cormorants and seth apter's mixed media workshop

painted, stamped, stenciled sheets of tissue paper
painted, stamped, stenciled sheets of tissue paper

This coming Monday and Tuesday I'll be joining a two-day workshop lead by Seth Apter. It's been a year since I last took a workshop and I'm looking forward to learning some new techniques and connecting with other creative minds in person.

We'll be making our own personalized Memoire after gutting and reconstructing a store-bought book. I found an old book at a local thrift store titled, "Nature's Program" which I think fits perfectly for my memoire.

I've been busy all week collecting the materials I want to use for my memoire: photos, book pages, washi, handwritten notes, and much more and making my own carved stamps. In fact, the last couple of weeks I made lots of stamps: cat head, bear, lotus, cormorant, bottle, rose lace, the word live, pattern, circles, chevron. Most were using linoleum, but for some I used speedy easy-cut rubber or stencil sheets to cut out my designs.

No paint will be used for this workshop and that sent me into a bit of panic. I'm used to combining paint, writing and collage elements. That's why I wanted this workshop: it takes me out of my comfort zone. It set me to thinking how could I embellish my blank pages with color while not using paint or other ephemera?

Although I found a couple ink pads at the thrift stores, I decided on preparing sheets of painted tissue paper. And I had so much fun blending and overlapping colors and then adding my own stamped creations.

coningsby cormorant and collage
Coningsby, detail of 5 x 7 collage

All these painted, stamped and stenciled papers looked so delicious just lying there on my art table. Not able to resist any longer, I set to using them in a collage. I used two stamped cormorants on painted tissue papers and added triangles and circles using my thrift-shop ink pads and my acrylic metalic pens. I then outlined the cormorants with pencil and micron pen.

So what do cormorants have to do with Seth Apter?

When I first came on the ferry to this island, I was met by cormorants who rest on the wood pillars that sandwich the ferry as it docks. Today I watched one skimming the water so gracefully with its body reflecting on the calm ocean water. Cormorants have become a symbol for my migration and self-discovery and I'll be using images of them throughout my memoire.

coningsby collage
Coningsby, 5 x 7, mixed media collage

Coningsby: There is nothing I should like so much as to travel.
The Stranger: You are traveling. Every moment is travel, if understood.
Benjamin Disraeli


  1. Leaving your comfort zone is the only way to grow. Go take flight with your cormorants and fly closer to the sun (your wings won't melt!).

    I've been reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin - it's a great read about moving away from what we're used to.

    Hope you have an amazing time on your workshop. There is something very special about creating in a group.

  2. what a gorgeous post - I love the colours, shapes, textures of all that you've created here today and I love the symbolism of the cormorants for you - beautiful collage.

  3. wow ! love the collage creation with the cormorants in black ~ so creative ~ ^_^ Happy Day.

  4. I loved what you have created already and can't wait to learn more about the workshop. It sounds like an exciting adventure. Have a wonderful time.

  5. wrightstuff, thank you for the encouragement and the book recommend.

    Nic, I really look forward to using these painted pages in the workshop.

    Ginny, stay tuned, I'll be posting and update next week on the workshop.

  6. Such beautiful textures and layers. Whenever I come to your page I feel inspired to collage, creating my own layers. I didn't realize you also make your own stamps--wow! What do you do with all of your completed pieces?

  7. Your papers for the workshop are wonderful, Juana... love all the vibrant colors, shapes. Sweet to see your cormorants and why. The workshop sounds exciting--can't wait to see what you create. :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

  8. I absolutely love the bright reds and yellos, along with the texture of these pieces. Your artwork is always so refreshing!! :)

  9. It was such a pleasure to have you as a part of the workshop Juana. Your book was spectacular (as I assumed it would be) and your spirit was a wonderful addition to the group. Thanks a million for taking the time to be part of what turned out to be a sensational experience all around.

  10. Seth, it's always a rewarding experience to meet you and the other artist's in the community that you've brought together. Your workshop was amazing and I hope someday to take another one from you.

  11. Juana, Love all these pieces, wonderful colors and textures. Sometimes in art especially, when we are brave enough to leave our comfort zone we can make wonderful discoveries that may soon become our most favorites.
    :) Chris / CS Designs


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