Playshops


Oh my dears, Spring is in my blood!  My eyes see her colours everywhere; drink in the high, flawless azure of the Alberta sky; scent the rich loam thawing under the sun’s gentle caress.  The blood is racing in my veins like sap rising.  I’ll have to strap myself to the saddle to keep my seat on the gallop this season will bring.

There is so much to do.  I will be teaching solidly through March, April and May, before taking off on a three-and-a-half-month adventure with my daughter . . . .

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March and April

The first offering is a two-part workshop, “The Book as Art”, being held here in our stunning Bow Valley of Alberta.  I have not offered a workshop like this here since 2011.  It’s my custom to repay my community every year for its support by offering locally-delivered workshops at greatly discounted rates. I am offering these workshops for just $100 plus a $15 materials fee for two 12-6pm days.  This is a third or less of what you might expect pay to join me for these workshops elsewhere, so it’s well worth the journey if you’re willing to make it.  Part 1 is 21 March 2015, and part 2 is 4 April 2015.  If you are interested to take a spot or two, please message me through my contact form.

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I am also offering my training workshop “The Care and Mending of Books” at various times and locations in Alberta.  This is a workshop I have delivered to the staff of public, university and school libraries for a few years.  I taught it at the Canadian Library Association Conference in Victoria, BC last May and have now been asked to offer it in Alberta.  This is a full-day workshop and I have one or two places available at the Three Hills Public Library, Three Hills, Alberta on 28 March, and also at the Paul D. Fleck Library at the Banff Centre in Banff on April 7th.   The cost is $150 per person.  Please contact me if you are interested in attending.

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The Care and Mending of Books Workshop

A healthy collection is a happy collection!  Is packing tape your best book mending friend?  Join Dea Fischer of Canmore Public Library to learn the skills and tools you need to mend and repair your own materials.  Extend the life of your collection materials at minimum cost, and reduce your reliance on bindery fees and replacement materials.

In our morning session, you will learn and practice repair techniques on several most common repairs (e.g., broken spine, torn pages, replacing pages, repairing torn hinges).  In our afternoon session, you will learn and practice more advanced mending and conservation techniques, including re-casing a book, replacing a spine, repairing and reinforcing corners.  During the day, you will also learn aspects of collection maintenance and handling, and some reinforcement techniques to avoid or delay some common problems.  You will also participate in a question and answer session to deal with your mending and repair questions.

May

Then, in mid-May, I am flying to Portland, Maine.  I am excited and delighted to be the featured artist at a getaway with Idyllworks of Maine!

Idyllworks offers extraordinary getaways for busy women around the globe to connect and unwind. Designed to encourage relaxation and spark creativity, each of their getaways is a unique opportunity that I’m thrilled to be a part of.

One of the perks of making a living as an artist is that I get to share my craft with others. At this getaway I’ll have the opportunity to teach an intimate group in a beautiful setting about what I do and spend the weekend with them as they embrace their own creative spirit.

I’ll be working with guests to hand construct your own unique and beautiful long-stitch journal.  You will then go on to work with another featured artist, Leslie Beattie, to work on content for your lovely journals.  As an added bonus, this getaway takes place in gorgeous coastal Maine. When we’re not developing our artistic skills, there will be plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas or relax on the porch and take in the views from Grey Havens Inn.

Find out more about the getaway here. It’s worth mentioning that Idyllworks accepts both full retreat registration and also day registration for those living more locally.  I would love to have you share this incredible experience with me!

Idyllworks_for_Day_Students__Page_1 What’s next?

June through October this year, I am so excited to be taking a leave of absence in order to travel through the UK and Europe with my beautiful, soon-to-be-graduating daughter, Millie.  It’s in the nature of a grad trip and the chance to move her toward her goal of attending the UK art school her father graduated from.  I am working on setting up some teaching in the UK while I’m there, so watch this space and I’ll let you know.

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And of course, if you aren’t able to join me for one of these great workshop opportunities, I have an instructional DVD and download with Cloth Paper Scissors: “Handmade Book Essentials”, and a web seminar, “Tags, Flags and Memories” available from the Interweave Store and Craft Daily.  Whatever you do, I hope you will get out, get your hands mucky and your heart singing this spring!

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Roll on summer!  Hilarious, considering spring seems to be experiencing considerable difficulty getting underway.  Yet the year is galloping on ahead despite the lag in the weather, and we are mid-May already!  I have already started plans and preparations for my various teaching gigs this year, so I thought it was about time I shared some information with you!  All this and more detail will go up on my website shortly, but here’s a nice little taster.

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My very first teaching engagement away from home will be, unusually, teaching in my role as a library conservator.  I will be teaching introductory and intermediate book repair sessions at the Canadian Library Association Conference in Victoria, BC on May 28th.  A chance to spend some springtime in Victoria can only be a good thing!

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I am excited to have some different teaching opportunities this year.  I absolutely love teaching at CREATE, and I will be doing so again this year.  Only . . . in different venues!  I am so excited to tell you I will be teaching at CREATE in Dallas, Texas for the first time this year, at a fabulously creative looking place called the Night Hotel.  I am offering five workshops in Dallas, and you can see details here.

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I am not long back from Texas and I will be winging my excited way to Idyllworks in Maine for a long weekend steeped in connection and art making at the beautiful Grey  Havens Inn.  A much more intimate experience, a group of us will gather to create our own journals and then work on filling them while we fill our souls with walks and wonderful food and sea air and companionship.  Just look at the details here.  Won’t you please come?

After Maine, I have a very, very exciting thing shaping up which I will need to tell you more about once the details have been pinned down.  For now, I will just say, all of you in Australia who have been asking me to come may finally get your wish!

And then, toward the end of October, it’s back to CREATE, this time in Seattle, WA.  I so love the Seattle area and am excited to have the opportunity to teach in this more northerly west coast venue.  I’m really hoping to see some of the lovely people in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada that I’ve been hearing from for so long.  In Seattle, I have seven workshops on offer, and there is so much more deliciousness to choose from besides.  Do check it out!

I will put greater detail on my website shortly, and you can always view updates on the latest on either my Facebook page or my Google+ page any time.  I hope to see you at one of these great venues this year.

CREATE 2013 I'm Teaching ButtonAs April winds towards its end, I am beginning my preparation to attend the CREATE Mixed Media Retreat in Irvine, California.  This is a time each year that I relish for multiple reasons.  The atmosphere, new and old friends galore and creativity combine to make for a fun and enjoyable time.  I lived in California until I was ten, and it is always a joy to return.  Best of all is that I get to travel with my dear friend and colleague Tiffany Teske.  Tiffany and I both lead busy lives in the same community, and so time for anything more than the occasional cup of tea together can be hard to find.  We look forward to the time of travelling (and co-teaching in a couple of workshops) as our time.

This year, in both CREATE SoCal and CREATE New Jersey, I am teaching six workshops!  Here is a little run-down of the classes I’m teaching.  I do hope you will take the opportunity of a vacation with us in Irvine, California or in Somerset, New Jersey to play, create and join this band of friends.  Join us!

Here are the six workshops I will be teaching at both retreats.  There’s a little something for everyone.   Hope to meet you there!

BowWorkshop Name: Paper Quilting
Class Length: 3-Hour
Skill Level: All Levels
Description: When working in collage, we are always looking for ways to add depth and interest to our surface. One way to build layers, depth and surface interest is to quilt your papers, or adhere embellishments with stitches or wire. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to experiment with quilting techniques on paper and board using threads, ribbon and wire.
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Workshop Name: Magnificent Marbling
Class Length: 6-Hour
Skill Level: All Levels
Description: Don’t let the intricacy and beauty of a marbled paper fool you. Those ripples of color may look hand-painted or machine-stamped, but they’re actually created by liquid paint. Marbleizing, which involves using absorbent papers to pick up ink or paint from a water bath, dates to the twelfth century, when it was practiced in Japan and possibly China. Join Dea Fischer to make your own rich and vibrant designs by marbleizing paper to use in your mixed media projects.
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Workshop Name: Instant Travel Journals
Class Length: 6-Hour
Skill Level: All Levels
Description: You are in your hotel room. Sights, sounds and smells are teeming outside your window. You look in your suitcase and find . . . nothing. Once again, there was no room in the suitcase for journalling materials, but there are so many impressions to capture! Fear not, good journalling materials are to hand. In minutes, with few or no tools at all, you can have a great travel journal to write, draw, paint or collage into. Make folded journals, a flag book journal and a pamphlet stitch journal in this fun workshop.
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Workshop Name: These Little Wonders: Miniature books
Class Length: 3-Hour
Skill Level: Intermediate
Description: What is more delightful to the eye and the hand than a small and perfectly formed miniature book? Join book artist Dea Fischer to create a deliciously tiny mixed media treasure less than 2″ high to wear as a pendant or hang from your Christmas tree.

And co-teaching with my dear friend Tiffany Teske:

Image from "Nightfall"

Image from “Nightfall”

Workshop Name: Creating the Vision: Photography for Mixed Media
Class Length: 6-Hour
Skill Level: All Levels
Description: Creating your own photographic images for your mixed media work doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or require a lot of fancy equipment. Join mixed media artists Tiffany Teske and Dea Fischer to learn how to use low technology methods to create your own images.  You will receive instructions and materials to build and use your own pinhole camera, and also experience other low tech camera equipment hands-on.  Tiffany and Dea will take you on a walking field trip around the area to experiment with Polaroid cameras and Fuji instant films, Holga plastic cameras, and cyanotype (‘sun’) printing with objects. You will leave the workshop with up to 20 finished images to use in your future mixed media work, some exposed films to process and your pinhole camera to further your experiments at home.

Detail from "Dictionary of Sorrows", Dea Fischer

Detail from “Dictionary of Sorrows”, Dea Fischer

Workshop Name:  Creating the Vision: Printing and Transferring Your Images
Class Length:  6-Hour
Skill Level: All Levels
Description:  You’ve mastered the photography, you’ve created images you love.  Deepen your layers of creative engagement by learning to incorporate images of your own creation into your mixed media artwork.  Join Tiffany Teske and Dea Fischer to explore fascinating image printing and transfer techniques that can be tricky to master effectively. You will create cyanotype or ‘sun’ prints from negatives, and practice making gel medium skins and transfers, blender pen transfers, encaustic and heat transfers.  You will produce several pieces during this workshop that you can take away to use in your work.

From the vantage point of the beginning of the summer, it seemed to stretch away, full of endless possibility.  Suddenly, the golden leaves in the woodland outside my window beckon my eye, school has begun again . . . and autumn is upon us.

Autumn is my favourite time of year.  The spicy scents of the woodland blow through me, the sunlight is mellow and golden, and the world seems to be under the Midas touch.  This autumn for the first time carries with it my first time teaching at the Art & Soul Retreat in Portland, Oregon.  I am excited to be making the journey to share creative richness with our west coast participants.  I am looking forward to the time, to the extra days allotted for driving the west coast, enjoying the autumnal scenery and discovering the city of Portland in my spare time.

After a day’s exploration, I will be joining the Retreat on Friday, October 5th to teach you how to create the starbook form.  It is a multi-layered, complex-looking book form that opens out to a full and dramatic circular display.I’m here to tell you it is not as complicated as it looks, and I will be with you to walk you through step by step to creating this wonderful book form.

Image by Greg Yavorsky

Detail from “Dictionary of Sorrows”, Dea Fischer

On Sunday, 7 October, I will spend the day teaching you many techniques to build and enrich your collage surface.  We will work from preparing our substrate board up through many layers to final embellishments, to give you the opportunity to really learn these many techniques for building depth and richness into your collage.  Photographs can’t ever quite convey the visual depth that can be achieved in these ways, but you will come away from the day chock full of inspiration and with your mind teeming with ideas on how to utilise these techniques to your best effect.

I am really looking forward to meeting you!  See you in Portland . . . .

“Remembering”, Dea Fischer

Home again, home again, jiggity jig . . . .

I have just returned from my first ever trip to Chicago.  My purpose was to attend and teach at the CREATE Mixed Media Retreat in the Chicago suburb of Lisle.  Not ever having been there, I really didn’t know what to expect.  Boy, was I surprised!  Chicago is truly a beautiful city in all the ways I had been led to expect.  Downtown is gracious, and full of beautiful juxtapositions of wonderful architectural styles spanning the last hundred and fifty-ish years since the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

Yet even more so, there was an atmosphere in downtown Chicago that I found incredibly charming.  People were happy.  People were friendly.  It helped that the city was bathed in a golden light from the slanting summer sun that made the entire city shine with a nostalgic light, but the thing that blew me away was the people.  It brought out the inherent friendly chattiness in my own nature, and I found myself having engaging, entertaining exchanges with people of all sorts, everywhere I went.  There was a genuine quality to their interest, not a ‘customer service’ be-nice-to-the-customer niceness.  People met my eye, returned my smile and my gaze, shared my laughter and extended themselves in my direction.  Not everywhere you travel gives you that, and in return, I fell in love with Chicago and its people.

Four full days were spent teaching and sharing with the most diverse, interesting and fun groups of people.  We made books, we learned collage techniques, we photographed and printed and transferred images together. And all along the way, we laughed, we talked, we shared, we hugged.  In my last class of the week, I was chatting away in a happily animated conversation with one student when I happened to glance down at her nametag and noticed her hometown . . . was the same town my parents live in in Missouri, a few states away.  I found myself saying, ‘Hey, my parents live there!”  One of those wonderful conversations ensued where we gave each other clues until we reached the meeting point:  This student was a member of my parents’ church and sat in the next pew!  Of all the hundreds of students and dozens and dozens of classes, she had become a student in my class.  This big old world of ours shrank a nice bit for me then.

The products to emerge from the classes were pure lusciousness, and I enjoyed the different aspects of the classes.  The only drawback was to be unable to attend the other workshops as a student!Evenings off led us on some wonderful adventures in other Chicago neighbourhoods, and a dusk sojourn to the Queen of Heaven Cemetery to photograph the old monuments . . . . Did I mention the behind-the-scenes tour of the Newberry Library?  I left Chicago with a keen appetite for more.  So much to discover, and I hope I will get back there soon.I would like to say a very big thank you to all my students for their keen interest, enthusiasm and creativity; to the ever-lovely Tiffany Teske, my travel companion, roommate, co-teacher and all-around partner in crime; and to all the staff at Interweave and on the CREATE Event Team for their organisation, calm nerves and stamina, and their ever-ready smiles.  What a wonderful week!

Hi, I’m Dea Fischer.  Welcome to my place! 

Image courtesy of Michael Buckley

It is so nice to welcome you to my blog.  This weekend, we are celebrating the excitement of the upcoming CREATE Mixed Media Retreat in Irvine, California with a chance to meet many of the instructors who will be teaching workshops there.  The list of blog hop participants is at the bottom of this page, and I do hope you will hop around and visit these wonderful artists to see what they are up to.  I’ve got a fun little giveaway too, so keep reading!

Among busy roles as a wife and mother, and full time work for a public library, I’m a busy book- and mixed media artist.  I live and work in the breathtaking Canadian Rockies.   The world is quite a  fascinating place to me, and I like to explore its themes through my work.  The mysteries of the natural world provide me with continual inspiration.  I work across disciplines, including collage and photography, but artist’s books are my chief form of expression.  The possibilities are absolutely endless, and I am never short of ideas to convey my world through the pages of a book.  When I’m not in a fury of creation in my studio, I enjoy lighting the fire of creativity in others and engaging my community in acts of random creation.

Image courtesy of Richard Berry.

Nowadays, I am privileged to be able to share my enthusiasm for everything associated with mixed media art and book arts through Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, CPS Studios magazine and Interweave’s new emag Art Journalling Exposed.  The editorial team of Cloth Paper Scissors is a pretty fabulously talented and organised group of kindred spirits who are as thirsty for inspiration as the rest of us.  They were kind enough to invite me to Loveland, CO this winter to record a CPS Workshops DVD:  Handmade Book Essentials.  There’s a really nice interview here with Jenn Mason, and a clip from the DVD, if you would like to check it out.  Want to win a free copy of my DVD??  Take a look at my course listings further down and find out how you can win one.

One of the absolutely best ways I’ve ever enjoyed to fill me with inspiration has been to attend a CREATE Mixed Media Retreat.  Again in 2012, I’ll be travelling down from Canada to Irvine, California to share with the truly wonderful array of mixed media artists of all kinds in the luscious selection of fantastic workshops on offer this year.  I will be teaching a few workshops myself, including co-teaching with my dear friend Tiffany Teske.  Here is some of what I had to say about the experience in 2011:

“The experience of CREATE was unbelievable.  So many skilled artists full to brimming with information, ideas and techniques to share, it was often difficult to distinguish teacher from pupil.  We became equals sharing together.  I find the experience of working in such an environment incredibly stimulating.  Everywhere you look, there are wonderful things going on, a positive feast of creations to look at and pore over and discover.  So many exclamations rang through those rooms of ‘How did you do that!?” and “Wow, that’s amazing!”  I was inspired, honoured and thrilled with the sharing and exchanging that went on during the workshops I attended and taught.”

Here’s a run-down of the sessions I’ll be teaching.  I hope you will come and immerse yourself.  You will be so glad you did!  If you do, make sure you look me up and say hi. . . .   The first person to read this post and then come and say hi to me at CREATE Irvine will receive a copy of my DVD!

CREATE Mixed Media Retreat, Irvine, California,
May 30 – June 3, 2012

Just One Sheet of Paper
Join book artist Dea Fischer to learn how to transform a single sheet of paper into a simple and beautiful artist’s book. No needles, no thread and no glue required!  We will paint, decorate and embellish paper and add text or images to create a book form that you can use again and again.

Star Light, Star Bright:  The Chinese Star Book
Join book artist Dea Fischer to learn how to create her most intriguing and perennially popular book:  The Chinese Star Book.  The Chinese star book is an apparently complex, multi-layered book form that has many possible uses. It can be experienced in the hand like any other book, or opened out to a dramatic circular display.

Creating the Vision: Printing and Transferring Your Images (co-teaching with Tiffany Teske)
You’ve mastered the photography, you’ve created images you love.  Deepen your layers of creative engagement by learning to incorporate images of your own creation into your mixed media artwork.  Join Tiffany Teske and Dea Fischer to explore fascinating image printing and transfer techniques that can be tricky to master effectively. You will create cyanotype or ‘sun’ prints from negatives, and practice making gel medium skins and transfers, blender pen transfers, encaustic and heat transfers.  You will produce several pieces during this workshop that you can take away to use in your work.

Photos courtesy of Virginia Jaquez

We are enjoying a blog hop with many of the participating instructors from CREATE Irvine this weekend.  Here are the participants, and I do hope you will stop by and visit with them all for temptation galore!  Have fun, and I hope to meet you in California.  Don’t forget, I’ll be giving away a copy of my DVD to the first blog-hopper to find me . . . .

The Create Mixed Media Retreat’s Meet the Instructors Blog Celebration Weekend:

And Cloth Paper Scissors Editor Jenn Mason!

The “Altered States” altered books workshop is filling up fast, so if you were interested in attending, do please get in touch soon!

the starbook

Spring seems to be officially here.  It is time for me to fulfill my promise to offer a spring workshop right here in my own Canadian Rockies valley.   On Saturday, May 26th 2012, I will be offering a full day of exploring altered books as a form of art.  “Altered States” will be an opportunity to personally explore some of the process and techniques I have covered in my blog posts on the CBBAG Altered Books Round Robin and other work.   Come and enjoy a day of learning and camaraderie and fun deep in the heart of the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains.  At only $100 for the day with materials supplied, what’s not to love?  You can register through the contact form on my website.  Hope to see you!

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