Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What A Wonderful Art Adventure!

Finally, after years of drooling over the work of DJ Pettit, I was able to take a class with her.  Not just a class, but a four day workshop.  And even better, it was held at Donna Downey's fabulous studio in North Carolina.  But wait....the icing on the cake.....my great friends Elena and Jacquie were there too.

This is DJ's sample.  We'd be making our version of this book.  Pretty damn fabulous.



My short flight from NY was uneventful (always a good thing when we're talking about flights), and as I strolled over to the baggage area, my suitcase was the first one out on the carousel.  An omen that this was going to be a stress free weekend.  I waited for the flight from Miami, and the three amigas were on our way.

We stayed at a Hampton Inn, not far from Donna's studio.


 
 
Nice, comfortable, clean, and coffee in the lobby 24/7. 
 
Our first art adventure involved walking across the street where there was a Tuesday Morning and a Hanover Fabrics store.  My travel mates had the idea of buying a sewing machine for us to use in class (so as not to have to share with 20 others), and then returning it at the end of the weekend.  Shhhh, don't tell anyone; I know that's not the PC thing to do.  But when I spotted the Janome mini machines in Hanover, that idea was scratched, and the two crazy Cubans each bought one.  At only 5 pounds, the ideal machine to travel with.  Then some fabric and lace purchases, lunch, and we comandeered a shopping card to transport everything back to the hotel.
 
A while later Donna picked us up and took us to the studio, where we chose our table, set up, and then did a "little" shopping in Donna's store.
 

 
 
Inside, Donna's beautiful, colorful art is everywhere.



 
 
Our table.  This is the last time it would look this pristine.



Waiting for each person:
 
Donna even managed to make an accoustic tile ceiling look good, by covering some of the tiles with her fabric.  Not to mention some snazzy chandeliers.

 
 
Real paintbrushes hanging over a window.

 
Check out the green decoration.  It's all paper plates!


 
One of the two bathrooms is decorated with paintbrushes altered by a wide variety of artists.

 
 
This is a view of the store, taken from the classroom space.  Temptation!

 
 
Thursday afternoon we did a lot of prep work, tearing watercolor paper into 6x6" pages, then adding gesso and texture to both sides of the paper.  We were also given a sheet of muslin, which we tore into strips, dyed with a wash of acrylic paint, and then decorated as we liked with our individual color palettes.  There was a lot of stamping, dripping, and splattering.  We would later be using the muslin strips as hinges to attach the pages together.
 
DJ doing a demo.  She explained everything to the group as a whole, then made her way around the room, working with individuals as needed.
 
 
 
My muslin strips, drying on the back of my chair, the only place I could find to do this.  The floor beneath my spot was already full of drying watercolor paper.

 
The next day we added some paint to our now dry pages, and DJ explained her process for taking a photographic image and painting right over it.  This was also the day we would begin adding some stitches.  Between the sewing machines that Donna had, and the ones people brought (or bought....after seeing the Janomes, several students headed over to Hancock to buy their own), practically everyone in class had one to use.  At my table we threaded both machines and used whichever was available when we wanted to stitch.  We usually had one threaded with black and the other with white, but in this photo they both have black thread, because that is what the three of us were using at the time.
 

 
Here are a few of my pages at this point.  In addition to painting and stitching I also did a little stamping and stenciling.
 







 
This is the crow image that DJ provided for everyone to use for our covers.  I think just about everyone used it, but my friend Jacquie had brought a photo of her mom at age 15, and you should see the fabulous job she did with that. 
 
 
 
We used gesso to block out anything we didn't want and then started painting.  This is my painted crow.  I tweaked it a bit more after this was taken, but you get the idea.  The cool thing is, even with the same image, everyone had a different color palette, and everyone's crow looks unique.
 
 
 
Before this post gets as long as War and Peace, I'll just end it with a photo of a sight we saw many times each day. Donna and Karma.  How cute is this?
 
 
 
More to come......




18 comments:

Helen said...

What a fabulous sounding workshop - and Donna's studio is incredible.

teri flemal said...

Loved seeing all these great photos, and I'm totally GREEN with envy at this entire post. I'm looking forward to installment 2!

Patzee said...

Thanks for all the photos and behind the scenes info. I almost thought I was there with you!

craftyM said...

Looks so fun... can't wait for the second edition of War and Peace to see the end result!!!

jacquie said...

Eileen
Thank you so much for documenting our weekend getaway! The weekend was fabulous. I miss the other two NY musketeers. I can't wait till we find a class we can all attend in NC. I did rush home to look for the pink scarf unfortunately all efforts were futile. Until the next adventure! Jacquie

Socrates said...


What a fantastic weekend. I love your pages so far. Isn't DJ the best? I was totally enthralled when I first met her, and I'm so thrilled to own one of her books. And the one I made in her class is a treasure. So glad you ladies got the royal treatment. What fun! The mini machine sounds perfect.

Lindi Stevenson said...

Loved being there vicariously through your post! Can't wait to see the rest of the weekend...thanks for sharing! (and reminding me to send my altered paintbrush in!)
Lindi
Art in Real Life

Leanne said...

What an absolutely WONDERful adventure!!!! So funny . . . this very morning I sat at my kitchen table and drooled over the class list at Donna's studio - dreaming of when I can hop a plane from Chicago and get there!!! I look forward to reading more about it! YAY!!

Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Donna Downey's and listening to your story makes it even more tempting.

Elena said...

The only bad thing about this trip was that it went by too fast!!

Unknown said...

Lucky, lucky you!! What a wonderful experience...I so envy you!
Thanks for sharing with us:)

Cathie said...

Hi! Great blog post. Makes me wish I could get it all together to go to one of Donna's events. I'm curious about that tiny sewing machine in your pic. What kind is it? I would love one that tiny.

Bearcrazyman said...

Green with Envy.... :)
Looks like you had a Blast!!!

Rhea said...

Fun so far, can't wait for the next installment. Looks like an amazing artful journey!

cmcscraps said...

Sounds fun. Can't wait to see more of your book

Melody Strahan said...

I'm so glad your trip was even more awesome than anticipated! Thanks too for sharing it with us. I really like that painting right over a photo idea. I'm going to try it! Maybe today! lol

I hope you share the 3 art amigos next adventure as well!

Lori said...

What an incredible time! Everything looks just fabulous, did I see Tattoos on the sign under DONNA DOWNEY STUDIOS??? Did you get a tat? lol....

andizee said...

wow! i am speechless