Art Camp at Home #6 – Kelly Kilmer Online!

This week’s Art Camp at Home  features a new online class with Art Journaling Artist and blogging expert Kelly Kilmer.

Kelly’s newest class is Ways of Seeing, An Artist’s Guide to Composition and Design.

KKilmer 2014-001

Kelly’s classes are always hands-on instruction and you learn by doing. All of Kelly’s online classes are loaded with techniques and generally use supplies you already have on hand. Best of all Kelly has maintained her low, low, low price of  $20.00 for this class. The class includes access to Kelly throughout the class.  There is also a student forum to share your work and interact with the other students via Yahoo. And, if you are new to Art Journaling, this is a great way to try it on to see if it fits. You can take this class anytime, anywhere.

Kelly has several other online classes in a comparable price range available once you are over at her blog.  She also has a number of in-person workshops through out the year. She teaches regularly in California and the Southwest (AZ & CO) and also hits the East Coast (MA & NY) once or twice a year.

LW&KK eyes open

July 2013

Kelly was one of my first art journaling teachers. She has been my mentor (even if she doesn’t know it) since 2009.

After taking my first in-person class with her in 2009 I signed up for her “A Prompt a Day” online class. I think I did A Prompt a Day every month for 5 or 6 months. During that time I made a full journal spread almost every day! This is when my habit of art journaling every day was established.

We never managed to get her to an Art Camp for Women in Colorado, but it was not for lack of trying!

So whether you are new at Art Journaling and Mixed-media art or an old hand – you will get more than your money’s worth with Kelly Kilmer.

As always your questions and ideas  are welcome – please use the comment feature. If you include an email addie – you will be answered personally.

And if you are nearby – let me know and we may enjoy that glass and this class together.18

Lori Goes Steampunk! Art Camp for Women

Check out Lori’s most recent post at for her Stmpnk Standing book
guest gig over at Artistcellar. This is the last day of their blog party so you might still have a chance to win a prize!

Artist in the Spotlight – Dea Fischer – Part II

We have the enormous privilege of meeting many amazing women artists as we go along putting together our Art Camp offerings.  We can’t have them all here at Art Camp – every year – so we are at least going to let you meet some of them for yourself.

These interviews can get long, but you will meet wonderful artists and role-models for how you may want to be when you grow up – I know I have (and I’m in my 60s). To read the article in its entirety (Part I and II) click here.

Dea Fischer – Part 2


AC4W: Do you have any off-the-cuff tips for beginners? Women that would like to become full or even part time artists?

No one can make you an artist per se, that compulsion to express yourself in a visual way is born within you. However, becoming a practicing artist happens by calling yourself an artist, and acting like one. When you do this, it is amazing how quickly everyone around you begins to treat you like an artist in response. What does acting like a practicing artist look like? The single thing that made the greatest difference for me, and every other working artist I know, was to have a dedicated studio space in which to have ready access to all my materials and tools, to surround myself with things that inspire me, and to have a door to close against the intrusions of the world.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a fabulous purpose-built and kitted out space or a table in a corner, it is yours.

There is another thing that is an absolute essential for me and for every other working artist I know. That is to make attendance in your studio part of your daily practise. I spend time in my studio every day, even if it is only ten minutes.  Often, that time is spent pottering around, cleaning up or sorting my materials, but it all goes to putting me in the creative frame of mind required to lead me to work ideas. When I have my tools or my materials readily accessible and in my hands, it is a small step to using them.  I try to do a little bit of something every day to keep me in that head space, and it really does help me to get quickly down to work when the muse strikes.  I always keep several projects cooking at once, between large and smaller projects, so that I can keep the flow going while I’m waiting for one to dry, etc.

The other essential is exposure.  You need to fill your vessel.  Trying to draw inspiration from a dry and empty vessel is a recipe for failure and disillusionment.  By experiencing art, connecting with other artists and exposing yourself to creativity, you enrich your inner life, inspire your mind and fill your vessel.  Feed yourself with activities that enrich and fulfill you.  Give your muse something to work with.

When you get stuck with your work – do you have any tricks to get unstuck?

I’m never able to answer this question because I never get stuck. I have the opposite problem: I never have enough time to articulate all the ideas I have.  I work in many disciplines, so if one isn’t working for me, I just move to something else or focus on a different medium for awhile.  I have only had one instance of something akin to getting stuck in recent years.  I was under pressure to produce a piece of work for a deadline.  I wasn’t inspired and the piece I was trying to create wasn’t working.  It wasn’t working because I was trying to force it.  I pulled the piece apart and started again, and it emerged as one of my best pieces.  It could only do so because I recognised it wasn’t working, and that I was trying to force something that wasn’t right or wasn’t ready, and I was prepared to stop and backtrack, and to not beat myself up about it.  I wrote a blog post about the experience:

Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

I never seem to lack for inspiration, but I do have a ritual.  I usually tidy my studio before I start working.  My studio gets into a hell of a mess when I’m teaching a lot and running, running, running. I tend to just put stuff down and close the door.   But I can’t work that way. I need to have my tools and materials accessible and under my hand, and to be able to move freely around the room. Otherwise, I get irritated and frustrated. I avoid that by tidying up the room and my desk first. That time helps me to connect and get into the right zone or head space and prepare for work. It also inspires me by ‘visiting’ with my things. My space is my sanctuary, the cradle of my creativity. I bare my soul to its walls and it embraces me with tenderness.  I am a solitary and contemplative artist, and there is a considerable spiritual element to my work. I need space and peace in which to still the chaos and listen to my spirit and my thoughts.  When I am able to do that, I produce my best work.  As a wife and mother with at least two full time jobs, I also have a tendency to work through the night!

AC4W:  Do you have other jobs other than making art?   If so, please give us some details.

You’d never know it, but I actually have a full time job!  I am a conservator and clerk at a busy public library in Alberta, which means, among other work, I am responsible for maintaining the health of the collection through repair and rebinding of the books. It’s a wonderful environment that keeps me visible in the heart of my community and provides me with the flexibility to pursue my visual arts career in tandem.  In addition to that, I volunteer extensively in my community.  For example, I give free public workshops and engage my community in making a public art project every year during our ArtsPeak Festival of the Arts.  I also teach a free workshop during Alberta Culture Days, volunteer for our annual Kids Art exhibition and teach free public workshops on bamboo lantern making for our Festival of Lights.  I utilize my legal skills in working on local government committees, and for the last two years have chaired an Advisory Committee on a volunteer basis to design and implement a new community arts centre in our community
AC4W: With regard to teaching: Why – do you teach?

Anyone who spends any time with me will quickly either be won over or utterly exhausted by my boundless enthusiasm for communicating my love of nature and creativity. Barely secondary in my motivations is my love for lighting the spark of creativity in adults and children alike, and teaching them the value of understanding and interacting on a meaningful level with both our natural and human environment.  To me, the end is far more important than the means – knitting our community together through a love and appreciation of each others diverse gifts and the environment we are privileged to live in. Engaging the members of my community in acts of random creation is the most deeply rewarding and fulfilling activity I have ever been involved in, and the personal satisfaction I derive from it only spurs me to repeat the experience.

Do you have a particular method or slant on teaching others to make art?

I’m all about instilling confidence.  My teaching skills were gained during my career as a lawyer, and I discovered that I have a gift for taking an impenetrable subject and breaking it down into understandable language. I have been delighted to translate those skills into my visual arts career.  The rewards of seeing a ‘can’t do’ person emerge from the end of a workshop with a beautiful piece of work we’ve accomplished together step by step are vast.  I guess the other characteristic of a workshop with me is talk:  good, satisfying, deep and soulful connecting.

Door Book

AC4W: Do you have a community of artists in your everyday life? If so how did you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?

Being part of a community of artists is very important to me. I am moved and inspired by the creative spiral of energy that is generated through sharing and collaboration. Many of my closest personal friends are artists, and we have a strong and close-knit community of support and encouragement and love that I truly treasure. My husband is also an artist (although we had to stop sharing a studio if we wanted to stay married. . . . !), and we are very active in our local arts community.  I held a position on the executive of the local arts guild for seven years, I have spent two years chairing a local government advisory committee designing and implementing a community arts centre in my community.  My husband manages a contemporary art gallery.  There is just nothing for it but to get involved, and our participation in these ways has been instrumental in helping us to build the creative life we craved.  I am part of a wider creative community that has been no less influential.  I am a member of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, and we have an active local chapter, which has widened my community considerably.  I also participated at a national level as a member of the CBBAG National Education Committee. However, the biggest influence has been my online community.  I participate in online groups through which I exchange with artists from all over the world on a daily basis. Through Facebook, my website and participation in a book arts list serve, my community has grown enormously. As a result of this interaction, my website is now regularly accessed from over 120 countries around the world.  Just getting involved, speaking up in these various forums, having a voice, encouraging my colleagues wherever I can and being present has built that community into a gift of immeasurable magnitude.  Part of my practise is mentoring young women artists. I am in turn mentored by several older and more established artists than I, all women, who continue to support and encourage my work, and who I know will be prodding me, lovingly and gently, but firmly, if they haven’t seen any new work from me in awhile. Collage Natural TransformationAC4W:   Where are you published and where can we look at your work?

I am published by Interweave Press (now part of F & W Media) and have had material published in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Pages magazine, Art Journalling Exposed emag and Studios magazine.

I also have a workshop DVD published through Interweave called “Handmade Book Essentials”.

My work was published in Quarry Books’ “1,000 Artists’ Books”

My work is held in private collections in Canada, the United States, England and Japan.
It is worth a peruse of my website All publications are listed on there with links.
AC4W: What do you think about residential artist retreats and workshops?

Residential retreats and workshops bear the hallmarks of community I referred to earlier. The spiral of creative energy generated is inspiring, and every student and teacher is a potential new friend. Workshops often involve a great deal of sharing, either of tools and materials, ideas and resources, or in deep soul talks. I actually love teaching workshops to small groups, because the talking that happens is so enriching for us all.

Art piece by Dea
AC4W: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?

I hope to have pulled back from working full time and be able to devote much more time to my own studio practice. Teaching and publishing create a demand for my work, which is wonderful and deeply appreciated, but the correlation is that I get less time in the studio to produce new work to fulfill that demand. Balance is needed!

I adore what I do and I just want to do more of it.  I am always working to expand my bookbinding skills and deepen my expertise and understanding. I am fascinated to explore some more alternative photographic processes and learn to develop my own film. I recently purchased a printing press and am looking forward to creating small letterpress runs of some of my simpler books. I enjoy writing and recording to reach a wider audience, and I hope to expand my published materials over that time.

For more of  Dea and her art go to her website:


Moose, Marmots & Margaritas -Art Camp for Women June 2012

That was fun!

Women coming and going,

Women Coming

Women Coming

More Women Coming

More Women Coming

Women Going

Women Going

moose and marmots,


Moose - First Night




moonsets and sunrises







More Yoga

More Yoga

and eating



 and art, art, art!

What was the best thing? I cannot tell a lie – it was all good!

Our first group of women, some coming for mini-camp and some coming for an entire week were so excited that it was hard to get past the squeals to find out who was whom.

Our first day turned out to be a full moon and that just added to the excitement.

Full Moon-Moonset

Full Moon-Moonset begins first Full Day!

We jammed through our art journaling classes, squeaked through the disperse dying – this was new to everyone – we made unbelievable sweet little jewelry bags –  consumed our weight daily in cashews and chocolate, took a break in the afternoon for some wine and then dinner. In the evenings we had the Art Camp color game, writing practice, fashion shows and access to all the art goodies.

Suddenly Mini-Camp was over and our best friends were leaving! Having thought ahead we had a lovely diversion in the form of Regina Rooney teaching us Gratefulness Boxes.

Regina with Gratefulness Box

Regina with Gratefulness Box

While that class was going on the staff spiffed up the lodge for the newcomers. (Thank you Suzi Homemaker for the vacuuming.)  This was no small task as the art debris was getting a bit deep.

Then YIPPEE! Our Deluxe Campers along with Carol Sloan, the teacher and bookmaking expert, arrived!

Carol Sloan - Bookmaker Extraordinaire

Carol Sloan - Bookmaker Extraordinaire

And we started in again! How much fun can you cram into 4 days – I think we tested the limits on this one. The resident Moose got a little further afield and harder to find over the weekend, but we still found her, the marmots romped through the field across the road regardless of weddings and tae kwando kids.

I’m afraid I saw one or two of the The Works! Campers stagger a bit as they departed…

[more installments about our June camp will follow to fill in the blanks – photos added daily to Facebook]


Carol Sloan with Her Bookmaking Process|Art Camp for Women

Honoring Your Creativity

Why is it that when you have multiple deadlines, projects due, blogs screaming for attention, your family screaming for attention, the cat just screaming – that you can’t focus on any of that?

Page edges

Page ends from Carol Sloan's class

All you want to do is that project that you can’t get off your mind…you know which one I’m talking about, right?

The one that you sketch out in your journal.

It invades your very sleep, trying to stir you from those warm covers.

Everything you do reminds you of it.

I recently had a project like that – wouldn’t leave me alone so I finally gave in and started working on it. I spent about three weeks perfecting the screen printing images, practicing with different paints and doing a ton of hand stitching.


Gold binding stitches

Gold Binding Stitches

Blue Binding Stitches

Blue Binding Stitches

I’m that way about every project that I do.

I spend a few days working in my sketchbook – drawing images, writing out different ideas.

Then days at the studio table evaluating paints, glues, gels and such.

I get very particular about making sure that I’m using the best product for the project.

Take this last project I had going. I was making reverse applique tee shirts with screen printed images.

I created four samples, each one with a different fabric paint (or paint with fabric medium in it).  I followed the instructions from the manufacture to the letter.

Then I started throwing the samples into the washing machine to see if the paints did what they were supposed to do. I literally spent over a week investigating the supplies before I ever went to the creating phase!

But I know the best paint for that particular job.

I’m that way about most everything that I do. I like to know my materials inside and out.

Good and bad.

And I love learning from people that know their supplies that way too. We can give you solid answers because we have spent a lot of time at the work table.

The book making class that I am teaching at Art Camp this June?

I spent about two years working with different gels and mediums until I found the few that I like working with.

I painted a ton of different paper until I settled on the one that I like to put in this type of book.

When we paint the pages for our book, we use a lot of different painting techniques to create depth and the layered look that so many people love.

Book Pages from Carol's class - 1

Book Pages from Carol's class - 1

I’ll bring some of my favorite Thermofax screens for everyone to use in class. You will love using screen printing to embellish your pages.

I’ll also bring plenty to sell. I have a stash of them that I only sell in class…you have to be there to get these special screens!

Book Pages from Carol's class -2

More Book Pages from Carol's class

I’ll also bring some of my stash of vintage linens, laces and things to share with everyone. I love adding these worn artifacts to my books.

I often add pieces of clothing that belonged to loved ones or that I have found in antique/junk shops. It really adds so much personality to each book.

Vintage Doilies for Bookmaking

Vintage Doilies for Bookmaking





I have always loved books. I loved to read as a kid (still do actually), loved spending hours at the library.

There is just something so appealing about the construction of a book.

Something mysterious about opening up a book – the promise of what is there maybe.

Romance, mystery, action or spiritual affirmation.

I always wanted to make books. I made simple ones when I was younger- nothing too elaborate or fancy.

Side Shot another binding

Side Shot another binding

But the more I made, the more I wanted to make. I like to add my personality to each one.

I love turning people onto book making. It is a very rewarding past time.

Painted Book Pages

Painted Book Pages

People often ask me what I do with the books after I make them (apart from selling them).

I tell them that there are times that the book itself is the work of art.

I admire it for what it is.

I thumb through it, drinking in the beauty of each page.

Reading the words that the color delivers to me.

Close-up Book Pages

Close-up Book Pages

Other times I use them as journals, recording the deep dark secrets that haunt my soul. (no wait – I’d have to burn them if I did that…)

I use them as sketchbooks – drawing the world around me with urban sketching or as work books to record incoming ideas.

No matter how I use them they are always receptacles of some ideal, some vision.

Double page

They become the home of a moment in my creativity. They allow me to honor that creativity within myself.

They become the home of a moment in my creativity.
They allow me to honor that creativity within myself.