this image greeted me when i stepped in the door and made me stop everything and take take out my camera
i love that the owner is selling her homegrown tomatoes right next to the candy candy counter, or anywhere in the store for that matter. i think she thought i was a bit odd wanting to take a picture of her tomatoes, but she let me :-)
I'm going to be taking a necessary break from blogging and visiting blogs and websites for the next few weeks as I prepare for classes and vending at Art and Soul Portland in less than two weeks, and then Internation Quilt Festival Houston, 3 weeks after that - i've got tons to do and only hope that the winds of grace with blow me along at a good pace. Add in artwork and teaching proposals with due dates due in same time frame and you can see why I need to step back and just bury my nose in my work. I'll be back again when things slow down - until then, I leave you with this song to cheer your days.
I'll be on the road at 4:15 a.m. tomorrow morning, making my way to the
Seattle airport for my 7:30 flight. i'll be back early next week - until
then, wishing you all beautiful autumn days and evenings...
as i worked on this block and watched it morph and change, i thought "what if" i worked in cloth the way i approach my mixed media collage and paintings, starting with a bottom layer and adding layer upon layer of fabric as the story unfolds itself to me. there are creatures and stories under the layers that you see that only i know about, part of what delights me about this approach.
working in fabric again is feeling so satisfying after a day working with paint and gooey mediums. i'm excited to mesh the two worlds together very soon in an upcoming 'what if'.