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  • Roberta Ahrens

Holiday Treasures Fun


Last weekend I held a class for a dozen people who wanted to make holiday gifts. While it wasn’t the first time for me to teach a class, it was the first time that I’ve taught people the techniques I use in my work with the “cracked linen” technique that is my signature style and the first time I’ve a hands on workshop to so many people. I’ve had almost 50 people ask about it me about classes in the last two years I’ve been exhibiting at Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studio and I decided that maybe it was time to bite the proverbial bullet.


Being the first time that I’d ever done this, I was definitely flying by the seat of my painter’s pants.


I brought way too much to show and tell… I had way too much for them to do… And as the day went on I kept thinking simplify simplify simplify… Nevertheless, everyone seemed really happy, everyone was really interested and everyone wanted to know… everything.

It was also nice to revisit the people because so many had come to visit me at my old studio during art trails. They were already interested in the work and many of them said, “I’m so glad you’re doing this I’ve wanted you to do this forever.” THAT was very gratifying.

So… I think there’s still a lot of room to expand on the whole thing.


Some folks want to make more projects, and some want to learn how to actually make the “cracked linen” that I use, so I see classes in both coming in 2020.


Part of me is nervous about, but part of me says, “ Let go… run with it!”

I kept checking in with everybody and seeing how everyone was doing and sometimes I’d have 3 or 4 people waiting to ask me questions. I think the freedom they experienced was wonderful. I had people constantly coming up to me saying, “can I…?” and I would say, “Do it!’


There is a freedom that comes into reality as part of the process. There were some failures; things that didn’t turn out the way someone thought it might, but like Edison said, that’s a way of finding out what doesn’t work. It’s not a failure, it’s a learning experience.

There are steps to the process and a lot of detail to digest. What comes first… what comes second… what comes third. You can’t gild unless you’ve sealed the material, and put it in the oven to dry, then you have to let it cool, then you put the glue on it, then you… then you… then you…


But people also explored on their own! And that was a lot of fun. One person asked, “what about using tin foil instead of metal leaf?” I went to my supply box, pulled out a roll of tin foil and said, “I don’t know… why don’t you try it?”


I don’t know how it actually turned out, but I know she had a fantastical adventure along the way.


And then, toward the end of the day, and to my surprise, everyone left early!


They had done what they wanted to do. They had gotten what they came for. They enjoyed themselves.


And I think I wore them out.


It was a lot of fun and I’m planning on doing it again in January… Stay tuned for more info!

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