I am really proud of this little book.
I have been wanting to make some properly bound books for a while now. However, something was holding me back... I realize now it was my brain tumour that was making reading and deciphering instructions really, really difficult over the past few years. It seemed that as I acquired more and more equipment made for bookbinding purposes, my ability to learn new stuff started to decline. Even reading recipes started to get so frustrating as I couldn't hold on to the order of the steps or the ingredients at the top of the page, So this idea sat dormant while my interest and equipment grew.
Things I already knew how to do didn't cause any problems (and probably contributed to why my issues didn't get discovered earlier). Repeating things over and over, or making a whole bunch of the same type of thing helped me keep learning when my reading abilities started to fade. I was also good at learning while watching someone show me each step. Although, when new tools and terms were mentioned, I had a really hard time actually saying the new words - I couldn't spit them out. I knew the words, I just couldn't bridge the gap between my mind and my tongue. I also tended to get lost with too many steps, causing me to retrace and retrace.
I already knew how to do linocut printmaking, I've also been printing on fabric for a few years. Cutting paper and measuring stuff is second nature. Those parts of this project was like a duck taking to water. What intimidated me was the stitching. I have a hard time looking at diagrams for knots and origami already. Throw in brain surgery and muddled illustrations... I felt kind of lost.
So I decided to just take it one step at a time. I started with the easy stuff I already knew and once those things looked pretty good, I tackled the binding part.
The funny thing was - the pictures totally made sense. I'm finding that when I read instructions now, they are very clear and straightforward to my newly healed brain. This time last year, I would have gotten mad or irritated with every step. I kept expecting to get stumped only to realize that it all made sense. That was really cool.
So I breezed through it. It worked. I started to revise the steps so that the next one is better. I'm very excited about all this!
If all this linocut printing, block printing on fabric stuff is intriguing you (and you live around Calgary) why don't you join me for one of my upcoming classes or demonstrations?
Saturday, September 22nd, I'll be at Inglewood Art Supplies teaching a one day workshop on linocut printmaking.
Saturday, September 29th, I'll be at the Leighton Art Centre demonstrating my block printing on Fabric for Alberta Culture days.
November 10th and 11th, I'll be at the Leighton Art Centre doing an intensive 2 day workshop all about linocut block printing on fabric.
For more info or to sign up, click the links or visit my home page.
Summer has passed through Alberta in it's usual whirlwind fashion and I noticed this morning some yellow leaves dropping from the trees. It has been really busy in our household. Kids coming and going from jobs to camp to friends places. Wonderful visits from friends and family. Short day trips and treks into the surrounding foothills. I've been puttering away steadily in my studio any moment I can, but it is mostly prepping for projects that I'll undertake when I can focus for longer stretches of time (a.k.a. back to school). While I'm mourning the passing of hot summer days, I am also yearning for routine and structure. A turning of the seasons.
One exciting thing I am looking forward to is a new partnership with Inglewood Art Supplies. They have been renovating the neighbouring space in their Bridgeland building so that they can begin to offer art classes, demonstrations and workshops. The results of their space transformation is amazing. You can really tell people who make art were behind the planning and execution of this endeavor. Tall ceilings, well equipped work stations and great lighting will make this an amazing place to teach and learn.
I will be offering a 5 week class for beginner acrylic painting that will happen on Tuesday nights from 6:30 - 8:00 pm going from September 18th to October 16th. I will also offer two different 1 day workshops at Inglewood this fall. Beginner Linocut Printmaking in September and then a Creative Art Journaling workshop in October.
In November I will be back at the fabulous Leighton Art Centre to teach a two day intensive workshop on Block Printing on Fabric - this is timed so that those who want to learn an interesting skill can practice by making a whole stack of very cool Christmas gifts if they want.
As usual, I post all my workshops, classes, demonstrations and showings on my main page - there you will find all the links you need to directly register for my classes. I really hope to see you there.
Confession. Sometimes I make stuff based off of things people tell me they really wish they could use. Often this happens during workshops or classes I teach. The above books were born from a common frustration I've heard during my sketching classes. "I love drawing, but I never know what to draw."
It is really easy to let a blank page intimidate you. It is also easy to feel overwhelmed by a big blank sketchbook. This little book is a two for one deal. It only has 20 pages and it only has twenty prompts. You could tuck this away in your backpack on a trip or you could sneak it into your purse and go to a coffee shop. Since it is only 20 pages, it is completely reasonable that you could finish this little book off over a Grande latte or a week at the beach.
The prompts are simple and vague... they are flexible to the different kinds of environments you might be in. They are suitable for any age as well, so you could easily gift one to a drawing enthusiast who would get a kick out of it.
This is a quick and loose kind of book, not a precious book. It is meant to be used as a conduit for your creativity to get you started (or restarted) and onto the next project. It is a means to an end.
I mentioned it during my drawing class today and had quite a few who wanted more details. So here they are! If you want one for yourself, please message me here and I can send you a snapshot of available covers (all the interiors are the same at the moment).
If you find one you like, I accept cash, paypal and EFT (we can figure that out via email) and for the next while, I will even mail it to you for free (Canada only - anywhere else, I can give you the cost in the email, one book is just a standard letter rate so very affordable to ship) Each book of prompts costs $11.00 CDN and is made by me!
If you like the little sketchbook idea, but don't want the prompts, I also carry a variety of blank notebooks (same size, same paper stock, same number of pages) that have one of a kind covers as well. Same free shipping in Canada applies here, these ones are priced at $9.00 each.
You can also find them in person at Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond!
I have finally taken a moment to post *some* of my upcoming classes for sketching, painting, mixed media and printmaking - there are even more in the pipeline! For the ones I haven't posted yet, I'm just awaiting registration links (so keep checking back), I'll put them up as I have everything confirmed.
I was thinking about it today and I thought I would do a blog post to highlight a unique Christmas gift idea: knowledge. If you have a loved one in your life who you struggle to buy "stuff" for, perhaps a class or workshop would be a great fit. Oftentimes those hard to buy for types are more satisfied through experiences and the gift of time.
If you know someone who always talks about wanting to try something new, is looking to start a fresh chapter in their life, has an interest in trying new art forms or wants to revisit something they've tried in the past - may I suggest one of my workshops (1 or 2 day courses) or a weekly class? I would love to see them (or you) there!
This upcoming season I have a really full calendar, a lot of which is happening right here in Cochrane - some of the upcoming classes I've put onto my home page. I will also be doing some workshops at Kensington Art Supplies, Leighton Art Centre, Kelowna Art Gallery to name a few!
Now, that being said, should you be looking for a more traditional gift, I have lots of my paintings, flour sack cloths and prints available at Bluerock Gallery, the Leighton Art Centre and Muk Luk Magpies. Contact me if you are looking for something in particular or to commission a piece!
For a few weeks, I have had stacks of new bowls and plates in my studio. When I'm in the middle of a project and trying to think, I sort these into new arrangements until something catches my eye. In this particular set up, it was the juxtaposition of the icy cold, late afternoon light against the warm rusty reds of the shadows cast by the objects. Winter has very much arrived in the Foothills and I feel this painting reflects the warmth and coziness of my studio perfectly.
On a side note, it has been tough for me to get in the studio this week. I've had a number of pressing deadlines that are for future endeavors mixed with a wobbly, sick dog. I felt really blocked for painting, which is unusual for me. Today it was so good to put on a cup of tea, play music and just paint. I find when I have too much on my mind I feel creatively scattered. If I'm not creating and making stuff, I feel stifled. Definitely left the studio feeling much happier than when I entered.
Also - my Card Making class at Leighton has been moved to a later date! There is still room to sign up, Just follow the links below!
Leighton Art Centre, Calgary:
Classic Holiday Cardmaking Workshop New Date!
Sat, December 9th, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $85.00 (Leighton Members receive a 10% discount)
Make the Holidays extra special by printing your own Christmas cards! Join Michelle Wiebe as she guides students through some simple printmaking techniques. In this fun, fast paces class students will learn basic linocutting skills to make their own Christmas themed blocks that they can keep to make other great gifts and cards. Participants will cut blocks, learn some special embellishment tricks and hand print their own set of Christmas cards to take home. Excellent for adults and teenagers who are beginner and intermediate linocut students.
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Leighton Art Centre or contact them at email@example.com to register.
This has been a week of wrapping things up - finishing that little press, Heritage Park is now closed for the regular season and I have one more teaching trip in British Colombia before winter makes driving over the Rockies unpredictable and precarious. It has really been a good year on many fronts and to be tying up loose ends and turning a page to a new chapter feels really good.
The class I am teaching is at the Kelowna Art Gallery - a wonderful maker space that is well stocked with all sorts of materials and treasures. We are going to focus on beginner's watercolour - a great way to dip your toes into painting! I've been working more and more lately with incorporating watercolour into my notes, en plein air and mixed media work so I am really looking forward to sharing the basics this weekend.
Here is all the registration information, the class still has room last I heard. All the contact information to register can be found below:
Kelowna Art Gallery: Introduction to Watercolours Workshop
Sat, October 14, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: $105 (Members $90) | Students $80
This workshop will teach students about the types of paints and paper they can use, how to prepare their materials, and the variety of stunning effects possible with watercolours. Whether experienced in other forms of art making or trying it for the first time, this class will give students what they need to start creating watercolour masterpieces on their own!
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Kelowna Art Gallery or contact them at 250-762-2226 to register.
I'm excited to be able to offer this class as part of the Impressions series of workshops that go along with the printmaking exhibit of the same name. The exhibit comes down this weekend as well - it was great fun to check out my pieces up next to all the amazing Alberta print makers represented.
Leighton Art Centre, Calgary: Mixed Media Printmaking (two day workshop)
Sat, September 23, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sun, September 24 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Cost: $135.00 (Leighton Members receive a 10% discount)
Add colour to your linocut printmaking through a variety of mediums and techniques. Join Michelle Wiebe as she covers a number of approaches one can take with mixed media printing. Class time will cover basic linocut carving, inking and printing skills as well as how to use them with other art materials. Emphasis will be placed on utilizing other dry and wet media with your carved block in a number of different approaches to create one of a kind art with a few simple tools.
Students will leave class with their own carved block, several one of a kind mixed media prints, and the skills to keep incorporating printmaking into their art practice. This workshop is open to beginners with no prior experience to linocut printmaking as well as to artists with a printing foundation who wish to explore a different approach to linocut.
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Leighton Art Centre or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org to register
Where to begin? Fall is here, kicking and screaming and I finally feel like I've had a chance to come up for air.
Studio Expansion: My garage is now officially a core component to my studio practice. Late July, we welcomed a third press to our family: a Chandler and Price Old Style platen floor model. Some good friends helped us load and move this along with a paper cabinet, composing table, type cabinet and full sized paper cutter. I am truly blessed.
The flip side to this is making room and extra clean up. Almost all of my open studio time in August has been spent puttering away in my garage doing glamorous jobs like scraping old labels, sanding, painting and degreasing. We are in the homestretch now which is good - winter is coming and my car needs it's shelter for parking!
On a side note, paper cabinets are a beautiful thing. With 25 shallow drawers, this is for my art supplies like what the wardrobe is for Narnia. Things feel so in reach and organized!
Current Projects: I'm in the early stages of some small still life and landscapes for the upcoming Christmas season. I am also busy printing all sorts of letterpress goodies for market as well. Add in some collaboration involving a laser engraver, block printing more flour sack cloths, instructing as well as the aforementioned studio expansion and I am a busy girl.
Website Update: I've cleaned things up and added some greater detail on events and workshops. I've been planning this out in my head for a while and finally sat down long enough to get it all up on the web. I still have loads more pictures and details to add, but this should suffice for the moment. I have a love hate relationship with digital tinkering.
Plein Air Postponement: My deepest apologies to all of you who have expressed interest in further plein air meetups - this has been on my mind constantly. I had a domino effect happen with that equipment acquisition that affected too many areas of my household. Add in multiple extra weekend bookings for August and I couldn't make it happen. Stay tuned for spring though - I have some alternate ideas I'd like to try out with plein air!
Long time, no update. It has been very busy both in the studio and in our household. One of the things taking a lot of my time lately has been Letterpress related. It is a long (and hopefully interesting) story that I am saving for it's own post (Hint: it involves costumes and moving crazy heavy pieces of machinery!) Anyways, in amongst all this busyness, life in my studio has been puttering along at a brisk pace.
I love this time of year because the roads are reliably decent and the weather is good so I can plan to travel to deliver fresh art, teach or demonstrate. Here is some stuff I have coming up in the next few weeks in June and July:
Muk Luk Magpies: The initial batch of Flour Sack Clothes sold very quickly so I recently dropped off a large batch with lots of colours and patterns. Just in time for teacher gifts! You can get store hours and more information here.
Impressions Printmaking Exhibition: The Leighton Art Centre invited me to participate in this upcoming show done in partnership with the Alberta Printmakers Society. There are some amazing local artists represented here, so I am quite excited to hang my work on the same walls as them! The opening for this show is this Saturday from 2 - 4 pm. Hope to see you there!
Canada Day at Just Imajan Art Gallery: I will be painting alongside 14 other local Cochrane artists during the Canada Day festivities. I'm looking forward to connecting with the locals and will demonstrate my process as well as have a selection of my work available for sale (working on some fresh stuff that I hope will be ready on time!). You can get more information here.
On the Road Travel Sketching Workshop: SECOND DATE ADDED We are so pleased to be able to add a send date for this sketching workshop at the Leighton Art Centre. The July 8th date filled up really quickly and we think there is ample interest in adding a second date. I think its the combination of getting out there with a sketchbook in hand paired with mysteries of bringing art supplies with you when you travel. We are going to cover both of these in an action packed day long class! Second class date is July 15th - I hope you can make it. You can register here.
Red Deer College Basic Linocut Printmaking: I am very excited to be offering a class through this venue! I believe there is still room to sign up if you are in the Central Alberta area and want to take the plunge into creating your own relief prints. You can register here.
If you have any questions about any of these classes, my work or how to book me as an instructor, please send me a message and I am happy to get back to you! Its been a great start to summer and I am really pumped about these upcoming events.
This summer, the Leighton Art Centre is hosting a brand new Plein Air series of workshops to give students opportunities to gain skills for creating work outdoors. On July 8th, I am thrilled to be teaching on a subject I hold very dear to my heart - travel sketching.
There is something extra special about capturing your vacation memories via paint and ink. Being intentional with taking a moment to sit, study and draw has a way of slowing time down and locking the warmth of the sun, the smell of the cafe and the bird noises deep into your memory. It is also a wonderful way to share your experiences with friends and family.
During this class time we will be exploring a number of approaches you can take to mark making, sketching and color notation. We will also learn how to adapt to our drawings for nature settings, cityscapes and indoor settings as well as have a VERY informative discussion about what to bring with you when travelling locally and and internationally so that you are well prepared for your artistic adventures.
Find our more about this class and register here.