Tag Archives: classes

Kitty Miller

5 Jul

Kitty Miller was here last year to teach at Blue Twig Studio. We all just loved having her here and she is coming back again this year at the end of August (class links are listed below). She is loads of fun and super generous with her teaching. You will go home having learned something new and fun and will create great art in the meantime! I thought maybe you would like to know her a bit better, so here is her Artist Interview.



Deb Prewitt & Kitty Miller

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, etc.

Of Greek, Romanian and Hungarian decent I was raised by my Grandparents in Northern California. I attended college at Arizona State University. I was disabled from a car accident in 1998, at the time I was an Insurance Agent and I was teaching. I found after recovering all I longed to do was art, so I started pursuing my dream and doing art almost everyday as a hobby in 2003 and have just found my true love. Creating art and sharing my talents and tricks with students has given me more joy than I could even express in words.

Have you always made art? Or when did you start? What made you start?

I have always made art even from a young age. At 11 years old my Grandmother bought me a Singer sewing machine and I would even make my own clothing.

What is the earliest memory you have of anything art related?

I can remember being very very young before school and painting rocks with my Grandma and her neighbor Ellen. Ellen was so creative. I used to love visiting her house and studio and getting to paint, press flowers, weave pine needle baskets and fiber rugs, I was very blessed with an awesome creative circle thanks to my amazing Grandmother and her friends.

Is your family artistic?

My family is very artistic and we always had art in the house.

Do you have an art degree or other art credentials?

Not in art, I am self taught as well as have had hundreds of amazing art teachers at retreats and in my community. My art tribe is huge!

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching art since 2013.

How did you get started teaching?

I just had people and retreats asking me to teach and I used to teach so it just came naturally, kinda just happened.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I love to teach people to paint birds, animals and just about anything that strikes my fancy and I become enamored with. 

What is your favorite art medium? And why?

My favorite medium is hands down Acrylic Paint, it is so vibrant and versatile. It is just what dreams are made of and what I love.

What are some of your favorite tools and products?

Script liner brushes a must have for feathers and hair, Stencils they are just so versatile, Indigo Blue Flitter Glue and Gold Leafing  – there simply is no better or easier way to efficiently gold leaf, Posca Paint Pens Fine Tip especially white and black they are just awesome and they are paint so they go over paint and are permanent, Fluid Matte Medium. I actually tease and say it is more valuable than Mother’s Milk. I use it for gluing layers, and just everything, Inktense Pencils they are permanent and come in so many vibrant colors I use them in almost all my art as a layer, DecoArt Mixed Media Misters they are great sprays for layers, drips, using with stencils, washes and more. These are just a few of my favorite things!

What is the most unusual venue you have taught at?

I taught at a Juvenile Detention Facility several times and at some women’s shelters. I believe if we nurture the creative side of our youth and give their imagination wings, their mind a safe escape and a way to voice their emotions and style safely, that they will stay out of trouble and nurture themselves. I hope they will see that if you keep doing what you love you can even earn money doing it.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

Wow, what a hard question! I have so may favorite artists as i am surrounded by talent and courage. But if I have to choose one it is Wyanne Thompson.ARTIST – BADASS CANCER SURVIVOR- SHOE DIVA – http://www.wyanne.com http://www.facebook.com/WyanneArt

Wyanne is just a Bad Ass period. She is an oral cancer survivor that has had to have her tongue removed and have a tracheotomy put in. Her whole world was turned upside down, but did she let that stop her or slow her down? Hell no! She still teaches and is cranking out amazing art. She just moved into a new large studio away from her home and is just doing and living her dream. She helped me find my creative wings too. 

Do you have a favorite art quote to share? Or some words of advice?

Okay that is hard to pick just one, i have narrowed it down to my favorite three… Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time, Art is the magic we create the spells we cast and the beauty that will last, The job of an artist is to offer sanctuary through beauty and color in a dreary world. The best advice I can give somebody is to just keep creating. Do art anytime and all the time Mistakes are only mistakes if you give up. Layers layers layers, just like our life it is just an experience we should savor for a moment and then move on until we find what we love. Take as many classes as you can and just have fun!

Where can people find you? Facebook, blog, website, Instagram, etc. 





Anything else you wish to share?

I teach with the Art and Soul retreats and am now going to be at all 3 locations, I am also working on a retreat in Hawaii in 2017, as well as a new book.

I would also like to remind you all to be kind to yourselves and not be so judgmental and and not to have unrealistic expectations. Nobody was a successful artist overnight, they all put in a lot of time, had a lot of trial and error and just kept at it. We all deserve to be happy and making art and creating should be happy not make us feel bad, so just play and try to learn every day. My grandfather used to always say, “Once you stop learning you stop living so get out there and truly live.” Learn all you can, soak  up every bit you can. Be a sponge and let knowledge be your water!


Thanks Kitty for sharing a bit about yourself. Please visit her links and see what else she is up to.

We are ready for Kitty to be here teaching again this summer. She has several awesome classes that she is offering, so there is bound to be something that interests you and fits your schedule. Just click the link to get more information about each class.

Resin Jewelry Alchemy – 2 day workshop Aug 25th & 26th

jewelry 2

Mermaid Fantasy – 2 day workshop Aug 27th & 28th


Visual Blocks – Aug 31st

block 9

You can register on-line or by calling the shop.


Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio

5039 N Academy Blvd

Colorado Springs, CO 80918



Seth Apter

23 Jun


We are so lucky to have Seth Apter visiting Blue Twig Studio to teach for a few days. Seth is a wonderful mixed media artist with a fun style that I absolutely love. He graciously agreed to teach here, even before meeting me or visiting my shop (we have since met a couple times). I am very grateful to him and I know that everyone will make him feel very welcome when he is here.
me and Seth
Here we are at CHA. 🙂
Here are a few questions and answers to help you get to know Seth a little bit better.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  I am a mixed media artist from New York City. When I am not making art, you might find me teaching, designing products or writing. And you will often find me online, managing all of my social media sites that go hand-and-hand with being an artist these days.

Have you always made art? When did you start? What made you start? I came to art later in life. Although I always loved art, I had no interest in being a maker until a random and serendipitous meeting with an artist in 2000 introduced me a whole new world.
What is your earliest art related memory? My earliest art memories relate back to the art projects that I made in grade school, including what was my first collaboration in 4th grade when I made a poster with a classmate for a reading program.
Do you have an art degree or art credentials? I do not have an art degree and my “training” has been limited to individual workshops with artists I admire and a series of courses at the Center for Book Arts in NYC.
How long have you been teaching?  I have been teaching just over 4 years, having taught my first workshop in NYC.
What is your favorite class to teach? Don’t tell the other workshops, but my favorite class to teach is 52 Card Pickup. It is a fun, free-spirited workshop and one which always seems to bring smiles to the faces of the students.
Do you have a favorite art quote or words of advice? My mantra these days is “You’re only one layer away from magic.” That is the beauty of mixed media!
Where can people find you?
      Website: sethapter.com
      Twitter: twitter.com/alteredpage
      Instagram: instagram.com/sethapter/
Thanks so much for sharing a bit about yourself.
Seth Apter is teaching 4 different classes at Blue Twig Studio. Here are the links (shown below each class sample photo) to the classes on the website so you can find out more details. There is still room for a few more people in the classes – but don’t wait too long to get registered!
Photo Op 1
Photo Op – Sept 16th 10-1
Background Noise – Sept 16th 3-6
52 Card Pickup – Sept 17th 10-5
Mixed Media Dossier – Sept 18th 10-5
These classes all look fabulous and I can’t wait to see what all the students create!!!
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Bringing you Mindy Lacefield

7 Jun
I am so happy to be able to bring in Mindy Lacefield to teach at Blue Twig Studio this summer. I hope you can make the time to take a class from her. We are so lucky that she has agreed to travel to Colorado and teach here. It is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.
She is super sweet and you will absolutely adore her. This interview will help you get to know her better.
serendipity 2011 459
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, etc.
-I live in central Arkansas out in the woods with my husband, Tim and two poodles Merlin and Sammy.
Have you always made art? Or when did you start? What made you start?
-I always drew as a child and felt at ease with a paper and pencil. But I guess my priorities and interests became more focused on basketball. I played all the way through middle school to college. I never thought I could be an artist. I always thought I had to go to university and major in something practical and get a “real job”. Luckily with the internet and social media I was able to create and sell art online and begin to make a living doing it. I picked up a paint brush about 10 years ago when I saw the full moon over the Pacific ocean. I realize now it was God calling me to Him and to reach out to others through painting and teaching. The path He has laid out has become so clear and I am so grateful to connect with other kindred, creative spirits on this journey.
Is your family artistic?
-Yes, in fact my uncle is a wood carver and ventriloquist. He made several puppets from wood and has performed at craft shows and other area shows. I also have two cousins who are highly artistic.
How long have you been teaching?
-I have been teaching for about 5 years.
How did you get started teaching? 
-I went to an art retreat as a student. One day while we had some free time, a sweet girl came up to me and asked me if she could sit and watch me paint for a few minutes. As we sat there, I thought why not lead her through some of the reasons why I put different colors in the face and where to apply them to achieve depth and dimension. Afterwards, she went back to her table and created the most amazing face based on my instruction. I was floored and instantly addicted to teaching. After that, I began inquiring about teaching different places and others starting reaching out to see if I’d come be a visiting art teacher.
pixiedustlight051 - Copy - Copy
What is your favorite class to teach? 
-I love teaching how to paint faces and how to make discoveries along the way. Making mistakes is key in finding your voice and own joy in painting.
What is your favorite art medium? And why?
-I love acrylic paint. I love that it dries quickly. I also love bleeding tissue paper, watercolor pencils, and stencils.
What is the most unusual venue you have taught at?
-I taught last May in a huge red barn in Nebraska. So inspiring and full of nostalgic energy!
Who is your favorite artist? Why?
-Anne Patay. Her work is full of beautiful marks with such an incredible energy and depth.
Do you have a favorite art quote to share? Or some words of advice?
-Two of my favorite quotes are:
“It took me 4 years to learn to paint like Raphael and a lifetime to paint like a child” – Picasoo
“Art is not about thinking something up. It’s about getting something down.” – Julia Cameron
Where can people find you? 
instagram: mindy_lacefield

~Mindy Lacefield


divinemagic049 - Copy - Copy - Copy
Mindy will be teaching a 2-day workshop at Blue Twig Studio – Aug 19th & 20th – Inner Radiant Child. Use this link for more details about the class. It is going to be so much fun! Space is limited so be sure to get registered early.
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
Blue Twig Studio
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Interview with Serena Barton

2 May

I’m super excited about bringing in Serena Barton to teach this summer. While I’ve never been able to fit one of her classes into my schedule (perhaps I’ll take a class when she visits), I have visited her classes and observed her working with students and the art produced was stunning. I have gotten to know her personally while attending art retreats and she is a wonderful person and I know you will learn lots from taking her classes. Here is a little information about her personally.

head shot

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, etc.

I live in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Eugene, OR. Even though I’ve mostly lived in Oregon, I love to travel in the U.S. and overseas.

2. Have you always made art? Or when did you start? What made you start?

I made a lot of art as a small child and continued through elementary school. I also took acting classes and started acting in local plays. This took over from visual art for many years. I started seriously making art again 20 years ago, after my first life-changing trip to Italy.

3. What is the earliest memory you have of anything art related?

I remember making art with a friend when I was about 2 ½. She was a few years older and she told me I scribbled. I hotly denied it and then looked at my paper. I saw that I did scribble and felt bad. Of course now scribbling is an important element of my abstract work!

4. Is your family artistic?

My father was what was then called a commercial artist. He made exacting designs for collages, companies, etc. He left behind a whole lot of little tiny tools for precise and literal cutting and pasting. One of my maternal great grandmothers painted some and hooked beautiful rugs from rags. My daughter is a photographer, jeweler and collage artist.

5. Do you have an art degree or other art credentials?

I am a self-taught artist. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s in Counseling.

6. How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been teaching about 16 years and leading creativity groups for about 20 years.

7. How did you get started teaching?

I started with adding some creativity groups to my counseling practice and then went on to teach studio classes.

8. What is your favorite class to teach?

I really don’t have a favorite. I love to teach techniques and even more, I love to encourage and inspire my students in any medium.

9. What is your favorite art medium? And why?

Currently my obsession is with oil and cold wax on wood panels or paper. I love the way the oil/wax mixture can be manipulated, textured, incised, and yes, scribbled on. I love working intuitively, not knowing where I’m going. The paint and I work together until things come together in a way that speaks to me.

10. What is the most unusual venue you have taught at?

Our local public libraries offer free art classes to the community and I’ve taught two of them. One was encaustic assemblage and one was “Layers of Memory” that I”ll teach at Blue Twig. The students were a blast and made some greats work.

11. What is your favorite artist? Why?

I have many favorites. At the time I got really intense about learning to paint I learned a lot from the French 19th century painter, Edouard Manet. His brushwork brings me to tears at times.

12. Do you have a favorite art quote to share? Or some words of advice?

My advice is, “Just Keep Going.” Sometimes our work looks awful when it is partly finished. Leave it for a bit and then come back to it. It may turn out to be your favorite in the end.

13. Where can people find you? Facebook, blog, website, Instagram, etc.

I’m on Facebook, at www.serenabarton.com, and I have two blogs, serenabartonsblog.blogspot.com, and wabisabiartworkshop.blogspot.com. I’m also on Pinterest. Next project will be Instagram.

I’ve also  written two books, published by North Light. You can find Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop and Wabi-Sabi Painting with Cold Wax on Amazon or purchase from me at our classes at Blue Twig. (I’ll bet she would sign the books for you if you ask nicely!)

14. Anything else you want to share?

I’m excited about my first class at Blue Twig! I know Deb from art retreats and I can’t wait to see her store and meet my students! I love to teach and provide lots of individual attention.


Serena will be teaching 2 different classes at Blue Twig Studio. Please be sure to get registered early if you are interested. The links are included below.



Transformations in Oil and Cold Wax – July 15th & 16th (2-day workshop)



Layers of Memory and Imagination – July 17th



Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio

5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918



Artist Helen Shafer Garcia

15 Feb

Helen Shafer Garcia will be coming to Blue Twig Studio to teach in April. I took a class with her at Art & Soul last year and loved her style, so I figured other people would love to take a class with her as well. She has shared a little info here about who she is so we can get to know her better. And of course, if you take one of her upcoming classes you will get to know her even more.


Helen Shafer Garcia:  I’d like to introduce myself. I live in north San Diego area with my husband, son and 2 cats. My son and husband are both welders and engineer type minded people. Our casa is called Garciaville, which includes my cool studio, my son’s metal shop and my husband’s metal lathe shop where he makes beautiful cue sticks. My cats just sit around meowing and buzzing. I have a 1/2 acre garden that keeps me in tune with my plants and other assorted creatures.

I teach watercolor and acrylic at Palomar College, water media, Pastel, and Book Arts at 2 other locals, Escondido and Fallbrook. You can find all sorts of info at my website http://www.HelenShaferGarcia.com and my blog http://www.agavelatte.blogspot.com I also teach workshops internationally and across the USA. My art friends Laurie Mika, Jane LaFazio, Lynn Leahy and I will be returning to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico next year in October/November for a week long workshop adventure….a trip of a lifetime…. http://www.tesorocorazon.blogspot.com/

After finishing up my BA in Art I started working with clay, making vessels and slab rolled pots. I also started building up a portfolio in watercolor. My emphasis was larger than life succulents and other southwest images. Galleries in New Mexico, California, and Arizona began to show my works starting in the mid 80’s. At the same time I began working as an illustrator. I contracted with major resorts and hotels, creating watercolor images of the buildings and amenity features. I also illustrated Garden edibles for San Diego Home Garden Magazine for 8 years.

I’ve come full circle now, back to a career in teaching. Teaching is incredibly rewarding. I meet the most amazing and talented people, with new directions bouncing around in the classroom. Great energy!




Here are Helen’s upcoming classes at Blue Twig Studio. Just click the links to get more info. I look forward to seeing you in her classes. These are going to be awesome!


color pencil journaling


Colored Pencil Mixed Media Journaling: April 17th 

Colored pencils are such good therapy. Pressing down pure color on smooth
paper leads to endless good vibes. We’ll combine watercolors, water-soluble
pens, and colored pencils while learning clever user-friendly ways to draw.
My drawing methods will ease those ever so present inhibitions about
drawing lines and shapes. Learn how to blend beautiful color layers and
create dark and light mixtures. You’ll be prompted to create small poems
that will be collaged in a clever way throughout the works.
This paper quilt is loaded with colorful crinkly textures. Paint and ink will flow into
the crevices giving the papers a wonderful aged look. Explore this special
watermedia batik like technique on Masa rice paper. We’ll use an acrylic ink
technique to make marks and paint with watercolor, letting the colors blend and
fuse together naturally. We’ll also make lines with water -soluble oil pastels; add
translucent paper layers and fabric raw edges. Dive into detail with colored pencils,
ink lines, adornments, and collage elements to embellish the shapes. And to
complete the remnant look, we’ll add sari ribbons to embellish the edges, giving the
quilt a delightful aged look.
Blue bird for email
Reach into the sky and create connections between branches and earth while creating universal Tree of life themed mixed media paintings on Masa paper and canvas. A special batik technique with Masa rice paper will create wonderful textures and crevices for the paint to flow into. Draw and paint elements and symbolic icons of a tree of life, including birds, flowers and other great, joyful creatures with bold watercolor dropped -in color techniques. You’ll play with colored pencils, ink lines and collage elements to further embellish your paintings. Discover how beautiful and bright watercolors can be with this special process. The watercolor paintings will be sealed with an acrylic varnish to protect the surface. Borders and embellishments will be added with acrylics.
Just looking at the beautiful photos of her work makes me happy.
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
Blue Twig Studio
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Artist Interview with Suzi Dennis

27 Jun

From time to time I get new instructors in the shop, which is always a lot of fun. I like to introduce you to them via an artist interview. You get to know them and like them before you meet them in class.

This week I am talking to Suzi Dennis, who is coming to teach in August. Thanks Suzi for sharing with us and I look forward to your upcoming class (Tape it! Paper it! Collage it!).


Suzi Dennis

Suzi Dennis

Tell us a little bit about your background – where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?

I grew up in south Arkansas, the only child of wonderful parents. We traveled a lot across the U.S. when I was growing up and I believe that is what gives me the travel urges I still have today!
Where do you live now? How long have you lived there? What do you like most about it?
I moved from South Arkansas to St. Louis when I was 43 years old and after about 6 years there I moved to my parents home on the lake in Hot Springs, Ar. I have been here with my husband John since 1995. My parents passed away and as an only child, I inherited this home. I consider myself to be very very blessed to live here. I love living on the lake! And Hot Springs is an area where lots of artists make their home and work and play. Glad to be one of them.
Have you always been interested in art? Or is it something you found later in life?
I have been doing art since about age 10 when my Mom started enrolling me in art classes. My Dad was a self taught engineer and had exceptional drawing skills and my Mom loved the needle arts, so art in some form has been in my blood since birth.
What type of art do you do? What is your favorite medium to work in?
I am mainly a Mixed Media Collage artist at present and have been for about the last 15 or so years. I had to stop painting to work in the real world and raise a family, but started back in 1987 and in 1993 started following the art fair circuit. I was into watercolor for 8 years prior to Mixed Media. It became very predictable for me and I felt a need to move on. That is what I love about Mixed Media Collage…very unpredictable. Makes me use my creative brain cells. I also make handmade journals and  love to weave and have started teaching Weaving 101 in my studio only recently.
How long have you been teaching art? Why did you decide to start teaching? What is your favorite class to teach?
After being on the road for 15 years doing art fairs, age started catching up with me and we decided it was time to “store the tent”. So in 2009 I went back to work in my other profession, nursing, and retired in 2012. At that time an artist friend of mine who has been teaching for awhile said “why don’t you do online workshops?”. I had no idea there was such a thing!! So I jumped in head first and created some online workshops and then decided to start teaching in my studio and it has snowballed from there. I teach mixed media collage, journal making and weaving and I can’t pick a favorite. My favorite thing is meeting all the people I have met and making so many new friends.
Who is your favorite artist? How have they influenced you in your art?
Love Van Gogh and loved him even more after seeing his work in person in Chicago several years back. I love color and texture which he provides both of. I really am attracted to all kinds of art and different artists, but he is at the top of the list. Modern day I am mesmerized with the work of David Galchutt who I also call friend.
Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Everywhere. And most of my work is spiritual. As a Christian I draw much of my inspiration from the Bible. I also have 4 cats and for some reason, cats and birds usually wind up in my pieces! 
Do you have a favorite art quote to share? 
“I dream of painting, then I paint my dream” – Van Gogh (of course)
Where can we find you? 
And of course, she will be here at Blue Twig Studio teaching a fabulous 2-day class Aug 15th & Aug 16th. If you are in the area, I hope you can join the fun. Click this link for more info about the class.  Here is a quick video clip from Suzi herself!
I love Van Gogh too and I draw a lot of inspiration from his use of texture and color and intensity. His life story is also amazing.
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Artist Interview – Kelly Kilmer

28 May

Blue Twig Studio is lucky to have artist Kelly Kilmer from Los Angeles, CA coming to teach 2 classes in July. I thought you might like to get to know her a little bit better, so we prepared this interview for you. Please be sure to visit Kelly’s blog for more fun stuff and inspiration. And I hope you get a chance to take one or both of her upcoming classes here at Blue Twig Studio. (links are below)

by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

Tell us a little bit about your art background. Have you always done art? Do you have an art degree? What types of art have you done? What types of classes have you taken?
I’ve been making art since I was a little girl. The joke was that I always had either a pencil, crayon or book in my hand (along with a stuffed animal.) I was always drawing and making little things. 
I am self taught though I took one drawing class at Massachusetts College of Art. 
I have done a wide variety of art and have taught myself bookbinding (Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz is the BEST bookbinding book there is), collage, drawing, painting, a variety of mixed media everything from acrylics, gouache, watercolors, water soluble crayons, assemblage, jewelry, and fabric arts. I found that my main passion is paper arts and that has been my focus for almost 20 years now. I love making books and filling them. 
I have taken a small handful of classes over the years from the likes of Juliana Coles to Carla Sonheim to Karen Michel (I’d recommend all three instructors in a heart beat.) I wish that I could take more classes but I am usually too busy teaching my own. I also read a ton of books (everything from art, inspiration, film, biographies, creativity, non fiction, fiction, etc… If I think that I can glean an idea from it, it’s in my hands!)
Who has inspired you the most in your artistic career?
My students always inspire me the most. They push me to be the best artist and teacher that I can be. It’s because of them that I am always developing new classes and searching for new ideas. 
My favorite artists that have inspired me are Corita Kent, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Barron Storey, Lynda Barry, Maira Kalman, The Surrealists, to name a few. My husband and my son have also been very big inspirations in my life. 
What is your favorite medium to use and why? 
Paper. You can do so much with a piece of paper. It’s an open door to possibility! You can fold it and shape it into something (it can even fly!) You can spill your heart out onto it. You can paint with it. I love paper!
What is your favorite class to teach and why? 
I don’t have one favorite class. I love teaching and seeing the light bulbs go off over someone’s head. I love it when someone starts to ask a question and they realize that they can do anything! 
How did you get started teaching? How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching art since late 1997. When I was little, I thought that I’d either be an English teacher, forest ranger or drummer! I spent a lot of time filling notebooks with my own musings, drawings and stickers (lots and lots of stickers.) When my son was born, I made him two full albums of photos (from the time he was 0 to 6 months, all of the other photos are now in boxes.) I started making greeting cards to sell (and I did pretty well selling them through a local shop.) One of the local stamp store managers suggested that I teach classes. I started teaching basic card making classes. It was okay but something was off. The card store only wanted cute cards and everything was done assembly line style so it sucked the life out of me a bit. I remember walking into Stamp Stamp Stamp in the Glendale Galleria and seeing Lynne Perrella’s Acey Deucy Goddess stamps and thinking, “THIS. THIS is what I wanted to do.” I taught myself bookbinding and went from filling store bought books to my own books. 
How has your artistic/creative journey changed over the years (if it has)?
I started out making scrapbooks and cards. I fell head over heels in love with bookbinding and filling my books. I taught myself how to use acrylics and a wide variety of media. I’ve worked on canvas and paper. I dabbled in jewelry making, assemblage art and fabric. I like to make things but I have found that I am most passionate about art journaling and filling books made by my own hands. When I realized that about 10 years ago, my entire focus changed to seeing how much I could push myself as primarily a paper/book artist. I am always looking for new ways of doing things and exploring the many possibilities that are out there.
What direction do you see the mixed media industry heading? What trends have you noticed.
I don’t pay attention to trends. I found that when I find a tool or product that I like, I stick with it. My favorite tools are pretty much the same after many, many years. I started using tape in 2004 and was over the moon when washi tape was introduced shortly thereafter. I also have my favorite pens and stencils that I like. I share all of this on my blog and in my classes. I found out that my best classes are the ones that I am most passionate about and that I don’t teach product but process (while using products that I love and recommend.) I don’t work for any companies. I work for my students and for myself. 
Lately it seems harder to be noticed and that there are lots of people teaching and selling. It’s hard for a lot of new people as well as some of us who have been around for awhile. I think that we have to support our local mom and pop art shops as much as possible as well as each other. 
Share a favorite quote or favorite art book with us.
Hands down, my favorite art book is Learning By Heart by Corita Kent and Jan Steward. Kent is one of my favorite artists and teachers. She truly believed and taught that inspiration is everywhere! You just have to do the work.
-Kelly Kilmer
by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer


by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

Kelly has a wonderful style of working and I am looking forward to her classes in July. Just click on the links to take you to the class information page. 
July 16th – 9:30am Pieces of Me
July 16th – 1pm  The Pages Within 
If you can’t take a class with her at Blue Twig Studio, then I hope you can find a class somewhere else.
Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play
Blue Twig Studio
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918


Artist Interview – Quinn McDonald

14 Jun

I’m happy to say that Quinn McDonald is coming to teach this summer at Blue Twig Studio. I’ve been following her blog for quite some time now and really enjoy it. She offers a good variety of posts covering art and everyday life.  I also have a couple of her books and they are very insightful. I am looking forward to meeting her in person. I thought we might like to get to know Quinn better before she arrives, so I sent her some questions.


  • Can you share a brief bio of who you are?

—> I’m a writer who is also an artist, so my art usually has letters or number forms in it. The other part of my life is really exciting for me. I’m a  life- and creativity coach, and I help people who are stuck in their creative life. Maybe they have too many ideas, maybe not enough. Or they aren’t making meaning with their work or can’t get into flow. It’s a wonderful work because I learn so much.

  • What is your earliest memory of creating art?

—> My mother was ill when I was very young, so we had a lot of “quiet time.” She bought me some non-hardening clay (called plasticine) and I spent hours making people and animals, and equipment for them, using twigs, leaves, can lids. I invented whole other worlds and histories for those worlds.

I also loved paper dolls, but didn’t like the clothing they came with. So I made “fashion” outfits for them that I’m just glad I never had to create in real life!

  • Have you always been an artist or did you find art at a later age?

—> I never thought of myself as an artist when I was in school. There were a lot of rules, and those children with obvious illustration talent were encouraged. The “test” was to draw a horse from memory. We were seven or eight. I drew a purple one with yellow wings and had a great backstory for it, but it didn’t pass the test. I got put in finger-painting group after that. I loved collage, which I discovered as a teenager. I was told it wasn’t art. I didn’t think of myself as a “real” artist until I became a papermaker when I was an adult.

  • Do you have formal education in the arts?

—> I have taken many courses in the arts—collage, assemblage, watercolor, drawing, book arts, traditional book binding, alternative book binding, altered arts. But I do not have a university degree in art. My undergraduate degree is in biology and English, and my graduate degree is in cross-cultural studies.

  • What is your preferred medium to work in?

—> My heart is in collage and creating the colored papers that go into the collage. That’s where Monsoon Papers come in (NOTE: this is the class she is teaching at Blue Twig Studio in July). But I’m also a journaler, so my work falls into the mixed media category.

  • Who has been most influential to your work?

—> So many people. Mostly not famous people. The woman who taught me how to make papers out of plants I grew. The woman who taught me how to marble paper.

Artists who follow their art because it makes meaning for them, no matter what anyone else thinks. (I usually run blog articles about those artists on Saturdays). Outsider artists. The work of current artists like KK Santini, for her amazing use of color. Collage artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, who taught me to paint and tear my way into illustrative collage. Laurie Doctor for her use of calligraphy and letterforms in art. Gina Armfield and Dina Wakely for their unfailing cheer and encouragement. So many of my fellow North Light authors—Diana Trout, Orly Avenieri, and Margaret Peot. Wow, how much space do you have?

  • Where else do you teach?

—> I teach regularly at Arizona Art Supply, both in Tucson and Phoenix. Last year I taught at Madeline Island School of Arts in Lake Superior, north of Wisconsin. Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale, AZ. I’m cutting back on teaching art for a while, to work on some collage development projects and on some writing projects. (I am glad she decided to add Blue Twig Studio to her summer schedule!)

  • What types of classes do you teach?

—> Mostly technique classes, not so much project classes. I like to explore and experiment with people, not so much make something that can be given as a gift. I teach a lot of writing classes as well.

  • What is your favorite class to teach?

—> Monsoon Papers. Hands down, it is always a surprise and it never goes wrong. And makes the best collage papers. In writing, it’s Magic Words, and for a combination of work, it’s Inner Hero work.

  • Where have you exhibited your art work?

—> For 15 years, I was an exhibiting artist at art shows all along the East Coast. I was a silversmith and jewelry maker. It was good for a while, then I wasn’t being creative, just cranking out work to sell. I have it up and promised myself that I would not do that again. Now I’m thinking of getting gallery representation for my collage work.

  • What is your favorite art quote?

—> I have 34 pages of “favorite quotes.” Here are two of my favorites:

 “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” –Chuck Close

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” —e e cummings

  • What advice would you give to the readers of this blog?

—> I don’t give advice. Learned that as a coach. But one of the big learnings that I still work on is that nothing beautiful is learned quickly or without effort. Art needs practice. Classes that let you assemble a project and add some color have nothing to do with learning. Learning is about failure. And getting up the nerve to do it again. That’s where the real learning, the real joy is.

  • Share your links to your blog, website, facebook, etc.

Website: QuinnCreative.com

  • Share info about your books you have written.
—> I’ve written a number of books. The two most recent are both for North Light books: Raw Art Journaling and The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal. I also have a DVD coming out in support of Inner Hero. And right now, at this second, I’m in negotiation with a publishing company that approached me to write a book. So keep your fingers crossed!

So now we know a lot more about Quinn, and for me, that makes a difference when I am thinking of taking classes with somebody new. I’d love to have you sign up for her upcoming class at Blue Twig Studio – Monsoon Papers: Ink, Water, Words. Even the title sounds enticing to me. The class is July 19th, so put it on your calendar now!!! I know that she is looking forward to getting out of the heat of Arizona in the middle of July and coming to beautiful Colorado. And we are looking forward to having her teach us something new.
Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play
Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918
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Ruth Chandler – stitch goddess

31 Mar

Ruth Chandler is a stitch goddess. She creates the most amazing stitch work and she inspires me!

She teaches at my shop Blue Twig Studio as well as at other national venues. She has a new book out called Modern Hand Stitching. And I am happy and proud to call her friend. I wanted to share an interview with her to help you get to know her better too.

Ruth Chandler

Ruth Chandler


When did you start creating art?  I started stitching at age 4. I learned hand stitching from our Japanese landlady – we would sit on the porch and stitch and eat mandarin oranges and Japanese crackers. I started by learning Sashiko and then added more stitches. It was a special time sitting and stitching together.

What other types of art or creativity have you done?  Mostly I have worked with fabrics. I learned to sew my own clothes and also to do quilting when I was very young. My first quilt was a hand appliqued, hand quilted, queensize Hawaiian style quilt – probably not the best choice for a first quilt! 🙂  But I have also done indigo dyeing and fiber arts. I have designed my own line of bags and created patterns and written books (she is also the co-author of Fabric Embellishing: the basics and beyond). While I have tried a few other art things, including a recent class on using PanPastels, I much prefer working with fabrics, textiles, fibers, and threads.

Who has inspired you the most?  Since I grew up in Japan, I am most inspired by the Japanese style of art. One of my favorite artists is Hiroshige, a Japanese artist from the 1800’s. I think the Japanese influence shows up in most of my art.

What are you doing now?  Japanese  Boro – an art form from the early 1600’s  (very wabi-sabi). It is kind of like recycling – never throwing anything away – using what you have – repairing instead of replacing.  (I am excited to tell you that we will be adding a class on this technique in the near future.)

Where have you taught classes?  Well of course here at Blue Twig Studio, but also at other  local quilt shops and guilds, Art & Soul mixed media art retreats, Houston IQF,  Textile Evolution retreat and on-line book study, and other shops across the country.

What are your favorite classes to teach?  The Stitch Play class because it opens people’s eyes to possibilities, and the dyeing class because you don’t know what the results are going to be and there are always happy surprises.

What would you like to learn?  My word for the year is EXPAND, so I am trying to expand my creativity by learning new techniques and styles and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Any other comments? I love to see what students do with what they learn in my classes. The students inspire me and that is why I love to teach.

You can find Ruth at Textile Evolution and at Ruth Chandler Designs Blog.

Ruth has several classes at Blue Twig Studio, including the Stitch Play class that goes along with the new book.  Not only do you learn a lot about hand stitching, but you make this really cute reference book (similar to the one Ruth is holding in the photo above).

You can buy her book here. And since I know her personally I can have her autograph the book for you.  We are also hosting a book signing party at Blue Twig Studio on April 12th, so if you are in the area stop by.


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918 – USA


Arty Party Fun

25 Jul

I love hosting the Arty Party every month. There are always different people attending, with varying degrees of artistic skills. Some people are quite comfortable in their artistic skills while others have had very limited experience with being creative or artistic. It is what I love most about doing the class. Seeing the ones that think they can’t do it, actually create something fun and beautiful and suddenly realize they CAN do it! Woo Hoo!!!!

I especially love seeing how everyone takes the same directions and creates something completely different from everyone else. Each person expresses their own artistic talent (yes everyone has talent, even if you don’t believe it!) in a way that is unique to them. Their art pieces speak to their own color palette and style and aesthetic. Each class inspires me more and more as I see the seeds of creativity start to sprout in each student. It is absolutely amazing to watch and experience and I know that is why I love doing these classes.

For the July Arty Party I really wanted to try to encourage the whole ‘mixed media’ style of art. The idea of using multiple techniques to create the piece is what mixed media is all about. For this project we started with a cradled canvas panel, then we used various paints, stencils, sprays, gel medium, napkins, photo copy images,  and lots of embellishments. We also used Gelatos, Inka Gold, Pitt Big Brush Pens, and Identipens.  Everyone really did create their own mixed media art piece.

P1020542 P1020543 P1020544 P1020545 P1020546 P1020547

I love the variety that was achieved. I can’t wait til next month to see what we do. I know the students will be exploring their artistic side and finding out that they can do it and that they like what they are doing! Amazing!

Perhaps you will join us at the next Arty Party. You know you want to!


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5965 Whiskey River Dr – Colorado Springs, Co 80923 – USA

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