Thankful Thursday - Making Meaningful Connections

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We've often talked about connections--no wonder, since it's part of our name and our mission!  I was reminded again of the power of meaningful connections last weekend when I attended the Visual Art Exchange Summit.  This daylong event brought together a variety of people in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC) who work in the arts, including arts administrators, consultants, makers, museum directors, teachers, etc. to ask the sometimes difficult questions about inclusion, diversity, community relations and presentation of challenging artwork.  It was a stimulating day, filled with more questions than answers, but productive dialogue around these topics is a great jumping-off point for viable future solutions.  

One of the breakout sessions revolved around the notion that meaningful connections between people and among groups form the basis of shared trust, commonality of experience, and knowledge, which can then lead to positive change, collaboration, and forward progress.  Yes, this sounds easy, and is probably pretty intuitive, but how many of us really take the time to do it in our daily interactions?  By taking the time to seek out information from the person across the table or over the telephone, you'll find areas of shared experience which will lead to greater understanding.  Even if it's someone with whom you've worked before, you may find amazing things you share.  Case in point:  I have a colleague with whom I've worked for about a year in my disability arts teaching and board of director roles, but it wasn't until we sat together at the Summit that we discovered we both have had spinal fusion surgery (albeit 34 years apart)!  Something clicked into place for both of us upon the realization that we share something very few people do--and we almost simultaneously said "I KNEW there was a reason I liked you!"  Our future collaborations will be informed by this realization, and our relationship will be stronger because of it.  Cool, right?!

We know our Creative Explorers will make many meaningful connections during our time together in October.  There will be ample time to ask, learn, and discover the wonderful things we share as creative women.  It's already shaping up to be quite the event, and we can't wait to welcome you into the Circle!  Time is passing quickly, but there is still time to take advantage of our payment options.  Your deposit is your first step on the Your Creative Connection journey, so don't delay--Register today.  And, if you know of a woman who loves all things mixed media as much as you do, make the connection with her, and share our information--we'd love to welcome her into our Circle too!  

Until next time,

MDP

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WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

…art strengthens problem-solving and critical thinking skills?

We think it is beyond wonderful that doing something we already enjoy is actually beneficial to our aging minds.  In addition to beautiful scenery and amazing people, Your Creative Connection is good for your brain!  What more reason do you need to join us in October (11-15, 2018)?

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Imagine:  4 days in the idyllic setting of Haw River State Park and it’s protected, old-growth forests; all of your meals attended to by the chefs, including a freshly baked treat every afternoon; and the creative merriment of 3 Days, 3 Artists, 1 Surface, and a Show! – all of which is designed to send you home inspired to carry your new enthusiasm for creating into the Holiday season and beyond. 

Your space in the circle is waiting – there are new friends to make, new skills to learn, and the strengthening of your mind at hand!  Your deposit secures your spot for an art retreat experience like none other.  We can hardly wait to share this incredible, creative experience with you!  Register today, it’s not too late to take advantage of our flexible payment options.

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Friday Feature: Spotlight on Michelle Davis Petelinz

My Studio Session will focus on a variety of ways to create surface texture and pattern with paint and ink.  In my own mixed media work, many of my texture and pattern discoveries come about from my asking questions:  "What if I combined...?", or "How can I create...?"  Intricate, multi-layered, and multi-hued patterns resonate with me, and I often include them in my paper, paint, and clay work.  I am excited to share what I've discovered with our Creative Explorers, and I can't wait to see what they will create during our time together.  Penny, Jeanne and I have been working on our content for Studio Sessions, and below is a peek at what I've created so far in preparation for mine, including embellished monoprints, tape transfers, hot glue and foam stamped prints, 3-D elements, and painted papers.  

Here's what I've got planned: 
Creating texture and pattern with custom tools:  I've found that to make my work truly my own, I had to create my own, custom-designed stamps and texture tools.  I will show you how to design foam stamps, hot glue stamps, texture plates, paper combs and masks, 3-D elements, and whatever else we can dream up to put your own, unique stamp on your work (pun intended); we'll let our imaginations soar!  

Getting the most from your Gelli prints:  using your new custom tools and a variety of techniques, we'll create fantastic monoprints on our luscious Stonehenge paper.  We'll be layering, transferring, embellishing, and adding natural elements to our prints for use as stand alone works, or as components of larger pieces.  If you've never used a Gelli plate, you're in for a treat (it's truly engrossing), and if you've worked with one before, this Studio Session will offer you new ways to use an old favorite.

Exploring composition:  once we've designed, created, and experimented with our new tools, it'll be time to put them to use in your compositions.  Tips and tricks for effective compositions abound, whether you're looking to enhance your paintings, to create 2-D or 3-D mixed media work, or to complete the pieces you'll display in the Your Creative Connection show.   Oh yes, there's going to be a show...and next Friday, Penny will complete our June "Friday Features" series with a look at her Studio Session content and more details about the show.  Stay tuned.   

If you haven't done so yet, Register now, to be sure you'll be able to join in the fun.  

MDP

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Friday Feature: Spotlight on Jeanne Faith d'Orleans

As announced last week, each remaining Friday in the month of June will feature one of our Artist Instructors and the Studio Session that they are offering at our October Experience.  Our Friday Feature Series is the perfect showcase for the concept that informed the structure of this distinctive event:  3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 surface, and a Show!  While each of our Artist Instructors brings a different approach to her mixed media endeavors, they will each be presenting their methodology on the incomparable Stonehenge paper. Jeanne beautifully blends light washes of color with fiber elements to tell her own, unique story – rich with many layers of luscious color and texture.

Whether entertaining guests in her home, nestled among the greenery of a yard surrounded by trees and plants, or addressing small and large groups in professional training events:  our Guest Artist Instructor, Jeanne, is an excellent communicator!  She has a natural ability to put folks at ease and comfortable people are most often quite happy people.  She has a passion for creativity that has spanned a variety of interests in her youth and throughout her adulthood.  We are thrilled to have her on our team for the Haw River Mixed Media Experience in October, 2018.

In her Studio Session, Jeanne will lead Creative Explorers in exercises designed to incorporate assorted fiber content (fabrics, roving, and threads) and notions in their creative, mixed media expressions.  Bringing her love of nature to the table, Jeanne will inspire the inclusion of organic elements to evoke a sense of place as well as bringing dimension and texture to the work.  In answer to the declaration “Oh, I don’t sew…”  she responds “You don’t have to!”  She will share stitch-free (and stress-free) methods for incorporating more fiber in your work – and is a firm believer that we can all do many things we think we can’t if we come at them from a different angle.  She looks forward to spending the day in the studio, coming up with new ways to combine paint, thread & fiber, fabric, and paper in imaginative and innovative ways.  Have questions for Jeanne or about this creative adventure?  Contact us any time – we look forward to hearing from you!

Next week, we’ll see what Michelle has in store for our Creative Explorers.

Introducing Friday Features!

Hey!  Hi & Hello…  As noted last week there has been much going on behind the scenes of late, in the Your Creative Connection environs.  All of that loveliness has reached it peak, and we look forward to doling out heaping helpings of creative inspiration and temptations throughout the rest of June.  Each of the remaining Fridays this month, we will feature a different Artist Instructor for our Mixed Media Art Experience at Haw River State Park in October.  You’ll be treated to all new photos of our Studio Session samples for the retreat as well as a closer look at the Artists themselves.  While new information is regularly being added to the website, our Friday Features will be highlighted in their own Blog posts with plenty of links to put you in touch with any and all extra information. 

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Newsletter subscribers can also look forward to an exclusive special offer during the 2nd half of June.  What’s that?  You don’t get our very incredible and not at all intrusive Newsletter e-mails?  You can remedy that, post haste, if you sign up today!  Subscribers get first dibs on all things Your Creative Connection up to 10 days ahead of public announcements.  Your e-mail address is always safe with us and will never  be used without your permission.

Have a great weekend.  We’ll see you back here, soon!

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Thankful Thursday - The Gift of Curiosity

Did we all learn the word "curious" from this little fellow?  

Did we all learn the word "curious" from this little fellow?  

Curiosity:  a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in humans and other animals.  ~Wikipedia

We artists are a curious bunch, and perhaps mixed media artists are the most curious of all.  We constantly ask "What if?",  "What can I use to...",  "How can I?", and best of all:  "Why not?".  The thrill of exploration, experimentation, discovery, and ultimately mastery is what keeps us going, posing questions, and leaping out of bed in the morning (well, maybe not actually leaping, but a reasonable facsimile thereof!).  And, we love to share our results with each other, in hopes of answering someone else's "How can I?".  Of course, the Internet and YouTube videos in particular have made this information and technique sharing easier to access (Curious about how to create marbled paper with shaving cream?  Make mono prints on clay?  Use that Fiskars cutter you just bought?  There are multiple videos on each topic).  But to me, there's no substitute for being face-to-face, learning about another artist's original "wild" idea, first plans, unsuccessful results, back-to-the-drawing-board moments, retries, and ultimately, seeing her successful project realized.  It's those bumps along the road which are most instructive, and which often lead off onto another creative tangent or 'accidental' discovery which can be used later (those are the best!).  

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We here at Your Creative Connection celebrate and embrace curiosity; we encourage it in all we do.  Penny, Jeanne and I can't wait to reveal what we have been working on to share with you in October!  In future blog posts, we'll show you our moments of experimentation and discovery which were born out of our asking "What if?" and "Why not?" in preparing our Studio Sessions for you, our Creative Explorers. 

We're excited about what's to come, and if you're curious too and want to take the leap and explore with us, why not register for our October 11~15 retreat? 

Until next time,

MDP

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Thankful Thursday - The Joys of Teaching

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I've wanted to be a teacher since elementary school; I loved the idea of standing in front of a classroom and writing on the blackboard (yes, they were all black back in the day), the smell of newly sharpened pencils, crisp new notebooks, and one of my favorite classes every year was art (of course).  And although I did not choose to become a traditional classroom teacher, I now teach art to children and to people with disabilities.   

My students have ranged in age from 18-months to 102 years old, and I enjoy the challenge of presenting projects which are fun, colorful, and appropriate for each audience.  I have learned as much if not more than what I've taught, and my students are a constant source of amazement.  And yes, I do believe teaching is a superpower:  from the 3-year old who went from saying "I can't!" to "I did it!", to the 10-year old who figured out how to take "junk" to make something "cool", to the 40-something woman who began by declaring "I'm not artistic" to exclaiming "Wow, I didn't know I could do that!", to the non verbal man with autism who won an art contest with a project we created, to the 100-year old who said she remembered how much she loved coloring when she was a child as she proudly showed off her painted paper seascape, teaching is indeed a joy for me.  
I'm looking forward to more joy and more amazement when teaching my "Mindful Mandalas" printing technique during our upcoming Pop-Up Art Event on April 7th, and to having a full day to teach multiple mixed media techniques during my retreat Studio Session at Haw River State Park in October.  There'll be more Studio Session details coming soon, so stay tuned!  

Wishing you joy and amazement in your life,

~MDP

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Save the Date! April 7th, 2018

Greetings, fellow creative explorers! 

We are thrilled to announce our very first Pop-Up Event!  Make plans now to join us on April 7th, from 1:00-4:00pm, at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh, NC for an afternoon of creativity in community.  You will enjoy a mini workshop that highlights every facet of the jewel that is Your Creative Connection:  Creativity, Community, and Self Care.  Spaces are limited, register today for Notes to Our Future Selves.  Enjoy hands-on fun as you meet the Artist Instructors that will present our premiere event at Haw River State Park in October.

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We will while away the afternoon in creative bliss, as Jeanne, Michelle, and Penny share some of their favorite techniques.  We will work on lovely papers from our friends at Strathmore Artist Papers.  You will be creating fully functional art, as our final compositions will work as artful reminders to yourself or beautiful gifts for others by way of Mixed Media Mail Art!  We will busy our hands with the creation of Kintsugi Hearts, Mindful Mandalas, and Found Poetry.  Participants will leave with at least three frame-able and/or mail-ready mini masterpieces.  Plus:  there will be Door Prizes, refreshments, and special offers to be had.

As if all of this isn't enough to tempt you:  Attendees of the PopUp Event will get the 1st look at samples for each of our Studio Sessions in October!  What are you waiting for?  Register today.  Double the fun by inviting a friend!  Don't wait too long -- spaces are limited!  We look forward to seeing you for artful adventures on April 7th.