Saturday, September 17, 2016

Magpie's Nest Art Journalling Nights

Taking inspiration from craftivism and Betsy Greer’s You Are So Beautiful Project, we will be art journaling to help change the messages we see, hear, and tell ourselves.

We live in a world surrounded by media, news, and social connections that often leave us feeling empty, unaccomplished, unfulfilled, and not worthy. Every day we have to fight to remember that we are enough just as we are, we are beautiful just as we are. Some days, though, we forget.

Art journaling is a creative process for people to record their stories, feelings and ideas— to remind ourselves and others that we are wonderful, exactly as we are.

Sessions are free and open to anyone to attend— whether you’ve never made an art journal or are a seasoned journaler. Materials and supplies will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own art journals to work on as well. 

Here are some photographs from our first workshop of this series, on September 13th. Next session is October 11th. We hope to see you there


Monday, September 5, 2016

Artful Sunday Printmaking Workshop

Last Sunday (August 28), I facilitated my fourth annual Artful Sunday workshop at Britannia Community Centre. We made relief prints from feathers and leaves, "negative" prints and lift drawings. These are great activities for both children and adults. People are so surprised at the results because they can't actually see what they have done done until they lift the paper up. It's quite the magical feeling. All of the prints that people made were gorgeous and they really used their imaginations for the lift drawings. I did a "How To" for this process three posts ago. Check it out.

Here is the poster for the event, designed by the fabulous Katherine Polgrain and a few photos of the beautiful work.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to Make Art Journals out of Envelopes

Last month I did a fun workshop with a wonderful group of daycare workers. They were a dedicated and creative group and a real pleasure to work with. In a previous blog post, I showed pictures of an art journal I made from envelopes. This seemed like a perfect project for a group that had just finished a long day with a bunch of lively children. They could modify the project and do it with the kids at a later date and their adult journals could be sophisticated enough to satisfy the daycare workers. The journals are also simple enough that they could be finished in a 2 hour workshop.

Begin by gluing the flap of one envelope to the bottom of another envelope, using glue stick rather than licking them, which just tastes nasty. Make sure the envelopes line up together perfectly. The maximum number of envelopes that you want to use are six. This is because you will be adding collage paper and folding the envelopes and they will become too bulky if you have any more. Fold the envelopes accordion style, so that when completely folded, the journal looks like a single envelope. Once you have worked out this configuration, you can begin collaging both sides of the journal. You can also make little collages and treasures to put inside the envelope pockets, or use them to store letters, stamps and secret notes!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

New Drawings to Music

Once again I was treated to a wonderful concert at The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra with pieces by Alfred Schnittke, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Valentin Silvestrov and Ludwig van Beethoven. The conductor, Joshua Weilerstein was young, enthusiastic and brilliant! The Mozart piano concerto had Joyce Yang on piano and she was fantastic. The concert was an interplay between traditional classical music and contemporary music which referenced the older music. This was done in a playful way by Schnittke and in a melancholy, beautiful style by Silvestrov. The Sivestrov piece, "The Messenger", had a haunting, synthesized wind sound blowing through it.

Again I sketched during the concert, which I find involves me in the music in a completely different way. I almost feel like part of the orchestra, working along with the musicians. It's also amazing how the music effects the way I draw; faster pieces making me draw more frenetically. The end result is very gestural because the music keeps changing and the musicians' bodies are in constant motion.

Here are two of my sketches from the concert:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

How to Make Relief Prints using Feathers, Leaves and Flowers.

I facilitated a lovely Magpie workshop last Wednesday (April 20th) at the Hastings branch of the VPL. It was for an after school group, ranging in age from seven to nine years old. We made relief prints from leaves, flowers and feathers. The children were great, so creative and sweet. I had awesome help from Magpie's Nest Community Art Space's members Dawn and Nika.

Here are some of the pre-workshop experiments I did and how I did them:

You will need: a soft rubber brayer, a glass plate (glass from old picture frames work well), printing ink ( I use water soluble Speedball block printing ink), some nice art paper and a variety of leaves, feathers and flowers.

First of all roll your ink onto the glass plate. Once you have the right amount (too much won't give you enough coverage and too little will make your print gloopy) and it is evenly spread, place your leaf or feather onto the plate. Take your brayer and roll over the leaf, feather, or flower, making sure not to scrunch it. It is helpful to start from the centre and work your way out to the edges of the object and also to place it face down, so that the ink goes on the front. If you are using a leaf, you can flip it over and ink both sides. If you are using a feather, or flower, it is easier to only ink one side.

Carefully arrange your object onto some nice paper, making sure that its parts are spread out in a natural way and not bunched together. This is particularly difficult with feathers and flowers. When using a feather, I find it helpful to pick it up by the shaft and lay it down quickly before the vanes have a chance to bunch up. Flowers are very delicate and may need reconstructive surgery once you lay them on the paper. Take another piece of the same paper and sandwich the two together. Rub thoroughly with your fingers, or the back of a desert spoon. Carefully pull the two pieces of paper apart and voila, you have two mirror image prints!

When one colour is dry, You can experiment with other colours, layering images and colours on top of each other.

While you are at it, there are a few other interesting experiments you can do. Once you have used your leaf, feather, or flower, you will notice a ghostly negative image on the plate. place a sheet of your paper carefully on your plate, being careful not to smear the ink. Take a clean brayer and firmly roll the back of the paper. carefully lift the paper and you will have a negative print. The children loved these "ghost" images.

Next you can create lift drawings by again rolling a smooth and even surface onto your plate with your brayer. Gently lay a piece of paper onto the ink, being careful not to touch the back of the paper except very lightly. You are trying to keep the paper touching the ink as clean as possible. With a pen, or pencil, draw onto the back of the paper. Draw anything you like, but for my example, I simply traced a leaf and then drew in the veins as I saw them. You want the ink to touch the paper only where your pen is making an imprint. If you press anywhere else, your image will disappear into the ink.

You can use these techniques in many ways in your artwork: for greeting cards, collages, etc.
Here are some examples of how I have used feather prints, ghost images and lift drawings.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Art Journalling and Mail Art

Here are some more pages from my envelope art journal!