I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Monday 31 July 2023

Brand new Summer Botanical stamps at PaperArtsy

Hello all!  I'm so thrilled to be sharing my newest stamp sets by PaperArtsy over on their blog this evening, and also live with you on Facebook in the PaperArtsy People Group at 8.30pm Europe, 7.30pm UK, 2.30pm Eastern, 11.30am Pacific - but you can always catch up later too!  I couldn't be happier to introduce the three new sets: EAB33 Strawberry Edition, EAB34 Cornflower Edition and EAB35 Currants Edition.

The three new sets of Botanicals are full of summer's beauty and bounty, just as the fruit starts to ripen - maybe even starting to look towards autumn.  They complete the seasonal year of these herbal, theatrical, historical, botanical collections, and I couldn't be more proud of all of them.  

I'm so grateful to everyone at PaperArtsy for their hard work and their support... it really is a joyful collaboration.

I hope you'll hop over to the PaperArtsy blog to enjoy the (many) pictures of the (many) samples I've been creating!  And I hope that some of you will be able to join me for the Live Launch, or at least catch up with it later - and apologies for the squished formatting.  It was perfect for the first couple of seconds and then Facebook wrecked it.  (I'll share the link here afterwards, as always).

And I hope you didn't miss yesterday's blogpost about the amazing BONUS stamp set and curated paint collections I've created as part of a wonderful PaperArtsy/Fodder School collaboration... It's been all go around here lately, hasn't it?  I'm now looking forward to a slightly quieter August!

Have a wonderful week, everybody, and happy Summer!

I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.
Toni Morrison

If it could only be like this always—always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe.
Evelyn Waugh

Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know. I admire lolling on a lawn by a water-lilied pond to eat white currants and see goldfish: and go to the fair in the evening if I'm good.
John Keats

Sunday 23 July 2023

A very special Fodder School - PaperArtsy - Words & Pictures collaboration

I'm so thrilled to show you in detail the results of a very special collaboration between Fodder School, PaperArtsy and Words & Pictures.  If you take another look at the Fodder School 3 project I will be teaching, you may be able to guess at some of what's coming up!

I am absolutely delighted to have had the chance to design a brand new, original stamp set especially for my Fodder School 3 project - the Fodder Berry Edition.  The plate has beautiful berry variations with complementary quotes and small ephemera for background detailing.

Plus I've curated three sets of their fabulous Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic paints, combining colours specifically geared around this project, for the backgrounds and for painting botanical imagery, but of course they will be great for that whether you're making this project or not! The sets are: Botanical Basics, Berrylicious Brights, and Background Blues.

Botanical Basics - Three primaries (chosen to create my signature "cool" palette),
a dark (my much-loved French Roast) and a light (Snowflake - well, of course!).  
This set is designed to create a palette for botanical painting...
... and you also get a glaze - for extra-shiny berries!

Berrylicious Brights - a fabulous berry bright palette, perfect for mixing berry or floral colours.
 It will also take you through the berry seasons from summer into autumn. 
A great way to augment the Botanical Basics.

Background Blues - steely cool blues along with a cool grey and a warm grey, 
designed to create subtle layered backgrounds to let bright botanicals pop over the top.

It's absolutely not required to buy any of them in order to do my class - Fodder School actively encourages you to use what you have already in your stash.  Not all of the berries you see on the houses are stamped... one element of the classes I'll be teaching is about sketching them for yourselves!  Obviously, the stamps make life so much easier, so they are there for those who would like to add them to their stamp collection!  You can find more details here on the PaperArtsy website and your local independent PaperArtsy stockists (worldwide) should be able to help you out if you'd like to get your hands on them.

And of course you don't have to be signed up to Fodder School to play with these new designs, but you might want to think about coming on what I have no doubt will be an incredible year-long creative journey.  If you've seen any of the Fodder Challenge inspiration on offer, you already know what an amazing opportunity this is going to be. 

The Early Bird Pricing offer is $207.00 USD plus tax for the year. As a lump sum, it feels a lot, but that’s an entirely new mixed media art course each month for $17.25 USD + tax per month - that's just over €15, or around £13.50 at current exchange rates.   (This deal will last for five days only from 21st - 25th July so grab it while you can.)

There are loads more details about all that in my previous post, so I won't repeat it all here.  I really just wanted to share my excitement about having these new PaperArtsy toys to play with.  You can see more of the houses on the move in my own little personal Fodder School 3 video (the full trailer was in the previous post)... see below or simply click here

I'm really excited about the whole Fodder School adventure, and about these lovely new PaperArtsy/Fodder products, and so grateful for the collaboration that has brought them to life. I hope you will be too.

Happy Sunday, all!

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
Wendell Berry (!)

On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels...
Charles Dickens

Friday 21 July 2023

Fodder School 3 - Early Bird Offer starts today!

Hello all! I'm dropping in to share the news that booking for Fodder School 3 opens today with a very special limited-time Early Bird offer  EDITED - Early Bird is over now, I'm afraid, but you can of course still sign up for the course at the regular price which - cards on table - is still an incredible bargain for what's on offer.

All the details for registration are coming up later in this post, as well as the trailer for Fodder School 3.  I couldn't be more excited about being a teacher on this year-long online mixed media art course.  There are so many adventures ahead.

And here's another little peek at what I'll be sharing during my month of classes...

Not only that, but there's a very special bonus... a brand new, original stamp set designed especially around this Fodder School 3 project, in collaboration with PaperArtsy, as well as sets of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Paints that I've curated for painting botanical imagery... but more of those on Sunday! 

The Fodder Challenge has been a massive success with more than 17,500 participants.  What an incredible 12 days of creativity, inspiration, and connection.  It has been amazing seeing all the photos of fodder and being shared on Instagram #fodderchallenge and everywhere else. 

If you need extra time to catch up, the Fodder Challenge lessons will be available until August 4, 2022. If you still haven’t registered for this free event, you still can by simply clicking this link!  Yes, there's still time to find out how to create Floating Quotes of your very own... 

But now is the chance to follow through with those 12 teachers and spend a year diving deep into mixed media creativity. Fodder School 3 will be a year which will feed your creative spirit, add to your skill sets, and take you on journeys you haven't even imagined.

Even at full price it would be a bargain, but today Early Bird registration opens, and is available for the next five days, making it an even better deal.

All the details are further down this post...

But first let me share some more of what I've been creating inspired by the other teachers during the Fodder Challenge...

Day 7 - Gratitude Medals with Jennifer Wilkin Penick

You may recognise both the circles and the ribbons from the previous Fodder sessions... that's the joy of Fodder - you make it, and then you use it! But I did create new floating quotes for these, using some of Seth Apter's brilliant word stamps.

Day 8 - Tag Book with Megan Quinlan

Oh, I was in my happy place with this one... Megan offered up a brilliantly simple book structure, and shared her background technique, and then issued an invitation to play with theme, colour and imagery to suit ourselves.  Well, it was only ever going to be nature for me, wasn't it?!

Day 9 - Collaging with Christine Karpiak

Another lovely bit of creative playtime.  I started with paint-mixing tests I did before creating my Salty Rosemary project for the PaperArtsy blog recently, and they became the spines for the collaging in this series of five soothing panels (I was in need of some soothing by this stage of the game... the pace has been frenetic - in a lovely way, but frenetic nonetheless!)

One of the great joys for me of the whole thing has been taking the inspiration on offer and finding how it translates into my own palette of colours and styles.  It's given me a brilliant kick in the mojo, and I'm certain that the creative stimulation, joy, and discoveries will continue over the full year of Fodder School 3.

So how does Fodder School work?

The idea behind Fodder School is incredibly simple, yet the result is extraordinary.  On the first day of each month, a new instructor reveals a series of lessons and notes on handmade collage fodder creation. Then, two weeks later, lessons and notes on a big project using that collage fodder are available for you to watch.

You’ll also receive bonus lessons that arise spontaneously when this community of lifelong learners has something interesting to share, like a fresh take on the lessons of that month.

You’ll be part of a large community of makers sharing their Fodder School art on Instagram and in the optional private Facebook group. But of course you can choose simply to watch, learn and make without any pressure to interact at all, if that's the way you prefer it!

Fodder School lesson content is all pre-recorded, so you can work at your own pace, with “lifetime access.”  You'll also get lifetime access to all the classes from this year's Fodder Challenge - rather than losing them on August 5th.

What will I be sharing during my month of teaching?

Here are a few more sneak peeks of the Fodder School project I'll be teaching. In my classes alone, we'll be looking deep into nature, and playing with sketching, stamping, painting, house-building, and so much more!  I'm so looking forward to sharing my world of botanical sketching, 3D collaging, and of course my tiny houses.

Who else is teaching on Fodder School 3?

The twelve FS3 teachers are:

Alison Bomber @w0rdsandp1ctures

Barb Smucker @barbsmuckerstudio

Chris Karpiak @christinekarpiak

Di Venter @di.venter

Jennifer Wilkin Penick @jenniferwilkinpenick

Kecia Deveney @keciadeveney

Megan Quinlan @meganquinlanstudio

Sarah Gardner @juicy.s.art

Shay Kent @shaymichellestudios

Susanne Randers @mitkrearum

Tiffany Sharpe @tiffanysimplysharpe

Yetunde Rodriguez @yaytoonday

If you’d like more information, including biographies of all those creative artists, you can read all about it here.

What does it cost and when does it start?

The cost of Fodder School 3 is $237.00 USD + tax.  That really is incredibly good value for what you're getting - it works out at about $19.75 USD + tax per month for an amazing new course each month - delivered in two sets of classes. That's about €17.90 or £15.40 at current exchange rates.  Compare that to the individual cost of taking online mixed media art classes a la carte (estimated at $1,524.00 USD) and you'll see what incredible value Fodder School 3 offers.

And there's even more on offer than just the two sets of classes each month.  There will be bonus sessions cropping up throughout the year, as well as lots of introductory material already available to enjoy.

Once registered, you’ll have immediate access to Fodder School Orientation and lifetime access to Fodder Challenge 2023 (access to FC2023 will be directly inside of the FS3 classroom).

Fodder School 3 lessons begin on October 1, 2023 and run until September 30, 2024.  But as soon as you have access to the FS3 classroom, there are already fascinating Orientation videos available to watch, dealing with supplies and other helpful information, including one with me on paints and colour mixing - with its own little challenge included.

3,500 past students in Fodder Schools 1 and 2 can’t be wrong. Fodder School is an art course like no other, and I'd love you to come on this creative journey with us.  If you need a little more temptation, take a look at the Fodder School 3 trailer here.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and I'll be back with some more creative inspiration soon.

You can be cautious or you can be creative, but there's no such thing as a cautious creative.
George Lois

Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.
Albert Einstein

A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.
Elizabeth Gilbert

Sunday 16 July 2023

Fodder Journeys

Hello all!  Another three days of amazing classes have been shared in the Fodder Challenge classroom, and I've been on some big journeys with most of them.  The overall Fodder style seems very often include to bright colours and geometric patterns - neither of which, as you'll know, are really in my ballpark.  But I have found such creative stimulation and, on one occasion, pure bliss in letting my mojo re-interpret the offerings of the lessons into something that makes me happy.

And of course, that's really the whole point of inspiration - a starting point, something that triggers an idea or a question.  And it's also been hugely rewarding and heart-lifting seeing the journeys people have taken from the starting point of my Day 3 Floating Quote class.  

So I just thought I'd drop in and show you what I got up to with Days Four, Five and Six.  If you want to see the original projects which provided the creative spark, you can still register for the Fodder Challenge, completely free, at www.willawanders.com and you can just watch for a while to get the idea, or you might get sucked in to the whole shebang and find yourself on a creative journey of your own!

Day Four - "Woven" Fodder Papers with Sarah Gardner

I went way off-piste with this one, taking the lines and the brightly coloured repeated patterns of Sarah's class into my own world of vintage lettering and subtle neutrals.

Day Five - Mixed Media Tokens with Kecia Deveney

Oh, what a wonderful time I had with this.  Again, as suggested by Kecia, I went with the colours and shapes which make my heart sing - so botanicals and watercolours (specifically Daniel Smith's Moonglow and others) obviously put in an appearance.

Day Six - Gelli Printed Fabric Ribbons with Yetunde Rodriguez

It was my turn not to have any of the required ingredients, so after trying Yetunde's method with some of my supplies (with very limited success), I reverted to good old Tim Holtz stamps and Distress Inks and had a lovely messy time!

I hope that gives you a little flavour of what's going on in my interpretations of the Fodder Challenge classes.  It's been a brilliant creative kickstart to my slightly sluggish mojo.

I hope you're all doing well.  Happy crafting, all!

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.
Edith Wharton

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Day Three is Me! Time for my Fodder Challenge Class

Hello all, it's almost time for my Fodder Challenge Class - in fact, if you're reading this on Wednesday 12th July, it's already live and ready to watch!  If you're registered, this link should take you straight there. Here is the Floating Quote Quartet we're going to be making...

I've been enjoying the first couple of days of classes so much... it's lovely to be fed so much inspiration and play around to find out what my take on it wants to be.  Here are a couple of photos of what I've been up to with the classes from Day One with Tiffany Sharpe...

... and Day Two with Barb Smucker...

And Day Three is ME!

If you are not one of the more than 15,000 people worldwide already signed up for the FREE online mixed media classes happening between 10th and 21st July, you're not too late.  The videos are available until 4th August, so you can join in any time and still have a chance to catch up with anything you've missed.

Find all the details over at www.willawanders.com and register too, if you're not already playing along.  I hope to see you in class today!!

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order to learn how to do it.
Pablo Picasso

Monday 10 July 2023

Podcast Interview

Hello all!  Just in case you're interested, you can hear me talking about words, pictures and creativity in the new episode of the Willa Wanders Podcast.  It was a wide-ranging conversation with Wendy Solganik a.k.a. Willa Wanders (she is also the co-founder of Fodder School, along with Tiffany Sharpe).  You can listen here...

It's Day One of the Free Fodder Challenge today too (running from 10th - 21st July, with classes available to watch until 4th August)... so you could even listen to my meanderings while you play along with the very first class!

It's still free to register for the challenge, which you can do here at www.willawanders.com (which is also where the podcast can be found).

I hope you all have a great week... I'm really looking forward to lots of mixed media inspiration in the Challenge, and since I can't remember what I said in the podcast interview, I guess I'd better listen in to that too!

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
Gloria Steinem

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Lao Tzu

Friday 7 July 2023

A few tags and a Fodder Challenge reminder...

Hello all!  I'm just dropping in with a few tags that have been on the go lately... many of them as a result of Tim Holtz's brilliant nudge to make use of any unused or part-finished backgrounds we have lying around (you can see just some of my hoarded backgrounds here if you have access to Instagram).

I also wanted to add a reminder that the Free Fodder Challenge starts on Monday.  More than 12,500 artists from around the world have already signed up to join in... why not join them?  You'll get 12 free online mixed media art classes, one with each of the 12 teachers contributing to Fodder School 3 (starting in October)... and yes, one of them is me!  The classes will arrive daily from 10th - 21st July, and you can create along with the videos, share your creations on social media, or just watch for inspiration if you prefer.  All the details and registration can be found here... it would be great to see you there.  Here's another sneak peek of the project I'll be sharing...

And here are some of those tag backgrounds which have finally made their way to the finishing post...

That moth background is one of my all-time favourites, and it sat there waiting for so long because I didn't want to risk wrecking it with whatever I did next!  I made it by using the Perspective Moth die by Tim Holtz as a stencil, spritzed with some Distress Mica Sprays along with plenty of other Distress Inks and Oxides... something I must do again some time soon, because I love it.

Do you ever put your favourite backgrounds aside (for years!) because you couldn't bear to spoil them?  I'm just curious... 

I hope you all have an amazing weekend, and I hope that I'll get to see some of you joining in with the Free Fodder Challenge very soon.  Happy crafting, all!

Every moment is a fresh beginning.
T. S. Eliot