Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Michael de Meng Workshop

Let me begin by saying that Michael de Meng is an awesome teacher and this was my favourite workshop of the three I completed on the weekend… and yet there was a journey to that point.

I took this class to challenge myself, to move outside of my comfort zone. At the time I signed up I was in a paper phase, and Michael’s dark colours and focus on celebrating the lives of the dead, as well as the very abstract nature of some of his work was an enigma to me.

I love this picture with the sun on the shrine and will have to find a sunny spot to hang it.
I entered the class on Friday morning tired, with a knot in my tummy and wishing that this was not my first class, I was feeling quite inadequate. My friend Sally was there to encourage me. However we were both a little bemused when after a brief introduction (both to Michael and liquid nails) we were encouraged to get some things that appealed to us and begin designing our shrines. I was muttering, ‘But how?’, ‘What is the process?’ and more.

And yet by morning tea a form was taking shape, an idea of art, not driven by the head but the heart (hence the winged being with an empty head). An idea of art emerging triumphantly from within. As I write this, I realise that the centredness (another Julie word) I arrived home with began here.

Michael gave some amazing colour combinations for paint to the whole class. For the rest of the day he moved around being available to everyone, without favour, and yet never imposing himself on any group or art work. If you get a chance to do a class with Michael take it! He is so generous with his praise and help, and in the end his organic teaching style releases individuality. The shrines are not clear on the photo of our end products – but each of us ended up with unique works of art. After a shaky start I would have quite happily spent three days in workshops with Michael - and the liquid nails!
I have a couple more Nina knots to tie before my booklace is finished, and a little work to go on my fabric journal so will finish them and blog them as they are done.


Natalie B said...

what an awesome piece of work Julie! Sounds like it was a fantastic class! Would have loved to have met/shared a class with him, but maybe next time??? Who knows. natxx

Dotee said...

Oh Julie, I could feel myself with you when I read your words!

What an amazing experience.

Michael sounds likes a wonderful teacher. Allowing people plenty of space to create, and also encouragement when needed.

Am sure you and Sall had the best time together.

And your shrine is magnificent. I am so impressed with how you put everything together. The photo of the shrine with the sun shining on it is beautiful. And quite a profound photo.

I think the sun is shining down on YOU Julie and your art is developing and you are growing in so many ways as a person.

I was really hit by these words:

"An idea of art emerging triumphantly from within. As I write this, I realise that the centredness (another Julie word) I arrived home with began here"

Such a beautiful way of expressing your feelings. I love the idea of art emerging triumpantly from within. Am smiling (inside and out) as I reflect on these words.

You are beautiful and your art truly reflects that beauty.

Michelle S said...

Hi Julie
It was great to meet you over the weekend - told you I was a 'closet lurker' who doesn't normally comment on blogs but I did enjoy talking to you and Ev on Sat night!
I didn't get to see your shrine 'in the flesh' but it looks amazing! I now know what you mean by Michael's 'organic' teaching style......it works for him - the Pez class was great too (just need to finish painting mine).

Janet said...

That is an amazing piece of art. You make the class sound so appealing, and it would usually be something I would shy away from. I think it's good you challenged yourself and went with it....I need to do more of that. It's the only way we can grow.

littledawnieno1 said...

Awsome stuff Julie.What an AMAZING piece.You have captured it beautifully with your photography.

Bet your all aglow from the weekend.
Wonderful to have spend some time with you.

Hug my friend
Dawn xxx

Ev said...

You have expressed my feelings about this class better than I could ever manage. It was fantastic to spend the weekend creating with you my friend. I think we all fell in love with our teacher to some extent. I have as yet to start working on my UFO's but that won't happen till I get some creating space. I feel so blessed to have the company of such wonderful women in my life who get the whole art for art thing with no need to explain the why or what is the purpose.

Lisa said...

The workshop sounds wonderful!! I admire his work although I've never attempted any sort of assemblage art.I'm glad you're home and that Maggie is enjoying your company once again.

Thanks for the hugs and the shoulder. They meant a lot to me. It was a nice surprise because I didn't realize you were back yet. :)

Lisa said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I really love your shrine! I do, I do!

LisaOceandreamer said...

This shrine is truly a triumph, not only the fantastic finished product, but over the fear of leaving your comfort zone. The workshop sounds amazing and I so love the idea he available but not imposing. I pre-ordered his book about a month ago but it won't be out until summer I think. I think doing this kind of assemblage can really bring out artistic areas you didn't know you had...challenge is a good thing sometimes and look, it sure worked for you! I love how it looks in the light!
I am anxious to hear about the other workshops.
I sent you an email, I LOVE what the art you sent me.LOVE IT - it will be on my blog on Thursday.
Love and hugs,

One Crabapple said...


Your shrine is wonderful !!!

I am so excited now J.
I will have this class at ARTFEST in a few weeks.

I was gobbling up every word here. Thank you for writng so well !!!

sammy said...

His classes are so unreal.. scares me off... but you! You did a great job on this... He would be very proud of you! Great work!

Holly Stinnett said...

Julie, YOU are so great at describing your feelings. I was right there with you! I got chills and thought about how amazing it must have felt. I must honestly say that I passed up requesting to take his class at ArtFest because I thought it would be too much. But after reading this and seeing your beautiful work, I'll make an effort to take one of Michael's classes the next chance I get. Thank you for sharing!

Judy said...

Wow, what a wondeful description of Micahel as a teacher. You have managed to put into words so beautifully what I felt when I first took a class from him. He is truly an amazing and ispiring teacher so well done on both the description and your gorgeous pieces - all of them, in fact.
Regards Judy