The 2018 Artistic Alchemy Retreat  has come to an end. This year was extra special because it marks the fifth year this experiment has been pursued and we are very grateful to all who have attended and supported us in the adventure. While we have said goodbye to some instructors and welcomed others, myself included, our students remain enthusiastic, creative, patient and supportive. Thank you!

Grab yourself a beverage and perhaps some snacks as this blog is loaded with pictures.

It all starts with supplies………lots of them. We seriously wondered if they would all fit into the car. My husband, the patient puzzle solver, made it all work. Here’s my sister in her “Vanna” role presenting all the cargo.

But I really want my students to be well equipped. One hundred plus stencils now. Enough?

The students who painted canvas this year were fearless. Well, maybe they started with some trepidation but conquered it easily early in the week. I will start with Lynda, a repeat student who came with a goal to paint pillows to coordinate with her dining room chairs. She started by cutting some of her own stencils by hand. She painted and highlighted the flowers, used some stamps, then overlaid the entire pillow with a purchased stencil. These are gorgeous. She made six of them! Six! Count them 6! Oops, I’m only showing four.

Just beautiful. And here’s Lyla. Although she created many canvasses that week, I’m always impressed with someone who’s bold enough to use stencils that might not be considered “safe”. Just look at those lips! How perfect are those?

And here is her finished bag. A master bag maker, she has included zippered pockets on the inside and a zipper across the top. So cute! 

It was nice to have a paper artist in class this year. Judy’s cards are gorgeous but she got brave and painted a wall hanging for her daughter. It’s a close replica of her daughters business card. I love it and it’s simplicity.

Joann got right to work on an ambitious project. I love these transformations into tote bags.

Taa Daa! The finished project.

After some private investigating on the internet, Joann found some pricey pillows at Anthropology and decided she could duplicate them . Agreed!

This is metallic gold paint ….. sorry it doesn’t show in the photos. It’s beautiful and very classy looking.

Donna was another student who really hit the ground running. She accomplished a lot! And she was another brave soul to use the giant houndstooth stencil….in small sections. I hadn’t thought of that. Go Donna!

Marylee jumped right in and was willing to try all the tools available and she completed her bag during class.

She also creates journals and these will be one of a kind covers for them.

Linda used the gel plates like a pro and then created depth by layering with stencils and stamps.

After mastering her first canvas, she moved on to another.

I loved Lori’s pastel palette. 

Do you notice the peeling paint? An unexpected surprise due to the low humidity and metallic paint particles. It provides great texture.

Auditioning where the pocket and grommets will go.

I regret not taking more pictures of Diane’s beautiful work. She approaches it in a very painterly manner. She even brought some leather to paint. Her color combinations suited her perfectly.

Patty also came with a plan; to paint poppies. She, too, cut some of her own stencils but also used a humble toilet paper tube.

And notice the clever use of stencils on her bias binding. Here are the front, sides, pocket and bottom to her tote bag.

Now here’s a smattering of some other canvasses. I don’t think there’s ever been a class where more painting was done. Applause all around for the class of 2018.

Beautiful use of the Gel plates. They look like glass marbles.

Peeling up the masking tape to reveal clean edges.

More gel plates, stamps and stencils.

Notice the the contrasting color on the “coffee cup stain” stencil. Well planned and executed perfectly.

LIPS AND HOUNDSTOOTH AND POLKA DOTS!!!!!! Who couldn’t love this? This is going to be really cute.

A student of Heidi’s stealthily came down to our classroom to borrow a little paint and to stamp embellishments for her recycled garment. The special pieces she brought all coordinated perfectly for her sweatshirt. Stay tuned for that in Heidi’s blog.

Artistic Alchemy had great give aways this year, thanks to our contributing suppliers. Because Jacquard paints are purchased from Dharma Trading Company and used in my class, they generously donated a complete kit for silk scarf painting. This is our lucky recipient, Susan, and we wish her the best on a new hobby!

Another thank you to my sister, Cinderella Patty, who helps me set up, tear down, clean stencils and stamps, waits on the students, load and unload the car, gives me pep talks, puts up with me and is my biggest supporter. AND SHE’S GOING TO GIVE ME HER POPPY BAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But without all of YOU, our readers and attendees, this wonderful event would not be possible. Thank you for five years of support! Stay tuned for next year!




12 thoughts on “We’re BAAAACK!!

  1. Every year I say it can’t get better and every year Artistic Alchemy proves me wrong! THE BEST👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 – well, until next year!!!!! Thank you Mary, Heidi, Sandra and Jane😘!

    • Yes, this was a special year! Along with the addition of Jane, with all of her connections, experience and energy, we also had more garment sewers this year. Glad you are making this a part of your creative journey. We love having your enthusiastic spirit there.

  2. Mary what a great post! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful work. Now I want to do it again. I love the addition of the tote bag to the class!

    • The acetate tote bag patterns were a hit. You can see just where you want to place your pattern pieces. This was a great year as we had tons of giveaways. From quilt batting, books, fabric to gift certificates. Special year for sure.

    • Ohhhhhh! Promise? We missed you this year (and at Sew Sistas). We’re still talking about how much fun and “excitement” you brought last year. 😘

  3. WOW!!! Can’t decide which I like best, coveting them all! Is the alphabet tree on the black canvas a purchased stencil? Must have!

    • Hi Rosemary! Aren’t these great? The students were real go-getters this year. The alphabet tree belonged to one of the students, so, yes, it’s probably available online somewhere. I liked it too but probably don’t need yet another stencil! 🤪

  4. Rascally Rabbit! You are receiving the poppy tote from your sister 💚💚💚. Such a loving sister!!! Blessings to the both of you! Great recap; FABULOUS experience!

    • I KNOW!!!! Isn’t she the best big sister? She is so generous to me. We will be attending a sewing retreat next week that ALWAYS inspires me with great ideas. And we get some sewing done…no classes….just endless show and tell with twenty super creative women. Hope to blog about it next time. Thanks for the note, Donna.

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