Monday, February 14, 2011

KC Willis Rides Into Town 2011

Sally's Finished Canvas waiting for her "secrets"

KC taught two classes this time when visiting San Diego. The first was on Thursday and the next was on Saturday. The following report chronicles what we worked on under KC's guidance.


I got lucky. For some dumb reason I thought KC Willis was coming to my home and then to Davi's home on Monday and teaching on Monday in Davi's garage. If I hadn't checked, I would have missed KC's Paper Class.

Well, I was wrong. I contacted KC and said I was coming to her paper only class on Thursday at Davi's garage. What a great day. There was only 5 of us and KC. We truly only used paper that she gets from Paper Arts - ask for Cee Cee. And, local Southern California artists, KC gets her vintage trims from Gilding the Lily in Fullerton.

Sue priming her canvas

First she handed out 16x20 canvases that we lighted covered with black gesso. (you could use cheap black paint or anything that you have that was black).

Table full of every kind of paper already coffee stained
but waiting to be burnt

Photos of various artists' works in progress:

After choosing our papers we started layering them. KC her sewing machine up so could apply decorative stitches to our collaged paper.

Myself and Diane with our "in progress" canvases

Then KC's infamous paint stripping gun came out and we burnt the edges - a signature of all KC's works. Every thing was glued down with Tacky glue.

Diane's finished canvas

Now we were to create a pocket with more papers that were stitched and burnt and then glued down atop our collage background. KC had told us that this pocket was going to contain what ever we wanted to put in writing. We could tie the mini canvases up if we choose for no one else to see - our choice. KC suggested perhaps to put our dreams to paper and then to have this entire art piece where we could see it always to remind us of our dreams and our goals.

Davi and Ann with their finished canvases

Sue's finished canvas up close

Sue with her finished canvas and KC

Davi's wonderful friend, Ann, thought she would have trouble with this putting to paper her dreams and goals. After lunch Ann decided she would write the names of people for whom she is praying.

Ann's finished canvas

Close up of Ann's canvas

Me and KC and my canvas


Students gathered around work table

By 10 am on Saturday we were ready to roll at Jackie's "work in progress" shabby chic studio. Jackie has turned her entire downstairs area into a teaching studio decorated with all her shabby chic finds from over the years. Plus, she had cabinets made to fit the wonderful doors she has found (seen in the background). There were 8 of us today. KC had printed out photos that we had sent her for transfers from her favorite transfer paper from Office Max.

Ann and her photos spread out on the floor

Silly Sal (me) getting ready to sew

Davi checking out all the vintage "stuff"

KC handed us 7 already constructed 8x10 canvases already coffee stained, burnt and backed with fabric. We began ironing our transfers onto canvas and/or muslin and then stitched decorative boarders stitched using the 3 sewing machines made available by KC, Jackie and
Christine. Next we burnt the edges and glued theses to the 8x10 canvases. Embellishments were made with KC's "clumpies". Plus we have piles of coffee stained fabrics and vintage trims and "stuff" to look through and choose from to make our pages shine.


I know we aren't suppose to have favorites. But, Nelda's book was truly unique. It told a story with pictures that she has collected - not family photos but illustrated children drawing. Plus her embellishments were so soft and beautiful. I wish I had photos of her finished book. You'll all just have to trust me as to how beautiful it was.

After our 8x10 canvases were sewed and burnt, our pages were glued to prepared canvas cloth about 10x16 that made a the bases for our book. We stitched down the middle to turn it into a book with pages 8x10.

Most everyone choose to make the book about their family and mostly about females in their family like a grandmother. I choose to make my book about my natural father and his family. It was requested by my natural father's family that I keep the family anonymous. Therefore, I have chosen to cover theses photos in Photo Shop and just show what I did to enhance the photos that I have gathered and that are precious to me while respecting my natural father's family wishes.

Sally's book pages family photos obsured

I feel I have much more to do in order to finish theses pages. More embellishments. I love making art that revolves around my family and genealogy. KC has found the black sharpie is best to write anything we wish on canvas or muslin and then attach the writing with glue again.

Here are some photos of KC's book pages:

Now some of the artist work:

Jackie (our hostess) and her book
that's not about her family

Diane Chen's book

Christine's Book always in blue and always about her beloved dogs

Ann's book

Davi showing KC her book

On Sunday KC and I just set ourselves on cruise control - no schedule per say. On the way down to Mission Bay for a walk we took a small detour and I drove KC up to the top of Soledad Mountain to see the infamous Korean War Memorial Cross where there is a 360 degree view of the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla Shores, UTC, multitudes of mesas, downtown San Diego, the Coronado Bridge AND Mexico and it's islands off shore. Then we drove down to Mission Bay and KC and I went for a walk on one of the most perfect days we almost always have in San Diego.

KC and my shadow up on Soledad Mountain.

At 11 am Suzi Blu came by to meet KC Willis and hang out with us. We were going to go to World Famous at Pacific Beach on the strand but the wait was impossible. So, we went up three doors to The Mission for a yummy breakfast.

Suzi with new friend

We then walked around the bay so that Suzi and KC could see the quaint little beach houses for rent at outrages prices. We ooh-ed and aah-ed how cute they all were. Then back to my home. Suzi went home to tend to her babies, Gigi and Finnegan.

My friend Kathie whose husband has had major hospital visits/surgeries recently stopped by to meet KC and visit on the patio. Did I say what a beautiful day it was?

Final secrets we learned from KC: what you really want to purchase instead of cheese cloth is something called Drapery Scrim. Huge amounts can be purchased for so much less money.

Words of Wisdom from KC (she will have a book out that will contain all her deep thoughts and witticism) but here are a few:

"I send you hope
I send you wings
Either way you will fly"

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick"

"Inside every woman
A gypsy girl dances by the fire"

Pendants KC sells


KC Willis said...

Thanks for such a great blog Sal! Really captured our time together perfectly. I miss you!! KC

Michelle Cummings said...

WOW. This class looks amazing. You and all the ladies did a amazing job. I can't wait to see your finished project!

Tammie Moore said...

Hey girl, I miss you... I loved looking at your blog... We definetly need to get together soon. Tell Georgia and Debbie I send my love and email me sometime. Tell me next time your gonna take a class and then I can too. Oh I FINALLY started blogging again...
Tammie Moore

Kat Baker said...

Looks like you all had a great time. Your written description was great. I felt like I was right there. I had an opportunity to see Davi's canvas book. It was absolutely lovely. What an awesome heirloom. See you soon.

Donna Davis said...

To KC - there was a line from a movie in the late 90s that was so similar to your line about the gypsy girl..."Inside every woman a gypsy princess dances a little closer to the fire" ...or close to that; I drew a picture of a friend and used that quote(like I said back in the late 90s) - do you know more about where it came from? I have been trying to find it for years now and your quote is the closest I have been able to come to it. Any information would be deeply appreciated. Thank you. D Davis tadmore254@