Monday, 21 May 2012
Hello! I'm back from the most amazing three days in Massachusetts. My friend and I took a couple of days off work to drive down there to attend some classes with Fred B Mullett. He has a wonderful line of nature print stamps, botanical and sea life, and some fruits and vegetables, and lots of others besides. And, he has some wonderful classes that he teaches, some using these stamps, some using colour and figure/ground principles to make a little magic happen. If he is ever in your area, try a class or two or all with him and you won't be sorry.
A quick aside - we didn't want to get stuck in line at the border on Thursday morning and race to beat the clock to class, so we went down on Wednesday night. We stayed just across the border in Derby Line at the gorgeous Birchwood B&B. If you are ever in that part of Vermont, I would recommend staying there. The hosts, Dick and Betty were gracious and welcoming and their home is lovely. Betty had an antique store at one time and their home has some lovely antiques. The building itself is from the early 1920s, but modelled on an earlier home on the property. The gardens are lovely and the setting peaceful and quiet. It was a lovely way to start our trip.
Back to the classes. If you'd like to see a few of the things we made, check out Fred's class descriptions at this link here. In every class, we walked through the steps together, made something with some fairly specific instructions, then were let loose to try it on our own. Fred's a great teacher and it was wonderful to be able to try the techniques I've read about on his website. Taking the classes in person really made a bit difference. He has great instructions and samples on his website, but to be able to hear the tips and tricks and context and all the rest of it really made the difference.
The pictures above are the two samples I did using the Dancing Rubber Fish technique. The purple one is the one we walked through together, and the green one is the one I did on my own. We also did classes called The Elegant Mess, The Rest of the Mess, and Spritz Me Baby....mo' betta. Each class was wonderful and I learned so much. My friend and I had the best time and are just on such a creative high it's incredible. I came home and tried another fish, then realized I really did have to take Fred's advice and make an embossing powder chart, so I spent last night doing that to find out which of my powders are transparent and which are opaque, and which are somewhere in between. I was certainly surprised by some of them! Today I hope to get back in the craft room and really try some more stuff. I have everything I need and I have a delicious number of beautiful Fred B Mullett stamps to play with. These nature prints really showcase the techniques and add such lovely elements to the "nonrepresentational art" we made. (See, I learned lots of new words, some of them artsy, some of them unique to the Fishboy Thesaurus, things like "tactilely interactive vulcanized tools for the replication of graphic imagery" (rubber stamps) and precision thermography powder application devices (cocktail straws). I tell you, I really was in seventh heaven taking a class from a wonderful artist with a great sense of humour who likes to play with words. Seventh Heaven! It was pure, pure happiness, right from start to finish.
The classes were at Ink About It in Westford, Massachusetts. It's a beautiful stamp and scrapbooking store. They have a great selection of products and many, many wonderful samples. Their classroom space is bright and spacious and the ladies at the store are darlings one and all.
To put the icing on the cake, it was so special to spend those three and a half days with my dear friend, just talking and laughing and really soaking up the whole experience. It was a magical time and the memories will stay with me for a very long time. They will have to. I brought the wrong camera battery charger, so all the photo ops have, by necessity, been imprinted on my memory instead of a flash card. Oh yeah, and I forgot my twinklings and last class projects there when we left so the kind ladies are going to mail them back to me. (This had to turn into a true story about me at some point, didn't it!)
Sunday, 13 May 2012
Mum and I were playing around with Fantasy Film from the Art Institute Glitter folks. It's wonderful, iridescent, shimmery stuff. This is an Art Institute dragonfly stamp, and I followed the directions on the package to stamp and heat with an iron. It doesn't show from the scanned version, but in real life, I made two layers for the dragonfly wings. The background is distress ink and the bull rushes (Penny Black) were stamped by colouring directly on the rubber with Tombow markers and spritzing. The sentiment is a Stampin' Up stamp and the circles are from Papertrey Ink.
My own Mother's Day has been lovely. Hubby and the girls made me breakfast this morning: pancakes with sauteed apples (from DD2s new kids cookbook), fruit salad with lemon yogurt sauce (delicious Barefoot Contessa recipe), bacon, coffee, and juice. The table was set beautifully, complete with a bouquet of roses, a bouquet of handmade flowers, handmade cards and a poem. Then off to church where the junior choir sang a lovely anthem, then out shopping in the afternoon for some summer clothes with DD1, then out for dinner, and then a nice bike ride on a balmy spring evening. Now home for the evening routine and a quick blog post while the kids do a bit of tidying. It's also the 18th anniversary of the day hubby and I met. Now that's a lot to be grateful for in just one day!