I was invited recently to join a group of women artists who have a play date once a month. The woman who hosts the day has devoted a small, ugly little 2-bedroom house, totally to art. This is probably the original house on the property; she has (or someone has) built another house for her residence.
One bedroom is used for the "paint room," a place where silk-screening, fabric stamping, etc. is done. Shelves with silk screens, jars of paint, all sorts of supplies line one wall. The closet, sans doors, is completely filled with, well, S-T-U-F-F. Tissue papers, old jewelry, gadgets, gizmos, things you should never throw away. I mean stuff is everywhere. In the center of the room are two long utility tables butted together for work space.
The other bedroom is the fabric room. This closet, also sans doors, is filled with stacks of fabric stacks, and then there's more fabric on shelves across the room. This fabric is "hands-off" -- this is her stash -- but the bins at the end of the room are fair game. Big bins with such luscious cast-offs as pieces of "bad" stamping or silk-screening, remnants of velvet and lace and sequins, some ugly, some cute, some you just want to frame and hang. Tons of things to fight your way through. Plus, there's an ironing board set up, all ready to go.
The "living/dining room" is filled with a huge quilting machine--I bet it's at least 12 feet long. A bookcase jam-packed with art books; two long utility tables butted together to make a square which is used for projects, lunch, chatter, etc. Add the clutter of a real artist, pieces hanging on the wall, some tossed casually on the machines, a wall of large spools of threads, and it was truly a visual feast. Almost sensory overload for me. I didn't know where to start.
Everyone that attends pays $10 for supplies and brings a lunch. There is usually a focus but if you want to try something else, have at it. The focus this time was what they call "skins." Essentially, this is collaged paper, fabric, strings, etc., that you assemble onto a plastic bag with glue that has been watered down; let it dry and then pull it off. The piece has enough substance that you can sew through it, cut it up and use another way, etc. I was going to make a book cover with one piece but ended up using it on the bottom of a glass bowl today.
Definitely the best $10 I've spent this month.