art, yearly wrap-ups

A Year of Artistic Inspiration – Link Love

2010 has been such a brain-busting, heart-opening, imaginative adventure for me, despite the fact that I spent a lot of it bemoaning my tendinitis and thinking more than doing. I decided to do a post about all the teachers that I have been inspired by this past year (and during a little of 2009).

Susanne Martin has been an amazing friend and teacher. She has gone way above and beyond the normal mentoring with me, supplying me with equipment and expertise and labor in beating paper pulp for me. She has even (with husband John’s help) delivered me the goods! I am so grateful for her kindness and help. And we’re planning to go to the Focus on Book Arts conference in June. She and Judy Strom and I are going to have a blast!

Right now, I am deep into the book Eco Colour by India Flint. I love getting interesting colors from nature, and the surprises from resist dyeing delight me. Back in the 80s-90s I spent a lot of time with dyepots. Now I remember why I was so fascinated by them.

A new influence on me is Jude Hill. Looking at her “spirit cloth” makes my heart beat faster and I forget to breathe for a moment. Guess that means that I’ll be weaving some of these onionskin dyed fabrics together very soon. And rooting through my old clothes for more scraps. I do have some old rag balls from when I was locker hooking rag rugs, so that will probably be the saving grace for my hands. Scissors aren’t really my friends right now.

Future and past teacher: Albie Smith. I am wriggling with anticipation for February 17, 2011, the day that I turn 50 years old and will begin a three-day class with Albie at An Artful Journey in Los Gatos, California. I took a daylong class with Albie at Art and Soul in Hampton, Virginia in May, and it whetted my appetite for more from this gentle but firmly-pushing teacher whose color-drenched work is marvelous eye candy. I hope that one day I’ll get to take a papermaking class with her as well. I love her pulp-painted work.

Another huge bookbinding influence as well as photography inspiration is LK Ludwig. I took two of LK’s classes at Journalfest in October 2009, and an online class of hers in late 2009 because I couldn’t get enough of her insights and thought provoking prompts. She has helped me push the envelope in personal journaling with photographs.

Dan Essig will always be special to me. He was my first bookbinding teacher and so was a life-changing instructor for me. I’ve taken two daylong classes from him at art retreats and spent a week in his Wooden Books class at John C. Campbell Folk School. I love his work and appreciation for the odd and ordinary found objects and funky illustrations.

Melanie Testa tries to blog Every Single Day! I took her soy wax batik class at Art and Soul in Hampton in May and her friendly spirit has buoyed my spirits ever since. Every time I open my copy of Inspired to Quilt I find another page where she doodled a little star or heart or other encouragement. Batik is another resist technique that I’ll be exploring more in 2011.

Diana Trout, author of Journal Spilling, has become my friend too. Her wry wit and totally authentic demeanor is a joy to be around. Her teaching has freed me of a lot of my self-imposed constraints, and that may be the most important thing that happened to me all year. Here’s the post I wrote about her class at Art and Soul in May.

Traci Bunkers is just plain cool. Traci Bunkers would be who I want to be when I grow up, except that she is younger than me. Traci is probably me in an alternate universe where I am single and living in Kansas. I’ve taken three classes with Traci. The one in May was McGyver Roller Printing, and her book Print and Stamp Lab is a playground. She taught me how to carve stamps and is another artist who has stretched my brain. Her willingness to share her very honest personal journals online is much appreciated and admired.

Carla Sonheim: Wow. What can I say about this beautiful woman? She is the Silly Queen. She doesn’t like glue so she uses packing tape. She helped me transform junk mail into amazing, unusual painted papers. My favorite quote of the year is from Carla: “It’s square enough.” Her book Drawing Lab will convince the most stubborn “non”-artist that s/he can draw and have fun doing it.

“Outside artist” embroiderer extraordinaire Susan Sorrell. Took an online class from her at the beginning of last year that I am STILL working on! I became so obsessed with stitching that I stitched my way into serious numbness problems with my hands! I love her style. I love embroidery. I wish that I could do more of it. She is seriously funny on Facebook too.

Roxanne Padgett’s class at Journalfest was so easy and fun that I actually almost had a panic attack from all the goodness of it. Really. Rarely, but sometimes that does happen to me. When I raid the remnant bins at JoAnn’s or root through my sample and scrap pile, Roxanne’s class fills my brain. Her motto is “Fear No Color.” She makes me want a sewing machine in the worst way. Too bad sewing machines hate me.

Here’s the story about Leighanna Light, Thingmaker. I had a major migraine the morning I took her class. I managed to get dressed, get downstairs for coffee (otherwise I figured that I would never get over it) and popped into her class to ask for the class materials and to tell her why I wouldn’t be able to make it. I saw her samples and said, uh, I’ll go back upstairs, get my supplies, and try to get through the demos. I ended up having one of the most fun classes ever. My migraine passed after an hour, and at the end of the day I thought in wonder, “Damn, I came so close to missing this class!”

Jody England Hansen: I took her class at Journalfest on making niches and boxes to hold really cool objects in books, including smaller journals. I really liked Jody. I would take another class from her in a heartbeat. I felt like I tried to do too much in her class and that was frustrating, but it was because she made me want to do more. She was another teacher who had a warm heart that showed.

Last but not least, Orly Avineri. I will see her again and her class from the outside at An Artful Journey. I took her class “Mapping Me” at Journalfest 2010. I felt inexplicably weird that day, but I left her class with some really great artwork. I have a feeling that she would be a wonderful teacher in a smaller class where she didn’t have to spread out her attention so thinly. I’m looking forward to seeing her again in February.

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