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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Creatively Create NJ

I'm back from a wonderful week in New Jersey at the Create 2012 event hosted by the folks at Cloth Paper Scissors and Interweave and I have to say it was a week full of inspiration and color.  I was just floored at all the wonderful work my students created and the friendships that were formed during our time together.  Preparing for an event like this is quite a labor of love and it does challenge one's self to make sure all your i's are dotted and t's are crossed because my main concern is that everyone has fun and learns a lot during our classes together.  I have to admit I was a little anxious about getting things together because I had juggled a bunch of other things all at the same time like online classes (3) and a vacation in it was a true testament to my endurance. I couldn't have done all the work and pulled it off without the help of my friend Jean Skipper who came along for the ride with me to Create and was there to help me set up, take down and listen/brainstorm ideas during our ride together.  I truly believe we do our best thinking driving because you are confined to an area without needing to run to do the laundry, or sweep the get what I mean. Sometimes you just have to be still and listen, breathe, and let the ideas flow.
 and the ideas flowed in abundance during the 4 classes I had.  I loved how everyone interpreted the projects in their own way, their own colors, with their own story infused into the projects.

The lovely ladies of "Storyblock Collage".   
One of my favorite parts of teaching is meeting all the diverse students and hearing their stories, their experiences, and seeing it all come together as they create from their heart.  We had students who came all over the US and as far as India to join in on the fun.  Everyone from teachers themselves (ohhhweee pressure!) Authors, scientists, designers, stay at home moms, business owners,  belly dancer, psychologists, accountants, other full time artists,  so you can see how that makes for such interesting and different dynamics in each and every class.  
Yes...everyone has a story to tell, and that they did.
In my Ez Peezy Photo Collage, we learned a lot of different ways to edit and enhance, layer and repurpose your photos without the use of photoshop.   The possibilities are endless and the students came away with lots of ideas plus marketing tips for their own advertisements, blogs and other useful collage techniques.  I loved seeing everyone's pictures jazzed up and embellished. 
I also came away with a lot of ways to expand on this class and hopefully offer it at one of my local venues!
Student work...Kathy Mcelroy
We all have a bazillion pictures on our computers....but there is something to be said about going back, having them printed and enjoying touching, seeing, and relishing in the memories captured by the physical picture. Extra bonus points when we can do something wildly creative and inventive with our pictures, taking them to the next level of creativity and inspiration.
The students of Ez Peezy with one of their several projects we created.
I enjoyed every minute of our time together and look forward to hopefully keeping up with them and  viewing how they use the tools they learned for future projects.
The thing about classes  is that it's not just what you learn in's how you can expand on your knowledge and apply it to a variety of other projects that resonate and are useful to you in your other work.  
In my second full day class "Fearless Faux Encaustic Class" we discovered a variety of ways to create lush backgrounds full of texture and collage elements, layers of paint, journal writing, was a true journey, one that you had to be open to discovering, open to happy accidents, the unknown and the sometimes uncontrolled outcomes.  As creative individuals, we often hold tight to processes that we can go from a-z at and know all the steps along the way. But there is something to be said about letting things evolve and come to life in unexpected ways.
It is a journey and learning that there are many paths to get to the end, some go easier then others and some roads are more scenic then we thought they might be...and in the end we learn that immersing yourself in the ride is what's most important. 
This was my largest class yet and one that buzzed with excitement and even some in trepidation, as we worked through 7-8 step outs to get to our final project throughout the course of the day.  
From drips to splatters, glazes to collage--we did it all and then some and learned about gel mediums and mixtures along the way.
In each of my classes we were given a sampling of Silk Acrylic glazes, pigment powders, and or twinkling h20s to experiment with courtesy of Luminarte who I am working with to develop projects, classes and get the word out about these amazing colorful translucent paints. A big huge thank you to Leslie Ohnstad, senior product developer and designer for sending us the generous samples and prizes for all of my classes!   I am working on a couple of online classes that will be ready to roll out in the next month or so (as soon as I get settled back in from my trip, I'll be working on that project) using the silks and twinks.  My first class offering will be Painterly in Pink, more details coming soon!
More delicious juicy student work as we applied the glazes to create depth and illusion of layers of wax.....yum!
Using pigment powders to create rich intense look with shimmer...
Our amazing Fearless students making a beautiful colorful inspirational mess...the room was full of stations of goodies, samples, papers, paints, artistic science fair if you will :) 
My last class of the event ended in a low key fun project making graffiti magnets, the designs the students created on their own papers piggybacking off some of my samples (pictured above) were just outrageous..I loved them all!!! I was tickled to see how many different ways the students created their own version of colorful 'fridge art'!  True testament to how we all add our own personality into each and every project we do. I was also excited to have a few of my former students from another retreat come to this class (waving hello to Sandra and Michelle)! It was like a homecoming in many ways as they were my very first students ever at a large teaching event.
Before the class commenced we always start with little icebreaker  and in doing so you are constantly reminded of the 7 degrees of separation...there were many connections made, forged and discovered  that reminds me once again, we are exactly where we are supposed to be for a reason. People come in and out of our lives for a purpose and there are discoveries to be made by those around us if we are open to listening.  Amazing, it truly is.

 (more student work)
From paper making to designing, everyone had a great time playing with color and miniature works of art.  I was so excited to do this class especially since one of my first articles ever published in Cloth Paper Scissors was about my original version of Sweet HeART magnets back in Jan/Feb 2009. They've grown up a bit and are even more lively and full of personality as you can see from the samples the students created!
Stop by another student, the lovely and talented Margaret Applin for more pics from Graffiti Sweet HeART class, BTW..she has a new dvd out from Quilting Arts and is doing a giveaway!!

 The last day at Create finished off with a fun vendor show where we displayed all of our samples, new paintings and assorted goodies. It was a rainbow of color. I had a ball talking with everyone despite the fact I felt like doo-doo coming down with something during the course of the week. Probably a self induced ailment from anxiety and excitement all rolled into one, but as the night rolled on, I felt better and was so fun meeting so many artists who I knew their names but had never meant personally as well as several students who have taken classes from me online or met me at art shows elsewhere. 

(Pictured with a student who I met in GA a couple years ago...Terry Commander)

As you can see, it was an amazing week full of inspiration. I am so happy with how everything turned out, I couldn' t have asked for a better group of students. They all touched me in their own way.
As always, I also learned a lot about myself ...even through some miss-steps and anxiety that I had to overcome, it was a great experience.  My 3rd big retreat and I'm hoping to continue to do more and more as I grow as an artist and instructor.  The best part is seeing someone else with joy in their eyes because of a breakthrough they discovered in class, or from purchasing a piece of art to be reminded of something that touched them in some way, shape or form.  Words, colors, composition, imagery, discovery...its all apart of the journey. So glad you stopped by to share a bit of mine today.

Looking forward to next year in NJ..hope to see you there! 

Last but not least, a HUGE thank you to all the organizers that were involved with putting on this event.  Months and months of preparation go on behind the scene to make it all come together for all of us.  Thank you to Maggie, Bev, Beth, and Rebecca, who we saw out front at all times greeting, guiding, helping, directing, and making everyone feel at home. You gals rock!

Creatively Yours,

Jodi Ohl


Seth said...

What a great review of a great event. Your classes look amazing. Love all that color!!

Maureen Hayes said...

It was with a heavy heart that I read this post about CREATE because I had been planning to attend for months. Unfortunately life and health got in the way, and I was so saddened to have to miss it.

I am pleased it went so well for you and all that did attend and it just makes me all the more anxious to make it to next year's event!

Blissful Pumpkin said...

You are certainly one busy girl Jodi. I love what you are doing with all the workshops, online classes, etc. I just love seeing people "Following their Bliss". Hugs, Kyles :D
(Kylie Fowler)

cathy said...

Hi Jodi - was so great to meet you at the retreat - fun to put a face to a name/blog!! Your encaustic class was wonderful - thank you so much again!