Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Artful Journey Retreat

The Presentation Center
 I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 An Artful Journey retreat at the Presentation Center in the mountains near Los Gatos, California.  This is the second time I have been able to attend and it was, again, a wonderful weekend.  Lots of familiar faces, great teachers, beautifully organized by Cindy Woods, this retreat is among  my most favorite art workshop experiences.

my little, light-filled cozy room in Lower Saint Anthony
 Once again I took a journal class from one of my favorite instructors, D.J. Pettitt.  D.J. is one of those incredible people who can take something quite complicated and time consuming and teach you how to accomplish it in short time, with wonderful results!  How does she do it?

D. J. Pettitt explaining how she paints nests for our projects

She had wonderful photos of birds for us to use for our covers, but I had to use my own photos (of course....never pick the easier way, oh, no!  Not me!!!).  Besides being a truly talented painter, D. J. is also an amazing photographer.  The photos of the raven and the hummingbird that she generously shared with us were beautiful.

front cover, Indian fish eagle
Back cover, African wader of some ilk

I managed to create this journal in three days.  I finished at 3:54 PM on the last day, just six minutes short of the end of the class.  Of course, I had returned after dinner the night before and did several more hours of work on day two to make it possible for me to meet that deadline.

There is quite a lot of sewing involved in the construction of a journal ala D. J.'s style.  You sew your pages to a fabric hinge and then build the signature with these fabric hinged double pages.  You can wrap your signatures in what D. J. calls a "signature wrap", which is just added fabric pages that you collage together and then wrap around one signature or all of them.  You could make signature wraps for each signature, if that was your choice.  I also made fabric collages for the inside of both my covers.

Some pages have added fabric detail, some just have stitching to add texture.

All my pages were gessoed and then were washed with thinned acrylic paint, textured, combed, distressed....all sorts of various techniques were used to make the pages more interesting.

The spine of the journal is made of fabric and the signatures are sewn onto it and secured with buttons.  These are Victorian brass buttons I found on eBay or etsy.

detail of the front inside signature "wrap" and the first page of the journal
detail of the inside front cover and the outside of the front signature "wrap," which is cut from a piece of vintage quilt
D. J. Pettitt photograph, filched from her blog
Here I am in a photo from D. J.'s post on her class at An Artful Journey.  You can read her entire post here.
hallway in lower Saint Anthony cabin
 I loved every minute I spent in class, but to be totally honest, it was the camaraderie with friends old and new that made my weekend at the Presentation Center so remarkable.  My "roomies" in lower Saint Anthony, Jenny Messerle and Glenda Hoagland are women I already knew and loved.  Being assigned to the same cabin with them was the extra special frosting on the cake.  Both are delightful souls---kind, generous, open, wise and beautiful.  Besides, they are both amazing artists and I find being around them and their art truly inspiring.

Tres amigas
It was a magical weekend, from start to finish.


DJ Pettitt said...

Thanks for the great post Michele! And thank you for signing up for my workshop. Your sweetness made it extra special!
Love your book!

john said...

So glad you had an amazing experience. See you soon.

diane b said...

Wow you do some exciting things. A weekend art retreat sounds delightful. You sure look like you enjoyed it and what great work you did.