Just some of the books that were created during the Archivist's Relic

Recap: Leighanna Light Workshops 2015

(l-r) Cindi, Leighanna, Tracey, Dixie and Colleen during the Guardians of the Discarded workshop.

We didn’t stop laughing for three whole days.

Leighanna Light did not disappoint during her visit to Northern Colorado on September 17-18-19. We had an outstanding time painting, texturing, sewing, cutting, building and etching…we didn’t want it to end!

On Thursday, we started around 9:30 am and went until 8:30 pm for Venetian Surfaces: Plaster, Wax & Canvas Deck. It was a long class, one that Leighanna usually teaches in a day and a half, but Susan, Karen, Marcia, Lynn and I ended up with such yummy decks that we thought it was totally worth the “sacrifice” of having an 11-hour day. Leighanna always tends to find the most amazing products at the hardware store that help kick up one’s art just that one more notch, to borrow a phrase, and her finds this year were no less impressive than in previous years. No, I’m not going to give away Leighanna’s secrets…you need to learn directly from the master!

Just some of the books that were created during the Archivist's Relic
Just some of the books that were created during the Archivist’s Relic.

Friday, we created small books in the Archivist’s Relic. It was the same group as in Thursday’s class, so we were getting very comfortable with each other and super punchy, so there was a lot of hilarity. There was a slight wrinkle in the progress of the class, too, but Leighanna totally rolled with it, as did we all, and our skills at improvisation were pretty impressive! My favorite part of the workshop was that Leighanna created the book covers ahead of time so that we could spend more time on the techniques she was teaching, rather than on cutting and gluing canvas for the book cover, not to mention letting the book cover glue dry!

Memorable Quotes
of the Weekend

“That’s what she said.”

“The more texture…(long pause)…the more texture.”

“Usually students are more polite.”

“Bring it over here and read it to me.”

“I was highstepping!”

“When you go out drinking with Karen, bring rope. That’s all I need to say.”

“Keep your hands off my signatures.”

“It has the fizz, you don’t bring the fizz.”

“I think you need to put a quarter in the jar just for what you’re thinking.”

The most anticipated class, Guardians of the Discarded, was on Saturday and we learned how to make an “eclectic free standing figurative assemblage.” See photos below of just some of the sculptures made that day. Personally, I am most pleased with my work from Saturday when I look at what I created on all three days. I’ve never built a sculpture like this and I’m excited to see what I can do using my newfound skills. I tend to be afraid of power tools, but I love that Leighanna pushes us to rely less on glue and to use drilled holes, wire, nails, screws and other items to build. The look is just…better, somehow.

As usual, my personal favorite part of Leighanna’s classes, besides the fact that she’s a great teacher and has a wonderful laugh, is discovering what she puts in her class kits. The girl finds the most interesting objects to include in her kits and I am ashamed to say that I have hoarded elements from her kits for years. Next time I’ll need to take a photo of her kit so that you can see all of the amazing things she includes. Leighanna is really something else.

I bet you’re dying to join us next year, aren’t you? 🙂 Thank you, Leighanna, for a wonderful three days of arting and escaping from daily life. We look forward to what you have in store for us next time!



Q+A with Leighanna Light

If someone took one of your workshops and had never done mixed media or assemblage before, what would you tell her before she began?

I would remind them that they are there to have fun, to meet like minded people, to learn and try new techniques, and not to stress about the final outcome. I encourage new students to stay open and let go of any expectations about the workshop. I tell them that there really are no mistakes that they cannot fix, and that it is impossible to screw up. To keep their eyes open for happy accidents. To try new techniques, but then pick and choose what they love, and focus on that, rather than struggling with a technique that they don’t like or isn’t working for them.

You’re a favorite of our local mixed media artists and have been here numerous times — What’s your favorite thing about teaching in Northern Colorado?

I love the clean air, the gorgeous mountains and the cool weather. The abundance of art galleries, antique stores and the cool vibe in Loveland and Fort Collins. For selfish reasons, I love the fact that CO is close enough to drive, just a short 6 hour drive from Taos, that I can pack as much crap in my car as I want, and don’t have to worry about weight limits on my bags! I also love that I am able to spend time with wonderful friends that I am not able to see very often.

When you visit NoCo, do you have any special shops where you like to stop in and browse?

The number one stop on my list is always Les Sunde’s shop in Fort Collins, Swamp Gas & Gossamer.

There are 4 or 5 antique shops in Loveland that I always visit, but can’t remember the name of any of them! And there are always great exhibits at the Loveland Museum.
Last year I discovered the Mishawaka, a beautiful concert venue right on the river where I saw Conor Oberst.

What should a new-to-you artist expect from one of your workshops?

My workshops are laid back and relaxed. There are no rules or mistakes & there is nothing that you can screw up….yes, reader of my words, even you!
My workshops are like a buffet at an AA meeting. I offer a plethora of techniques, tips & tricks, you can take what you want & leave the rest!
I do not teach cookie cutter workshops where everyone makes the same project & each piece looks exactly the same. Even though we are all using same basic supplies, the end result is wildly different for everyone.
I like to play music, giggle a lot, tell stories and laugh! The most important thing for me is to make the class fun & make sure people enjoy whatever it is that they are working on.

Of the workshops you’re teaching this September, which is your favorite? Which do you predict will be our favorite?

I swear that I am not trying to be politically correct when I say this, but I love all of them for different reasons. They are all so different! I love to teach people how to create beautiful surfaces with plaster, gesso & ink. I love walking people through the problem solving aspect of assemblage, and bookmaking is just so satisfying in the end.

When I am at home working on my own art, I love the variety and I don’t think that I could ever just focus on one thing, I guess this is why I don’t really have a favorite. When I am making assemblages, I am in my head a lot & doing a lot of problem solving. I spend a lot of time arranging objects, solving attachment issues and staring at my work! Nothing looks right until after I assemble all of the parts, but then it all comes together beautifully at the end.

When I get tired of being in my head so much, I move on to surface design, which is more ethereal, meditative & free form. I don’t have to put much thought into what I’m doing, I just enjoy the process & being in the moment with the mediums & textures until I come up with something that I really love.

It’s the same with bookmaking, sewing the book is the brain work, but I love spending time playing with paint & gesso to create the pages.

Do you have any surprises in store? Can you give us a hint?


No… the word is “surprise”, right?!

How do you differentiate your work from that of other assemblage instructors?

I guess I am more of a purist. I don’t often alter the found objects that I use in my work, even though I absolutely love that look and so appreciate the talent that it takes to work in that way. I use found objects that I love, either because of the memories that they invoke, or because of the beautiful colors, patinas & textures and I just can’t bring myself to alter them.

And I almost never use glue, I try to find a more secure way of attaching things.

Do you still have the first piece of art you ever made? What do you think when you look at it?

I don’t have the first piece of art that I ever made, I don’t even remember it, but I do have the first assemblage that I ever made hanging on the wall above my computer.
When I look at it, I think “What were you thinking? You’ve come a long way baby!!!”
That said, I can’t seem to let it go.

A few years ago I invited Jesso Reno, an extremely talented painter, out to Albuquerque to teach a workshop. When he came to my house, he saw this assemblage & asked me if I wanted to trade it for one of his paintings. I was so honored…and stunned that he was interested, but I just couldn’t do it!

To fully appreciate this, you have to understand that Jesse is god to me! I love his work so much, I have 3 or 4 of his paintings hanging in my studio. His 3 day class was one of the best workshops I’ve ever taken & on top of all of this, he is such a great person.

What do you wish I had asked you in this interview?

After a nine hour drive home from Art Unraveled yesterday, I wish you had asked me if I’d like to take a nap. Someone- anyone- please give me permission to take a nap!!!!!

What’s your favorite word?

My latest favorite word is “perspective”. Several months ago, I was in Bryce Canyon photographing the rock formations. I noticed how even moving the camera a half inch offered an entirely different perspective. It’s been a rough year, and I try to apply this to life events. I find that when I shift my perspective ever so slightly, my whole attitude & emotional frame of mind can change drastically in an instant.

And “kerfluful”


Leighanna – You have permission to take a nap, after all, you live in the Land of Mañana! But seriously, we cannot wait to see you in September and the surprises you have in store for us! Thanks for the interview and we look forward to your workshops this fall. 

Do you have a question you’d like to ask future workshop instructors? If so, please email your questions or comment below!

a few thoughts on creating.

Jon Schindehette blogs over here and he recently wrote these words:


We don’t make mistakes – we just react to the choices we make.

It’s about the mark making, not about the tools you use.

The tools are not your limitation. The limitation is your voice.


Wise words to think about. That’s all. Have a great day!


Q+A with Kelly Kilmer

New feature: A little Q+A with the instructors. Let us know what you think!

If someone took one of your workshops and had never art journaled before, what would you tell her before she began?

Art journaling is for everyone, males and females of all ages and stages. Art journaling is your place to play, experiment, question, explore and just be creative. It can be about the words, the images, the playfulness, but in the end, it should be about the process and the journey.

You’re a favorite of our local mixed media artists and have been here numerous times — What’s your favorite thing about teaching in Northern Colorado?

The students and the location!!! I LOVE my Colorado students. I always look forward to trekking and teaching there.

When you visit NoCo, do you have any special shops where you like to stop in and browse?

I usually am in and out but I’m looking forward to visiting Blue Twig Studios [Ed. note: This shop is in Colorado Springs.]. Last year I stopped at (I can’t think of the name of that paper store in Boulder that I loved) and would love to go back there some time! I’m usually too busy teaching to do much shopping though Fort Collins does have a great Barnes and Noble with magazines I rarely see elsewhere.

What should a new-to-you artist expect from one of your workshops?

Lots of new techniques and ideas that can be applied to any art form! You will walk out with your head spinning with new ideas and a desire to keep creating.

Of the four workshops you’re teaching this July, which is your favorite? Which do you predict will be our favorite?

I love them all for different reasons. I try to make each class unique and different. I loved working and making each one.

Do you have any surprises in store? Can you give us a hint?

We’ll be digging deep and learning a variety of new techniques and ideas in each class. I’m bringing new toys and I guarantee that not only will you learn a lot but you’ll laugh and have a great time.

How do you differentiate your work from that of other art journaling instructors?

My work is very personal. I take what I’m doing very seriously and I strongly believe that everyone is creative in some form. If I can do this, so can you. I am very passionate about what I do and how I teach.

Do you still have the first piece of art you ever made? What do you think when you look at it?

Every piece of art represents possibility and a journey. I keep all of my journals and even have my very first ones.

What’s your favorite word?

I asked my son, Tristan, and he said, LOVE. I think he’s right!


Thank you, Kelly! We can’t wait to see you next month!

32 More Days Until Kelly Kilmer is Here!

Our ever-intrepid Karen Campbell is keeping track of the days for us and reminded the Masonville Artists’ Studio Facebook group today that we have 32 days to go until Kelly is here to teach us again.

Yesterday, Kelly posted about the packed items for her upcoming trip to teach a number of workshops on the east coast. You need to go see that post because this girl doesn’t do anything halfway when it comes to her classes.
If you haven’t signed up for Kelly yet, it’s time to get that done! The registration deadline is July 1.

[tminus t= “01-07-2015 23:59:59″ style=”carbonlite”]The registration deadline for Kelly Kilmer has passed! :([/tminus]

Liesel Lund Workshops Canceled

I am sorry to say that we weren’t able to get enough students together for Liesel Lund’s workshops, so we’ll have to cancel her weekend this June. When we start scheduling for 2016, we’ll invite her again and hope that our ongoing marketing efforts will help to increase our class sizes overall.

If you signed up for any of Liesel’s workshops, you will receive a PayPal refund at some point today or tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who helped me get the word out — your efforts have not gone unnoticed! 🙂

REMINDER: Sign up for Kelly Kilmer and/or Leighanna Light! The sooner you confirm your attendance, the sooner these gals can prep for teaching you. Remember that both of these artists put together class kits based on the numbers I give them and it really helps them to be prepared well ahead of travel time.

Last Call for Liesel Lund!

(That means you should register by June 1)

Liesel will be here teaching at MAS at the end of June, but to be a part of it, we need you to secure your seat by June 1. Liesel has a reputation for being a great teacher and her colorful work is so fun to look at. And, frankly, she had us at the idea of making our journals mimic a Joseph Cornell box

You’ve seen Liesel’s work in the March/April issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and she’s taught at CREATE and Art is You! Be sure to sign up today!

NOTE: If we don’t get enough registrations, this workshop weekend will need to be canceled. I hate putting a negative like that out in these emails, but that’s where we are right now. We need for these workshops to generate enough income for the artist who’s teaching, especially when they are traveling from out of state to be here. So take a look at the classes below and try something new!

The class schedule for Liesel Lund is as follows:

 Friday, 6/26/15 10a-5pEmbellished Birdhouses $105
 Saturday, 6/27/15 10a-5pSoul Shimmers $105 + kit fee
Sunday, 6/28/15 10a-5pTins Charming $105 + kit fee