Monday, 1 June 2009

Italy - Look what I missed !

students from England and the USA took part in the Adventures in Italy workshop (this is Celia from the UK)

My dear friend in cyberspace and reality, Kristin Steiner from South Carolina, USA, has just sent me some fascinating photos of work undertaken by students on an ‘Adventures in Italy Workshop’ in Orvieto at the beginning of May. How I wish I had been able to join this group, but I was heavily involved in work of my own, so could not. 

Two of the incredible pages, inspired by Orvieto, that Celia made on the workshop for a concertina book. I was not there, but I am motivated to begin my own book

The workshop was entitled "A Book of Inspiration - An Italian Abecedarium"  and was taught by Lisa Engelbrecht, a lettering artist from California who inspired the students to create a 26-page  personalized fabric alphabet book on painted canvas backgrounds capturing the priceless inspirations from a week in Orvieto, Italy.

Lisa demonstrated how a page was assembled: lettering and images on a canvas background; each page was embellished and then all 26 pages were stitched onto a length of fabric to make the concertina book

Oh! what I missed:  the chance to learn from a respected artist, the opportunity to experience ‘slow travel’; a week of creation and enjoyment at being with like-minded people.

Lisa (left) with another student: Anne (right) from Michigan, USA


Two of Anne’s stunning pages – 26 in all, which she completed as soon as she reached home

Anne said: “The images for this book came from a 1920's newspaper drawing and vintage ancestor photos.  The more 'modern' ladies from about the 30's were found in a huge box of old photos a friend was throwing away.  Combined with the old children's melody, ‘Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush’, it seemed to tell a story about our fate.”

How I would have loved to walk around that medieval hill town, have had the time to explore, to write, sketch and take photos, and to soak in all that atmosphere. It was not to be.

The 'Spring 2009' workshop group, together with partners / companions, who had their own programme of adventure and discovery

My brain is reeling from the pictures of what was produced in that workshop (I have looked at so many more that Kristin sent me). Enthralling. Had I been able to go, I think I would have made a 'Medieval Herbarium' combining my love of fabric, paper, herbs, medieval manuscripts, lettering (which I studied at school, way back), and Italy. I am already planning my a.b.c (English and Latin names) but will have to wait until Kristi comes to stay with me next month so she can explain to me 'what to do'.

What a marvellous opportunity these 'travel to learn' Italian Adventures are; exquisite scenery and food, with the added bonus to be tutored by well-known 'household names' from the art and mixed-media world. I would so love to go on one of the Autumn/Fall ‘Adventures in Italy’ workshops (September 27th – October 3rd), for mixed media artist and illustrator, Catherine Moore, is leading ‘The Journal as Reliquary': 

the cover of one of Catherine Moore’s amazing journals

Students in this workshop will "create an altered book masterpiece, which builds on your Orvieto adventure with chapters representing the city's history & culture." 

There are others Autumn/Fall workshops - and also many already on the website for 2010, but this one particularly took my fancy. See you there ??? 

My dear friends Kristin & Bill Steiner (who always come to stay when they visit England) organise these magical experiences. Check out their ‘Adventures in Italy’ website: they can explain so much better than I can exactly what it is all about.


  1. Beautiful work, very inspiring! I really don't need any more projects at the moment, but I am tempted...........ideas forming as I type :)


  2. I have been interested in art journals for a while, but have realised I don't have an artistic streak at all... so am limiting my journals to words, which are an art form in themselves - though I am not including the stupid LOL and such like that seem to pepper, litter, some people's messages and emails these days.

  3. what fun!! I too would have loved being there

  4. I am so flattered to have my picture and pages on your blog and delighted the pages appealed to you. If anyone is thinking of going on one of these trips then don't hesitate. I've been twice now and have had the most wonderful time on both trips. Kristi and Bill are the kindest people and you will be so well looked after. Orvieto is so beautiful, the people so friendly and the whole experience is so special.

  5. Those pages are just fabulous! What an exciting course! Wish I was there!

  6. Popped over here from Gilly's blog. Hope you don't mind. I loved this post, stirred something in my heart. There seems to be something good about these creations. Makes me wish I could create one too.

  7. These pieces are so inspiring and really capture something special. And these workshops seem incredible.