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Event Review: Arty Gras Celebration

Reported by Maria Del Pinto
The weekend of March 18-20, my children and I attend a fun event at our favorite art supply store in Westminster, CA. The event is the annual “Arty Gras” celebration at the Art Supply Warehouse.  People of all ages look forward this fabulous event and all the interesting schedule of workshops and demonstrations that they present each year.
This is a free event put on by the store to educate, encourage, and expose members of the local community to widen their artistic horizons.  It is a lot of fun and folks come from as far as San Diego to attend this event.  This year they had a painting competition with some pretty amazing artists who created large wall murals in a limited amount of time.  
The Official Schedule of Events and Workshops


My children were amazed at the incredible things people were making with the simplest of tools.   Our

 first stop was the “Amazing Human Powered Art Machine” which is a bicycle that has been remade into a human powered spin art machine. 

Human Powered Spin Art Machine
The “Human Powered Art Machine” is a reproduction of the famous retro spin art machine from the seventies. 
It is powered by a person sitting on the bike and peddling to create a rpm of 5000 to 10000, which is enough to produce dazzling spirals and streaks as the paint is squirted onto the paper.

Squeeze bottles filled with paint.

The adults and children stood outside a safety shield. Then using squirt bottles filled with different colors of paint, they created their little pieces of spin art.  

Some of the Spin Art Results

They came out very different from one another.   As you can guess, it was a challenge to get my kids to leave this fun kids craft workshop.  

Lutradur Triptych Postcard
The second workshop was  learning to make a “Lutradur”  Triptych postcard with Peter Overpeck from C&T Publishing.   This is a fun process that uses a variety of papers (Ultra-Light Lutradur, Transfer Artist Paper, Fast 2 Fuse Interfacing), inks, paints, and a hot iron to create really cool effects. 
Ultra Light Lutradur, Transfer Artist Paper, Fast 2 Fuse papers
The trick to this project was using silicon release paper which keeps the different papers from sticking to the iron or the ironing surface.  
Silicone Release Paper
The project we worked on consisted of printed sheets that had been run through an ink jet printer like the sample below.
Ink Jet Printer Sample
Below are samples of the different results you can get by using a variety of materials and inks.  The one below was heat distressed using a hot iron and a heat gun.
Heat Distressed Sample
The next sample show how it works using an ink rubbing technique.  This is a great kids art project.  You simply put a leaf upside down on some wax paper and then put a bit of paint on the leaf veins.  Gently pick up the leaf without smearing the paint and press the painted area onto some paper.  If you did it right, you have a fun leaf imprint on your paper.
Leaf Ink Rubbing Sample
The kids thought this was a fun workshop and the final postcards were cute. These products would be great for card making, altered books, tote bags, recycling old clothing, and upcycled craft projects. For homeschooling projects and teaching guides, the C&T Publishing web site has some class plans and instructions for various techniques using their product line.
The next workshop we attended was the “Visual Journaling 101” technique class with Kari Foteff  (sponsored by Strathmore).  Once my kids spotted bottles of mod podge and gesso, they were very excited to try this project.
Strathmore Visual Journal
This workshop featured Strathmore’s newest heavy-duty mixed media journaling papers that are not supposed to bleed or buckle easily with the application of various media materials. 
Kari Foteff
The journals are made with heavy-duty paper that has a wire binding that makes it easier to have the journal lay flat when open.   First, my daughter used the Mod Podge to adhere different papers to the pages.
Using Mod Podge to adhere asst papers
A water color artist sitting next to her, showed my daughter how to use the Lyra Aqua colors on the page.  She loved that effect and will probably add those colors to her birthday wish list.
Lyra Aqua Colors
The papers were put to the test, using alcohol inks, water colors, mod podge, liquitext fluid medium, and a variety of ephemera to create a special page.
Some of the finished pages
The pages below are done with paint and ordinary ink pens:
Paint & Ink Sample
One thing that I really liked is that the ink did not bleed through to the back of the page when using Pitt Artist Pens (Faber-Castell).
Applying Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen
This was a great project; all the altered pages came out great.  Since this was a fairly new product, there were a variety of different artists sitting in the workshop to test out these journals.  My children learned a lot of great tips from these folks on how to use the various supplies the store had laid out on the table to for everyone to use.  If you want to try your hand at altered art or just get some visual journaling ideas, Strathmore offers free online videos and instructions on their website.
One of the lovely things about the Arty Gras Event is that my children and I could participate in any workshop that we wanted as long as the children had an adult to help them with some of the more challenging tools (like the hot iron).  However, they also had children-orientated activities like face painting by Snazaroo, special beads, fun buttons, and more.
There were quite a few homeschool parents attending the event. They were stocking up on art supplies and gathering new ideas for their own kids homeschool art projects.  It was a weekend filled with great opportunities for everyone to try new products and techniques, as well as stock up on much needed art supplies, crafting supplies and other related products.

We would love for you to share your experiences at any local “Arts & Crafts” shows that you have attended  What was your favorite technique or workshop?

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Maria Del Pinto

Maria Del Pinto

I have been crafting since I was a child and I love seeing what others create. I live near the beach so everything around me inspires me. I also enjoy activities where I re-purpose something old & discarded & make it into something cool. My favorite mantra is "Re-use, recycle, and re-make".

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2 Responses to Event Review: Arty Gras Celebration

  1. Charo March 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    what a coincidence! i was just in a watercolor demo at an art store where i bought one of those jornals! love those Strathmore pads.

  2. pezadoodle March 28, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    wow that looks awesome! i really wish we had something like that around here!!!!