I would like to always remember that other people have suffered during this pandemic and some have had great loss. So it is with an understanding that my problem in comparison is small but I have really missed taking in person classes and being at Shake Rag Alley. The last class I took there was in August of 2019 and so it was with great pleasure that I packed my bags and went to Shake Rag for this class.
June 11-13, 2021
Instructor: Laura Lein-Svencner
Here is the course description: "A different style of sketching organically brings more awareness of process and aesthetics, compared to the usual way of working. Creating and joining a series of mixed media sections into a scroll format will result in one long drawing that honors the journey of its making. The scrolls will be made from watercolor paper, which can handle the variety of techniques that creative inspiration brings to the paper’s surface. Students will first explore a session of mark making with India inks and black walnut dyes, along with teas and rust. These resulting papers will be combined with objects gathered from nature on a daily walk. Sections may be torn and reassembled, then connected using hand sewing and/or machine stitching. Strings, threads, fabric, and fun buttons may be added. By altering the piece even more with gesso, acrylic paints and mixed mediums, a beautiful sculptural scroll is finally created."
The class was in the Lynd Pavilion on the Shake Rag campus. It was great to reunite with two of my best art buddies: Lynn Ovenden and Kelley Clarke.
Kelley doing a demo for the class
Every morning Laura began class with a centering around a drum circle.
Laura taught a zillion different techniques of mixed media and I really fell in love with the different methods. I had to try them all, often more than once, and then tried to incorporate all of them into my version of the scroll we were creating.
The brushes we made to paint
Below is the sheet of paper I painted with them.
I decided that my scroll was going to be made up of pieces of paper of difference compositions. This first one is one sheet of paper. The piece is hanging from a pants hanger I picked up when we were resale shopping on Thursday
The next scroll is made from two sheets of paper. One of the skills Laura taught me was how to use a sewing machine--something I had never done before. To say that I was a trial to Laura would be an understatement and nothing we did makes me feel like I could sew it on my own.
As I made this piece I came to realize that I was making it about gun violence. The rifle cleaning bag on the scroll I bought at the Crazy Frank's Flea Market combines with the text phrase, "In these case," which I believe is both cases of ammo and cases of murder.
The third scroll, made up of three pages, turned out to be about foot binding. If you had told me that I would find a consistent story of women's bad heath treatment in a vintage book, images of geishas and some Asian artwork, I would have bet money against it.
For the last scroll of four pages, I used a map Laura had given us and a piece of paper from Denice's grandfather's slide trays. This piece did not get done and maybe I will be adding some image transfer vacation photos on to.
One of my favorite techniques that Laura taught was rust printing. I could have done this for three days it was so cool. I added one piece that I did in this style to the work.
All along I had this idea that each scroll of increasing pages would hang on the hanger in front of the other. However, I pretty much knew at the workshop that this was really spinning out of my control and when I got home, I still feel that way. I think each page has its own weight and the stories are cool but not necessarily as a group. Time will tell what I will do with these scrolls or the techniques I learned but one this is for sure, this was a rock and roll class that has filled my head with all sorts of ideas.