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Big initial M I just got back from teaching a day-and-a-half class for the very creative women in the Fresno Fiber Arts Guild. It was a real luxury to have so much time! In the past I have been challenged to teach the same material in just three hours, which always leaves me feeling like my students get a bit shortchanged.

Not these ladies! I stuffed them full of facts about painting shoes and purses, gluing on trim, and stitching on embellishments. And they showed me some things, too, with their fascinating designs and experiments (successful ones) in color mixing.

I took pictures during the class with the first cell phone I’ve ever owned that takes pictures, and although some of the shots turned out too fuzzy to use, there were some good ones. Hope they spark ideas for you!

Shirley @ 72dpi Shirley sponge-painted the faux-leather trim on this nylon tote, using masking tape to protect the nylon area. At the bottom of the picture is the embellishment (one of my designs!) that she will eventually stitch to the top center of the tote.

Lora coffee shoes @ 72dpiLora created these “Coffee Queen” shoes, which featured broad, short stripes in Metallic Olive Green and Neopaque Black on the straps and around the base of the heel (which you can’t see in this picture, sorry). On the toe, she tried painting the black lines of the lettering and the images using several different shape brushes, then gave up and used Sharpie instead. She’s going to let me know if the Sharpie lasts over time.

Lora also wanted to use a rubber stamp over the coffee cup, so she cut out a mask for the area around the cup, then pressed her whole inked stamp onto the shoe. I think the result is wonderful.

Susan @ 72dpi  Susan, whose organization generously provides a room for the guild’s meetings (and who isn’t nearly as fuzzy looking in real life…), painted a pair of booties using color blocking, with different variations of color on each boot. The boots were originally black, and she left some of the black intact. Then she used Brass and Crimson on one boot, and Brass and Halo Blue Green (I think) on the other. In back of the boots, you can see a purse Susan was painting with some of the same colors.

We had the pleasure of having a granddaughter-grandmother combination in the class. Carol was the program coordinator for the guild — who took WONDERFUL care of me during my stay. Her granddaughter, Sabrina, is 11, and her enthusiasm and creativity were a joyful addition to the class.

Sabrina painted several pairs of shoes (including some Midnight-Sky-glittered flats), but the ones she spent the most time on were these Payless flats that she painted Pearlescent Magenta then meticulously decorated with daisy-like flowers.

Sabrina @ 72dpi Carol painted a purse and a couple pairs of shoes, including these formerly worn-looking sandals. If you look closely, you’ll see that among the Metallic Rust straps is one that’s partially painted Super Copper. A clever touch, I think.

Carol p @ 72dpi

Ann brought a couple of belts to paint, in both cases using the original color and texture as part of her design. One medium-width black belt got a geometric treatment, a narrower belt — purchased in the 1960s, I think she said! — was painted in subtle flowing arches with highlights.

Ann @ 72dpi After finishing her coral-and-pink-sponged tote, Shirley worked on some shoes, and in the process she rummaged through my stash of goodies, which I bring to each class, and unearthed some gorgeous teal blue feather trim. The result was fabulous. In the picture below, she has clamped the trim on while the glue, which she has applied to the black backing, sets. She’ll trim off the extra strip of trim once the glue is secure.

Shirley feathers @ 72dpi Last but by no means least is our Halloween fanatic, Valerie, who brought a pair of black “witch” boots to work on.

Valerie @ 72dpi The picture above is of her sponged creations before they were quite finished. In your mind’s eye, add purple, green and gold crystals on the tip of the toes and up the back seam — plus fuchsia-glittered little bats right at the top of the heel. Wearing these, she’ll no doubt get the Witch of the Year Award!

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