Felting the Avian Form

This is a 2-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

Turning wool into felt is a little bit like magic.  Nancy will guide you in learning artful and practical skills to needle felt the avian form. Wrens to ravens, owls to blue-footed boobies, participants can make any bird they choose.

Begin by learning which fibres are best for needle felting and the different types of needles used.  Learn how to create and join different shapes, how to felt around a wire armature including making wire bird feet and various techniques for the creation of detailed feathers.

Participants should reach out to the instructor to discuss which bird they would like to make so Nancy can have the required colours of hand-dyed wool prepared.

Workshop supply fee of $35 includes use of the instructor’s hand-dyed felting wool, armature wire, one felting needle, and use of the instructor’s foam felting boards. Students who have felting tools are encouraged to bring them as well.  Multi-needle tools are encouraged, or can be purchased from the instructor ($22Cdn).



Read More

Wax Praxis: Encaustic Applications

This is a 5-day workshop. Classes run 9 – 4 pm daily and tuition includes lunch.

The Wax Praxis is designed for you to embark on a 5-day deep dive into a comprehensive of encaustic painting and its various applications. Starting with an overview of the encaustic medium’s deep ancient history, to grounds, tools, brushes, fusing methods, safety, palette preparation, color mixing and layering, the Wax Praxis will open up a world of creative possibilities to apply to your painting practice.

This class will explore the rudiments and essentials of painting with wax to fully incorporate prints, photographs, textile embossing, collage materials and other media such as pan pastels and pigment sticks into encaustic paintings. Layering with any kind of paint forms the stage in which to translate your inspirations and creative visions into wax. In this class, students will learn to layer medium by creating transparent color layers to achieve depth.

The elements and materials that come together with encaustic painting form a unique alchemy. There are a lot of ways to work with heat and on an encaustic surface while it is still warm. I will demonstrate the adherent nature of wax and various image transfer techniques it offers up such as laser, inkjet, Xerox, graphite and carbon transfer.

Each day will begin with a demonstration of specific techniques. Rather than a purely technique driven workshop however, the Wax Praxis is designed more for students to discover new techniques to then apply to an existing creative narrative or to bring concepts and ideas into fruition for their work.


Read More

Painting Here and Now

This is a 5-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

Painting outdoors (or plein air) was popularized in the mid 19th century with the advent of portable paint in tubes. It
was the latest, most radical departure from the standard academic practices at the time as it sought to represent the
realities of contemporary life in the industrialize West in contrast to ideals still perpetuated in the academies and the
tastes of the status quo. Pleinarism in many ways was the foundation of modern painting.

In the 21st century, confronted with myriad new realities, a return to pleinairism once again may be a radical departure
from the currents in contemporary art practice. In contrast to the speed and “connectedness” of the technological
age, pleinairism asserts the sovereignty of our attention and situates the painter directly in the context of the painting.
If we think of looking as a tactile experience, feeling textures, sensing the space between things and painting also as
an act of touch, observational painting becomes a kind of synesthetic and reciprocal conversation with place. Place
and people have always shaped each other, nature and culture are inextricably linked and when we engage with place,
we also engage with our common history with the natural world, in this workshop we will explore the possibility that
painting serves this mutual agency.

This course is informed by current discourse in mindfulness, ecology, phenomenological philosophy and
contemporary art. The course will feature an introductory lecture about painting outdoors, its history and precedents,
philosophical and social implications in todays context. There will also be daily group critiques on the progress of
work as well as individual feedback and instruction (when requested). The structure of the workshop will start with a
brief daily meeting and proceeding to the locations being painted for the duration of the day. Each member of the
workshop, including me, will endeavour to make two paintings during the course of the week. The emphasis will be on
painting as an interaction with place and objects over longer periods of time through different light and weather

Read More

Throwing: Pushing and Pulling Limits

This is a 5-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

An exciting opportunity to expand and increase the scale of ones pottery making skills.  The instructor will demonstrate the tools and techniques he uses to centre up to a hundred pounds of clay on the wheel and throw pieces a meter in diameter. For throwing, he uses various ribs, bats and trimming bats. Each will be demonstrated and discussed. As well, tools for improving repetitive smaller scale work will be demonstrated.

This course will cover all aspects of the process from start to finish, including trimming, slip application and attention to drying. His slip bottle pouring and trailing decoration at the wet, leather, and bisque stage will add a deeper dimension to the variety of techniques experienced by participants. His making of handles, lids, knobs and spouts will contribute to students’ understanding of finishing details.

Glaze mixing, application and consistency, especially with attention to specific gravity will be addressed. Students will gain insight into pouring, dipping, and spraying glazes. Decorative techniques explored will include dynamic application of slip and geometric glaze trailing. Methods of making printing sponges for pattern on glaze will also be demonstrated.

Hands on immersion by participants will be an important aspect of the workshop. Discourse surrounding where ideas and designs originate and how we go about executing them will round out this program.

Read More

Explorations in 3D Watercolour Nuno Felt

This is a 5-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

This workshop offers students the opportunity to create hand-painted nuno felted pieces with shimmering and dramatic 3-D surface effects. Students can choose to design a scarf, wrap, vest, chemise, tunic, or dress. Or, they may make a unique journal, pillow cover, or several pieces of fibre art jewellery. Due to the length of this workshop, there will be time to creatively explore the techniques in-depth and it may be possible to complete several projects.

Students will lay out their felting projects using natural (un-dyed) superfine Merino wool and lustrous silk fabrics. They will embellish the the felt with dimensional techniques that include:
• Rosettes
• Blossoms
• Fabric collage
• Silk spirals
• Rivers of silken shimmer using silk yarn
• Fluttering leaves
• Abstract ruffles
• Corkscrew” fringe
• Silk brocade
• Ruffled silk “bark”

Next, using fabric dye, they will hand-paint their felted pieces as if they were paintings! As the colours flow and combine, to create new colours and subtle transitions, the inherent beauty of nuno felt will be enhanced with a watercolour effect. Students will learn dye formulation, colour mixing and heat setting of dyes, They will also learn proper fulling, and finishing techniques to achieve a durable and long-lasting felt.

Instruction in the use of resists and the much-loved, labour-saving “No Roll” method is also included.

This course is suitable for beginners as well as intermediate to advanced level nuno felters who wish to learn 3-D and hand-painting techniques. The complexity of a project will correspond with the student’s level of experience. Instructional handouts are included.

Material fee includes supplies that will be provided by instructor.  See student supply list for further details.  Any extra material fees will depend on the specific project(s) you choose ie. cuff ($9), short scarf ($41) or vest ($72).


Read More

Cheesecloth Imagery

This is a 5-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

Prepare to be amazed by the remarkable, creative potential of humble cheesecloth. Beginning with simple exercises exploring figurative imagery – landscapes, birds, animals, and portraits – you can then create a unique larger piece … or just keep exploring with a series of small works.

Master the fundamentals of composition by playing with cheesecloth, with an emphasis on value, transparency, and contrast. Discover new ways to include a variety of textures in your fibre art and how to paint background fabrics easily with wax pastels. Focus on black and white for dramatic chiaroscuro or add colour – to your cheesecloth or your background – with paint, ink or dye.  Learn how to adjust your own reference photos – or choose from thousands of copyright-free images – on a laptop or tablet using simple programs and apps.

Understanding that not everyone is comfortable with technology, the instructor is also happy to prepare your pattern on her laptop for you, with your preferred layout, and you can print your pattern on the school copier. Sew as much or as little as you want. Finishing instruction includes machine quilting or just placing works on a stretched canvas.

Material fee includes supplies provided by instructor.  See student supply list for further details.

Visual presentations, including the instructor’s significant collection of completed cheesecloth pieces, will inspire and demonstrate every step of the process. Along the way we will share eureka moments plus tips and shortcuts for working with fibre. This is a whole new way of working with fibre and I am excited to share it with you.

Material fee includes supplies provided by instructor.  See student supply list for further details. 

Read More

Revealing New Worlds: Small Scale Clay Figures

This is a 5-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

Participants will learn various strategies for successfully fabricating small clay figures. The methods they learn will work for both human and animal subjects. The group will learn together about working solid and hollow, and how to build with and without an armature. They will draw inspiration from the vast history of figurative sculpture, from prehistoric to contemporary works. In addition, they will troubleshoot the most effective ways to present their small-scale figures and draw viewers into the artist’s invented world.

Read More

Explore Cold Wax & Oil Paint

This is a 5-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

In this workshop, students will explore abstract, semi-abstract, and impressionistic styles of painting. Working both Alla prima and using layering, mark-making,  and reduction methods, the students will gain an understanding of the possibilities of the medium.

This workshop will cover materials and surfaces, tools and how to use them, colour mixing with a primary palette, opacity, and transparency, mark-making, cleaning tools, building up texture and layers, setting up your workspace, incising, scraping, and stenciling as well as making shapes and masking, using powdered pigments, pastels, oil sticks, collage and solvent reductions, and transfer techniques. Students will create a series of abstract paintings on gridded paper as well as work on cradled panels and oil paper.

This workshop focuses on the process itself – on the possibilities and how they can be incorporated into your individual artistic practice. You will understand composition styles, elements, and principles of design, and how to look at values. Through valuable feedback. participants will learn how to make their paintings stronger. There will be technique demonstrations, combined with student exploration, group discussions, and printed resources.

Whether you are new to the medium or have some experience you will gain insightful knowledge.  

Material fee includes supplies that will be provided by instructor.  See student supply list for further details.

Read More

Exploring Surface Design

This is a 5-day workshop. Classes run 9 – 4 pm with daily lunch included in tuition. 

Are you interested in playing with pattern, imagery, colour and texture? In this course we will explore how to use surface techniques to make your work unique.

Methods include drawing through wax, creating and using bisque textures for functional and sculptural work, stenciling with underglazes, photocopy image transfer, pattern making with wax resist, and watercolour techniques with underglazes. These processes are suitable for hand built and wheel thrown work. Techniques will be applied to test tiles, simple hand built cylinder vases, and in the creation of a patchwork slab bowl. Participants will leave with a library of textures and patterns to use in their future work.

The workshop will also include exercises for sparking creativity and connecting to nature for replenishment and inspiration. Marney McDiarmid is renowned for her joyful teaching style. She cultivates a compassionate, non-judgemental learning space that celebrates experimentation and connection. The course is suitable for the beginner to the advanced artist.

Read More

Turning Bowls Upside Down

This is a 2-day workshop.  Classes run 9-4pm with lunch included.

Have you ever wanted to learn a new technique to avoid common frustrations?  Discover how throwing them upside down prevents the frustrating problems of wobbling and thin rims that bulge inside. With this technique, you can avoid troublesome warping and bottom-heavy bowls.

This technique gives you unlimited possibilities to alter the shape of your vessel.



Read More