Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Workshop #3: Squash the Critic

Our final workshop started on Monday, Memorial Day, and went through Thursday. The time flew by we were so engaged in the daily process. The workshop, Squash the Critic: Praise the Process, was led by Lauren Mantecon, a little bundle of creative energy. Here is how Lauren promoted her class:

Symbol, color, and metaphor provide a subtle language that we can access at any time to express creativity. In this mixed-media idea-generating workshop we will examine how each of us possesses a strong creative ability. The instructor will facilitate individual engagement with the creative process through exercises and visualizations designed for inspiration. A variety of materials and techniques will be explored including drawing, painting, collage, wax, and hand made gesso. This is an excellent class for all those seeking to stimulate their hidden muse.

Each day began in a meditative circle in a sparse studio next to our working studio. Lauren prepared the space by burning sage and having a candle burning in the center. We would do wake-up stretches, share how we were feeling, maybe discuss our dreams from the previous night, and then Lauren would take us on a guided visualization, exploring color through our chakras one day, a mandala on another. From our gathering circle, we would quietly shift to the working studio and begin the day’s project.

An artistic response to the chakra visualization:

Several of our projects were collaborative, getting the artists to move around the room working on each other’s pieces. Some sessions began with a writing exercise, which we translated into visual images. Amidst these idea-generating sessions, Lauren began to teach us techniques and introduced us to new materials. My very favorite was making homemade gesso! It’s a miracle material the way it goes on and then allows you to carve into the yummy surface. I have a new favorite medium! After experimenting with the gesso, Lauren introduced us to melted wax as a means of adding yet another surface to our piece.

A collaborative piece, which started from a simple drawing representing responses to random words:

Me at work using a lot of green for some strange reason!

A collage in process, using pieces torn from one of our idea-generating sessions:

Lauren demonstrating handmade gesso:

Me playing with handmade gesso:

A few of my pieces in their early stages (I was going with the sea foam green theme because I need something to hang in the bathroom on the boat!):

It was a fantastic, productive, inspiring, and motivating four days! Thanks, Lauren.

1 comment:

gl. said...

wow, sounds like a wonderful workshop!