Last week Sara and I taught a five-day workshop on transforming ordinary furniture into extraordinary art. As you might expect, it’s always exciting to share the creative process with others, to encourage risk-taking with color and design, and to nurture the artist, not only in myself, but also in my students.
Since creativity motivates me, since it allows me to dream, grow, and explore, I love to pass along my enthusiasm and watch others uncover the creative parts of themselves.
Let’s face it. Creativity enriches. It nurtures. It endures.
However, as that last item suggests, sometimes the creative process involves more sweat and effort than we bargain for, and the beauty we seek remains elusive. Still, creativity compels us to chase that illusion. It means making a fleeting image of potential loveliness real, actualizing it, so it stands still long enough for us to touch it, feel it, know it—in a tangible and transformative way.
In our workshop last week, we watched participants do just that.
To be honest, we were stunned by the response we received when enrollment opened, so we extended our initial limit of 20 participants to 22, still turning away as many as 8. Those lucky 22, 21 woman and one very brave man, amazed us even more than the numbers initially had. These folks were brilliant, creative, daring, willing to take risks, try new techniques, and sometimes create their own. We were blessed to make new friends and learn more from our students than, surely, they did from us. Isn’t that often how it happens?
The week began with introductions and instruction, which were then followed by a trip to a local market, so participants could purchase affordable pieces of raw, wood furniture to reinvent.
The return trip from this shopping excursion looked like this—a group of gringos, riding in the back of a truck, through the streets of the old city of Cuenca, known as el Centro.
Soon, however, folks got to work, sanding, priming, and transforming, using a myriad of techniques.
Back in what came to be known as the “Man Cave and Diva Den,” our group’s only male and his buddy Deborah did some sanding of their own.
We trust you’ll enjoy this gallery of images, memories of what made the week special, photos that say more about our week than words could ever hope to. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.
A number of folks did decorative painting. Among them was Rita. Take a look at her process.
Sheila also used paint primarily, but she got especially smart in her use of tape.
Anne also painted her table, but you will see how her work in a folk art gallery impacted her piece. Isn’t it lovely?
Barbara and Christine used similar colors on their table and chest.
Brenda took on an enormous task, one that she performed brilliantly. Notice the egg carton as palette.
Karen considered stenciling but did decorative painting in the end. Her plant stands were stunning.
Valeri painted her corner shelf with a series of setting suns–brilliant idea!
However, a number of folks combined decorative painting and decoupage. Dear Jani was one of those.
Jan took on a similar challenge.
Dyanne used a similar technique to communicate a more global message. (To visit Dyanne’s blog, click here.)
Stu painted and decoupaged a bench to surprise his writer wife, Donna. (To read Stu’s post about the workshop, click here.)
Deborah may have shared Stu’s work space, but her table had a different look.
Donna added a decoupaged top to her hand-painted table.
Our other Brenda did an amazing job recreating a fabric design she loves onto the top of what will soon be her sewing table.
Knitter Judith transformed an ordinary wooded box into a stunning place to store yarn. Conceptually sophisticated, her design featured a repeated image that became a checker board border and half circles cut from knitting patterns that created an additional black and white “ruffle,” of sorts.
Paper artist Kim, who is soon opening her own studio in Cuenca, added a decoupaged tree to her hand-painted armoire, a piece designed to store art supplies. What an incredible project!
Regina and Bobbi worked side by side all week.
Regina recycled playing cards she’d collected on the street to create a stunning bench for her apartment’s entrance.
Bobbi, on the other hand, upcycles fabric remnants into stunning clothing. Last week, however, she decoupaged one of her fabric assemblages to the top of wooden chest. The result was stunning.
My friend, studio host, and fellow Pittsburgher Laura cut Incan masks from paper, spray painted the paper red, and then decoupaged the masks to a blue table top. The result was spectacular.
A mother-daughter pair, Michelle and Page, created our final piece by decoupaging tissue paper to a painted table top. The resulting sunflower amazed all of us!
The week of workshopping surpassed our wildest imaginings, as indeed, these amazing and creative folks transformed ordinary furniture into jaw-dropping works of art. They inspired Sara and me to dream bigger, bolder, and more enduring dreams. They gave us the greatest gift. They opened their hearts, their souls, the very marrow from which creativity flows.
And to all of you who attended, we were not only honored to work with YOU, we were humbled by your brilliance.
Thank you, my friends. Thank you!
When’s the last time you took a creative risk? In what unexpected ways does creativity manifest itself in your life?
A special thank you to Laura and Clay Bodine for hosting us in their amazing space, Fishbon Del Sur. Sara and I love you both!