Friday, August 13, 2010

Grunewald Guild Silk Painting Class 2010

     Grunewald Guild near Leavenworth WA is a favorite place of mine, one I enjoy teaching at every year.

Grunewald Guild Core Purpose
To be a sanctuary for experiencing the Diving through art.

This year three classes were structured around a theme "Welcoming the Year," exploring the church calendar.  Gilly Sakakini from England concentrated on Holy Week, Laurie Clarke from western Washington taught  myriad aspects, historical and cultural, of The Tree of Life for the long green season, and I taught/facilitated "Advent and the Creative Void." Author and ordained Methodist minister Jan Richardson was our keynote speaker and the glue holding all the classes together.
Jan Richardson glues us together

     My students and I explored how many ways the creative process was like the season of Advent, a season of entering the darkness to create something new. Kind of fun celebrating a time of darkness and cold in 95 degree weather and long sunlit evenings.

We explored silk painting as an incarnational activity, birthing intangible ideas from our imagination into the physical realm in order to communicate them to ourselves and to others.

Student Work


We were thirteen students and one teacher/facilitator. Sometimes it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, and once in a while someone would break into song. Joyful duets and full choruses accompanied our painting.



Jamie's pieces
But mostly people worked. Class time was 9:30 to noon, but many were there before breakfast, all afternoon and when I came to check on things late at night.They produced a lot of work.
Student work
Finished scarves ready for the steamer

Ready to roll

When the scarves were all painted we rolled them up in paper, hung them inside the above contraption, lit a fire under them and steamed them for 4 hours. This sets the dye to bond it permanently to the silk.

Unrolling the silk after it has been steamed is like opening Christmas presents after Advent. Also like opening a kiln-load of freshly fired pots...a very joyful occasion. 
.Well here they don't look quite as excited as little kids, but really it was fun.

On the last day we celebrated! Our pieces were finished, real, and done, after waiting for inspiration,  struggling with the materials, a bit of muse-whisperings and a lot of hard work. Merry Christmas!