April 26, 2010

Slow Felt: upcoming workshop with Chad Alice Hagen!

Felting and dyeing and beading and stitching, oh my!
Resist Dyeing and Bookbinding
~  with Chad Alice Hagen ~
June 17, 18 and 19, 2010
Lopez Island, Washington

I had my first experience attending a felting workshop with Chad Alice Hagen last summer and WOW, was it ever wonderful (see my blog post, Resist * Stitch * Bead.)  So I was thrilled beyond belief when my good friend Jan S., was able to "convince" Chad to come out to our little corner of the world - the beautiful San Juan Islands - and have a vacation lead one of her awesome workshops right here!  This post is to let you all know that there are a few spaces available...hint, hint...

I can't wait to learn how to make one of these!

This three day intensive workshop will combine felt-making, resist dyeing AND book making.  Let me quote directly from the workshop description:

The first day's focus will be the dye kitchen where we will not
only learn the basics for setting up a safe at-home dye area
and the use of Lanaset and WF acid dyeing, but will transform
our fine Australian Merino needle punched prefelts into dozens
of brilliant resist dyed samples through the magical use of hundreds
of odd but interesting resist tools and up to 15 dyebaths.

The next days will be filled with stitching and beading those beautiful
dyed surfaces and transforming them into small, exquisite books.  The
class will learn two different bookbinding stitches and two types of book
covers.  With many demonstrations and hands on learning, we will finish
at least two books - a wrapped sketchbook and a wonderful Coptic
bound journal.

The stitching, beading and binding of books is a thoughtful, slow process
so be prepared for delightful hours surrounded by color and texture
and the company of like-minded folk.  The instructor will bring lots of
samples of her books and will lead discussions on design ideas and
variations for using handmade felt in books.

Click here for the pdf which has the complete workshop description, cost, instructor details, and contact info.

Let me tempt you just a bit further - go to Flickr (here) and have a peek at some more examples of Chad's handmade books.  And while you're at it, you may not want to miss her fabulous felted and beaded brooches and ooooh, the Art Pages.  

edge detail on handmade book




The photos above can be viewed larger and in greater detail on Chad's blog - which btw, is also a hoot to read and will provide you with lots more info about her work, studio, travels, sense of humor, and the overall general state of her artistic life living with two demanding cats.  You might want to check out her website, too, chadalicehagen.com.  There's a wonderful photo of Chad passed out on the work table, surrounded by oodles of resist dyed felts.  Ah heck, here it is (hope she won't mind).


This workshop is being hosted and organized by Jan S.  If you have any questions (really, any at all) or would like to inquire about reserving a spot around the dye pots, please contact Jan directly via her website.

Won't you join us...it's going to be a BLAST?!  I'll be there and I would so love to see you!




April 3, 2010

Manipulating digital photos...

I've spoken before about my love/hate relationship with digital photography.  It's no secret.
When I stopped doing traditional black & white darkroom work, I sat on the digital fence for a long, long
time,
not happy on it, not happy off of it.

It feels really good not to be working with those chemicals anymore.  I wouldn't want to bring them into the new environment where I live anyway. I no longer throw away mountains of film & slides (and mountains of money on same)...I simply push the *delete* button.  But the flip side to these things is that I no longer have the same relationship with picture making and well, "the thrill is gone, gone away for good."  Or so I thought.

I knew I needed to bring the FUN back into my camera toting life so I thought I'd post a little recap of a workshop that gave me just that.  It was all I had hoped for and more.

I can't remember where I first read about Susan Tuttle's online workshop, "Digital Photomanipulation."  I surf through a lot of blogs - I think someone mentioned having taken this course, and loved it, so I probably clicked on a link and off I went.  Am I glad I did!  Visual Poetry (I really liked the sound of that) is the name of Susan's website for this art workshop series and many examples of her FUN and beautiful work can be seen on her Flicker page here.  Oh my gosh, isn't this the most deliciously *manipulated* cupcake?
Photo courtesy of Susan Tuttle
All rights reserved
The month long workshop was divided into weekly assignments where we learned three new techniques each week.  We could work at our own pace, trying all three, or only one, whatever suited us.  We could jump ahead or lag behind, even work on one photo over & over until we made it sing.  Like this singing cupcake that makes me crave frosting.  I think Susan's photo is actually an Operetta to Baked Goods  :>]  

The technique was called 'Retro Technique 1'.  Here's my attempt:
Below is the "before" shot:
The software we used was Photoshop Elements 6.0 (or later versions, 7.0 or 8.0).  Some people worked in Photoshop, for which Susan supplied supplemental written instructions. I chose to work in Elements since Adobe provides a free 30-day trial of their latest version.  I liked it very much. Other "perks" to the workshop were Video Tutorials for each assignment (these were incredibly helpful - thanks, Susan!), a Forum where we could post whatever questions we had while working, Texture Goodys to play around with and our very own Flicker group for posting our results.  I was amazed at how much I learned by viewing the creative solutions of the other members.

Here I had fun with 'Faux Midnight' where I turned a frosty morning into midnight by moonlight...

...'Retro Technique 2' with some grittiness from a Texture Goody...

'Tinted Grayscale' was about removing all the color then adding back a tint...a favorite subject here...

Oh, and that photo at the top...that's a 'Landscape Atmosphere' technique...
here's the before comparison:


I have a really long way to go, there is so much to learn, so many endless possibilities of how to manipulate my images, get them to say what I want them to say. But I will definitely take another workshop from Susan...and maybe even another one after that!  And I've pre-ordered this:  
Yes, I am definitely having some FUN now and for that I am very grateful.

Hope everyone is having a happy Spring Break, till next time...