Monday, August 01, 2005

I took a Michael DeMeng workshop this past weekend. It was a great class at the Valley Ridge Art Studio in Muscoda, WI, and I learned a lot from it. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop this weekend. The workshop moved along nicely. Michael was very accessible and personable. I liked that he dressed like he was ready to get dirty and was very hands-on during the whole thing. The only glitch to me was that one person got very frustrated and took quite a while to resolve. He was very gracious about the whole thing. As a teacher, I thought that it was great at the end where he had everyone share and made constructive comments about each one. He also helped a lot of people work through positioning and color issues that seemed to end up okay at the very end of the workshop. The examples that he brought were great. The table with everybody's stuff was very helpful. I was very amazed at some of the fun stuff that I found on that table. I even got a matchbook shrine! The only drawback to this trip was the Muscoda food. I thought that lunch was fabulous both days and will have to look for some of that stuff at my Whole Foods store near me. I did notice that the Liquid Nails did emit a very strong odor. It was okay during the first day when we had the windows open, but it was very strong at the end of the first day and during the second day. Several of us had headaches. Just something to remember if you are going to take this class and you are sensitive to smells. I don't go to a lot of workshops and am very particular about the ones I go to. Too often, the workshops are geared for people who are more Newbie and I end up getting bored. Michael gave us enough information up front to get me started and added tips along the way. I learned a lot about the layering of the paints and how they really add to the final piece. I also found out that I will probably use something else besides Liquid Nails because of the smell. I have not played with a Dremel before and will have to get one now! There are a lot of instructors out there who do not walk around to comment and to help when needed. Sometimes, the workshops are so big that half of the people get lost and the other half gets bored. You have to make what they want you to make. You can't even see the examples because the class is so large. I liked that the class size was small and that we could view the instruction given and could take a close look at all the examples that he had. Michael did not try to push his style upon any us. He just told us what he would use so we would have a benchmark of what we might like. One person used a lot of purple in her book. She definitely took his instruction and made it into her own thing. Another definite plus was all the space I had to myself. I have been to many workshops where it is cramped and you have barely enough room to work. All I end up doing is smelling the strong perfume of the woman next to me.
Suggestion to Michael: You need to put little price tags or little cards with prices or even make up a price list and tape it to the wall of prices of your artwork. I can't tell you how many times people asked how much something costs. All in all, it was a great experience for me even though my second book has not set yet, it is still soft. The Liquid Nails is just not being agreeable. It was nice to have coffee, tea, and snackies available during the workshop. Kathy and and Bill are wonderful, so friendly, and nice. The farm is just beautiful. BTW, happy birthday again. I hope Kathy enjoyed the rest of her birthday.
One last thing, I did like the B&B in Muscoda - Victorian Rose. I would recommend that to anyone who comes to a Valley Ridge Art Studio workshop. The owner was very friendly and helpful. I was exhausted Saturday and promptly fell asleep after eating a delicious frozen salisbury steak dinner with raw carrots and ranch dip. I did not even do my usually reading. I was pumped on the way home though - I ended up doing 5 matchbook shrines last night. I stopped at the local Osco Drug on the way home and bought a whole box of matchbooks for $.77.

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Gerri said...

I love taking workshops up there. I wanted to take this one too, but ran out of money. A heavily perfumed woman was in both of my workshops there this year, and gave me a bit of a headache. I think Kathy, the setting, and the food are great.


Beth Robinson said...

Liquid Nails is a solvent based sealant, it acts by the solvent evaporating, hence the smell. A less-smelly alternative would be a waterbased or a polyurethane sealant from the same area in the hardwood aisle. Both will probably take a little longer to cure. The waterbased requires the water to evaporate. The polyurethane requires water to get IN because it reacts with it chemically. Not sure what would be best with your application, but that might give you some idea of what to look for, if you didn't already know. In my non-artistic life I'm a product development chemist for polyurethane sealants. :)

omanoot said...

Michael is GREAT! i took his workshop a few days before in cedersberg, wi (which is a find of a place!) he really got my mind racing and now i have several ideas brewing for a series of work. I'm hoping to have him teach here (studio 9 gallery, in chicago) sometime this year! thanks for sharing your art work belinda!
have a creative day!

Lara said...

Oh my gosh I am so jealous! Your book is gorgeous! What kinds of materials did you use?