Archive | Events

Event | Art Supply Warehouse Fine Arts Weekend

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

I am always on the look out for new ways to expose my kids to the fine arts, in a fun and enjoyable manner.  I was lucky to find out that the local Art Supply Warehouse store was hosting a fine arts event on their property. It was free to the public, which was a major boost to my pocket book.  Additionally, they encouraged children and adults of all ages to participate (which meant they would have workshops that were child-friendly). 

The “Fine Arts Event” was a three-day event that offered several different workshops to choose from on  each day.  There were also hourly demonstrations put on by a variety of artists.  The event also offered an opportunity to create a piece of art through the “Remaster The Masters” event to display on the Catalyst art class space wall.

We anticipated that we would probably spend the day at the event, so my kids packed a light lunch and off we went to the “Fine Arts Weekend Event”.  The first stop was at the store, so we could stock up on the art supplies we were low on.  The Art Supply Warehouse offers a 25% sale at least two times a year and this year it was timed at the same time as the fine arts event.  We have learned to shop first because at those prices they tend to run out of the things we need very quickly.

Once the shopping was completed, we went to the first demonstration which was sponsored by Strathmore.

This was a mixed media workshop where the kind folks at Strathmore provided each participant with one of their new mixed media pads to test out with watercolors, charcoals and pastels.

There were students of all ages taking this workshop.

If you are into junk journals, art journals, mixed media pieces, etc., you may find that these pads are great.  The instructor had samples of different materials that she used on these pads.  The first one was a page from her Strathmore Mixed Media Pad showing the use of Pan Pastels and Stencils.

The second was her Strathmore Mixed Media Pad showing the use of Golden’s Acrylic and hot sticks.

The third was a sample of air brushing on the same pad.

The fourth was an actual in class project by one of the students using watercolor sticks put down in layers to get vibrant colors.  She used a lot of water and still the paper did not buckle, which I think is a plus.

The next workshop we attended was soft pastels workshop which was presented by Lon Dekkers and sponsored by Rembrandt.

You may wonder what is so special about these pastels, for us it is that they do not contain any heavy metals (such as cadmium, lead, and cobalt).  My daughter has certain allergies and these did not cause any reaction.  The colors are also very rich and easy to work with.

Lon showed how to use the side of the pastel to fill in larger areas in the drawing.

He also went over several different ways to use the pastels to create depth and light.

He was very patent with my teenager, and happily answered all her questions.  She asked him to do a whole apple without smudging the colors on the apple, so she could better understand how the use of particular colors brought light and depth into the apple drawing.

Her apple drawing came out really well. 

Unfortunately, my apple turned into pumpkin (thank goodness that I do not have to rely on my own drawing skills to create cards).

My daughters definitely loved this workshop and I am sure I will see a set of these soft pastels added to their Christmas wish lists.

The next workshop we attended was an oil painting workshop which featured paints from the Jack Richeson Oil Paint – Shiva Collection.

The teacher, Jeff Morrow, for this workshop was a very patent artist.  Teaching oil painting to a group of individuals of varied ages and experience is no easy task.

He taught us how to combine colors, use the various tools and some different painting techniques.

He also shared tips with the students, one of which is to think about perspective when working on a painting. This was helpful, since many of the students had never used oil paints before and were feeling bit nervous about working with them.

Another fun tip was that he showed us how the right frame can change how a painting looks.  The above the painting is great.  However, when you add a frame……it definitely changes the way the finished painting looks.

 Another fun workshop we were able to attend was an “Artist Trading Card” workshop.   In this workshop we had the opportunity to try out the Daler Rowney’s FW Acrylic Inks.

This workshop was taught by calligraphy artist and author, Lisa Engelbrecht.

She taught us some fun techniques for creating our own Artist Trading Cards.

I am a big fan of making Artist Trading Cards because of their size. I find that Artist Trading Cards are a manageable craft project and allow me to try out a variety of textiles, materials, etc. on them within a short time span.

Here are samples of some of the ones made by the workshop attendees.

and some by Lisa:

The “Fine Arts Event” also had a very cool “Remaster the Masters” project.  Where we got to create our t-shirts master pieces with the new Sharpie paint colors.  The store provided us with a fun t-shirt to paint.

They had all the pens out and the colors were fabulous.  Below are just a few examples of some of the shirts people created.

My daughter drew her version of “Nyan Cat” which apparently is a popular cartoon cat with a “pop toasty” body.

The event lasted three days and offered many more workshops than we were able to attend.  My family and I appreciate stores like Art Supply Warehouse who give us a chance to try out different artistic media and provide these fun educational opportunities.  If you are interested in similar events,  I highly recommend checking out the online calendar of local art stores and museums who often sponsor similar events in your area.

We would love to know what types of events our readers enjoy reading about.  Please take a moment to share some of your favorites with us.

Event | American Sewing Guild 2011 Annual Conference

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

This summer I got a chance to attend the “American Sewing Guild 2011 Annual Conference” which held in  Los Angeles, California. It was a great opportunity to see what is new in sewing, what the trends were, and what  different types of workshops were being offered. They even had a display of some their pin and thimble collectibles from former conferences.

The conference was held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, which is known for its unique architecture and decor.

The American Sewing Guild Conference offered over 19 different free demonstration of sewing techniques at the exhibit hall state. The ASG conference offers workshops, seminars, and a large amount of lectures to suit difference member needs. The selection was amazing.

They also had a wonderful community service project called the “Painted Turtle Pillow” where membersbuy the pattern to make the turtle pillow and then donate them to either raise funds for the children or to give to the children.

The Painted Turtle camp (a non-profit organization) is a special camp and family care center for children who suffer from life threatening illnesses.

The American Sewing Guild also had some great special events that included the “Art Bra Exhibit” from “The Way to Wellness Foundation”‘ and the well-known Hoffman Challenge from the “Treasures Collection”.

The first exhibit I got to see was the “Art Bra Exhibit” from The Way to Wellness Foundation. The art bras can be made of just about anything. The artist’s imagination is only limited in the fact that it has to remain wearable and displayable. The “Art Bra Exhibit” from “The Way to Wellness Foundation” was created to benefit woman’s breast cancer services.

The detail work on these bra’s is very creative and fun.

Below is a close up of some the different detail work on three of the bras that were on display.

The first has some fun western motifs on it.

The second has all different types of beads.

The third was covered in cloth dominos which were three dimensional.

The second special event was the 2011 Hoffman Challenge  from their “Treasures Collection.” Here is a peek of only a few of the beautiful pieces of clothing that were on display.

In the trends area, I stopped by and spoke with Stephanie Klienman at the “Fabric Studio” booth. She explained how the  Fabric Studio Software line allows the user to create and print their own fabric patterns in easy-to-follow steps. It was so simple, and the resulting fabric is pretty to cool to see in person.

Below are printed examples of some fabric made using their fun new “Fabric Studio” software. I like the kitty and puppy fabric. They are too cute!

This little dress is so adorable and if you look closely, you can see the little girl’s face in the print.

Then I went to visit with Linda McGehee from Ghee’s to talk to her about the zipper trend and some of the many different things you can make with them.

Her booth had an incredible selection of zippers that varied from simple to some covered with rhinestones. I personally loved the fancy lace trimmed zippers.  She even had badge holders that were made from zippers.

Linda knows that folks are busy and cannot often shop around for the materials to make some of her cool jewelry projects that she sells on her website. So she actually had some kits at her booth that were incredibly cute and very reasonably priced.

She also offers free patterns on her website.  Linda taught a very cool class on upcycling old clothing.

Then I decided to check out the Exhibit Hall and see what types of merchandise was being sold by vendors. One thing that caught my eye was “Dawn Sklar Ribbon and Button” booth where there was a fabulous selection of ribbons and buttons.

She also had jewelry-making supplies as well as pre-made button jewelry.

However, it was the buttons themselves that held my attention. She even had some steampunk ones but they sold out pretty quick on those.

The show had a lot to offer between the workshops, the lectures and the exhibits. The demonstrations provided some very useful information and the opportunity to see different ways to use the products. There was plenty of eye candy and a great selection of interesting products to empty the pocket book. If you enjoy sewing and being a part of such an interesting organization, then you may wish to look into their next conference.


  • ASG offers a large selection of workshops.
  • The ASG sends out supply list before the show so attendees can bring the right equipment.
  • Over 50 vendors of sewing related products.


  • Location…location…that part of downtown LA is a challenge both with parking. We had to park a 1/2 mile away from the hotel to find reasonably priced parking (the hotel charged $40 per day for parking).
  • You could easily be overwhelmed if you try to attend all the lectures.
  • Trying to decide which workshops to attend, they had a huge selection.

What different types of shows do you enjoy attending?  What kinds of lectures and/or product demonstrations do you wish they would hold? Leave us a comment and let us know what kind of events you want to see reviewed here on Craft Critique!

Event | The Scrapbook Expo

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

The Scrapbook Expo has several shows across the country; each one features a fun crop event where folks get together and crop the day and night away.

For those who have never attended a crop, here is how some of the crops work. Each person rents a table workspace and brings all of their supplies and pictures that they may need to work on their projects.  

The point of this type of event is to create the opportunity for an individual to work in a very creative atmosphere with other folks who share their enthusiasm to create memorable pages. The shared creative ideas are a lot of fun, and people often make new friends at these types of events.

Each day of the crop part of the show has a different theme. In the one I recently attended,  Friday was a fun “Old West Crop Party” theme. There prizes for creativity, enthusiasm and more. The show also offered attendees of the crop event some great equipment like die cut machines, paper trimmers, scrapbook software (compliments of Kodak), cricut machines, and more for croppers to use during the crop.

They even had pre-packaged scrapbooking kits that scrappers could order to make during the event.

The Expo also offered a broad selection of classes in digital scrapbooking and media.

On the show floor, there were many “Make & Take” opportunities for attendees to participate in. the projects were varied and had a wide range of appeal.

There were also plenty of free Technique Demonstrations to watch throughout the show, one of which was at the JudiKins booth.

Judy was on hand to demonstrate her technique of combining cool stamps with other products to create fun mini works of art. My favorite stamp was her new “Galaxy Spiral Stamp” which is from her retro collection.

For this project, she combined dye-based inks, glitters, and

Diamond Glaze to create a fun effect on glass and plastic. The soda can lid (project on the right in the picture below) is stamped, then the color is heat set before adding the diamond glass (which is allowed to air dry).

The JudiKins booth featured a vast assortment of new rubber stamp images. Here is a sampling of some of the new images 

and the sample card project. She has more project ideas , directions, and instructional videos on her website.

The next booth to catch my eye was the Button Farm. I just loved their wall of products, which included 7 Gypsies, Tim Holtz, and some very interesting curios. 

They also offered pre-packaged altered album kits.  All the supplies need to complete the project are in the kit.  They offered some fun designs.  I like the fact that I would not need to hunt out various unique products on my own to finish the kit like the one below.  For those who do not have time to plan a project, the complete step-by-step directions are always included in these kits.

My next stop was the Little Windows Brilliant Photo Jewelry booth.  Their display of photo jewelry just made you want to stop and look closer.  

Their fun jewelry making kit includes an epoxy resin that is not toxic and does not have the usual strong odor that most epoxies have.  Plus, it is created to work well with photo prints.

Here is a sampling of the different types of pieces you can make with this product using a variety of techniques.

Quick Quotes had a fun “Make & Take” that featured their flip flop shoe book.  This kit features a real pair of flip flops as the album cover.  Then the pages are attached in accordion style.  This is a very fun and cute kit.

They also had a fun display from their Club Q which offers crafters a choice of either a page kit or an altered art kit.

Technique Tuesday, featured ideas and kits that were geared towards toward the busy crafter.  They had page layout kits, chip board, clear stamps, and more.

Another booth that caught my eye was the Charity Wings.Org booth.  They were hosting a fund raiser “Make &Take”  event at the show, where they were making cute cards to raise money for charity.

Charity Wings is a non profit organization (California Non-Profit Org. 501(c)(3)) that empowers creative people who want to make a difference in other peoples lives and help raise funds for various charities and organizations (this show raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). I enjoyed the wide selection of “Make & Takes” mini workshops,

scrapbooking classes, and digital media imaging workshops.

This show offered an abundance of paper craft supplies.  The selection of embellishments was more tempting that you can imagine.  They also had basic rubber stamping supplies, chip board books, altered art supplies, stencils, embossing powders, glitters, adhesives, and incredible deals on patterned paper.

It turned out to be a great mix of altered art, stamping, and scrapbooking combined. One of the things that really stood out at this show is that the “Tim Holtz” line is extremely popular and people are finding lots of creative ways to use the products. I also noticed the pre-packaged scrapbooking and altered art kits were widely available. No matter what your experience level is, there was a kit to suit your needs.

For more information on upcoming workshops, 2011 show schedule, discount coupons, or vendors,  I would recommend checking the Scrapbook Expo show website.

Have you attended any scrapbooking shows? What was your favorite project or workshop? We would love to hear your thoughts on these type of shows?