It takes something of an adventurous spirit to take a workshop. I was reminded of this recently when I signed up for a workshop at Art Intersection in Gilbert.

I enjoy taking classes. I’ve learned a lot from every hands-on workshop I’ve ever taken. Sometimes the workshops offer completely new information and other times they are about familiar processes and I’m hoping to pick up some new tips. Since I also teach workshops, I like to observe the different ways in which instructors organize and present information, do demonstrations, and so on. I’m always looking for ways to improve my own teaching.

The subject of the workshop I signed up for was making transfers, taught by Carol Panaro-Smith, from whom I’ve taken workshops in the past. Transfers can be used in making collages. Instead of gluing a photograph or drawing directly onto paper when creating a collage, the images are photocopied and then transferred onto the collage using a variety of techniques. The results are more seamless because the image becomes a part of the paper. It’s a fun process. The results are often hard to predict, which encourages creative problem solving, one of my favorite activities. Below is an example of a collage I made in my studio using a variety of handmade and paste papers, as well as a transfer technique taught in the workshop.

Collage using some transfer techniques

A gel transfer technique was used in this collage


Collage with transfer, completed

I stitched the collage onto Japanese paper, used paste paper for the edges and hung it from a saguaro rib.

When I read about the workshop it sounded like a great opportunity to brush up on my transfer skills and learn some techniques I wasn’t familiar with. So I signed up and pushed the PayPal button. Weeks later, on the day of the workshop I questioned my sanity. It was scheduled in the evening from 6 pm – 9 pm. The thought of the 2 hour drive to Gilbert (and back, in the dark) definitely didn’t appeal. Would I have trouble finding the place? Would the other people taking the workshop be friendly? If I wasn’t already familiar with Carol’s teaching style, I probably would have also been nervous about whether the workshop would be worth the money I spent. As a result of this reaction, I realized that people participating in my classes might go through the same process. Which made me realize that it takes a pretty adventuresome person to make the leap into workshop taking!

As it turned out, the drive wasn’t bad. Carol did her usual great job in presenting information, demonstrating and encouraging students to experiment. I learned a lot. The other participants were nice and friendly. I was glad I’d had the experience. It was well worth the effort.

Alas, the photographs I took while there have mysteriously vanished from my camera. It’s probably just as well because all the shots I took were blurry (a result of all the activity in the studio?) The Art Intersection website has information summarizing what this unique facility is and what they’re up to, including some photos. Take a look. It’s a fascinating place. It’s well worth a visit to see the beautiful gallery and the studio and photography spaces. And of course, I recommend the workshops, as least the ones taught by Carol Panaro-Smith. And I’m sure the other teachers are quite good, too.