I did it! My first mixed media art retreat

wildthingclose1553Okay, so you can probably guess that I had an amazing time! There is definitely something magical about being with a bunch of people in one space who all love to do the same stuff—and who get to to do it together for days on end. I'm sure attendees at a fly fishing retreat would feel the same way.  Ooh, the joy of casting flies in the same river together...and all those new fly patterns to learn about (have you heard about the newest soft hackle Tunghead patterns?)

But that's the purpose of a retreat, right? To hold a space so that we can get together with others to do that stuff we all love to do, to compare notes, to learn, to get inspired.

So mission accomplished!  That's exactly what happened at Art is You—Petaluma this past weekend. Lots of making, lots of learning and lots of inspiration...

Rather than go into a long description of the event, how it was organized, what I did from morning to night for three days (out of a possible five), I think I'll just share what I made and what I learned from the three awesome teachers on my schedule. (There were many other class options to accommodate the 100+ (?) attendees in classes from about 6-12 each). Tomorrow, I plan to post a more general overview of my thoughts on art retreats (now that I'm an experienced "retreater") so tune in if you're interested. But for now...

My Day One - Thursday

Captured Remnants with Lesley Venable

A great first day, get-out-the-jitters kind of workshop for me. We made mixed media pendants out of "flotsam and jetsam": odd bits of fabric and ribbon and image transfers, metal and buttons and a little resin...We learned how to use a product called expoxy clay, too, which was very fun and easy to work with!


Lesley makes great vintage pendants and assemblages out of these materials and it was great to learn some of how she does it.  I probably won't be making these kind of pieces, but I was definitely inspired to apply many of her tools and processes into my own mixed media work.

My Day Two - Friday

The Thread that Weaves with Roxanne Evans Stout

Oh my, I fell in love with Roxanne's methods for constructing mixed media art books. You should check out her blog to see some of her amazing work and to see how these art books are really done (I would hope with practice I'd get a bit better than what I share below). She also hold workshops online and in person so if you're as intrigued as I am, check her out!

Roxanne taught us how to layer, collage, wire in and stitch natural, found and beautiful, textured papers and objects. We made a triptych artist's book—or at least the beginnings of one. This workshop usually takes two days, but we did our best to work through it in just six hours so I am bringing home the pieces to put the rest of my book together.



I also want to think more about "the thread that weaves" through my life that I might capture in more mixed media pieces.

My Day Three - Saturday

Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously with LorriMarie Jenkins

What a fun day and a great last day of the retreat, too. In the morning, LorrieMarie led us through the process from beginning to end of making "whimsical, playful, silly" mixed media pieces. Mine wasn't nearly as silly as hers—but this was in a Victorian wedding gown when she started, so we definitely did some transformation together, my wild thing and me!

wildthing1551We had lots of fun and banter throughout the day, which made the making extra fun, but the best part was that we got to make a second panel after lunch! LorrieMarie's philosophy is that the second one is looser once we get a little confidence and I know I did work with a more sure hand the second time around.  I didn't quite finish the second piece, though, so I won't share it yet...maybe later this week...

I loved her layering process and I'm definitely going to do more collage/mixed media pieces like this—more techniques for my bag of tricks. Yay!

And that, in the end, is what I hoped I'd come away with: more tricks. And that's what I got from all three of the workshops I attended—so yay again. I think there will be more mixed media retreats in my future!