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  • April Gavin

New Art and Craft Dating

Greetings all,

Summer camp starts next week and my first week is Mixed Media Madness. But before I get absorbed in teaching art to small children and start saying phrases like "Wait, what?" , I wanted to share with you what's new in the studio. I pushed a few techniques together to create this piece.

I started by painting a larger piece of fabric and then cut it into two 10" squares. Where the yellow and purple meet creates the brown. I then wrote my poem "These Wild Places" onto both pieces. Then I cut the pieces into 1" strips and wove them together. I added the coyote and moon using double-sided interfacing. From there, it was traditional quilting methods of stitching and binding. Curious to know what y'all think.

Craft Dating - Part 1: What's that? I think that everyone should have art/craft that they love to do. By the time you are ten, your hands and eyes are coordinated enough to create a composition like the above. The thing though is practice. Your hands have to actually do the work. If you want more time for art in your life (and I hope you do), here are some of my thoughts to get you started.

In the Bay Area we are blessed with creativity of all kinds and folks who will gladly teach you almost anything. I suggest dating. With all of our options though, where do you start? First, ask yourself what you're jealous of. Maybe you know someone who makes jewelry and you get really envious, curious on how they did that. There's nothing wrong with taking a three hour workshop and seeing if you like it. If you don't like it, you spent three hours and $x and that's a small commitment. Maybe, you'll even come away with something cool to show for it.

If I'm learning something absolutely brand new to me, I look for a project based workshop. A project based workshop is where you walk away with a completed object that you made with your own hands. The workshop should have a short time commitment like 3-5 hours and the teacher provides the materials. There's nothing more frustrating when you're learning something new to receive a materials list of items to buy and you don't even understand what you're buying. (Buy three yards of organza - ?! I know what that is, but you might not.) Also, remember that you're dating and not ready to commit. Many project based workshops include the materials in the workshop price. Good places to go for project based workshops are:

You will also see technique based workshops where you're learning a piece of a larger discipline. I once took a day long workshop on darts. Darts are a way of manipulating fabric so that a garment fits better. If you're wearing jeans or dress pants, very likely there are darts shaping the backside from the widest part of your hips to your waist. My point here is that you already have to know and enjoy sewing to take this workshop.

You will also see workshops that meet over a period of time usually 4-6 weeks. They tend to be a little more costly, but if you have interest in a subject it might be worth it. Also, there are some disciplines that cannot be taught in a 3 hour workshop - pottery for example. Berkeley Potter's Studio is a serious place to learn pottery. Don't go there half-hearted.

I'll post Part 2 shortly, but I hope this gets you started. If you have questions or looking for a something specific, ask me. I want everyone to have a more creative life.

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