As I get ready to hit the road to teach my leather tooling workshop in Marfa, I'm getting excited about all the workshops we will have at Feliz on November 3rd! Spots have been filling up quickly, but you can still snag your seat in several amazing classes, like Shanna Murray's shadowbox class (photo above) or Christine Fail's Riveted jewelry class (photo below). Not to be biased, but getting to hang out with these amazing women and learn from them is a unique opportunity that doesn't come around very often; I wish it did. As a designer, perpetual student, and educator myself, I have witnessed time and time again the power of a class to change people's lives. It's such a good experience and I'm really grateful to all our Feliz teachers for sharing their time, inspiration, and skills with us in November.
photography by Abby Powell
I'm thrilled to announce that the FELIZ workshops are officially open, so head over and take a look at all the wonderful classes we have lined up for you. All workshops will take place on Saturday, November 3rd at Casa De Luz in Austin, TX. If you're in the central Texas area, or looking to plan a trip to someplace warmer before holiday madness starts, let me just recommend that you get yourself to Austin that weekend. In addition to the wonderful Sunday sale, FELIZ is also about sharing skills and letting yourself explore something new, which is why we're put a lot of love and care into the workshop line up.
You can learn how to indigo dye fabrics with Folk Fibers, rivet jewelry with Fail Jewelry, carve stamps for holiday paper goods with Krank Press, and so much more! Check out the full lineup of workshops here and be sure to reserve your spot soon.
Last month I attended a great workshop with my Leather Guild taught by the famous Jim Linnell. If you've ever done a Tandy leather kit or picked up their catalog, you've seen Jim's work. For our full-day workshop, we carved and painted a 14" full-size eagle feather. I'd never done any leather carving or painting, so this was my first time using a lot of new tools, including hair blades and the infamous swivel knife. Thankfully my fellow Guild members where right there to help me along. The above photo shows the feather sketched out with the hair blade marks and the stem roughly carved.
After carefully cutting the feather hairs using the hair blade tool (typically used for animal hair), we cut out the feather (photo above) and then skieved the back so all the edges would feel light and airy (photo below). Most folks used a safety beveler for that, but I only have my skiever, which took off the leather pretty quickly. That small pile of leather shavings is only about 1/4 of what I peeled off the back.
After the back was skieved, we added a small wire along the back feather stem and covered it with a piece of suede so it wasn't noticeable. This would later allow us to curve and bend the feather to look more realistic. Once that dried, we cut section of the feather so we could separate it out and began curling the edges. Here's where things really started to come together and feel like a true feather.
At this point I was ready to stop and antique dye the piece. However, being that part of our workshop was to learn how to paint leather, I put aside my personal aesthetic and decided to see what the paint might do. Besides, I figured I'd be making this again in the future, so may as well experiment now.
Here is the painted and finished feather. The paint did an excellent job of helping camouflage wonky areas and give the feather a more realistic feel. Not sure if some kind of feather will make an appearance in the Canoe shop, but I was pretty happy with how it all turned out. What do you guys think?
Girls Guild is a new organization here in Austin created by Cheyenne Weaver and Diana Griffin. Their goal is to teach women, both teens and adults, skills that expand their creative networks and build self-esteem. Teaming up with local artists and designers, they are holding some amazing workshops to get started and just had their first pilot session last weekend with jewelry designer Anna Gieselman.
Do you know a teen girl, ages 12-19, who would enjoy taking a class with a working artist? If so, please pass along their website. I wish I had something like this when I was in high school and am really excited to be working with Girls Guild. If you're an artist interested in teaching a workshop, you can get in touch with them here.