I just realized I never posted about my weekend mixed-media class at RISD. It was wonderful, as we all knew it would be. (Thank you all for cheering me on and saying such supportive things during my pre-class freak-out).
Our instructor, Mara Metcalf, was wonderfully welcoming and approachable and down-to-earth. My fellow students were fun and interesting. It was a total treat to meet Amy for the first time and I am SO glad I went.
I learned some new techniques, and got a lot of practice with image transfers. I incorporated fabric into my art for the first time. I pushed through some anxiety, took some chances, and came home with these four pieces.
|image transfers on watercolor paper|
|fabric and paper over canvas board with the gel transfer of the cicada glued on top. perhaps the first thing I've made that didn't use any paint whatsoever. how unusual.|
|fabric glued to heavy cardboard, fly transferred directly onto fabric, circles stamped with gesso and colored with magenta ink. (note to self: ink will not drip down the fabric surface. it will be immediately absorbed)|
|This postcard is the only remaining bit of three different failed experiments that were cut, glued, and rearranged all weekend.|
The most rewarding and helpful part of the weekend was asking for feedback about my work. I had no intention of doing this. I fully planned to quietly slip my work in my bag Sunday afternoon and go home. Day one, Mara walked around the room, answering questions and offering suggestions to those who wanted it. I was feeling rather shy and awkward about trying to create in front of others – inwardly I was screaming, “don’t look at this , it’s just the start of something, I don’t really mean it to be art, I’m just playing, I know it kind of sucks.” I managed to work through the defensiveness since no one was actually watching me or caring one bit about what I was doing, but I kept myself very closed off from Mara so that she wouldn’t come over and comment. At the end of the day I had a bunch of disjointed odds and ends, but nothing tangible to show for my first day in class.
After going home and playing for another few hours in my studio Saturday night, I went back on Sunday feeling looser. I started putting pieces together and playing with less inhibition. I started getting into the groove. As I eavesdropped on the helpful and supportive advice Mara was giving others, I finally plucked up the courage to ask her opinion and advice about something. Lo and behold, I didn’t die of embarrassment, or feel like an idiot. In fact it was really helpful. (Duh!)
In the final few hours of the class she announced that anyone seeking feedback on their work should tack it up on the walls and come forward and she would pair us with another student. I stayed in my seat and kept working while others started to mill about. Then, at the last minute, I dove into the mix. I was paired with a very young, heavily pierced art student. I offered her no help whatsoever, but she quietly and confidently picked up one of my collage elements from a work in progress and said “how about this?” – relocating the focal image and totally transforming the piece. It was revelatory. I started picking her brain about all my pieces and even got a few other people in on the conversation. Suddenly I was a feedback junkie. Who would have guessed? This little bit of personal growth was well worth the cost of the workshop. All the new art techniques were just icing on the cake.