The workshop I attended in San Miguel was called Standing in the Ruins, Arms Outstretched. ll of the art we made together was focused around that theme : that decaying places hold mystery and beauty. That these places live in us as well. That there is beauty in change and new growth. Our teacher (and my creative mother/mentor), Orly Avineri, guided us through several spreads. Here are the ones I made during the workshop.
The first one holds anither participant’s story of ruin. Words are very powerful and can be used on your pages as catalysts and focus points.

The underlayer of this one is made from discarded and found papers. Like old buildings, these layers are part of us even when they are not fully apparent. Parts of our stories are also included here. As a group, we decided to carry each other’s burdens to lighten the load.

This one is one of my favorites : lots of faces. In this exercise we had very little time to trace different faces onto one spread. Once done, we reworked them to our liking. When you have to go quickly, you focus on the essential which can lead to surprising effects.

For the next spread, Orly gifted us one of her old art journals…which she had immersed in water, dried out and then taken into the shower with her. It resulted in all of the colors and inks blending in together and creating new patterns. It was amazing. We were encouraged to take it apart and use the pieces that spoke to us. Creating beauty out of the ruins.

This fourth spread came out of a page that I really disliked. So I covered most of it in gesso and then just went ahead and added some papers that I love. I find it too busy, but I’m not ready to re-work it yet.

My final spread is more to my liking. We incorporated ephemera and fragments from our visit to the local cemetery. There are flower petals, dried plaster, bits of decorative elements found in the garbage. And yes, eggshells under her feet!

This one is special to me because I am clearly building a bridge to Beijing. On Tuesday, I will share some photos of my trip because San Miguel is such a wonderful place, chock full of inspiration and beauty.

Thank you for taking a look. I fully encourage you to take a workshop with Orly. She is a creative force and a true teacher.