Monday, November 14, 2011

Sandra's Open Studio has a new Member

This is Vanessa.  We adopted her from the Ninth Life Cat Rescue of Ontario this past weekend.  She is a sweet little addition to the family and with that white fur, we'll have to be careful to keep her away from the paint! 

This week in the Studio we are using Sculpey, Paperclay and Jovi Air Dry clay to create little fronts for our pin woven pieces.  If your interested in joining us and meeting 'Nessa", send me an email at

So many wonderful things happening in the Studio

Joan's pieces woven on sticks!
Karen's piece looks great.
The ladies of Open Studio have been busy creating beautiful works of art.  On November 26, 2011, we will have our first Annual Christmas Sale in the Studio to feature the works of our students and our guest instructors.  In the meantime, we have been learning about pin weaving and paste papers...

Sue's pretty piece
Madeleine's colourful pin weaving

Chris's piece is almost done.

Doeteke's beautiful blues and greens.

Erin's piece - great colours.

Barb's piece in progress.

Donna's pin woven and embroidered piece

Linda's creative piece woven with paper rolls
Donna's paste resist fabric

Joan's paste resist fabric

Judy's paste resist fabric

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Playing With Flour Paste Resist

 It's been two solid days of prep work and play.  I've loved every minute of it and if you're joining me in the Studio this week, you'll love it too.  I can't say enough about the value of PLAY.  There are so many things you can discover and even the "failures" become stepping stones for something wonderful. 

Fabric with paste and paint.
Same fabric with the paste removed.

Fabric with paste and paint
Fabric with paste removed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sandra's Open Studio - Fall Sessions

Time to stretch!  The Studio is a great place to come and try new techniques, share ideas with fellow artists and stretch yourself.  It’s so important to make time to play and this is the perfect place to do it.  Materials are included, the mess stays here and anything goes.  So, challenge yourself to ask “what if?” this month and join us in the Studio for some creative fun.

October 19, 20, 22 Stretch! With Carla Sonheim as our inspiration, we will stretch our creative muscles and create a sweet little book in the process. 

October 26, 27,29 Fabric paper add to your supply, create interesting papers that invite stitch and join us again in December for a fun project using the papers you create today.

Nov. 2, 3,5 Fibre and Clay Part I  create a unique clay embellishment and begin weaving your beautiful fibre base.  Part I of II

Nov 9, 10, 12 New Resist Techniques this one’s messy!  I’ve been playing with “quick” versions of a flour resist and made some interesting discoveries.  We will be working on fabric with acrylic for this class.

Nov 16, 17, 19 Fibre & Clay Part II  paint your embellishment, add the finishing touches on your fibre weaving and create a truly unique piece today

Wed. Nov 23 “IMPROV” Workshop with Sharon Chalmers  Be ‘in the moment’… impulsive, inventive, dramatic, playful.  Surprise yourself!  We’ll create a ‘diptych’, painting two (smallish) canvasses simultaneously.  Canvasses will have been prepared with randomly-applied molding paste for texture.  Chaos is encouraged! (a materials fee of $5 will be applicable) 

Thurs. Nov 24 Open Studio an opportunity to bring along a painting in progress and finish it!

Sat. Nov 26  Open Studio Christmas Sale  10 am to 5 pm  A wonderful example of our talented artists, bring a friend, purchase unique and beautiful art.  No class today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Looking for something to do.  Come join me at Open Studio on Thursday or Saturday, October 13 or 15, from 10 am to 1 pm.  A little painting, some stitch and of course, a bird or two!  See you there.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sandra's Open Studio - Fall Sessions

September is the perfect month to learn something new.  I’m looking forward to days immersed in the art of learning, aren’t you?  I hope you will join me this month and next, as we explore new materials, learn new techniques and rediscover the creative artist that lives in all of us.  Our focus will be on creating interesting layers, strengthening our understanding of basic design concepts and as always, finding new and unique ways to use everyday materials and create something fabulous.  Classes still run from 10 am to 1 pm and cost $20, materials  and treat included.  See you in the Studio.

Sept. 7, 8 & 10 - Well done layers in collage result in finished pieces that  are visually appealing.  Follow along with this step-by-step process as we create a fun art piece on watercolour paper.  Working with magazine images,  we will look at placement of those elements, how to create depth and shadow and how to make your collage come together in a pleasing way with layers that really work.

Wed., Sept 14 - Open Studio.  Please bring along a project to work on.  I will be here to help and you are welcome to come and play with the materials and hopefully complete your piece of art.  There will not be classes on Thursday or Saturday of this week.
Sept. 21, 22 & 24   This week’s session is all about light and shadow.  Join me for an opportunity to better understand how to create light and shadow in your work.  To help us approach this topic in a fun way, please bring along 2 black and white images of yourself or a loved one.  They can be ink-jet prints on regular paper or photocopies and each should be a close-up of a face, approx. 3”x4”.

Sept. 28 & 29, Wed & Thurs only    The two sessions this week are all about experimentation and play.  Come and see what happens when we mix Kleenex, wax and colour misters.  We will create a series of fast and fun pieces perfect for journal covers and greeting cards.
Studio Tour is here again from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 1 & 2.  This year I will be at the Harrop Restaurant, in the Red Barn, 345 Steeles Ave., Milton, displaying my new work along with Ian Ridpath (landscape oil painter), Marlene Kawalez (sculptress) and Barb VanSickle (stoneware pottery).  This is a free self-guided tour of artisans’ studios in and around Milton. 
Oct. 5, 6 & 8 -  A second approach to collage, one with a specific subject,  is the focus of this class.  Working from a photograph, we will build our background using a variety of papers and then finish our collage with acrylic paint.  While the approach is very different from the one used in the first week of September, the effect is just as pleasing.  Join me as we focus on composition especially placement of elements and balance of shapes.
Oct. 12, 13 & 15 -  I am always intrigued by new materials and interesting approaches.  Come play with wax paper and foil to create an interesting art piece.  We will be doing some simple image transfers using transparencies and some simple hand stitches and drawing.  This will be a step-by-step project.
Donna Funnell and I will be teaching classes at the new Milton Centre for the Arts this Fall.  You can view our profiles with links to our classes here -  We will both be teaching adult and childrens classes through the Town of Milton this Fall.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Sessions at Sandra's Open Studio - Saturdays Aug. 6-27, 2011

Time is flying and I don't even remember when it got wings!  The summer session is starting this Saturday.  This is a four week session, with each of the first three sessions designed to stand alone and work together as a whole. Bring along a stretched canvas or buy one here and join in the fun.  Classes still run from 10 am to 1 pm, $20 materials included (except the canvas!).

Sat. Aug 6 - experience modeling paste for the first time or all over again - we will spend some time outside, sketching and building up our canvasses

Sat. Aug 13 - plan on leaving your canvas behind to dry this week as we play with "wet-into-wet" techniques, especially fun if the weather co-operates

Sat. Aug. 20 - re-visit collage techniques, play with subtle texture changes and add fine detail to your piece

Sat. Aug. 27 - finish your canvas and take home a masterpiece!  This is not meant to be a stand-alone week.  We will be looking at alternate ways to finish a piece.

While I have a specific project in mind for the four weeks, each of the first three sessions will bring about a better understanding of the techniques and materials listed above.  If you miss week 1, just bring along a canvas and start your project on week 2 and the same goes for missing week 2.  Some how, some way, we will end up somewhere wonderful!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sharon Chalmers at the Williams Mill

Here are the details about the show...

and Sharon's beautiful piece "Con Brio"

“Summer Salon Eyeful V”

Date:    July 6 to August 14, 2011

Gallery Hours:  Wednesday to Sunday only – 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Meet the Artists on Saturday, July 9th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Better Late Than Never

I'm sure that this should be tattooed somewhere on my body, but given my aversion to needles, that will never happen.  So, I will just adopt it as my motto for the moment and carry on, better late than never.

I always start out with the best intentions and yet here I am.  The ideas are brilliant when they come (at least I think they are) and then life happens.  I've been working on a great little project for tomorrow's class and wouldn't it have been wonderful if I had posted photos of this project last week or even on two days ago, so that maybe, you could have been inspired to join me at Open Studio.  And yet, I have chosen to live by the motto "better late than never" for the moment and they are, photos of a sweet little journal, created on 11x17 inch paper and folded into a little book (Lois Sander loves these booklets and she reminded me of this simple "cut and fold" piece when I took her very fun Calligraphy class at Mixed Minded).  It's easy, a little messy, a little unpredictable and I am teaching it at Open Studio all this week (Wed, Thurs and Sat., 10 am to 1 pm). 

I hope to see you there and if you're not sure where "there" is, send me a note.  Until then, have an artful week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mixed Minded May 27-29 Holiday Inn Kitchener

Wow!  Time has passed so quickly and here we are, one weekend before Mixed Minded.  This fabulous art weekend is being offered at the Holiday Inn in Kitchener and features 17 classes by 8 artists.  If this is the first you are hearing about it, check out the link above.  There are classes all weekend, starting Friday night, May 27, with incredibly talented artists (bios are on the website).  I've listed my classes below, but you can also take a class with Donna Funnell, Lois Sander, Carmi Cimicata, and Nancy Donaldson, to name a few.   I know organizer Karen Ellis has quite a few little extras planned for event goers and I am preparing a beautiful range of painted papers and old book pages for my students to use.   I do hope you'll join us, registration is still open and there are a great range of classes to choose from, including jewelery making, mixed media, calligraphy, Zentangles, encaustic and fibre art sessions.

Mixed Media Mini Quilt
Instructor - Sandra Spagnuolo
Saturday May 28:  1:30 to 4:30 - $45
Create a 10x10 art quilt from a most unexpected “material”. This exciting session promises to open your eyes to the possibility that exists in the most ordinary of places. Spread some acrylic paint, explore a transfer technique, add some old book pages (from Sandra’s fabulous stash), a few stitches and before you know it, you will have created something magical.

House of Cards
Instructor - Sandra SpagnuoloSunday May 29:  9:30 to 12:30 - $45    Filled with seven “cards” designed to make your day, this freestanding structure provides a week’s worth of encouragement and inspiration.  Not to mention the fun you’ll have carving your own stamps and learning some irresistible resist techniques.  Make an impression in more ways than one with this clever project.
Art-Full Journal
Instructor - Sandra Spagnuolo
Sunday May 29:  1:30 to 4:30 - $45      A fabulous sampling of techniques is at your fingertips in this pocket journal.  Sandra provides the explanations; you create the samples and fill your journal with ideas to inspire your artistic spirit.  Discover simple methods of creating unique and decorative papers using common materials.  Explore new ways of looking at everyday items and stretch your concept of play in this fun class.  Be prepared to fold, paint, stitch, layer, bead, scrape and print the day away.

Friday, May 6, 2011

MAY at Sandra's Open Studio

 May 4, 5 & 7   Experimenting with Tissue and Gesso for this Two Part, Start-to-Finish mixed media session.  You are invited to bring along a canvas you have in progress (or a few if they’re small) or purchase one on the day of the class for $5.  This is an opportunity to incorporate some of your painted papers.  We will be creating a finished piece while exploring the properties of tissue and gesso in Session One.  This class explores acrylics, acrylic medium and some collage effects.  Part Two will run June 8, 9 & 11 and focus on finishing techniques including faux encaustic and the addition of dimensional objects.

May 11, 12 &14    This week we will be exploring Folder Journals.  Based on an article in Cloth Paper Scissors, these quirky journals are created using a file folder and painted papers.  Turns out, we have painted papers just itching to be used!!  Please bring them along or choose from my fun and funky supply.  We will explore different ways to embellish and attach papers and flat objects, explore journaling techniques and create something really wonderful!

May 16   Join me on a Monday for a session of Painting on Papers.  Whether you’ve done this before or this is your first time, painting papers is a wonderfully addictive pursuit.  We will paint on bond paper, Japanese mulberry, paper towel, shop towel, tissue, Kleenex, re-purposed paper and a few unusual “papers”. 

May 18, 19 & 21   We will create Artist Trading Cards in this Start-to-Finish session, but the focus is on fun and unusual techniques.  Bring along your painted paper towels and tissue papers and explore beeswax layering and Dorland’s acrylic wax medium.  A little random poetry and some artistic inspiration will lead to the completion of cherished art pieces.  But of course, ATC’s are meant to be shared, so bring some extras along and take home one of mine.

May 25 & 26   Join Sharon Chalmers as you explore the powerful art form of ‘Mandalas’.  We’ll bring unconscious thought into being on paper with spontaneous expression and personal symbolism; and we’ll talk about tools we can use to help us ‘read’ our creations. 

NO SESSION ON SAT. MAY 28.  Sandra will be at the Mixed Minded conference in Kitchener with Donna Funnell and Lois Sander.  

June 1 & 2    Altered Photos, remember pre-digital pictures??  Surely you have stacks of less than perfect 35mm images just waiting for a little colour.  Bring them to class and rework them into fun art pieces.

NO SESSION ON SAT., JUNE 4  I’ll be camping with the Girl Guides.  My apologies to the Saturday Ladies.

June 6    For those of you that missed Gelatin printing, this Monday session is a chance to experience this  fabulous printmaking method.  Create beautiful papers and Monoprints in a fun, loose way.  See you soon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Where Has the Time Gone???

The other day, my wonderful friend Donna Funnell showed me a video "Put a Bird on It", a little bizarre, but funny.  Personally, I love birds and they often find their way into my artwork.  At this time of year, the birds in our area are busy making nests and nervously flitting away as I walk past their secret new homes.  I love Spring and I'm thankful that it has finally arrived.  I must admit, however, that I don't know where the time has gone.  April passed so quickly and May is here full to the brim with wonderful opportunities and projects that need attention.  I have decided to be "like the birds" as they build their nests,  industrious, focused and determined to get the job done. 

May is also the month that I am participating in Mixed Minded at the Holiday Inn, Kitchener-Waterloo Conference Centre.  If you haven't signed up, now is the time.  I will be posting pictures of my samples over the next few weeks.  For more information, follow the link above.  I hope you all have a wonderfully creative day and when in doubt, "put a bird on it"!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paper and Stitch 2


Thursday's Open Studio session on Paper and Stitch resulted in some wonderful pieces.  I love how the results of a lesson can change from day to day.  I try to adapt to the group and this group asked about creating little houses, so we did!  As well as using light weight papers mounted to fusible, we used hand made paper and stitch.  It is always beneficial to repeat a technique with a variety of materials.  Even simple techniques can be brought to new places with the use of interesting materials.  Ask yourself "What if?", what if I used only newsprint, added dictionary pages, used sheer fabric in between my papers?  What if I created the entire piece in shades of blue or cut away areas with a blade instead of scissors? The results might surprise you!  They always surprise me.


Chris again

Doeteke 1

Doeteke 2

Doeteke 3

Doeteke 4


Erin again


Karen again

Paper and Stitch

For this Open Studio Session, we started with paper, something light in weight and I mounted it to fusible interfacing so that the artists could stitch on it repeatedly without having their pieces fall apart.  For our sessions we used scrapbook paper and white paper painted with acrylics.  The idea was to cut away areas of the top sheet to reveal the paper below and then enhance the design with stitch and beading.  I think it was a very effective technique and I am pleased with the results.  Below is Wednesday's group of talented women. Enjoy!

Anne M.


Donna again

Anna M.

Anne S.


Linda R


Marg again