Blenders and Blunders and Blotters. Oh My!


I’m riding on the crest of survival. My “Possibilities in Paper” workshop has come and gone and I didn’t fall through a crack in the universe. It wasn’t a complete embarrassment. Not one of my “students” walked away believing me a complete idiot. Instead there was real interest and enjoyment.

The first thing of which I am certain is that I learned as much from the experience as all of the attendees put together. My first crack at hosting a workshop was not with out it’s cowardices. Many of the group were near and dear friends and family who would forgive me anything. The group was small, so my timid foray into teaching was nearly fool proof. Nearly. I was over-prepared, over-equipped and over-anxious, but these are the things you learn from experience.

ppwdisplayThe second thing of which I am certain is that hindsight is so clear it has super vision!! Foresight did not save me from issuing two notices advertising two different start times. Foresight did not save me from realizing that when one is booking a venue, one should assure LOTS of time between its last occupants and the time one wishes to occupy that space.  ( My various tools and resources were still in boxes at what I believed was my start time.) Foresight did not imbue me with the


knowledge of how long ones presentation will take in real time. ( Most especially when one starts three times because one has  advertised the time incorrectly. ) Foresight didn’t save me from countless inevitable watery explosions when blender blade and soggy paper met new eager crafters.

Add to this the notion that while teaching a class where recycling is a key factor, I most hypocritically used acres of paper towels to both clean up our myriad messes and primarily as a “couching” or blotting material for the newly created sheets. I swore to blender them up and use them for the “mash” medium for the upcoming sculpture workshop. It was trial, error and no small amount of mayhem but we had fun!!!

When, during the initial demo, I pulled the first deckle and mould out of the pan, the “ooohs and ahs” that followed just thrilled me to the core! What a gratifying surprise to share what was obviously some thing new and exciting to the group.

ppwbonitasbeautiesI wish I could share photos of every scrap that was created. The individuals in the group very quickly began experimenting with colors and techniques, utiliizing add-ins like dry flowers, fibers, confettis, glittery bits. I had prepared for a finale session where the participants could spend time creating art pieces from the recycled papers…but I couldn’t get them away from their deckles and moulds. We made paper til every available surface was covered in  damp, rainbow hued, new paper!

ppwsandraThe third thing of which I am certain is that I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Research, props and preparation from this maiden voyage are all ready for next time, along with all the knowledge gained. I especially learned that I “flow” much more efficiently when the materials and tools are in my hands, that the “doing” is the best teacher.

Now, I will need to improve my kit and develop a teaching model to use in future endeavors. Paper making down, Next, plan for the papier mache sculpture workshop! Step one: throw the blender on the counter and process that mountain of used paper towels!


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