On Sunday, October 17th I went to the Shelburne Arts Center to take Michael deMeng‘s workshop “Angels and Demons.” If you aren’t familiar, his “demented toys”, shrines and “haberdashery” are spooky and wildly imaginative assemblages made from recycled materials.
I don’t take workshops very often so I wasn’t sure how to approach this one. It was a doll workshop but I wanted to try something new. I wanted to sample deMeng‘s style for the day.
While we were encouraged to bring broken toys and barbie’s, I really don’t have many, believe it or not. Certainly not any I want to cut up and paint. I had some wire and a few doll heads that I had cast while experimenting with a mold making product from Townsend Atelier. AND my table partner Lorraine and her son had plenty of goodies to share. She is an assemblage artist.
During the workshop, we learned some of deMeng’s painting techniques and how he develops his color palette, also how to create texture using a 2 part resin and household caulk. I was also grateful for the overview of the tools table. I learned a lot about my Dremel! I use the thing a bunch but apparently in all the wrong ways. I also learned what some of those funky looking attachments do.
I think the hardest part was the amount of time we had available to design and execute and the fact that upon arrival I had no idea what I was going to create. It was a little stressful but I decided to play and have fun learning new things and not worry about making something magical or even Strange Dolls-ish.
Consequently, today I purchased some mold making paste to try out some new things. I am obsessed with texture these days. I recently starting playing with plaster and paper mache, it’s fun to go back to really traditional materials after using polymer clay for so long.
deMeng’s workshop was a great way to look at texture and color together in a sculptural form. I learned a lot during the short time we spent with him. If you have a chance to take a class with him, I highly recommend it. He’s fun and friendly and so creative! He has a relaxed style while also helping everyone accomplish their goals and the crit at the end is helpful and constructive.
The unfinished sculpture I created using 2 strange dolls heads (one not pictured), found items: Ken doll torso, wings, wire, fake flowers.