First things first...let's start with dorm life! Ummmmm...I miss my college days...EXCEPT for the dorms! It was everything I remembered, which is why my first order of business was to unpack, organize and do at least a little bit of decorating. Hey- this was my home for a week, so it had to be inspiring! (Anyone reading this that is maybe thinking about applying, dorm wasn't bad at all. Definitely bring your own towel and pillow, and don't forget shower shoes, a mirror and a lamp! #HotTips)
We started off our first evening at KCAI with a campus tour and great reception to welcome us. And then...well, it was off to sleep and start our day in the studio the following morning and begin what would be a fun and informative week. Our rock star instructor, Kim Eichler-Messmer was AMAZING. So knowledgeable. So talented. So super sweet! It's hard to give a true account of every single thing that we learned...but some of the highlights were tons of DYING with natural dyes, my favorite was the indigo dye...creating our own fabrics from shibori techniques...sashiko and machine stitching and tons of beadwork and embellishment for me, of course! I really enjoyed the format and pace of the week, Kim would teach us the new information via demonstration and hands-on experience, then turn us loose to create samples based on what we learned. The sound of fabric ripping off the bolt was pretty commonplace- because we were all really into our work and experimenting.
In addition to a beautiful campus, there were two major art museums nearby, and you better believe I made it to both! I stopped by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in lieu of lunch early on in the week. They had two of the four galleries open, but good stuff.
On Friday the ArtLab folks reserved an area in the courtyard of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art...it was a beautiful space. I wandered around in the museum for a while, it was so much bigger than I expected- and that didn't even include the sculpture garden!
KCAI Educators ArtLab Final Exhibition!
At the end of the week we had a show in the painting building. My husband and his father actually flew in a couple of days before so they were there to attend the show, which was pretty special. In my mind, I had planned on making five pieces for the show but once I got to KCAI and started actually getting into the dying and stitching...I forgot about that and just let myself enjoy the work. I ended up showing one necklace that I worked on for most of the week, indigo dyed shibori fabrics, machine stitched and hand embellished using sashiko techniques and beads, everything sewn stitch by stitch, bead by bead- a true labor of love. I was bummed because I had planned to wear a piece I created at the actual show...but then at the last minute I grabbed one of my unfinished sashiko scraps, stitched it to my dress neckline, threw a large statement necklace on top with some extra bling I wired in for some temporary sparkle...and bam! A 'necklace installation' was created!
KC Family Time!
Not only was a part of the plan to go to KC the workshop...it was also to have a family trip! John, his father, sister and her husband were all there by the end of the week and we had a great time checking out the Raffaele's old haunts (he lived in KC back in the 1970's!) We had some laughs, we had WAY too much food and then we all headed back our separate ways...John and I headed back to Florida and they headed home to North Carolina.
Artist and Art Teacher