So far Jen has done most of the heavy lifting – all this furious posting and photo taking, while I was busy traveling to Sweden and back. But today it was finally time for me to step up and chip in. This morning we held the first of three free workshops to create the flag book installation. We advertized this as fun and messy and I think you can see that a lot of messy fun was had by all!
The purpose of today’s workshop was to prepare the paper which will become the pages for the photo flags in next weekend’s bookmaking workshop. (Spaces still available head over and sign up now!!!). As much of our painted paper will be covered by Jen’s awesome photos I encouraged everyone to relax and play with the materials. The end result was not as important as having fun playing with the process.
We began with large sheets of white Bristol (which is a heavy paper, smooth on one side and textured on the other). Next using white wax crayons we drew or wrote all over the paper randomly. It is fun to use the white wax crayon as you can’t really see what you are writing! Again, using the white crayons encourages everyone to let go of a preconceived finished product, already at the beginning there is an element of surprise. (As I stressed that there weren’t any rules, some chose to draw in other colors of crayon – and that was OK too!)
Next we misted the whole sheet of paper lightly with water from a spray bottle and began adding color. Using large bristle and foam brushed we washed acrylic paints over the crayon, which resists the paint and already a textured surface begins to emerge. Everyone was feeling pretty proud of their progress, until I pointed out that we had to paint the backs too!! As sheets dried we turned them over and painted the reverse sides, using the same basic process. We painted on each others paper. It was very relaxed. Everyone was quiet as they worked intensely on their paper!!
Despite the fact that we were all working with a similar process the resulting papers were all completely different. Part of the process for me was about being able to let go of control over the product – because everyone who has seen me at work in my studio knows I have control issues! It was liberating to work with a large group and let go! (OK – and a bit stressful!!). It certainly seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun!
While we waited for the paper to get (mostly) dry we cleaned up the worst of the mess on the tables before starting on phase two of the workshop. When Jen and I started brainstorming these workshops we really wanted everyone to leave with something so for this workshop we created some crazy, colorful journals. We tore each of the large sheets into four smaller pieces, then swapped with each other until everyone had eight unique colorful sheets to make into a journal.
We folded those eight sheets in half to form signatures and nestled them all together. We bound them up with a simple pamphlet binding using brightly colored rainbow yarn. Then we added extra colored fibers, bells, bead and feathers to the outside. Every participant was able to take home a truly unique and exciting journal! And now I have plenty of painted pages which will become the foundation of the flag books next weekend. I hope if you haven’t registered you’ll consider joining us – but sign up asap as spaces are filling up fast.
I have to close with a huge thank you to Infinity for letting us make a huge mess in their art room. Thanks Shane for your support of the program, and thanks Kellyn for helping with the very big clean up!!