Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I’ve been a busy little beaver and haven’t taken the time to post to my blog. But I’m remedying that right now! I’ve been taking a class in Portland on Monday nights with Bridget Benton, “Art-Making as Playful Prayer.” It has basically been three hours carved out once a week to play with art supplies – someone else’s art supplies! The classes are being held at collage on Alberta, an eclectic revitalized street in NE Portland. At our first session, we discussed what is art? what is craft? what is spirituality? After a lively discussion, Bridget shifted gears slightly and treated us to a slide show on mandalas, described what we would be doing, then cut us loose to dig through her boxes and boxes of papers and embellishment to make our very own mandala. Here’s mine:

In our second week, we were introduced to Touch Drawing, a technique developed by Deborah Koff-Chapin and the author of the book Drawing Out Your Soul: The Touch Drawing Handbook. It was so much fun! We took block print ink, applied a small amount to a glass square, brayered the paint, threw down a piece of rice paper and scritched and scratched and drew and pushed, changing the paper as the designs emerged, spreading the paint around in between, adding paint when necessary. I was in kindergarten again!

When we tired of being printmakers, we had time enough to dive into mask making. Again, Bridget had brought her bins and tubs of delightful papers, fabric, fibers, and lots of things that sparkled. We were given a mask and the four of us set about to make a glorious little mask.

Two weeks ago our project was prayer flags. Bridget provided us with torn pieces of PFD muslin (“prepared for dying”), fabric paint sticks, rubbing plates (I didn’t even know what these were!), fabrics and papers galore, fusing material for ironing on the bits of fabric, buttons, rubber stamps, paints, glitter, and more more more. I didn’t complete my flags, but I have three squares in process.

Last week was the beginning of three weeks of shrine making. Small shrines? Oh no, we each got to choose a drawer, a big drawer! In this large open space we will be making niches, adding paint, paper, and finally embellishments. I’m a little dizzy with the possibilities!