After spending five days at Lake Tahoe enjoying cooler temps it feels like Autumn is on its way. Last week was the Artistic Alchemy retreat that is held annually at Zephyr Point Conference Center at Lake Tahoe, NV. It was a wonderful meld of creativity, inspiration, beautiful scenery and amazing people. Artistic Alchemy is a group of 4 teachers; me, Sandra Bruce, Heidi Emmett and Mary Boalt. I was invited to join last year after Christine Barnes retired and I’m very grateful to these ladies.
We each present different workshops with up to about 12 students each. What I really like is that all the attendees come together for meals, an evening presentation and show and tell. On the last day we do a studio walkabout so we get to talk to everyone about what they have been making. There is also a workshop we call ‘Open Studio’ where students bring their own projects to work but still enjoy all the other activities.
My class this year was Pet Portrait Fabric Collage which went very well although I only had two students; Jan flew in from Seattle and Terry from Terial Arts or Terial Magic fame. I hope to change that for next year. I think they were happy to have all this personal attention whilst working through their projects. I didn’t put my time to waste and so worked on a couple of projects of my own!
Jan brought in a photo of her cat that she worked on for her collage, added a textured blanket and layered background. We also spent an afternoon outside designing and making lino-cut images which was made more fun as a thunderstorm rumbled by!
Terry worked on a picture of her dog, Bodie. She decided to make it in white and blue fabrics because he is “just a white dog” I think it is coming along wonderfully with her choices of fabrics and use of values in the blues fabrics. Terry enlarged her photo by 300% and drew up her own pattern by drawing a larger grid and transferring the lines from a small grid placed over the photo. It took half a day to make her pattern but she did an amazing job.
Please send me comments if their is something you want me to teach next year. I’m never sure if students prefer to work on their own photos to make a personal quilt of their pet or whether I should provide a pattern. I have been thinking about offering my cow class Beautiful Bovines, that I’m teaching at Craft Napa in January. I have a choice of three cow faces people can choose from; the Highland cow, the my pink and green cow or a cropped face. I’ll talk about these in a later blog post. But cows are a popular subject matter right now and City Slickers will be on display in Houston and B for Bovine at the Quilt and Fabric Festival in Sacramento.
Another popular part of the retreat is that all of us teachers have a small store in Echo Peak conference room that is open for perusing at all hours. Sandra has a wide range of polymer clay earrings and buttons, Heidi has clothing patterns and books for sale, Mary has printed canvasses and covered journals for sale and I have an array of collaged bags, collage patterns and hand-dyed fabrics.
My shop is now open here on my website, which has been in the works for a while! Here are a variety of patterns suitable for collage, kits that I have put together for the patterns and all these include instructions on my fabric collage technique. I am selling 6’’ Perfect scissors by Karen Kay Buckley, my favorites!, an add-on kit of glue, applicator and stabilizer for building the collage.
Not forgetting copies of the Quilting Arts magazine that features my cover art and instructions for making Pet Portraits.
Terry put together a short Youtube movie about her time at the retreat and how she used Terial Magic in the making of her fabric collage. Look it up here. Its called Collage Quilting with Terial Magic at Lake Tahoe Artistic Alchemy Sewing Retreat.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our retreat and by signing up for the Artistic Alchemy blog you will get all the updates for next years retreat. We open up registration in February. You will also hear from us over the course of the year with updates of our activities and inspirations.
I hope you too are enjoying the change of seasons.