Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Women's Studio Workshop

I wish I took better advantage of my education when I was younger. I was lucky enough to go to a 4-year college but I wish I had taken more classes outside my major concentration than I did - namely art classes. As an adult, I have been back to school a million times, taking undergraduate art courses as well as adult education workshops (where I stumbled upon papermaking two decades ago!). One of the places I attended a few years ago was so valuable for advancing my education in the papermaking field. I discovered the Women’s Studio Workshop in upstate New York and took a weekend workshop there. It is one of the few places in the country that I have found with dedicated papermaking workshops and an incredible studio with everything you need to make all kinds of paper. (The other place is the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Taking a week-long course there is on my Bucket List! And if I do go, I will go out of my way to eat at Tupelo Honey cafe in downtown Asheville. The homemade biscuits with honey butter and blueberry jam are heavenly. The shrimp and grits are even better!)

Food always makes me digress....

I really loved my experience at WSW. It was afforable (unfortunately, it is a lot more expensive now) and I learned so much. It was incredible having access to the papermaking equipment they have in the studio: 2 Hollander beaters, a hydraulic press, a vacuum table, stack dryer and an outdoor cooking facility for fibers and dyes.

This summer, they are offering the following papermaking workshops:

* Paper and Place

* Handmade Paper and Encaustic

* Sculptural Papermaking: Unusual 3D Techniques

* Mold Making for Casting Handmade Paper or Clay Objects

* Paper + Dye: Japanese Papermaking and Natural Colors

I am most intrigued by the The Paper and Place workshop. Here’s the description: “Exploring the process of hand papermaking yields opportunities to incorporate natural materials directly into paper art. Participants will construct 2D and 3D works of paper, choosing materials that become part of the content. Paper pulps such as linen, flax and abaca provide a neutral palette for mineral colors, natural dyes, and plant and seed textures. Students will learn how and where to harvest and collect plant fiber locally (and grow their own). A variety of artistic papermaking techniques will be covered, such as using a deckle box, embedding plants, wet collage, and creating simple book forms. Colors will be derived from mineral and plant sources. The emphasis will be on creating unique works of paper that reflect elements of the natural world.”

Sounds exciting and inspiring. Almost as much as those Shrimp and Grits. Now where did I put that recipe?

(Photo courtesy of Women's Studio Workshop, shamelessly lifted from their website)

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