Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (France)

You've met my classmates, and seen some of the architectural eye candy over the last dozen or so posts, but before I get back to posting about decorating (oh, yeah, this is a decorating blog), shall I show you what I did in art class this summer?  In case you don't read every word I write, every time I write it, let me bring you up to speed.  The class was Dayle Doroshow's Capturing Ancient France, mixed media journaling.  It was held at La Cascade, in Durfort France ( in the south, about an hour from Toulouse, near Revel).

This storybook doll is made of polymer clay around a matchbox.
Although the intent of the class was capturing ancient France, I was on an "in the moment" jag, so my projects captured all the colors and fun that swirled around me.  I love the kind of collage often featured in publications like Somerset Studio, all sepia and oldy-moldy looking, but no matter how hard I try, my stuff just insists on being colorful.  So much for ancient.  [Shrug]

The matchbox drawer is removed, and the cover is slit to open like a book cover.  I copied one of our round poems onto an accordion folded piece of paper.  It starts out poetic and profound.  It ends with "59 barrels of beer on the wall".  This is much funnier when one of those barrels has been consumed.
One of the fun things we did after dinner one night was writing "round poems".  You do this with a group of say five or more, each person starting with a piece of paper, on which is drawn a large circle.  Written along the outside edge of the circle are three or four words, to which you add a few words, then pass your paper to the left.  You keep doing this, reading only the last few words written before adding your own, until the string of words meets back at the beginning.   Then each person scans the poem in hand, chooses where to begin (not always where the writing began), assumes an appropriately theatrical voice, and reads it aloud.  There are deep moments and hilarious moments, especially if a lot of wine has been consumed.  I don't drink, but since I easily soak up the moods of others, I didn't miss out on the silly at all. 

This is an idea collector book, and was used to create a sampler of techniques.  When I have a play day, I'll add photos from the trip to some of the pages.
We did several projects, but they're not all shown here, mostly because I didn't finish them all.  The book shown above was my first shot at creating a handmade book, and I am now addicted to this process, and planning to make many more.  As for new products tried, my most useful discovery was Sobo glue.  As an artist, I have heard of it frequently, but I didn't realize that though it is a white glue, it's quite different from Elmer's.  It behaves beautifully!  I am using a lot of Sobo now, where I used to use Elmers and Fabri-tac, though I still use both of those for certain things.  If you haven't tried it, I really recommend that you do!

These honeycomb folded pages are called VW pages.  I loved the peekaboo cutout concept.
Since we ate a lot of apricots, I chose this fruit as the subject of my "wood cut", which was actually carved into a sheet of baked polymer clay.  Instead of traditional ink and brayer, we printed by coloring the block with markers, and also with water soluble oil pastels.  Hadn't done this technique before, but I'm thinking I'll try it again as a Christmas card.
Back at the beginning of this series of posts, I featured the silk painting class we took at a studio just up the street.  I stuck a bit of my tester in my idea collector, along with the instructor's card.
You may be aware that I traveled with a mouse by the name of Madam Lucie Bonnard.  In fact, Lucie was born from a pre-class assignment, and in the end, she even paid for part of my trip.  Her story is at postcardsfromlucie.com.  I have not updated Lucie's travel plans as of August 2013, so know that Lucie is not sending postcards at present, but will be again in 2014 or 2015, from somewhere else.

Lucie spent a bit of time among the clutter on my work table, and contemplated nibbling a negligee from my silk.  These little rolling computer desks were great in the classroom, as the pull-out keyboard tray was a great place to stash tools and supplies when not in use.
Traveling with a mouse, and documenting the scenery from her perspective, would have been easier had she wanted to stay on my hat, but she wasn't particularly shy of humans.  I had to get over some shyness myself.  You know the grandest thing about mid-life?  Getting completely over worrying about what people might think.  I spent a lot of time laying on the ground in Brussels and France, not always to the delight of my human companions and passers-by.  I also spent a lot of time trying to explain my semi-imaginary traveling companion to people who didn't speak my language, nor I theirs.  Most of them were charmed.  We did our best to be polite, Lucie and I, but we had a job to do, and we just couldn't be too worried about those who didn't get us.

This is how I'll be remembered by many.  Just another strange American.  I'm good with that.
One great thing about travelling for a class like this is the mini tour group aspect.  We took time away from class each day to go out and explore someplace together.  Obviously, you can't very well capture ancient France, if you don't get out and see it.  The villages we explored were already old when our own Declaration of Independence was signed.  Shoot, some of them were old when the Mayflower docked and disturbed the Natives.  Sometimes, it was possible to feel the layers of history, like wisps of memories, clinging to the old stones.

The young professor at the pub gave us a lesson on dinosaurs.  Luckily, scientific names don't need translating!
Not everything was about the old.  We hung out in the local pub, shopped the markets and ateliers, and careened up and down the mountainsides in air-conditioned comfort.  If not for the AC, we could have lived up to one of our Broadway (Way-Off Broadway) numbers, and brought the hills alive with the sound of music (or perhaps silenced them?).  As it is, the group of musical theater lovers that my class turned out to be is planning to reconvene in a couple of years, and possibly sing in public.  I guess I'll be taking voice lessons before then.  Not to avoid embarrassment (no, I'm over that), but to be kind to my companions, and anyone who may hear us.  And because, though I march to my own drum,  I really do think it would be more fun to sing in tune with everyone else.

Just as I imagined, and more!
Now those are some steep stairs!
If you think this adventure sounds like fun, do check out the class schedule for La Cascade!  You will be well taken care of, in a setting that's simply divine.  Think you can't afford it?  How I managed this is a saga for some other day, but don't tell me (don't tell yourself!) you simply cannot.  You get what you truly, in the depths of your mind, say yes to.  If a trip to France is your true desire, say "yes", hold it in your heart, and stand firm.  My gratitude to the Divine, in all it's forms and channels, for this adventure in Yes.
Dayle Doroshow taught our class, and acts as host for many others at La Cascade.  She is definitely the hostess with the mostest!  I hope you get to spend time with her, someday soon!
Dinner music on the terrace at La Cascade.  No need for a Broadway cast.
 Live juicy!
...and come back Friday morning.  Maybe I'll actually post something about decorating.  Maybe.

1 comment:

dayle doroshow said...

It was such a joy to have you with me for the workshop- I'm glad you had faith in coming on this adventure- very brave of you! And thank you for this wonderful series of posts "capturing" our week together- xoxo