February 23, 2015

Creating with HeART ~ workshops & journals

What a whirwind February has been, filled with creativity, writing and workshops.    

I mentioned back in the Autumn, my first HeART Journaling workshop and why it was something I really believed in & wanted to continue (see here). I am happy to report that five months on, I have lots of workshops lined up.
 There is always much chat and laughter in the air at the workshops which makes for a great atmosphere, helped along by lovely folks such as Franca,  the owner of the Franca Bruno shop  our Gatehouse venue.  She not only keeps us topped up with cake,tea and coffee but endless supplies of clean painting water too!
 It brings me immense pleasure to share my creativity with others, encouraging them to let go and play, and what wondrous creations they make. The pieces below were done at my 'playing with colour' workshop.
 I often hear folk mention they haven't 'played' for years, some since childhood, so it it a joy to stand back and watch those creative muses showing face at last, being allowed free rein to get messy and have fun with all the delicious art materials to hand.
Hearts seem to work appear often, I wonder is it anything to do with the fact it's called 'HeART Journaling perhaps!   This was the  'Introduction to HeART Journaling' Valentines workshop.
 Last year I was asked by storyteller, author and poet extraordinaire Renita Boyle,  recently  appointed  'Reader in Residence'' for the year for Dumfries & Galloway, to see if I would be interested in running my 'HeART Journaling' alongside her own 'Memoir in a month' workshops, part of an innovative partnership between Dumfries and Galloway library service and the Scottish Book Trust. Renita is a wonderful, whirlwind of enthusiasm and inspiration and I just knew it would be a pleasure to work with her, so dates were duly set.
 I have held two of these workshops so far in Castle Douglas and Whithorn (there are more on the way) and they have proved such a huge success that I  have been asked to return and hold monthly HeART Journaling workshops in the community centre in Castle Douglas which start on 12th March! .

Many of the folk attended both mine and Renita's 'memoir in a month' workshop, and I was right, we have all been hugely inspired by her teaching, words and readings of her magical work. There has been much wonderful writing a-happening, and a coming together of folks over it, but that is to be saved for  another day.

 There is something very soothing and therapeutic about putting things down on paper whether it is words or images and since I began creating in my own  HeART Journals I have learnt to be brave let go and had great fun in the process and so it is wonderful to see that my workshops are now inspiring others to do the same. 
Talking of journals, I have a real passion for them and wanted to try making my own using materials I had lying around.  It was great fun and I loved the outcome, particularly the fact that I had found a use for those often discarded cardboard boxes, used pieces of wrapping papers etc, I am all for re-cycling!

Of course this inspired my next workshop 'Journal making' which is on Tues 3rd March, The Franca Bruno shop in Gatehouse of Fleet.

If you would be interested in coming to any of my workshops you can find a complete list along with dates and info over on my brand new,  re-vamped website, which I hope is much easier to navigate. www.ruthieredden.com    I hope to see some of you very soon.

January 13, 2015

Sketching daily, a new years intention

Where do the days disappear too? I'm sure I only blinked and its January already! So a belated Happy New Year to all in blog land and beyond.  May you find moments of loveliness in the coming 365 days!

This year I felt drawn to set myself  words to live by to help me keep on track and 'Clarity' & 'Focus' were the words that fell into my lap. Perfect, for I needed a clear vision for what I wanted from my year and  I needed to be able to focus on my goals for my business and home life too. It is so easy in this busy, busy world to get distracted and  lose your sense of direction.
  A good long stroll on the blustery, sparkling beach cleared away the cobwebs and I began to form a picture of what I wanted more than anything from this new year.   More creativity, more art making! When I looked back at last year and saw just how little art I had made it made me very sad. After all I am an artist and an artist should be making lots of art. So I promised myself I would make some plans this year to change that. 
I began my new HeArt journal and set down the ways I want my creativity to manifest itself this year. With painting, photography, crafting, writing and sketching. (I have to mention that the mandala in this piece was inspired after a wonderful workshop I did with the lovely Julie Gibbons in December.) I have made lots of plans and have many things in the pipe line and cant wait to get started again.
Firstly I have set up a private 'Sketch a day' Facebook group, where every day I post a new topic to be interpreted freely.  It's a place where we arty folk can share our sketches done for the days topic and encourage each other in the process.  I am loving the challenge and discovering there is something very encouraging about doing this challenge with others. Last year I tried it by myself and lasted a week!
 These are a few of my sketches so far ~ Topics such as : Breakfast
 Something Blue ( I do love blue & white china)
 An eye (mine)

 A mug

 Already I have re-discovered how much I love pen and wash, how looking hard at something to sketch it just pulls you in and you begin to see more and more, and also how fascinatingand inspiring it is to see the interpretations and works of others.  So if you would like to join us do hop on over here, you will be made very welcome.

Another resolution to myself this year is to be a better blogger, so I shall be back later in the week to tell you all about the new workshops I have coming up!

October 29, 2014

Autumn poetry, pictures & paintings

 The golden hues of Autumn have danced through the trees surrounding our wee cottage and trickled their way into my sketchbook. You perhaps already guessed that I love this time of year, it always fills me with the joy of being and ignites my creativity.
Walks in the ancient woodlands fill my pockets with treasures aplenty, each taken home and placed in pride of place on my studio 'seasons'  windowsill to bring me smiles through the darkening days.
 For me autumn feels like a comfortable ancient cloak wrapped about my shoulders, familiar & cosy an old friend to be greeted with joy after the longest of partings.
 Mr O tells says my hair is like "Autumn" and that as we walk in those quiet places I disappear into the surroundings, ha!  so it seems I am indeed an Autumn lass.
 I stop at every turn to take my photos, forever astounded by the hues and textures Mother Nature provides, inspiration for my paintings for years to come.
 Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of wee messages left by fae folk, hearts hidden here & there if you remember to stay still awhile and look for those secret places..
 Even the sunsets seem imbued with Autumnal colour.  It seems the perfect way to say goodbye to the day, to stand on our doorstep and watch the sun slowly sinking into the night leaving velvet darkness.
So I am away back to my paper and my paints to try and capture the essence of Autumn, I'm not sure yet who will appear on the page, but she does have glorious hair.  I shall leave you with some words from one of my favourite Autumn poems by Thomas Hood

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
  Pearling his coronet of golden corn."

it can be read in full here 

October 08, 2014

Art journaling workshops

Back during the long hazy days of Summer, I had the pleasure of teaching my first "Introduction to Art Journaling" course.  Set in the lovely surroundings of the Franca Bruno shop in Gatehouse of Fleet,  a beautiful old  converted church,  it was the perfect setting for an evening of creativity.    There was much laughter, chatter, creativity and playing with paints, pens and papers.  Franca provided a delicious array of refreshments to keep us going and someone bought in a big bowl of fresh from the garden raspberries!
 I have been working on a programme of workshop based activities over the past year, with the view to teaching creative play, based around topics that can also take the participant on a journey of self discovery and nurture their soul.   It was a joy to see these lovely folk letting go and "playing" with the materials I provided, and coming up with some beautiful pieces of work. When teaching the workshops, I demonstrate a variety of techniques and medium and with creative prompts folk then experiment and get creative themselves.
 My own art journaling is now an extension of me, a place where I capture my hopes and dreams, emotions and thoughts through art and words. A place I can experiment and play creatively.
An art journal can bring greater insight and understanding of self, it can enhance the ability to listen to our inner voice and heighten our self awareness. By putting down our thoughts it focuses out attention and  allows us to explore them. Journaling is also a great stress reliever, and a wonderful way to discover new talents or awake old ones.
During my workshops we explore self expression, art-making and journaling all in one go.  You don't have to be an artist to participate, all you need is the desire to be creative and an art journal. So if you ever felt you wanted to:
* Discover your artist within
* Begin a creative practice
* Learn to have some creative fun
* Get in touch with and nurture your soul
* Explore creative expression
* Learn how to start creating an art journal
* Begin your journey of self discovery
* Learn art techniques

then perhaps heart journaling is for you.
I have dates for my upcoming "Heart Journaling" workshops

 *  Tuesday 21st Oct, 7-9pm at the Franca Bruno shop. Gatehouse of Fleet £5pp

*  Saturday 22nd Nov 1.30-3.30 at The Art Room within the Old School, Dumfries £20pp
I am also hoping to run a series of weekly workshops in the New Year

You can find more information about the course or contact me if you are interested over on my website www.ruthieredden.com   or e-mail me at ruthieredden@hotmail.co.uk.

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 You may also be interested to read my post about the "Happiness Book" I keep here.

October 02, 2014

Glorious colour in nature and art . . . and a little Kaffe Fassett

As September turns and makes way for October, I am amazed at the glorious weather we are still having. It has been so mild, I can still sit out in the garden and marvel at the sparks of remaining Summer colour showing here and there! The richness of the colours combined with the hues of Autumn weave a rich tapestry indeed.
 All that colour reminded me of the exhibition I saw during our Summer break "Kaffe Fassett: 50 years in colour".  I have long loved Kaffe's work and was lucky enough to fit in a visit to Aberdeen on our way home to see this!
And, wow was it worth the effort.  I have to say the exhibition itself was one of the most inspiring I seen, it made me want to dash right home and experiment with lots of colour and pattern. Below is a video Kaffe made for the launch at the gallery.

As soon as you entered the exhibition you were enveloped by the richness and pattern of Kaffe's work, sumptuous knitted garments for which he never follows a pattern but designs each as he knits, inspired in part by the colours he has chosen.
Fantastic mixtures of colour and shapes in his needlepoint. I very first came across his work when years ago my lovely Mom bought me one of his tapestry books and the materials to stitch one of the cushions.
It is one thing viewing these works in a book, but seeing them in "person",  all grouped together is inspiring indeed. His patchwork kept me mesmerised for ages, the mixing of patterns to create such intricate designs was wonderful.
I came away with a copy of his autobiography, "Dreaming in colour" and couldn't put it down. It is filled with beautiful images of his work and inspirations. I love the way he views the world and sees endless possibilities for his knitting, mosaics, patchwork, ceramics, etc.  You can read more about Kaffe here on his website. As you can see from the top left and middle image below, I love colour and have lots of pattern and colour splashed about our home. 
The crochet throw (shown top left) was made many moons ago by my Grandma. I was recently inspired by one of her patchwork creations to make a quilt for my Grandaughter. My daughter decided the colours: hot pink, turquoise, white and I have been collecting scraps of fabrics for ages (even some snippets of her baby clothes will be added). The trouble was I didn't quite know where to start, it is to be a throw for a single bed, quite a large piece for a first go at patchwork!  Seeing the patchwork at  the exhibition though was perfect timing, and now I am inspired at last and can't wait to see the end result, I'm hoping to have it made by Christmas!Talking of wee rascals, look who's staying with Grannie for a few days. The best kind of distraction! 
Not forgetting of course the winners of my "Blessing Tree" draw.  Thank you to all who took the time to enter, both here and through twitter and Facebook, I loved the replies I got so much I just had to choose two winners in the end: Susan King & Hazel Lightfoot. Congratulations ladies.
As the shadows lengthen and Autumn spreads her amber glow I shall leave you with one of my favourite quotes and some of the words shared by readers of their favourite reasons for loving Autumn ~ Enjoy!

The colors, the cool crisp air, the smell of leaves and apples, and I get to bring out my favourite scarves and boots! I could happily in eternal autumn.

Autumn... colours, leaves, berries, low sunshine and stunning sunsets x
the changing colours, the cooling weather, warm cardigans, kicking through crunchy leaves, warm puddings and custard.

Foggy mornings, spider webs looking like necklaces, porridge for breakfast, leaves turning and that lovely 'smell' in the air.

I love the warmth of the Sun and the cool air; I love the colors of the deciduous trees; I love the lighting at this time - it's such a clear light; I love Hallowe'en; my birthday is at the very end of Autumn so you know I must love the season since I was born into it!

The light, the light, the glorious light....

I love all the seasons, but being a person who loves color, Autumn in New England is really beyond astonishing EVERY single year. 

Here in Southern Wisconsin the Autumn leaves and colors are just starting to show...my favorite time of the year.

Autumn; I was born on a Wednesday in October, like a seed cast willy-nilly under the opulent leaves. Potential in waiting. And my mother named me Hazel, as the asplendent Harvest sun lit all the shells of my fruits. Autumn reminds us to let go; a reminder to surrender. As a creative farer, an artist, we carry this emblem to continue yielding to the Divine, allowing its imagery to flow through us, as rain through Autumn moss.

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I have recently updated my Etsy shop "Mythweaver" and now accept direct payments from visa, credit cards etc as well as the usual paypal. Do visit for a peep at my work. I am soon going to be uploading lots of new goodies very over the next couple of weeks!