Workshop with Nikki McClure

I've followed Nikki McClure's art since the early 2000's when I stumbled upon her paper-cut work on (one of my favorite early indie craft web sites). Paper-cuts always catch my eye, but Nikki's work especially did so because of its intimacy and heart. Her pieces capture the warm lovely feelings of everyday beauty and relationships. She has a nearly spiritual way of elevating the ordinary through her images that appeals to me. Well that, and it is paper art.

Over the years I've sought out and bought a couple of Nikki's annual self-published calendars and I smiled wide when I saw that she had broken into children's illustration a few years back.
So I was thrilled this past fall when I got an email from the Bellevue Art Museum advertising her then forthcoming (and now nearly over! quick rush to Bellevue this weekend!) exhibit. I immediately went to the Bellevue Art Museum's website to see if they had any special events. They did. In early December I attended a great lecture and slide show and then a couple of weeks ago I attended an all-day paper-cutting workshop that Nikki McClure instructed!
Watching another artist at work always helps me gain invaluable insights into new ways I can approach my own work.
Nikki McClure's workshop was certainly no exception.
 The day was just the right mix of instruction and play.
 I cut this fish as a warm-up exercise.
 I've always favored using a scissors to a knife in my own collages, but after using a knife that tightened at the bottom (as opposed to where you grip the knife) I felt liberated.
 Who knew such a thing existed? Um... Can I just say sometimes you don't even know that you should be looking for something?
 We can get stuck in ruts and used to working on things our own way with our own methods. I have so long ago rejected using a knife that it had never occurred to me I maybe had never tried using the right knife. Looking outside our usual perspectives can be so, so, valuable.
 I've had some ideas for my collage (for a LOOOONG time) that involve a paper-cut aspect and this workshop has helped me break through the technical side of my ideas so I can make them reality. Cheers for shaking things up.
 I've been playing over the last week. I'll post pictures soon. Meanwhile, here's the piece I made during the workshop (using a drawing from a memory).
 And here's me with Nikki!
Thanks Nikki McClure, wherever you are, for your fabulous workshop, for the inspiration, and for the lovely art you bring into this world! Cheers everybody! Go check out Nikki's work.