The Evolution of an Art Workshop

Posted on Updated on


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.

Roosters! Roosters! Register NOW.

Posted on


Stained Glass on Glass Rooster Class

with Kory Dollar

January 2019 – Hillsboro, OR

Beginning to Intermediate Level Mosaic Class
Theme:  Roosters
3 day Stained Glass Roosters Workshop with Kory Dollar of Marvelous Mosaic Fine Art
As of 10/30/2018 – 7 spots remaining
Date: January 25, 26, 27 2019
Hours of class:
Friday – 10 am – 4 pm
Saturday — 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday — 10 am – 2 pm
Cost: $400— which includes glass and materials
Project:  15 ” x 15 ” custom glass on glass mosaic
3 Lunches included in cost of class
Location: 12814 NW Bishop Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97124
To Register Contact Denny Miller Nkemontoh at or 503-866-0180 to register or visit
What skills do you need to attend this workshop? This is a beginning to intermediate level class, where everyone is welcome, including children over 12 years of age. The class size will be limited to 10 students. We will cover basic cutting skills, the process of Glass on Glass mosaics, and give a grout lesson.
What do you need to bring? All tools and supplies will be provided for the class. It is recommended that you bring some unique pieces to add to your mosaic, making it one-or-a-kind. We ask you bring creative mind and a good attitude! Come with an idea NOT a pattern. I do not teach from patterns, we only use them as a guideline. With that in mind, we are not restricted to a pattern, it is okay to go outside the lines and let the glass create its own details. Think SIMPLE! For example; look around your house, do you have a color scheme or a theme you decorate in? We will have some examples and ideas for you.  It is a fast pace class, we will have to commit to a design early Saturday and have most of the piece finished by that evening. I will send out a reminder about design ideas a few weeks before the class, giving you some time to think about it and ask questions. Food is not provided, so we do a potluck style on Saturday and Sunday, Because of the location,  potluck works very well because then we can graze on food all day as we work.

 The three day workshop will be a combination of lecture/slideshow, discussion, Q&A, demos, and hands-on instruction. We will focus on Glass on Glass (GOG) application, using the direct method to create a stimulating optical effect. Kory will demo several unique cuts she uses in her roosters and sunflowers, using three tools, nippers, a scoring tool, and running pliers. During this process, you will learn how cut strips to patternize your glass into flowers while maximizing your glass. Kory will demonstrate and discuss a specific nipping style /technique, Glass Shaving® to create a crisp clean edge, using only wheeled nippers to cut the circles. The class will explore how to create movement, in the tail feathers suing long slender cuts.  Additional topics covered include: precision cutting, committing to a design, selecting a color pallet, varying opacity, Randomization Method®, balance and composition, creating a one-of-a-kind designs, and incorporating found and unusual items. Kory will discuss grout bleed, adhesives, grout additives, and provide tips and tricks to grouting. Mac glue will be provided. Students are encouraged to bring additional unique items such as broken jewelry, beads, and tesserae to embellish your mosaic.

There will be a grout demonstration on Sunday. Students are welcome to grout if they have completed the project and glue has dried. If projects are not completed, or dried by 12 pm then a grout package will be available to take home for optional grouting.

Kory notes that she does not strive for perfection; “the art of art is the imperfections.” She says, “It is my goal that I will simplify the process enough to give you ‘artistic freedom without self doubt’. I strive to build confidence in these classes. I do not teach from a pattern, I teach to use your sketch as only a guideline; you are not restricted to the pattern. I will assist you in creating a balanced one-of-a-kind composition, using my uniquely designed simplified steps. We will focus on several unique cuts and I will provide you with tips and tricks that I use daily.”

The goal on Sunday is to have projects ready to be grouted by noon. Grout time is scheduled outside at 2 pm. We will need time for your projects to dry. If you are unable to complete the mosaic in time to grout we will send grouting instructions and a  grouting kit can be sent home. 

Location: 12814 NW Bishop Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97124
REGISTER NOW!  Contact Denny Miller Nkemontoh at or 503-866-0180 to register.

This is a beginning stained glass mosaic class for all ages and abilities. We will have a variety of pre-cut glass available. for you to create a stained glass mosaic sun catcher. All supplies and materials are included in the class. Students will also have the opportunity to use and learn about the three main hand tools used in glass on glass (GOG) mosaics. By the end of the class students should feel comfortable using the hand tools and breaking the glass. There will be a grout demonstration on Sunday. Students are welcome to grout if they have completed the project and glue has dried by noon on Sunday. If projects are not dry by 2 pm then a grout package will be available to take home for optional grouting.

Kory notes that she does not strive for perfection; “the art of art is the imperfections.” She says, “It is my goal that I will simplify the process enough to give you ‘artistic freedom without self doubt’. I strive to build confidence in these classes. I do not teach from a pattern, I teach to use your sketch as only a guideline; you are not restricted to the pattern. I will assist you in creating a balanced one-of-a-kind composition, using my uniquely designed simplified steps. We will focus on several unique cuts and I will provide you with tips and tricks that I use daily.”


50% deposits will be required to reserve your spot.
Note: If for any reason the class is canceled due to max number of students (8) not reached, or unforeseen reason 100% of the deposits/all payments will be refunded.
If for any reason you need to cancel your reservation, you must do so 45 days prior to the event to get 100% refund, if you cancel after the 45 day deadline we must fill the spot for you to get 100% of your deposit back, if you cancel 15 days prior for any reason you will forfeit $100 of your deposit.

What’s Hopping?

Posted on Updated on


It’s been a while since I last posted and, as usual, things are hopping!  Always something new and fun going on…

Most recently, I seem to have adopted the cutest black kitten with brown stripes on her head and back, a white bowtie, and a little milk spot under her lower lip.  She is brave and intrepid.  And oh so loveable but I will be looking for a new forever family for her… if you’re interested, let me know.


It was a great summer.  We had record crowds here for the Helvetia Lavender Festival.  Workshop volunteers were WONDERFUL.  Children (and a few adults) learned to do suminagashi on book marks, made giant bubbles, and visited the “art gallery”.  Thanks to all who participated either during the festival or in making items for sale (see clay creatures below).


A vacation in Florida with my husband was next on the calendar.  I love the ocean!


Then, in August,  we had a four day mosaic campout led by Kory Dollar on the property of the workshop.  Late nights, long walks, lots of laughter, and multiple mosaics per person completed.  Great food and fun.  Can’t wait for the 2019 camp out!


Last week I was in Nashville to meet with my parent organization, Artists with Community Transformation Intl.  I got to share what is happening at the workshop with the other participants.  One of the other participants is Jill, who is sharing horsemanship with foster children, just over the hill from me in Oregon.  I’m hoping we can do some things together.


Denny’s Workshop  celebrated it’s second anniversary in July.  It’s mission/vision is continuing to morph in my mind but is coming clearer.  The workshop provides opportunities to explore the arts at an affordable cost (and sometimes free) and builds community among its participants.

What does that look like?

First, I am not a business with regular hours. Denny’s workshop is operated by me.  It is a non-profit with 501(c)3 status.  The money I charge for classes does not cover all the expenses of running the workshop.  I depend on volunteers and donors.  Watch for more information about what this means and how you can be involved in a future blog.

I spend a lot of hours here, but I can only guarantee that I am here when a class is going on or you have prearranged an appointment with me.  I love having people join me at the workshop either working with me or just for companionship as we work on independent projects.

I offer several kinds of classes:

  1. Exploration: This is a low-cost or free class where an art form is explored. You learn basic techniques and use of tools.
  2. Advanced: This is a class where you complete a project. It may cost more depending on the cost of materials and the time involved.
  3. Guest Teacher: I often bring in experienced artists to teach classes at a professional level. These classes are usually several days in length and may require a certain level of knowledge or bringing tools and/or materials.
  4. One on One: Many of my classes are scheduled upon request of a student. Tell me what you’d like to do or learn, and we’ll discuss time and cost.
  5. Group: Also scheduled upon request, this may be a group of friends, a children’s party, scouts, or an individual request that we open to others to attend. Price depends on time and materials.
  6. Free: I offer two free classes based on student interest – this currently includes a journaling class and a journaling/art class. I am open to other classes if there is interest.
  7. Open Studio: On Tuesday nights, I offer Open Studio. Bring your current project to the workshop and use my tools. I’ll help as needed. Or design a project with my help. Cost of the session is $5 per night or $30 for the year. I am also open to open studio times per request when I have nothing else going in the workshop. Payment is by donation.

Due to the nature of the workshop and the courses above, you may not see a lot on my schedule at any given time. My course availability is constantly evolving and changing. If you friend me on FB, you will see last minute classes advertised. I only use email periodically to advertise classes.

Well, this has been a long blog.  It feels good to catch you up.  Let me know what questions you have!


Posted on


I am going to join The 100 Day Project which begins on April 3.  I’d love it if some of you joined me.  It is about art — but very loosely.  It should build self discipline and encourage creativity.  The item you choose to do every day for 100 days shouldn’t be some BIG complicated project. Here are some ideas:

Draw your self portrait on a post it note every day for 100 days.

Dance in public every day for 100 days.

Take a photo of __________ every day for 100 days.

You get the idea.

What am I going to do?  There are a number of artists who draw very realistically using ballpoint pens.  I’ve bought one of those pens that has four colors in it and for one hundred days I am going to do a simple sketch each day using those four colors in the pen.  I know I won’t produce the same kind of works such as Samuel Silva produces (see but I want to learn how to use the pen and cross hatching to produce colors…


Here’s the website to learn more:

Let me know if you’ll be joining in!  I’ll be posting on Instagram and occasionally facebook and this website.

Mosaic Camp Out August 2018

Posted on


Aug 16, 17, 18, 19, 2018

Cost is $450, includes materials, supplies, 6 meals

Imagine… Three and a half days in the lush Oregon countryside, making mosaics with old and new friends.  Pitch your tent (or bring your trailer) and pack a cooler along for drinks.  Enjoy open studio time to work on your projects and class sessions led by Kory Dollar.  Work late or gather around a bonfire in the evening…  Held on the fields of Helvetia Lavender and Christmas Tree Farm and Denny’s Workshop.  Limit: 15 students.

More details to come.  Contact Denny or Kory to reserve your place or for more information.

Making Concrete Pumpkins & More

Posted on

Lots of new classes including one making concrete pumpkins…

concrete pumpki2n

Thinking Halloween? Let’s make concrete pumpkins! All you need is bring a plastic pumpkin (the kind that is used for trick or treating or a Styrofoam decorative pumpkin (or two) to my house on Sunday afternoon, Oct 1 at 1:30 and we’ll make them together. $10 per pumpkin made.  Contact me at

Here’s the rest of the line-up [so far] (I add classes as I have time and ideas!).


If you are interested in seeing what I am doing art-wise personally, be sure to check out my personal FB page.  Here’s a few teasers…








Posted on Updated on

Missed the Shibori class?  Call me to schedule another one for you and a small group of friends.  This is fun!  Start with a blank slate (well, scarf, blanket, tea towel, etc), mix up a vat of indigo and choose one of the different techniques and see what you get…