Friday, July 18, 2014

Seattle and Phoenix Bound!

This weekend finds me packing and tying up last minute details before heading off to Seattle to teach in the most serenely beautiful location I've taught at to date, EncaustiCamp, where my classroom has ginormous picture windows looking out at the waters of Puget Sound and the misty image of Mount Rainier in the distance. 

After a week at camp, I pack my bags and head off to Phoenix, where I'll be teaching to a full house, my Art of Intuitive Collage workshop, and Intuitive Drawing and Mark-Making with Collage workshops. These are two of my very favorite things to teach, collage being the medium that continuously calls me home. I am super excited to be teaching the Intuitive Drawing & Mark-Making class, I am passionate about watching people discover they are indeed creative and become confident enough to try. If you are interested in taking an expanded version of this class and will not be joining us at ArtUnraveled this year, you can catch me in September at The Healing House Art Studio, just North of Chicago. Head over to my workshop tab here to register. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Birth of A Dream: The Healing House Art Studio

This post is going to be picture driven. There is just too much to tell in words after an entire month of giving birth to a dream. 

This dream began nearly a decade ago and has been burning in my heart ever since; 
The one that was of me having a studio that was large enough to teach in and included enough space for other artists to work in too. 
The one that opened it's doors to the community around it and brought people together. 
The one that encouraged others to find out more about themselves through art the way I have.  
The one that would use art for healing, and hope, and love, and joy, and reach far beyond what I was capable of doing on my own.

Yeah that dream...the one I sometimes lost track of and stored in the back of the closet, but never gave up on, or maybe it never gave up on me.

If you were to stop by to see me anytime this month, this is pretty much what you'd find. Replace that paintbrush with a scrub brush, or a mop, or a broom, but that smile and those spatters of paint have been pretty consistent. 

This little unassuming cottage house may not have caught your attention, were you to be driving by, but this is the place where the dream is taking shape. So much has happened inside these walls in the past month. How could I even begin to tell you?
There I am the first week, after the carpet had been removed. Scrubbing. Every. Inch. Walls, floors, ceilings, inside closets, toilets, sinks. Countless hours of scrubbing. Numerous gallons of water and odor removing cleaning products and elbow grease. And yes, maybe a few tears.
Just about every type of wall paneling and finish you could imagine had been nailed to these walls. At one time, just a little vacation cottage across the street from the lake, who needed cohesive decor when you were spending all of your time outdoors?
Layer upon layer of old flooring. Scraping and popping old floor tiles harks back to my junior high school summertime days, when dad would take us to work to keep us out of trouble, and mom's hair. 
And the community I dreamed the place would be serving, kept showing up to serve me.
Getting in on the carpet pulling action...
Painstakingly taking the time to pull staples and clean up old messes. Just when I would start to despair the work would never end, a neighbor or friend would show up at the door.
And because the details matter, everything gets a fresh coat of paint...
And did I mention all the cleaning?
Seemed like everyone got in on the painting action.
 Even now, tears spring to my eyes and spill down my face, thinking of the love that has been poured in to this dream. This house. This healing house. 
If pictures paint a thousand words, perhaps I don't have to tell you the things found lurking behind that washer and dryer. 
Doors being removed to let in the light and open the space between private studio spaces.
The front steps got a makeover too, but that's nothing compared to what happened to our hearts as we worked side by side.
There is still some painting to do, but the important stuff got done just in the nick of time, my first workshops were held, back to back weekends of Joy in the new space. 
It's amazing what a little paint and elbow grease and love can do to transform a room. 
Doors are all chalkboarded up. And Supplies are at the ready. 
And speaking of supplies, the lovely and thoughtful Jean brought along a housewarming gift on the first day of class. 
And then we dove right in making a mess with our mark-making exercises. Some done to music, and some just listening to our insides. 

Lovely designs in ink expressing what words can't always say.

One of my favoritest collages made from mark-making papers by the very talented Re
Plenty of pasting and sharing of ideas happened.
And new friendships developed along with the collage making.
And plenty of talking, but often there were outbursts of silent, contemplative, concentration.

We broke each day for a delicious catered lunch by the ever gracious and talented Tessa.
And after lunch, more art-making.
And after the art-making, exclamations of delighted "Look what I made!"
And then show and tell time, or was that the paparazzi?
Some of the first students to enjoy The Healing House Art Studio. Lots of smiles!
And notes exclaiming "too much fun!" were written on the tables.
And more notes were written on the floor. 
Because once you come to The Healing House Art Studio, you will always be a part of this little community.
Oh and I had to sneak a few new works of my own in there, because in all the hustle and bustle I nearly forgot I had an article due for Somerset Memories.
And this, this is just to show you I don't always look like the paint spattered, high on fumes, version of myself I showed you above. The hubby and I were taking a break at a family reunion the other day, because this month really was full to the overflowing with good stuff. 

Once all the work is finished and the steady rhythm of the place begins, I plan to start a blog dedicated to just The Healing House Art Studio. Meanwhile, like my page on facebook here if you want to keep up on the progress. I've already got a stellar line-up of guest artists scheduled for 2015 and I promise you will not want to miss a thing! 

And speaking of workshops, if you liked what you saw in the pictures above, I've got several more dates scheduled this year. Check out my workshop page here for details.