Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Art with Kari McKnight Holbrook

Three days of making art. What's not to love?

Our workshop weekend, held in Haslett, MI, featured Kari McKnight Holbrook, one of the most generous and delightful teachers I've ever worked with.

She was excellent at explaining technique, thorough at answering questions, encouraging even when saying "I think I did something wrong!" And yes, had great good humor!

Her demos were easy to follow and allowed us freedom to be creative while working within the parameters of a workshop setting.

Day One--Acrylic Journal

The first night focused on making a journal using watercolor paper and acrylics, then binding it into the journal itself. Kari demonstrated different techniques we could use on our page, including screens, stencils, stamps and more.

Here's how my page started.

And later.

You wouldn't think it would end up as anything nice, would you? But Kari repeatedly said "Trust the process."

Then we tore it into pieces and stitched it up!

And sure enough, by the time it was bound into a journal, I was delighted!

(I will embellish with beads and fiber soon and finish the cover, too!)

Day Two -- Altered Childrens Book Journal

The second day we were altering a child's book into a journal. Here's what I started with.

This is a pretty time consuming process. Serious amounts of gesso were used to prep the pages and I learned that if if you dry the pages with a heat gun (vs. hair dryer) and have waxed paper underneath protecting other pages, you may have chunks of page tear off. Sometimes that worked, sometimes not. Here's a spread using one of the stamps Kari designed. (The blue, not the overlay green, a second stamp.)

It was fun making patterns in the gesso.

And while I still have some spots I'm not fond of, I can paste things down over the parts I don't like! (I'll share the cover with you when I finish it! And maybe even some of the inside!)

Day Three -- Vintage Vessels

On the third day, we made "vintage vessels" -- boxes covered with polymer and a variety of paints and potions to make an aged-looking box.

I loved doing this. I started with ugly green clay (and a little bit of other colors, too, since I ran out of green!). Those blue bits next to it and on top of the box were made from clay in molds made from a wonderful mold-making material called "Knead a Mold." Highly recommended!

My polymer experience was limited, but with the right stamps, time and excellent teaching (along with layers of a special paint with metallic bits in it, a spray to bring out the patina and a special dark wax to age it), I was thrilled with the results!

Here's the view from the top. You can see the patina is already beginning to come out and should continue over the course of a couple of weeks.

Kari is very big on using materials at hand and being very clever. "Shop your house," she says, showing us cookie cutters, screen, a plastic fork, bottle caps and one of my favorites, a corn plaster glued to a bottle cap that makes a great "dot" stamp!

She was also generous with her materials, sharing powders, paints, stamps, and other things we could try so we could get a handle on whether or not we wanted to invest in them. The class kits had good instructions, suppliers and more.

And Kari's husband Mike took care of us with terrific lunches and snacks! Who could beat it?

What can I say but, Wow! Thanks to Kari's teaching, the wonderful people attending and the joy of creating, I had a fabulous weekend!

Kari posts notice of her workshops on her blog, The Back Porch Artessa. Take a visit! Better yet, take a class! She'll be teaching at the upcoming Art & Soul workshop.


~*~Patty S said...

OH that looks like SO much fun dear Jeanie!

Three days of playing sounds like heaven!


Joanne Huffman said...

I'm glad I got to go, even if it was for only one day.

Janet said...

Three days of artsy fun!! That must have been fantastic. And you have so many wonderful things to show for it.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That looks like so much fun! That journal is just gorgeous!! She sounds like a wonderful, encouraging teacher, which is the best kind. :)

Barb said...

Wow - I had brain freeze from all you learned. (And did I see a clay Eiffel Tower?)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, that really looks like fun!

Anonymous said...

FUN!!! Wish I was there.
Thanks for sharing. Love all the pics.

Arti said...

What a great experience you must have had, Jeanie! Three days of making art, just wonderful. And this time, I'm particularly drawn to your altered book. A few years ago I had the chance to take a class just like yours here, and made an altered book. I totally enjoyed the adventure. From all the photos here, and your big smile, I'm sure you'd had a marvellous time. ;)

Linda said...

What a wonderful experience you had! Love what you did.... these creative times are so special!

Tracy said...

FUN this peek at your class, Jeanie! Fun to see your instructor at work, as well as participants. Kari sounds like a great teacher. I love how your all your pages turned out... especially all those watery blues. I really like those pages your created, then made up into a journal. Those vessels are fun too! I've not tried anything like that before, so very inspiring. As I've been spring cleaning, I've been "Shopping my house" for mixed media finds--it's been interesting to consider things in a new light for use in art, or upcycling! Thanks for sharing all this. :o) Happy weekend ((HUGS))

Pat said...

Boy oh boy you accomplished a lot in 3 days! Color me green with envy...

Bella Rum said...

What fun. I love your metallic box or vessel. Who would think the final product would look like that. Looks so interesting... the process and the end results.

shoreacres said...

All of you artsy sorts just take my breath away. My favorite is your box. I'm really fond of coppery tones and patina, and when you combine those with a teeny box, it's just delightful.

I'm sure there must be a subculture of crafters around here that I just don't know about. That's all right - I'll enjoy your adventures!

And isn't this email notification business wonderful! Thanks so much!

Marti McClure said...

Hi Jeanie! What a fabulous class that was! The journal is wonderful as is the altered book, but that box is amazing! Great job. Happy Creating. ~Marti

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This looks like a wonderful, fun workshop, Jeanie! I own hundreds or runbber stamps and inks and love to do altered book art. It's such a fun creative experience to make art this way!

Jennifer Richardson said...

oh so much going to play
with the kid on the block
with the best, mostest

Oh said...

Whew! Trust the process, indeed - what fabulous stuff you've wrought! Always, always enjoy your how-to blogs and never get tired of layering on the ideas.

Inspired, I'm heading downstairs to work on the wedding storyboard I'm doing for Lea.

Geez, I love how that altered book came out!

more later

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How wonderful to be able to 'play' with ALL these great things---Creating and Creating and More Creating..That Is The BEST! What fun! And that is what the creation of ART should be---Loo\sing omeself in the process and having it be so much fun, too....!

Maggie said...

Jeanie, you looked so happy in that final photo! What a great time you must have had.
One day I'll try and do an altered book like this but for now I'm obsessed with tags!

Beth said...

That looks like a blast! I can't wait till I am able to take more Art Classes! Great Picture of you too!

Relyn said...

What fun!! I love your passionate pursuit of creativity.

Cindy F. Adkins said...

Oh, how fun! Looks like you learned a lot while having a good time. Thanks for your compliment on my kitty painting!
Hugs, Cindy

Leann said...

Oh what fun that must have been. I loved seeing all the techniques and final projects. Lovely!!!

Hope that you are enjoying your sweet sweet friend!


Jen Crossley said...

Kari is a amazing talented lady she is awesome

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