If you know me or follow my blog, it is no secret that I have been creating less art since my daughter was born three years ago and even less in the last year since my son was born. Over the summer, I decided to reclaim some time for my art and, in September, I spent one fabulous week at Stony Point Center learning from the incredible Sandra Sider. As it turns out, this was Sandra’s last studio workshop. While she will continue her portfolio reviews and critique workshops, she will not be teaching classes like this anymore so I feel very fortunate to have been there!
Each morning, Sandra taught a new skill we can use in our fiber art and every afternoon, she was available to critique individual art we were working on or talk about professional development questions. It was the perfect way to jump start my creative juices and dive head first into a new series about parenthood.
The first morning was a beautiful sunny day, so Sandra showed us how to create cyanotypes (sun prints) on fabric. She prepared some for us using images we sent her in advance and then we had the chance to make our own prints with objects in the sun.
That afternoon, I started the first piece in my parenthood series. The series, if it’s ever complete, will be about the tension I feel between the need to create art and the desire/need to be there for my children. The piece I started with will try to capture the pull I feel from both sides of my life. The art side will be represented by blue and purple batiks with a calm wavy pattern. The left side of the piece will have bright colors and patterns that represent the time I spend with my kids. After just two afternoons, the top of the art half was complete!
On the second morning, Sandra taught us several photo transfer techniques, including ways to enhance the transfer with surface design elements.
On the third and fourth mornings, we learned different painting and stamping techniques. So much fun!
On the third afternoon, I started a different piece for the parenthood series using a couple silhouettes I had created before the workshop and creating more to complement those. Sandra encouraged me to explore the combining of fabrics and patterns I might not have tried. It was liberating to create without rules, interruptions, or worries.
The fourth afternoon meant the beginning of a third piece, this one inspired by my daughter’s bold fashion choices. I love how she embraces the combination of various colors and patterns in her clothing and has no inhibitions when putting together an outfit. I wanted to capture her bright palate and whimsy in this piece. I’m still not sure where it’s going, but the beginning of an idea is there somewhere.
On the last morning, we all had a chance to sit together and critique some of the work we each created during the week and then took time to discuss any questions we had about our artist careers. It was incredibly helpful to hear everyone’s feedback and suggestions.
I can’t thank Sandra enough for her guidance, lessons, critiques, and most of all for breathing life into my inner artist! Two months later, none of these pieces are done, but I’m slowly working on them in the time I have and I’m trying to protect the limited studio time to keep the momentum moving forward.