After returning from Denver, Colorado, I had scheduled several workshops at the CREATE Mixed-Media Retreat. I am a huge advocator for taking workshops to up your creativity and learning new techniques and the CREATE Mixed Media retreat caught my eye when viewing various arts retreats. First of all, they have several locations that offer some wonderful workshops so I had my choice of where and when. Secondly, they offered a plethora of workshops from bookmaking to gelli plates and more! It gave me the opportunity to kind of do a mix and match of workshops during the day as well as shorter evening workshops that were less involved but just as fun. The other thing is that one of these conferences was within driving distance for me...another big plus! So, I signed up for one workshop, then another, then another, then another and finally ended up with about 5 workshops! So, I took a fantastic metal vintage journal workshop with Erin Keck which I loved! I learned, hinging, metal stamping and some neat new beading techniques and it included a book. Always a plus in my book, figuratively! In the evening, I took a workshop with Kecia Devaney on using resin which I was always hesitant about and walked out with a great piece that I will definitely wear plus I've worked with resin since and really love the medium! Another great workshop was with Laura Mica, queen and expert artisan of polymer clay. Her small reliquary pins were wonderful to make and I have since purchased stamps to make similar sized works to house small miniature books about women saints! It was great and that will probably be my holiday vacation project to keep me busy! Another great workshop was with Erin Keck who taught a small heart pin that covered cold connections, metal etching, and more things that I loved learning! Take a look at what they offer! Some of the bookmaking classes are amazing and although I did take the Tin Angel workshop with Thomas Ashman I was more impressed with his metal books and journals. I was very pleased and am looking forward to next year's offering that if I don't give in and sign up for one of their mixed-media retreat weekends! Keep learning is my motto and this is a great selection of workshops to jumpstart the creativity if you need it. Plus it's always held in a hotel with a restaurant and lots of facilities for people traveling distances. Most workshops range in price from $89 for the evening classes to $152 for the day classes. Workshops may have kits that the teacher provides and are reasonably priced! Have fun and keep creating!
It's been a few weeks since this writer has returned from Denver, CO and has had the chance to write a blog post about being there! Always on the list, for a place to visit, we finally made the trip there to warm, dry, sunny weather! And, let me repeat, dry, dry, dry weather! Denver offers so much to the visitor that one post cannot cover it all, but some of the highlights that were definitely worth viewing are the city center with the exquisite Denver Art Museum that is connected to the downtown. And, of course the museum has a wonderful contemporary art exhibit as well as it's other wonderful collections ranging from byzantine to renaissance and impressionist works. In the same area, is the Clyfford Still museum which is well worth the visit to see his wonderful works and the conservation involved in restoration and maintaining a collection of works. We enjoyed the interactive gallery that allowed the visitor to decide how the restoration of one of his works would proceed! In the same area is the delightful Denver Public Library that had some delightful exhibits of local Denver artists as well as influential figures in establishing Denver as an arts community! In the same day, we also managed to walk over to the Santa Fe Arts District with about 30 galleries that opened at noon and offered a wide array of traditional southwest art as well as contemporary and of course, the Abecedarian Gallery with its wonderful exhibit of artist's books! Getting to meet Alicia Bailey was well worth the trip! On another day, we visited the Kirkwood Museum of Arts and Crafts. This is a private collection of art, furniture and everyday objects assembled and exhibited in a home-like environment. Similar to the Barnes Foundation in concept, this delightful museum showcased the artist as artist and artist as collector and it was a delightful way to spend a hot afternoon! Many fine examples of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture, drawings as well as William and Morris works were on display. We also visited the Museum of Contemporary Art which is small but delightful. Located in the LoDo district that reminds one of Chelsea with low industrial buildings of brick and glass, it was great to walk around and visit the shops and restaurants. Being the more upscale area of Denver, the visitor can find boutiques, galleries and other famous stores such as Nieman Marcus, Abercrombie and Fitch, etc. The Denver Convention Center is not far away and also offers a great walk and way to see the city! Another day we spent at the beautiful Denver Botanical Gardens with their installation of Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures and installations. Well worth spending the day there! Well, that's it for Denver and if you have the chance, it is a beautiful city with wonderful surrounding areas for day trips as well! Enjoy the summer and here's to great vacations and getaways!
Maryann J. Riker, owner of JUSTARIP Press is a mixed-media artist who delights in designing and creating artist's books and creating collaborative book art projects as well as viewing other book artists' work. She definitely enjoys the process!