The Evolution of an Art Workshop

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It’s been 2.5 years since I opened Denny’s Workshop and the workshop continues to evolve.  I knew when I started that I wanted time and space to do my own art but also desired to welcome others in to explore art together, to create community, and to find healing through both relationship and the process of making art.  I am now officially a non-profit organization (affiliated with Artists for Community Organization International).  What does this mean?

As a 501(c)(3), my emphasis is on making art available at an affordable price and even offering some art classes free.  Students can participate in classes or in open studio sessions which cost $5 per session (or $30 per year).  This minimal cost covers use of most of the tools in the workshop.  If you use materials (paper, stickers, paints, canvases, clay, etc) I ask that you make a donation to cover the cost of the supplies if possible.  Without donations, eventually I will run out of materials to share.  I realize that not everyone can afford to make a donation and that is okay.  Some share by helping with special projects or by donating supplies or even helping clean up after a class.  I do not turn students away if they cannot donate and I do not “police” it.

If you believe in what I am offering and want to help keep the workshop alive, I am looking for people who would like to make a commitment to monthly donations — even as low as $5 a month — or who would like to make a one time contribution to the workshop and receive a charitable donation receipt.

A couple of notes for those who are new to the workshop:

  1. I’m a one-person workshop.  I have no employees but love volunteers!  It also means that you need to contact me before you come because if no one says they’re coming to an event or an open studio, I may decide to go grocery shopping.  Check in advance!  I’m here a lot and will try to accommodate your schedule.
  2. I don’t have a lot of classes on my schedule because I am finding it works much better for students to contact me with what they want to do… and then we set up a class and time that works.
  3. I love all forms of arts and if I don’t have experience in the kind of art you’re interested in, I may still want to explore it with you.
  4. Friend me on Facebook.  That’s where I post last minute classes and other opportunities as well as art done in the studio or by me.
  5. The schedule is constantly changing.  New things appear as people request them.

Upcoming Classes

Jackie Hanes will be teaching a class in Crazy Quilting — with an emphasis on left handed stitching.  Some of us righties will also be taking the class.

Monica Pardy will be teaching techniques for painting ceramics that win awards!!

We hope also to be offering a beginners class in painting with watercolors.

If you are interested in taking any of these classes, contact me for details.  OR if you’d like to teach a class, I’m always looking for teachers.

Happy February.



Note:  I recently completed the mixed media piece at the top of this blog.  Here’s an explanation:

Finally finished the piece I’ve been working on intermittently for the last six weeks. It was not a planned piece. It just emerged step by step from my heart. It’s not beautiful. It’s not even well cleaned. Even the faux pearls have lost some of their shine. But all that is okay.

Let me tell you what my interpretation is. Yours may be different. Please feel free to tell me what you see.

The left side is all about brokenness and pain and how we deal with it. The child is broken. Nothing is as it should be. The x’s across the mouth indicate the inability to talk about it. Withdrawal and isolation is also depicted in how the broken heart has chicken coop wire around it so that no one can get close and then barb wire to keep others at a distance.

There are pieces of beauty — tile, mosaic bits, and more. But many pieces, especially tools, are rusty.

There is a torn family photo which is a nod to how one person’s pain can break relationships, has long spreading implications. It is not only the injured person who is affected.

Dividing the two sides is a tree limb with actual silk worm cocoons on it and then faux butterflies. This symbolizes new birth to me. Change. Transformation.Out of the ruins comes beautiful mosaic butterflies. The background is fluid, no long frozen. There is movement. There are tiny sparkles reflecting discovery, pieces of joy. Embedded are many watch faces because new life does not come quickly. It takes time.

Nothing on the right side is perfect. I didn’t clean the mosaic pieces well. Some of the sheen came off the pearls. Newness does not translate to perfection.

It is a piece of hope to me. Despite incredible pain, there can come a new beginning.

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