Our Visit Bute Guest blogger this month is Sandie from Essex, who recently attended an art course run by Ruth Slater Art.
Three years ago I signed up for an online course. There is nothing new in this, I do a lot of courses, online and otherwise. But what makes this one different is the friendships that grew. As part of the Paperlove course, Rachel Hazel set up a Facebook Group so that we could share our work and experience. The course only lasted 3 weeks – but for some of us, our friendship lasted and grew.After the course finished I suggested the idea of planning a gathering, and we talked about it again last year, when four of us met in London. We spoke of how nice it would be to meet more of the group and the idea took hold….
Ruth agreed to our request to meet at her studio on the Isle of Bute. News was shared, excitement spread, and soon people were booking accomodation and flights. Because the amazing thing is, people came from California, Canada, New Zealand and Europe! Can you imagne?! Some bought partners and some travelled alone. A feast of friends drawn together through the love of paper!
For my own part, my husband came with me to Scotland and we stayed in the campervan in a beautiful bay, not far from Ruth’s studio.
The first morning I was wandering along the beach collecting shells, when I heard ‘hello Sandie’. It was a friend from New Zealand! She saw the campervan parked up and stopped to see if it was me. The excitement of meeting face to face was extraordinary and suddenly it had become real – this was really happening!
There is so much I could share, but to spare you I’ll choose some of the highlights and save the rest as memories. So grab a coffee if you like and I will begin:
We all arrived in advance of our 3 days together so had an improntu meet was arranged to say hello and quieten our excitement. And then it was time to gather….
Ruth is an artist and we felt very grateful that she was willing to share her studio for this time together. She showed us how to sketch and paint, something I am keen to learn….
As you can see, I’m working on it! LOL
Then it was time to walk to the beach where we collected shells and plants.
The plants were for Eco-printing. We had each offered to share a technique or something we enjoy, and as there were other people who make books I offered to show how I make prints onto paper and fabric. Chris also does this, back in New Zealand, so we did this in collaboration. I had also made everyone a small notebook using my eco-printed paper, and this gave examples of what we would make.
It took a long time to steam all the bundles but it was worth the effort. The results were lovely and several of the group were keen to do more in future.
Two of our friends were unable to join us but they were very much there in thought and spirit. Julia had sent us an an individually wrapped gift pack full of treasures….
while Linda sent a postcard to us each. On the back was part of a phrase. There was great excitement in working it out and as one card arrived a day later there was suspension!
During our three days together we made paper constructions: folded books and origami lanterns…
and we gilded shells
and did lots more besides.
I am still holding my excitement and amazement that some people travelled so far to make this happen. I’m feeling very blessed and grateful.
But that’s not all, there is more to tell, so I’ll be back very soon. Hope to see you then, thanks for popping by!