I have still got my cold but managed to enjoy my 2 day retreat with Barbara Gray at her retreat. I had the pleasure of being at the same table as her Mother and the others on the table were really pleasant. There were 4 tables of 8 which was a nice number and everyone could see what was going on as Barbara sat in front and had a video and a TV screen to ensure everyone could see. It was just a shame I left my camera behind.
We were all grateful that Barbara had not cancelled these workshops with her other half Dave not being well - especially as she had told us that she had cancelled the TV show that should have been this Sunday.
The format followed was the same as last year and we were given a folder with instructions for all the samples that we were going to make and then told to put them away as they were not going being used was put on the table for everyone to see. This was a better idea than passing round the sample and everyone taking their photo of each to work from. Also, there was usually a choice of at least two colours to work with so that you could make yours a little different.
The first project was just a warm up - using stamps, masks and creating depth and colour. We stamped onto a page from a dictionary, used a mask to create depth in the background and then how to blend colour in. Some of the projects were left unfinished at the time as the idea was to learn the techniques rather then spend the whole time colouring.
From this, we then went onto our next project which was learning how to create backgrounds and filling in landscapes. The mountains were created by tearing a piece of paper to create the top and then using a pen to create the layers. We also used a stencil for the aperture effect but were encourage to go past the borders. These two projects took up the morning.
The afternoon was spent using the Groovy plates and associated mate. This was designed to be a relaxing time and we even had a cd put on to help. The Groovy plates are used with parchment paper and this was designed to get people into parchment craft. Although I have been doing parchment craft for 15 years, I could still see that I could use the plates in conjunction with my usual way of producing parchment craft. The good thing is it makes parchment craft available for more people and you are able to achieve your result in a lot quicker time frame. For people that have not got the time (or patience) to learn from scratch, I think that this provides great results. I do not believe that this is any different to using the grids that companies have bought out to make getting the effect quicker.
Barbara also went through the techniques of colouring using Spectrum Noir pencils. Although I am able to make all these project the "old fashioned" way, I would not have been able to do nearly as much in the time frame that we had.
I do like these retreats as you start of with a blank canvas and go from there - there are no kits in sight!