I'm back with another post for Gwen Lafleur Studios' Artist Tribe. Today I want to share with you an unforgettable bucket list experience that I recently had at MaryBeth Shaw's quaint and inspirational art studio in St. Louis. It was there that a group of twelve creative souls from all over the country gathered to learn tips, tricks, and secrets for creating BoHo Grunge at Gwen's All Mixed Up Workshop. (Gwen and MaryBeth may just have let one or two other secrets slip out too while we were there, but our lips are sealed...)
One of the perks of attending the workshop was that we all received a pre-release of a new stencil Gwen designed for StencilGirl Products. (Happy dance!) Sorry, but if you want one you'll have to either wait for the release date or wrestle it from another attendees' fingers since I won't be giving mine up even for all of the tea in China. (And if you read my last post, How I use the Soggy Tea Bags in my Purse, you know just how much I love tea!) I used it in my BoHo Flower Vase Panel that I made there.
MaryBeth started the day by welcoming everyone to her studio. I was amazed at how far we'd come to be here; California, Florida, Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, Connecticut,(that's me) are a few of the places that come to mind.
I thought that I'd died and gone to heaven when MaryBeth offered us the use of her extensive StencilGirl stencil collection.
Then it was time for Gwen to take the stage.
She began by teaching us the basics of stamp carving and offering invaluable advice on choosing the right rubber and tools to match our level of interest. I had the chance to give her tools a test run on good rubber and was surprised to see what a difference they made. Then she gave us some of her insights on design and showed us the secret to carving repeating stamps. My carving skills were definitely improved that morning. In fact, I loved this part of the workshop so much that I purchased a new set of carving blades the day after I came home.
Then we worked on creating multiple layered background papers, the likes of which you'll never find on a store shelf. Gwen's " no thinking, no waste" process for creating papers resulted in some complex, thin collage fodder. I used the papers I made in class, along with some new embossing power and gilding flake techniques, to create this background in my art journal.
On Saturday Gwen taught us how to make her famous BoHo Fish and my personal favorite, her beautiful BoHo Flowers. As you can imagine, these were a huge hit for everyone.
We had the rest of the day to work on our projects. Of course I spent my time working on making my own BoHo Flower panel.
I added an old paper towel from MaryBeth's personal stash in the background. Of course, I only did this in the name of recycling... Anything to keep Mother Nature happy.
By the end of the workshop I was pleased with the progress I'd made on my BoHo Flower Panel. I used the textured wallpaper that Gwen included in our welcome pack for the vase and a printed teabag for the rim. (Yes, there was a beautiful welcome pack waiting for us all when we arrived; filled with all kinds of goodies like hand stamped rice papers, turkmen jewelry parts, and Kuchi patches.) I raided Gwen's bead stash to embellish the large cut out flower fashioned from a StencilGirl Stencil by Flora Bowley.
Throughout the workshop I had the pleasure of sitting next to Peg Robinson, (check out her YouTube Channel). I was blown away by the BoHo Fish Panel that she created in class.
And my friend Rachel Bell made this gorgeous BoHo Flower Panel.
Gwen's workshops, like her art, attracts such a wide diversity of creative souls. Being there gave me the opportunity to meet old friends for the first time and to connect with some amazing artist that I would have probably missed on-line since they create in genres I'd never considered before. I think we'll all be looking at how we create a little differently now that we've gotten insight into how Gwen's mind works. Thank you Gwen and MaryBeth for bringing us together to share two incredible days of art and friendship. I want to do it all over again!
I was excited to practice the techniques I'd learned when I got home. And I got right to work finishing my BoHo Flower Vase Panel. I'm thrilled with how it turned out. What do you think?
I used Gwen's pre-release stencil that we'd been given to create wallpaper in the background. And I added detail to the corner flower with her new Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion Stencil. It's part of the Spring 2018 collection from StencilGirl Products that was just recently released.
I added quite a few new tricks to my mixed media bag during the workshop. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from Gwen, I highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed.
Gwen's teaching again June 8th and June 9th at the Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook CT. And you didn't hear this from me, but there just may have been some filming going on over at StencilGirl Studios while I was in St. Louis, wink, wink... (Oops, did my fingers just let that slip?) Perhaps there's an on-line class in the making?
Hugs until next time,