Thursday May 18, 2017
Workshop routine and creativity or Sunday Lunch, why I like to run my art workshops around a large table !
They all walk in the room looking around, feeling a bit uncertain, but soon, they meet the timid smile of others and they feel a little reassured that they are not the only one…
Invited to, they sit around the large table ready to share ! ready to learn ! The Magic is about to begin ! A recent participant to one of my recent workshops said “I loved every minute of it”
Ahead of them a full day of creativity, they are the participants of my stencilling classes. They are beginners, they cant draw and they are so concerned they will not “managed it!!!| “I have never been good at Art but I need to decorate my bathroom”, “I love Mackintosh… my daughter wants me to decorate her dining room” “My husband booked me on this course for my birthday” …. They all have different stories but they all want to learn the tricks of the trade, they want to know how to transfer a beautiful pattern onto their walls.
Stencilling has this kind of magic associated to it. Its creative, its artistic, its beautiful, its been used by many great designers, by many artists, by many decorators, yet to stencil basic patterns you don't need to be able to draw, you don't need to know the magic, you just have to follow the basic rules of the “dry brush” to get a great result.
For over 20 years now I have been teaching crafts classes to “non arty” participants. I could do it in my sleep… but I have to stay awake to see the Magic ! the very moment when my participants realise that they can great results without having ever gone to Art School or studied design. They can make beauty. They will obtain results on this very course. Their eyes lit up and the Magic starts.
I very much like having people around the large table. Like at a big Sunday Lunch ! The conversation begins, we all laugh at each other’s first try ! We learn, we share, we talk, we create, we mess up !
One of the participants of my last workshop said : ”For me working with other people at the same large table is like sharing a meal. It nourishes in more ways than just the things we are making.
Your first stencilled design is a bit like a first pancake, it burns at the bottom of the pan but then you learn to turn the gas down (use less paint !) and the second one is just delicious… In the case of stencilling it might take a little longer. May be you will need to try again and again for a short while before you can understand that you only need very little paint on the brush. Making mistakes is the best way to learn from one another. If the atmosphere is relaxed enough we all laugh at each others attempts and time passes so quickly.
Designing your own stencil can take some energy… and some practice ! So creativity and some daring… It takes a lot of daring to come up with a design and a bit like at school all my participants are hiding their first attempts, but then gradually they all come out and start cutting. Some like circles, some like lines but all find the knife quite hard to manoeuvre. With another few chocolate biscuits and a couple of more stories the designs emerge.
By that time we are all tired, me from guiding, coaxing, teaching, making sure everyone is having a great time… the participants have now ran out of concentration, they are gradually burnt out and start making mistakes.
However the excitement of a job well done is taking over, the amazement of their achievement, the satisfaction of having learned a new technique and made it through the day without disasters is making participants euphoric ! They almost embrace one another, the exchange details, leave an email address for class notes and thank me profusely… I have to congratulate them… they have done so well.
I have run many, many workshops over the years and have had much satisfaction to see participants discover their inner creative side. Its a great feeling and I am blessed to have the chance to be there when this happens. May be its the quality of my tuition that generates it but I prefer to believe it’s inner creativity released by a great day together around the large table doing arty things ! having fun!
A lovely participants to my last month stencilling workshop wrote me a lovely email thanking me for his success in creating a great design but also said …”I appreciated yesterday how much I need the company of others to be artistically alive”
May be that is why I teach crafts still… because I need the company of others to be artistically alive or may be because I like sitting around the large table for a burst of creativity.
Its like Sunday Lunch but in a creative way.
Blog post by Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw
More information about the workshop via this link.
Mackintosh Church, Friday, 16 June.