Sunday, September 14, 2014

Today is a new day.

It's a warm day and I am thankful.  I know winter is coming but it requires mental preparation and I'm just not there yet.  I have been working in the studio, sometimes cleaning and organizing and sometimes creating something new or revisiting something old.  Since it's been so long since my last post, I thought this one could be a reintroduction to the Studio, along with a reminder of what's to come.
Pin weaving in the Studio

Pin weaving was one of my favourite classes.  Students created beautiful pieces using a variety of fabrics and then created clay beads to embellish their pieces.

Chickpea Paste resist


This next class was born of necessity.  I had promised that we would do a flour paste resist but as I worked out the details I realized that the mess created by a traditional approach would not work, so I began to experiment with other options.  The resulting Chickpea Paste Resist class was a great success and in 2014, Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine published an article I had written on the technique.  You can find it here.

Creative space of guest artist Sharon Chalmers
 Often the Studio would feature guest artists like the lovely Sharon Chalmers (just imagine her, there, in that chair). Having her in the Studio was always a treat!  We were also visited by Donna Funnell and Patricia Beader.


Sonja's sweet piece

Some days we created pieces in the style of other artists.  Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson inspired the piece above.  These sessions were always a great opportunity to learn more about a number of talented and artistic women.

The Studio is still being worked on, but I do have classes coming up.  I am still teaching for the Milton Centre for the Arts, and the Art Mixer, a weekly art session that can be purchased one week at a time, starts on October 16, 2014.  This fun adult class includes all materials and is perfect for all skill levels.  It runs from 7-9:30 pm on Thursday nights.  For more information on this class or any of my offerings for children, check out the MCA website here.

I have also just started teaching a few classes for Idea Exchange, Cambridge Libraries and Galleries.  I will be teaching a Wednesday evening adult class starting October 1, 2014.  This fun six week session is a non-traditional approach to fibre and printmaking.  Classes run from 7-9:30 pm and you can find out more about them here in the fall/winter brochure.

That's all for the moment.  I hope you are all creating art and enjoying the last bits of summer and the first scents of fall.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Creating a Fun and Funky Canvas Journal Cover

The renovations continue at the Studio, and I have been missing all the art and creativity, so I decided it was time for another class even if it meant finding another venue.  Fortunately, Karen Ellis from the Art House Studio in Cambridge had the perfect location.  So, I called up my good friend Donna Funnell, a talented fibre artist and asked if she would be willing to teach a class with me.  She agreed and it's all happening this coming Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 10am to 2pm.  The cost is $40, materials included and there are still a few spots left.  I must admit, it's been so long since I blogged that I forgot to add the details here until someone reminded me.  So, here are some photos and if you'd like to join me, send me an email at  The location details are down below, or here.

Our cat Nessa watches over the materials for the Canvas Journal Class.  Some of the initial pieces made it into the final journal and some did not, either way, you'll have lots to choose from in this "all materials included" class.

   A close-up of the spine.

A close up of the back cover.
The Canvas Journal cover fits a 7x10 inch Mix Media Canson journal. 
You can also create your own signatures and use them in place of a purchased journal. 
Here I'm starting to add gesso and collage elements to the canvas cover.  The class includes a gessoed canvas cover to fit a journal approximately 7x10 inches, like the Canson Mixed Media Journal.           

I decided to add some butterflies to my cover, but you might choose a different theme.

Here's the almost finished journal cover, just waiting for some glitz and a word.        

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sandra's Open Studio Classes for March/April 2013

Sandra’s Open Studio Sessions for Mar/Apr 2013

I am waiting for Spring – tiny buds are showing, the birds insist it’s time and I can wait no longer – Spring is on my mind.  Poetry, journaling, canvasses and collage, mixed with the promise of a new season and what more could an artist want from life.  Last month’s projects taught us the value of finding new uses for simple materials.  This month we will revisit past projects with new eyes, use interesting household objects, stretch our understanding of common techniques and play ‘til the birds come home (there are no cows here).  As promised, I am switching the days, so that Saturday is the first class of the week and Wednesday’s group can experience class with the bugs worked out!  I do hope you’ll join us in the Studio. 

Coming up in the Studio….

Wed. Feb 27  This week we play with toilet paper (I know) and craft foam.  What could we be making?  Come to the Studio and be inspired by Pam Carriker’s unique art materials.  I promise it won’t look like toilet paper and craft foam when we’re done!  Don’t believe me?  Check out the pictures on .  You don’t need to have a Facebook account to see this page.

Sat/Wed Mar 2/6    Join us in the Studio as we build a floral still life in the style of Mike Bernard.  Using bold colours and collage, we will work on canvas to create this edgy piece.  Think funky flowers.  We will be working from a real still life.

Sat/Wed Mar 9/13   One of my favourite artists, Anne Bagby, inspires this painted journal.  Working with deli paper and acrylics, masks and repurposed papers, we will learn techniques to use again and again.

Sat/Wed Mar 16/20   We celebrate the start of Spring with this seriously creative piece of art for the garden. Whether you call it a flag or a banner, you won’t want to wait for Spring to show it off.

Sat/Wed Mar 23/27   I couldn’t resist when I found these wood relief birdhouses.  So much fun and just in time for nest and eggs and birds, oh my!  This collage/assemblage creation will make a lovely home piece to hang on your wall and remind you that winter is fleeting.

Sat/Wed Mar 30/Apr 3   Join me as we revisit gelatin prints.  Learn how to make your own gelatin plate and then print some wonderful and complex papers from the plates I’ve made for you.  There is something so fascinating about prints created from a gelatin plate and you get to take the plate home and do even more prints.  What’s not to like!

Sat/Wed Apr 6/10   As requested, thanks Patricia, we will be creating a mini art quilt using aluminum foil.  Even if you’ve taken this class with me in the past, this version has a new spin and some new materials.  We just haven’t uncovered all there is to learn and how can I resist the opportunity to use such a common material in an artistic way.

Sessions are still $20, materials included and you even get coffee/tea and a treat.  They run 10 am to 1 pm, Saturday and Wednesday (same class, twice).  If you are interested in attending, please confirm via email at and then, tell a friend. 

Check out more about my classes at or on my blog .

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In the Studio, collages inspired by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

What a wonderful day in the Studio.  The women were filled with energy as we worked on collages inspired by Elizabeth St.Hilaire Nelson.  Even though they all followed the same basic steps, the end results are as unique as the women themselves.

Carol's piece in progress and looking great.
Each piece progressed from a sketch to an underpainting and then collage.  While most of the pieces were still in progress when the class ended, they were all really starting to come together.

Linda's set of teacups is beautiful.

Most of the women went with a tea based them, including Carol C's "Alice in Wonderland" inspired teapot below...
Carol C's fun and funky teapot.

and Sonja's sweet cupcakes...

I really like the butterfly detail.
 The paper used to collage our pieces were so varied, like the sheet music and napkins Sonja used above or the painted and handmade papers Lisa used below...

Lisa's collage has some great details.

There is a quote I love by Henry David Thoreau..."If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away"  and so, teapots turn into barns and flowers, and as artists we understand...

Joan recreated a local barn.  So clever.

Norina's wonderful flowers. 

The thing I love most about the individuals that grace my Studio each week is their unique and creative spirits.  Whether it was teapots, teacups, cupcakes, barns or flowers, what really came through in each of these pieces was the individuality of the artist that created it. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Masking with Contact Paper

This past week we played with creating layered pieces.  We started with a canvas painted black, added white gesso, a design and began layering.  As our pieces became more complex, we masked out areas with contact paper and added designs with acrylic and re-purposed "screens".  Below is a sampling of the pieces in progress...






Carol C

Carol D


Friday, January 11, 2013

Open Studio Classes for January/February 2013

Sample from this week's class.

Sessions are $20, materials included.  They run 10 am to 1 pm, Wednesday and Saturday (same class, twice).  If you are interested in attending, please confirm via . 

As this year begins, I am thankful for a life that is filled with the creation of art.  Though the Studio space has changed and there is still much to be done, when the air fills with the sound of people creating, my heart sings. I also love the planning stage of each new set of classes.  There is struggle and indecision and then the light comes on and all the pieces fall into place.  You may have noticed the details took a little longer this time, but I am pleased to say, this collection of lessons is worthy of the wait.  In the next two months, we will be playing with deli paper, fabric, found objects, words, toilet paper (honestly) and craft foam.  We will explore collage, assemblage, printmaking techniques, poetry, journaling and bookmaking. And we will celebrate a group of fabulous female artists.  I do hope you’ll join me...

Coming up in the Studio….

Jan 16 & 19  Explore the creative possibilities in fun foam prints.  We will build our print plates and create a wonderful selection of papers.  Using a variety of surfaces and some new colour choices, we will layer our way to a collection of papers you can use again and again.  Inspired by Anne Bagby, we will explore thin papers and unique colour combinations. 

Jan 23 &  26  This dimensional piece mixes fabric, paper and found objects in a creative way.  Inspired by Leilani Pierson’s house books, from Cloth Paper Scissors, Nov/Dec 2008, I guarantee you will want to make more than one. 

Jan 30 & Feb  2  I am a big fan of artists like Sarah Lugg and Beryl Taylor, who create inspired pieces from the tiniest bits.  To celebrate these women, we will create a beautiful assemblage, worthy of framing, using silk, paper and tiny bits.

Feb 6 & 9  Following our theme of artist inspired art, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson created beautiful collages using torn paper in the November 2008 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  We will create our own collage, using torn paper but of course, we will add a little twist!!  Fun, fun, fun.

Feb 7 This Thursday session is an opportunity to CATCH UP.  Bring along an unfinished project from a previous class.  Send me an email to ensure I have the necessary materials available for you.

Feb 13 & 16  Join me in the Studio for poetic and creative journaling presented in a unique format.  Bring along your favourite quotes and some special papers from your stash and assemble this art piece inspired by Lyn Belisle.  I will have a selection of beautiful papers and embellishments for your use.

Feb 20 & 23  This week we play with toilet paper (I know) and craft foam.  What could we be making?  Come to the Studio and be inspired by Pam Carriker’s unique art materials.  I promise it won’t look like toilet paper and craft foam when we’re done!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Something From Nothing - A Little Book Project

This week in the Studio we created our own little book using the repurposed pages from old books.  We layered our pages and added ink, permanent pens, transfer foil (thank you Angela) and beeswax.  I think they turned out to be worthy of are the pages from the book I'm working on now...
This is one of the pages that I'm working on in book 2

See how the tabs overlap from each of the pages. 

India ink was a fun addition to this page, but it still needs some gesso.

Of course, I had to put a bird on it!!

 and here's the first book...
This is the outside cover of book 1.  I like the muted colour palette.

Another spread from book 1.  The pinks come from chalk pastels.

This spread needs details.  I'll work into it with ink and post it again in a few days.

This two page spread is ready for some drawing.

Another spread from the first book

I like the combination of gesso and India ink, layered with gold foil and beeswax.
The pages were put together using a pamphlet stitch.  The wax was added at the end.  I was still able to add details using India ink but you want to be selective when you add the wax.  Okay, that's all for now.  Time for sleep.  Hope to see you in the Studio.