The Makerie changed my life.

I know, it sounds ridiculously cheesy. And trust me, I hate the cheese. So it has to be true.

At the Makerie I met countless people who were happy to listen to me talk on and on about my dreams post-school, and a few that are more than willing to help my achieve those dreams. Sometimes I forget in the inherent goodness of people, and if I need a creative retreat to remind me of it, then so be it.

Enough with the sappy stuff and on with my newfound passion. Shooting in manual mode. It’s difficult, frustrating, and I still can’t tell if these pictures are any good. Still, it is so.much.fun.

Blankets! In a basket!!

And Chautauqua couldn’t have been a better location. Next year, you better believe I’m bunking in one of those rustic cabins. I was so jealous of the women skipping off to their bunks to drink wine together and craft all night long.

Fun fact: Did you know that the summer lodge in the movie Dirty Dancing was a chautauqua? Also, the concept of a chautauqua is a common recurring theme in the novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance! Chautauquas are awesome, enough said.

The first workshop was letterpress with Allison Bozeman of Birddog Press Studios. Allison’s studio, nestled in the heart of Lyons, was adorable. She had two, very old presses and two baby presses. I am now on the hunt for a 1500 pound press from the early 1900’s. No one will ever want to help me move again.

The second workshop was learning to photograph your “craft”. I bet you can guess what I toted along to photograph.

That print will never die.

And my favorite fabric in the world. That will be made into a pillow in the coming days after a successful Ikea trip this morning.

There were no less than five different Allie’s that attended the Makerie (including the organizer). I have never been surrounded by so many of my own kind. It was confusing and amazing at the same time.

Ali DeJohn was awesome at accommodating everyone’s needs. Gluten free meals were provided for all of us intolerant peeps, and the food was to die for. Katie’s boxed lunches were adorably packaged and deliciously yummy. I swear that no detail was overlooked at the Makerie. That is the number one reason I will be back next year.

Who’s coming with?

 

My task list in my Google calendar is overflowing with little things I need to remember and huge projects I hope to one day complete. The tasks range from school related chores to blog redesign dreams, each task of varying time commitments and priority levels. While the tasks are ever changing, one thing has remained constant; “Design Fabric Print” has been accompanied by an empty check box for going on six months now. Something has got to change.

I received a gift card from a family member to create my own print at a now, very defunct website. But lately, I’ve been hearing so much about Spoonflower, that I decided to create my print anyway.

While I was in South America on Lake Titicaca, I snapped a few shots of the rippling water that reminded me so much of being at my cabin. The sight and sound of calm waters gets me every time and let me tell you, there is nothing like a lake to calm traveling nerves and maybe even parasite belly (a story for another time).

I played with those shots in Photoshop today, bumped up the contrast and tweaked the colors to come up with something that I can say I actually like. It almost looks painted to me (or…god forbid…an animal print, I can’t tell which). I can imagine this fabric on the inside of a little zippered pouch. I have to admit though, I have a hard time seeing a future beyond a lining for this guy. It doesn’t seem to fit for upholstery and isn’t something I’d wear.

My 8″ by 8″ swatch should arrive within a couple of weeks. A complete review of Spoonflower will accompany pictures of the printed fabric.

In the mean time…one more thing crossed off!

I have one single printing screen I made during screen printing class about a year ago. But let me tell you, that screen has gotten more play time than a bad Britney Spears song. I think everyone in my family owns something that is made out of my one single, print. It’s time for some new screens.

That being said, I can’t help but share with you a memorable evening spent with my oldest sister and a wonderful Great Falls potter and artist, Judy Ericksen Larson. My tired screen got to venture into new territory this night: printing on clay!

Instead of using fabric dye, glaze is applied to the screen in the very same manner. I used three different colors (black, a rich brown, and a chartreuse green) on large pieces of clay that had been rolled fairly flat. After I printed the clay, it was laid over a slump mold to form it into the desired shape.

Whitney helped me stabilize my screen. I forgot how labor intensive printing is!

Judy, being wonderful, as always.

Success!

I had to leave Great Falls before I could see what the final, kilned product looked like. Regardless of the outcome, I wouldn’t have traded this night for anything. A truly splendid, cozy creative setting; I wish I could spend all my time like this.

Let the printing begin…