Paper Clay Workshop at Carrie Moore Studios, June 9-10, 2018

Wow what a wonderful place to hold a workshop! Carrie Moore Studios in Oregon City is every artist's dream. Carrie Moore, an artist, workshop facilitator and all around wonderful person has this amazing home and gorgeous studio out in the country in Oregon City. She has an ongoing workshop schedule that includes all kinds of options to keep the creatively inclined creating (http://carriemoorestudios.com/new-events/)! This week, 9 wonderful artists came from all over northern Oregon to gather for two days of inspiration and art making. The beautiful and tranquil surroundings certainly had their effect on all of us.

The first day everyone prepared their boards and created their paper clay work. I am always amazed at how well everyone does adapting to this new way of making art. You can see their unpainted clay work from Day One below. You can click on the images to see them larger.

On the second day, we added finishes and painted the clay work. Though not everyone finished their pieces, everyone got off to a great start. Some even began adding collage elements to their work. You can see their semi-completed works below...I am hoping they will send me pictures of their finished pieces so I can post them at the end of this page. You can click on the images to see them larger.

I want to thank all the wonderful people who took my workshop. It is always hard to end my classes because we become friends for to two full days, and then we part ways! But we always remain together in spirit...remembering how we all gain on so many levels when we come together to make art. Especially in such a beautiful place. Until we meet again my friends. Keep making art and making the world a better place.

Trip to Chiapas, Mexico

I have wanted to visit Chiapas for years. It is remote, primitive and beautiful. It is a land of many different terrains and indigenous groups. We visited 7 very different locations including the eco village of  Villahermosa, the ruins at Palenque, the magnificent Miso-Ha Waterfall, the crystal blue waters of Cascadas Agua Azul, the beautiful city of San Cristobal de las Casas, the spectacular Sumidara Canyon, and the sweet town of Chiapa de Corzo on the gigantic Grijalva River. It was an adventure from beginning to end.

Chiapas has a reputation for unrest which makes most people think it is dangerous to travel there. And while they have problems from time to time, it is a very kind and peaceful place where tourists are safe and welcome.

We visited the Mayan ruins and museum at Palenque which were magnificent. And we stopped at the famous Cascadas de Agua Azul, a series of waterfalls found on the Xanil River known for their crystal blue color. The rain forest here (Lacandon Jungle) is one of the last remaining in North America as it stretches south to Guatemala. Sadly it is being cut down for farming corn, and the people do not understand about crop rotation, and so they are constantly cutting down more trees. There are better practices being taught but it has been a slow transition. The people here are just trying to survive and are not educated. Hopefully things will change soon or we will lose this resource that will take 500 years to replace.

Then we reached the beautiful city of San Cristobal de las Casas to find that all the major churches had been affected by recent earthquakes and were walled off with corrugated steel until repaired. But the charm and beauty of the city were still there for all to see.

 Cathederal de San Cristobal, damaged by earthquakes and so is not open for viewing or services.

Cathederal de San Cristobal, damaged by earthquakes and so is not open for viewing or services.

 Corrugated steel barricades in front of all churches have been painted by local muralists.

Corrugated steel barricades in front of all churches have been painted by local muralists.

This area is mostly known for textiles. Back strap loom weaving and hand embroidery are the two most common crafts here. I am in awe of the work that goes into all their pieces and how masterful they are with color combinations. Click on the images below to see them larger.

I was drawn to Chiapas because of metal crosses I had seen in other regions of Mexico. When I asked where they were from, it was always Chiapas. We visited the workshop and gallery of one of the most well know metalsmiths of the San Cristobal, Guadelupe Hermosilla. Beautiful work. You can click on the images below to see them larger.

Perhaps the high point of our trip, of which there were so many, was a visit to two nearby villages, Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan, where we were able to observe old world traditions and ceremonies in their churches and zocalos (city centers).

 In Chamula, cameras were not allowed in the church where pine needles covered the floor, copal incense filled the air and the people gathered in groups to pray and light candles on the floor in front of saints. It was magic.

In Chamula, cameras were not allowed in the church where pine needles covered the floor, copal incense filled the air and the people gathered in groups to pray and light candles on the floor in front of saints. It was magic.

 We were lucky to observe this annual ceremony for lent in San Lorenzo Zinacantan village where all the men an women dress in their beautifully embroidered traditional clothing of purple and magenta.

We were lucky to observe this annual ceremony for lent in San Lorenzo Zinacantan village where all the men an women dress in their beautifully embroidered traditional clothing of purple and magenta.

I will be forever moved by this trip to Chiapas. These kind and loving people here need our financial support. Our tourist dollars are what fuel their local economy and make opportunities for the indigenous people. You will be shocked at how inexpensive everything is. Something that can take a person a day to make sells for about 2-3.00. I will be back for sure...and with a much larger suitcase next time.

 Cascadas de Agua Azul, beautiful aqua color caused by the high content of calcium carbonate and other minerals in the water encasing everything in its path with a thick shell-like coating of limestone.

Cascadas de Agua Azul, beautiful aqua color caused by the high content of calcium carbonate and other minerals in the water encasing everything in its path with a thick shell-like coating of limestone.

 The dam has caused the waterway to be 850 feet deep in places. Walls are nearly 3,000 feet high.

The dam has caused the waterway to be 850 feet deep in places. Walls are nearly 3,000 feet high.

 Elevation is 6000 plus feet in the rain forest.

Elevation is 6000 plus feet in the rain forest.

 This shows how the trees have been slashed and burned for planting corn. Devastating to the rain forest.

This shows how the trees have been slashed and burned for planting corn. Devastating to the rain forest.

 Here I am at the top of one of the pyramids of Palenque. It was horribly hot and humid this day, but worth the trek.

Here I am at the top of one of the pyramids of Palenque. It was horribly hot and humid this day, but worth the trek.

  Miso-Ha Waterfall where we could walk down under the falls which are 100 feet tall.

 Miso-Ha Waterfall where we could walk down under the falls which are 100 feet tall.

In San Cristobal is an old nunnery called Na-Balom (House of the Jaguar) where Frans Blom an explorer and archeologist, and Gertrude Duby Blom, a journalist and photographer created their home and spent over fifty years in Chiapas collecting tools, crafts, archeological pieces and clothing, especially related to the Lacandon Jungle and people. The museum holds a wealth of history about this primitive tribe that still exists today.

 The primitive Lacondon people escaped the Spanish rule and survived for 400 years in the jungles of Chiapas near the border of Guatemala until they were discovered in the 19th century. This is a photo of a photo taken by Gertrude Duby Blom in the early 1900's.

The primitive Lacondon people escaped the Spanish rule and survived for 400 years in the jungles of Chiapas near the border of Guatemala until they were discovered in the 19th century. This is a photo of a photo taken by Gertrude Duby Blom in the early 1900's.

 This is the typical dress of the women of Chamula. THer skirt is woven from black wool and then shredded to look like fur. A bright colored satin blouse along with a wide woven belt complete the look and are handmade locally.

This is the typical dress of the women of Chamula. THer skirt is woven from black wool and then shredded to look like fur. A bright colored satin blouse along with a wide woven belt complete the look and are handmade locally.

 Sr. Sergio Castro, healer of Chiapas who has traveled to remote indigenous villages to help the poorest people for free for more than 48 years, building  over 30 schools, and creating over 25 water catchment and filtration systems.

Sr. Sergio Castro, healer of Chiapas who has traveled to remote indigenous villages to help the poorest people for free for more than 48 years, building over 30 schools, and creating over 25 water catchment and filtration systems.

In San Cristobal, lives Sergio Castro, a healer who serves the poorest of people every day of the week for free.  He supports his efforts with donations from tourists to his museum where he has collected the traditional clothing of more than 20 indigenous groups of Chiapas. His presentation is excellent, entertaining and succinct. He has been recognized by news media all over the world and honored for his humanitarian work. Click on the images to see them larger.

Everyday Saints Workshop, Mendocino Art Center

Life doesn't get any better than meeting wonderful creative people, making art together for 3 full days and being in a inspirational location like The Mendocino Art Center. I am feeling very blessed. This workshop included using both collage and paper clay to create saints, goddesses, guardians and angels. Everyone made such beautiful and heartfelt pieces. Some work slowly and methodically, others are fast and free. See their work below, mostly on their way to becoming finished pieces, awaiting more embellishments and refinement. Click on each image to see it larger along with the artist's name.

It was truly a wonderful experience to share. It is always hard to say goodbye when we have taken a short journey together. I am hoping to cross paths again with these fine women.

 

 

 

Paper Clay Workshop at Emerald Art Center, Springfield OR

Well each time I teach at this charming venue in downtown Springfield, I find new things. New artists showing, new gift shop items, new volunteers, new shops and restaurants in the neighborhood. There's a lot going on in the place. It's jumpin'. How nice that a community supports something so central to a happy city.

My paper clay workshop was amazing. Seven wonderful women, each with her own way of making art. I am so lucky to be working with people who are wanting to expand their art making. It is exciting to watch everyone enjoy this flexible and forgiving medium. The possibilities are endless. Thank you to my wonderful class. Hope to see you all again someday.

Animal Portraits in Paper Clay Workshop

I have to say, my most recent workshop at Oregon Art Supply was full of such creative and fun loving people that I forgot I was teaching. We had a great time together. I think that's what is best about workshops. You have a chance to experience art making with other people and see the variety of results that happen. It's a joyous event.

Anyway...here are the animal portraits that were made...some not quite finished...but all are wonderful. Remember, no one had done this before.

I love that we used minimal color. I think the images have a very graphic feel...kind of like print making. When a design is good, it doesn't really need color. Thanks you to my students for the great work I get to share.

The Going Away Party

For the past few years, I have been making paper clay portraits of endangered species in party hats. My theme, "The Going Away Party," is my disturbing and irreverent way of getting people to take a second look...and maybe read my captions. Some of our most beloved animals are in danger of extinction within our lifetime. This is outrageous! They are the victims of our greed and stupidity, pure and simple.

You can see all the animals and read more about them, along with what you can do to help in the gallery on my website: Click Here.

 THE ELEPHANT

THE ELEPHANT

This Friday, my animal portraits will be on display for the first time at Oregon Art Supply in their little gallery in the back of the store. The opening is from 5:30-7:30 and there will be party favors for everyone! See their website for details: http://www.oregonartsupply.com/category-s/1961.htm

 THE LEOPARD

THE LEOPARD

In conjunction with the show, I am teaching a two-day workshop on making animal portraits in paper clay at Oregon Art Supply as well. So you can bring your own image to work from (a favorite pet?) or I will provide nice images of rabbits or birds. If you want to work from your own image, be sure it is very clear with the face and neck sized to fit your substrate. Details about the workshop can be found HERE.

I hope to see you at the show or in the workshop! Thanks for caring enough to read this whole thing. If you email me and mention my blog, I will send you a FREE greeting card of one of my animal images.

Onward!

Art Immersion Oaxaca--Sign Up Now!

I have been waiting to go back to Oaxaca ever since I left there in the Spring 3 years ago. It's like that with Oaxaca. It gets into your blood and you need to keep going back. You miss the food, the artistry, the climate, the terrain, the food, the city, the traditions, the culture, the food, the antiquity, the crafts, the colors, the mezcal, and did I mention the food? It is an artist's wonderland, a cultural treasure beyond description.

So when Jewel Murphy asked me to join her and teach an art retreat in Oaxaca, it was a no brainer. She, being the US Ambassador to Oaxaca, has a backstreet knowledge of it that opens doors and enhances experiences. I had already been on one of her excursions, and had stayed at the same fabulous hacienda. So I cannot think of a better place to hold a mixed media art workshop, and I can say, without a doubt, that this is going to be a trip to remember.

Oaxaca Art Immersion Retreat Dates: March 17-27, 2017

For details about the trip click here.

Oaxaca has long been an artistic center in Mexico. We will get inspired by visiting museums, churches, market places, artist studios and galleries that showcase the outstanding art and craft work of the area, from ancient to modern times. Our workshop program will integrate the creative culture of Oaxaca into our projects, informing the art we make.

If you like hanging out with fun loving, creative people, making art everyday, tasting amazing food, staying in a wonderful place, getting inspired by incredible art, shopping at some of the best places in Mexico, visiting museums, churches, galleries, studios and more, then join us on this creative excursion to a place that will stay in your heart forever.

Paper Clay Workshop at Keizer Art Association in Keizer, OR

First of all, the Keizer Art Center is one of the nicest I have ever seen. Wonderful lighting, beautiful art room, and super nice people. And check out this adorable building.

As always, my class was full of enthusiastic artists who jumped in fast to make art using paper clay. I had 3 returning students which is always a joy to me. I love when I can meet up with these great people again. Artists are just fun to be with!

We had two days to work, but time always slips away too quickly and most did not finish their pieces...but they are well on their ways!

I wish I could take credit for their wonderful work...but some people are just plain getting good at it! The fabulous vase is by Katrina Pruett who has taken the workshop before and brought in her project (still working on it) from home to share. I just love seeing how different each person's work turns out, even when we all do the exact same project!

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Paper Clay Workshop at Emerald Art Center, Fall 2016

It was like we had known each other for years. What a fun group. I have been blessed with fabulous fun loving students in all my workshops. Each willing to try something new and different from their normal art making practices. And I am always amazed at how quickly people catch on and make art that surprises them...and me!

Thank you to everyone for making this a fun workshop. A special thanks to those who drove from far away. To those who took my class for the second (and third) time. And to everyone for being kind, supportive, and helpful to each other. Honestly, what is more fun than getting together with like minded people to make art with each other in a nice art space?

You can click on images to enlarge them.

My creative class at Emerald Art Center, Fall 2016. Thank you to our wonderful volunteer helpers from EAC who set up the room, fed us with snacks all day, made great artwork themselves, and took pictures of the workshop for everyone. Grateful!

Heartfelt Hands

I started off just making a few thank you gifts for some helpful people. Then I started making variations. Before I knew it, I have amassed a whole collection of little hands, and I want to make more! Each one is sculpted and painted differently than the others. There are countless variation possibilities. Working in a series is a lot of fun.

Heartfelt Hands, each hand is about 3" x 6", Made from paper clay with a paper or felt backing

I started out making one hand, and then casting it so I could make multiples. I use paper clay to make the original and also the cast. Then I use paper clay to make duplicates. I cover how to do this in my book.

I realized that it was most fun to cast a plain hand and then make whatever I wanted to put into the palm. The only problem is that now I want to keep making variations of them and I need to get on with other work. I have to admit, it is really great to have something to work on for those days when I feel unproductive and uninspired.

I will be posting some how-to tutorials on youtube.com this month. I will let you know when that happens!

LITTLE BRUNA, My First Paper Clay Art Piece

Little Bruna, Paper clay/mixed media, 12 x 18, completed in 2004

This is a small portrait I did of my mother, Bruna Marie Riccomini, from a photograph of her as a child. She died after having Alzheimer's Disease for more than 10 years. If you have ever lost anyone from Alzheimer's, you know that it is a very long process of mourning, as you lose a little more of them each day.

To help process my grief, I stayed home from work for a week in isolation and made this portrait of her from paper clay. It was the first time I tried to use it in bas-relief on a flat surface and it worked. So in a way, I feel that this technique I developed was a gift from my mother.

Bruna was first generation Italian and very proud of it. She came from a very long line of hardworking, innovative, industrious Italians. She was very creative and when she did anything, it was done right. Honoring her with this portrait helped me remember all the wonderful things she ever did for our family, and that she was once a young girl with dreams about a wonderful future.

The words at the top of her portrait say "BRUNA, She made things beautiful and she made beautiful things."

Thank you mom.

My mother, Bruna Marie Riccomini, Age 15

Oregon College of Art and Craft Workshop

I am always so appreciative of the kind of people that take my workshops. They are usually fun loving, kind and creative...all of my favorite characteristics. This class was no exception. I love it when laughter reins.

Sadly, the room we were assigned was poorly lit, had buzzing light fixtures and the tables and stools were uncomfortable because you could not put your legs under the tables. But the class suffered through it and did some amazing work. As always, time ran out before people could finish their work. But good art takes time and I am hoping all will finish their pieces and send me jpegs so I can share them here eventually.

You will see clay work from the first day and some of the painted clay work from the second day. Thank you to all my students from this workshop for a great effort and for making it a fun experience for me and for the other students in the class.