Celebrating Day of the Dead in Oaxaca with Daniella Woolf

Honoring friends, family and ourselves and those that have gone before us

Have you been downsizing? Are you in the de-acquisition phase of your life? Thinking about what you will leave for your family to sort through? Looking at boxes of old photos and wondering about the stories that went with them? Do you wish your departed loved ones were still here to tell you the stories?

www.kathievezzani.comDaniella Woolf has. In the midst of her own recent downsizing, she has been looking through lots of photos, clothes, and mementos. One of the things she misses the most about her long-departed Mom and Dad are the stories they told, which are now gone. She can no longer ask them about the farm they grew up on. She can’t ask them “who is this person in the photo, how did you know them and what was their relationship to you?”

This has motivated her to create a book that contains photos of people who have made an impact in her life. Someday, her stepchildren or nieces and nephews may be curious about her. They know that she is a colorful character, but they don’t know her stories or the significance and influence others had on her life. Unless she does something about that now, when she is gone her stories will go with her.  Her project includes a photo (or collage) of each important person in her life, and writing a paragraph or two about them.

The festive Day of the Dead week in Oaxaca, is the perfect time and setting to work with your personal artifacts and create meaningful new ways to display them. Experience the beauty, caring and humor with which the Mexican people celebrate their rites of communion between the living and the dead. With the backdrop of this vibrant culture surrounding us and filling our free evenings, we will celebrate our own history and traditions, while learning more about this very colorful and meaningful tradition in Oaxaca.

Day of the Dead

Woman sitting vigil at the gravesite of a loved one during Day of the Dead

Using paper, photos, fabric, and thread as primary art materials we will make our own ofrenda (altar) and a book of our friends, family and those who made a difference in our lives.  We will tell stories both visually, orally, and in writing and honor our loved ones (and ourselves). Some might be inspired to make wearables that honor our ancestors, for example cutting and weaving your Dad’s favorite painting shirt or the apron that he wore for barbecuing. Your creation may bring laughter and tenderness, as you remember events and anecdotes from your personal history. Working with photos of people who have been in our life and sharing the stories we remember, we will create a living keepsake of family treasures.

In Daniella’s own work as an artist, she has used family artifacts to create art pieces and installations.   Some things she has made as memory keepers include:

  • Just Checking – an installation using her mom’s bank checks
  • A necklace of her mother’s shredded credit cards
  • Core Sample – a 13 foot column composed of 2” squares of her mom’s bank statements and checks
  • Her mother’s sewn recipe cards

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You may have noticed that there has been no mention of encaustic wax. This is a new workshop for Daniella, one that she hopes will intrigue and excite you.

About the organizers: My amiga, Ana Elena Martinez who lives in Puebla, and I have been taking groups to Mexico for over 20 years with Culinary Adventures, Inc. so we know a lot of people in Oaxaca with whom we have developed long standing friendships. We will visit some of them, enjoy their food, and stay in our friend’s lovely B&B.


Ana Elena and moi

Las Bugambilias, a family owned and run B&B led by the beautiful matriarch, Emilia Arroyo Cabrera is our home base. Seeing what Emilia wears each morning is a visual treat for a bunch of artists as are the place settings at our breakfast. The motto of Las Bugambilias is that “we do not receive hosts, we receive friends.” Emilia and her family and their staff truly do make you feel as though their home is yours. Here are some pictures from our last trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This trip starts October 25 and ends November 3, 2016 in the city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico. The cost of the trip is $3200 and is based on double occupancy (two beds/room) and limited to 12. It includes:

  • workshop with Daniella
  • hotel accommodations at Casa Las Bugambilias
  • breakfasts and lunch beautifully and organically made for us by the staff of Bugambilia’s (there will be one lunch and one dinner on your own)
  • welcome reception & fiesta
  • visit to local cemetery
  • special Day of the Dead performances
  • visit to markets
  • cooking class with specific dishes for Day of the Dead
  • walking tour
  • visit to museums
  • free time to explore
  • farewell dinner at Origen with a menu chosen just for us
  • visits to local artisans
  • a new art tribe

The price does not include airfare to/from Oaxaca or transportation from the airport which is approximately $30.  A nonrefundable $1,000 deposit reserves your participation with the balance due June 1, 2016. Installments can be made for the remaining balance. There are no refunds or exchanges at any time for any reason. We wish we could compensate people for unforseen circumstances (injury, family emergency, etc., ) but we have costs already incurred to reserve the retreat venue We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. To reserve your spot, click on the image below which will take you to PayPal.


If you have any questions, please use the contact form below. We hope to see you in Oaxaca for what will be truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Posted in art retreat, Artists, Assemblage, Collage, Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting, travel vacations, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making your own paints with Guerra Paint and Pigment Company

In Bed with Mona Lisa, a blog written by Sabine is dedicated to exploring art supplies, how they are made and the people who make them. This recent post, In bed with Art explores the Guerra Paint and Pigment Corp. in New York City. It’s an interesting read and man do I want to go there with Judy and Katie. What an educational day that would be.


Art Guerra founded his company in 1984, mainly to help artists become more acquainted with the raw materials of their trade.

Here are a couple of videos on how to make your own paint.

Guerra Paint and Pigment Corp. 510 East 13th Street
New York NY 10009
Mon to Sat 12-7pm

Posted in Painting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Corsets, Rust and Encaustic Wax Workshop with Pam Nichols

Recently, in a Dyeing to Rust Workshop with Pam Nichols, several of us made corsets inspired by Pam’s corset series. Here is mine enhanced by Jeanne McLaughlin’s eco dyed paper as the base. It lent itself perfectly for the body, don’t you think?www.kathievezzani.com

Here is the one Pam used as her demo in class. I love her colors. It’s for sale (cradled 8″x12″ board–$200, includes shipping).


Corset by Pam Nichols

We had a wonderful group of artists for this last workshop and while they were here we were finalizing our next Dyeing To Rust workshop. This time it will involve picking!! Slated for April 15-20, 2016 in Bend, Oregon, we will be staying at a beautiful home on the Deschutes River.

We will pick two days at McCormick’s scrap yard (be still my heart) before rusting and waxing our beautiful creations. This is a chance to build your own rust collection for your practice.

The cost of this inclusive retreat is $1250. It includes lodging, 4 1/2 days instruction and all but one meal.  It is limited to 8 artists. The trip will start and end in Bend, Oregon.

If you are interested in either Pam’s corset or the workshop, please use the contact form below.

Posted in Assemblage, Encaustic, Encaustic Mixed Media, Mixed Media, travel vacations, Workshops | 1 Comment

Indigo Dyeing Workshop with Judy Wise, hosted by Kathie Vezzani in Gig Harbor


Join Judy Wise and me for a beautiful weekend of dyeing with blue indigo September 11-13 in Gig Harbor. Years ago, Judy was a batik artist and silk dye painter. She also studied yuzen dyeing in Japan.


We will learn how to make a dye pot, that scrumptious bucket of indigo, that will transform fabric to be used in a myriad of creations. Tying, folding, scrunching, we will create designs in our fabric as well as bags, and paper, with no two creations turning out the same.

We’ll use some of this fabric to build a book like the one below made by Judy.

I’ll be dyeing some of my rusted papers like the ones below.

Update:  This workshop is full.

This 3-day workshop begins at 4 p.m. Friday, September 11 and ends 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 13. The cost of $400 includes two dinners, two lunches, and the following:

  • 4 yards muslin prewashed in Synthrapol
  • paper to dye, 2 different weights
  • pages for your books
  • Davy Board for book covers cut to size
  • Waxed linen bookmaking thread
  • One needle with a big eye for book binding
  • Glue Stick
  • Cotton String

Students bring:

  • rubber gloves
  • scissors
  • pencil and eraser
  • awl
  • bone folder
  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • exacto knife with a new blade
  • one bristle brush for spreading PVA glue

The class will be limited to 10 students. There are many beautiful B&B’s available in Gig Harbor as well as a Best Western and the Inn at Gig Harbor. Here is a link for more information.

If interested, please use the contact form below to sign up.

Posted in art retreat, Mixed Media, travel vacations, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jeanne Oliver loves Van Gogh


Jeanne Oliver

In Studying Under the Masters, Jeanne Oliver chose the very prolific Vincent Van Gogh as her master. She studied his paintings, painted like him and then created her own art in his style. The upcoming Living Studio Amsterdam workshop is a dream trip for Jeanne as she takes us to the Van Gogh Museum where there are over 200 pieces of his art.


Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin by Van Gogh


Some interesting facts about Van Gogh:

  • Vincent shot himself in a wheatfield in Auvers, France but did not die until 2 days later at the age of 37.
  • Vincent’s brother Theo died six months after Vincent and is buried next to him in Auvers, France.
  • Vincent’s brother’s wife collected Vincent’s paintings and letters after his death and dedicated herself to getting his work the recognition it deserved.
  • In a short period of ten years Van Gogh created 900 paintings.
  • Vincent only sold one painting during his lifetime and only became famous after his death.
  • Vincent van Gogh did not cut off his ear. He only cut off a small portion of his ear lobe
  • www.kathievezzani.com
  • In the self-portrait shown right, Van Gogh was looking in a mirror so the bandage is actually not on the correct ear.
  • Van Gogh created his most famous work The Starry Night while staying in an asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France.
  • Vincent’s earliest career aspiration was to be a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church like his father.
  • Van Gogh wrote over 800 letters in his lifetime, the majority written to his brother and closest friend Theo.

Van Gogh first painted portraits using peasants as his models, but soon found that he could not afford even them so he became his own model, painting over 30 self-portraits. Here is a short video.

In this Living Studio workshop, we will meander in the countryside on a leisurely bike trip, float along the canals, visit Rembrandt’s House, visit flea markets, and have many opportunities to create art with Jeanne in both a studio and as we explore this beautiful city.

There are only a few spots left for this May 10-17, 2016 workshop. More details are here.


Use the contact form below if you would like more information or would like to join us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painting Workshop 2016 with Michelle Allen and Sunny Carvalho


Michelle Allen wrote a beautiful post on our trip to Oaxaca.


Here’s what she has to say about herself.

“I have never found anything completely flawless in this life and yet there is beauty everywhere I turn. I love the imperfect, slightly eccentric, witty quality of the world I see around me. It’s the unpredictability of even the most mundane things that I try to recreate in my art. Often, if something seems too perfect, I will skew it towards the unrealistic to capture the essence of a whim. Although the pieces I design are practical, my hope is that my art will never become so serious that I betray the uniqueness that inspires me.”

Yep, she’s a keeper, that girl. She and her art are fabulous. Can you imagine what it is going to be like painting with her? Or making that exquisite piece of art shown above? I’m counting the days.

Come join Michelle, Sunny and me for a painting workshop February 2016! For more details go here. If you would like to join us or have more questions, use the form below. Saludos!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It was a rusty weekend with Pam Nichols

Students came from Calgary, Ontario, Wisconsin, Texas, Santa Fe, New York, Portland and Seattle to attend the third Dyeing To Rust workshop with rust goddess, Pam Nichols.
Despite the scorching heat (unusual for us here in the Pacific Northwest), the nine artists created gorgeous rusted papers and fabric to incorporate in their encaustic paintings. img_2659-0

This group worked hard and created some beautiful art. img_2660

Our next class will be in Bend, Oregon next spring. We will go picking for metal before starting class. Ooh. Thanks, Pam. Having way too much fun.

Here she is with one of her creations from our second Dyeing To Rust workshop.


Posted in art retreat, Artists, Encaustic, Encaustic Mixed Media, Mixed Media, Painting, travel vacations, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Terry Turrell at Patricia Rovzar Gallery

A friend recommended that I go see the Terry Turrell exhibit at Patricia Rovzar Gallery. Boy, am I glad that I did. A mixed media artist from the Pacific Northwest, Terry dedicated this show to his late wife, Loni who recently passed away last fall. According to the gallery, he created over 100 works for this show entitled, Forever.

Terry  Turrell

Turrell is a self-www.kathievezzanitaught outsider artist who uses many different mediums, like the picture left painted on tin with encaustic. He uses found objects, woods, oils, acrylics, and a lot of tin. Apparently, he and his wife collected retablos from Mexico.

Katie Kendrick and I were very pleased to see these since we had painted ex-votos with Judy Wise on our trip last fall in Oaxaca.


Our Ex-Votos made with Judy Wise


Katie Kendrick and Carla Sonheim

I fell in love with Turrell’s sculptures that combine wood, tin, nails, paint and other materials to create these fantastical beings. Most of the ones in the gallery had red tags on them. Here’s Katie and Carla in front of two of his magical pieces. Now you can appreciate the scale of them.


I highly recommend that you see this exhibit which is up until Jun 28. If you are a painter, assemblage or encaustic artist, you will be amazed at his body of work. Really, go.

Here are two more pieces not currently in the exhibit.

www.kathievezzani.com www.kathievezzani.com

Here is a link to see more of his work in ISSUU.

Be sure to peruse the books on the table that chronicle Turrell’s love for his wife filled with love notes, drawings and words that held special meaning to them.

So glad that I went.  Thanks, Kristina and thanks Katie and Carla for going with me.

Posted in Artists, Mixed Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Year of the Spark continues in Oaxaca with Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple

Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple are thoroughly enjoying themselves this year in the Year of the Spark, a year-long online course. Their purpose was to infuse MORE of it into their participant’s lives….more art, more creativity, more time, more inspiration, more motivation, and more FUN!

Can I tell you how excited I am that they are going to continue the Year of the Spark in Oaxaca for a week long workshop February 28-March 6? I am freaking jumping up and down, people.

I met Carla shortly after she moved to Seattle and she was my very first local art instructor. How lucky was I that I came across this special soul and then she teamed up with some remarkable teachers in her online network, including one of my all time favorite mixed media artists, Lynn Whipple. So, here they are and we are going to Oaxaca together for a lot of fun, good eating, and lots of laughter.


Carla wrote some fun facts about Lynn on her website. Pretty heady facts!

While in Oaxaca you will “make stuff”

  • Draw with Carla
  • Paint a Mexican Muse to music with Lynn
  • Make a mini book with Carla
  • Collect and collage with “local flavor” with Lynn
  • Draw and paint imaginary animals with Carla
  • Create a mixed media and water color painting with both Carla and Lynn
  • And whatever else these two come up with between now and when the trip starts – we are guaranteed to be dazzled by their creativity

The trip starts and ends in Oaxaca and costs $3100  based on double occupancy and includes:

  • All the creativity noted above with Carla and Lynn
  • seven nights accommodation at Casa de las Bugambilias
  • all meals except one dinner
  • an opening reception
  • cooking class at Susana Trilling’s Season of my Heart Cooking School
  • visit to black pottery studio with master potter
  • visit to a master woodworker of albrejis (the colorful wooden animals)
  • Farewell Dinner at coveted restaurant in Oaxaca with special menu planned for us
  • Market tour
  • Visit to museum and paper store
  • Art supplies
  • Time to explore Oaxaca and its many artful offerings
  • Opportunity to sign up for massages and/or a temazcal
  • A new art tribe 

Excludes airfare to/from Oaxaca and taxi to/from airport (approximatley 250 pesos)

Las Bugambilias, a family owned and run B&B led by the beautiful matriarch, Emilia Arroyo Cabrera is our home base. Seeing what Emilia wears each morning is a visual treat for a bunch of artists as are the place settings at our breakfast. The motto of Las Bugambilias is that “we do not receive hosts, we receive friends.” Emilia and her family and their staff truly do make you feel as though their home is yours. Here are some pictures from our last trip.

The trip will be limited to 12 participants and there are just a couple of single rooms so register early if you want one. A nonrefundable deposit of $1000 is due now with the remaining payment due by November 17. Installments can be made for the remaining balance.

Join Carla and Lynn for a little Spark in your artful practice!

www.kathievezzani.comIf you have questions, please use the contact form below.

TO REGISTER:  Click the Pay Deposit image below. Paperwork will be sent once you have registered and paid your deposit.


Please join us for Spark in Oaxaca!

Posted in art retreat, Artists, Mixed Media, Painting, travel vacations, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Painting in Color, Oaxaca with Michelle Allen and Sunny Carvalho


Can you see me jumping up and down?! I am so excited that my friends Sunny Carvalho and Michelle Allen have agreed to do a workshop in Oaxaca. Their whimsical, colorful style of painting is absolutely perfect for Oaxaca and its colorful array of artists who use a lot of animal imagery in their paintings. I love these two and their work and am counting the days until we can all play together in Oaxaca.

Michelle and Sunny have come up with some brilliant projects for the week-long workshop. Michelle will be exploring her style of mark making as we paint along with her and then we will focus on making a niche with a clay doll. Michelle is a successful artist who actually makes her living creating whimsical, colorful offerings to stores throughout the United States, often traveling to China to oversee the factories who produce her products and attending the many gift shows necessary for people who sell their products to mainstream retail. She has a lot of great stories about her travels.

When I first met Sunny and Michelle at Artfest four years ago, Sunny was painting pretty girls, but not anymore. Her work has evolved from the sketches I saw in her journal four years ago to the hugely recognizable styled paintings that she does now, along with her clay dolls, pendants and necklaces. Oh and the purses and, well, if you know Sunny, you know that she is very prolific and who hasn’t followed her Friday night painting posts on Facebook? Look at these fantastic projects she will be teaching. So Sunny! We will also paint with Sunny and together they will do a project on our last day.

These two are just a blast to be around, combining that with great food and the magic of Oaxaca, it’s destined to be one of the best times of your life.

The trip starts and ends in the City of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico and costs $3,100. It is limited to 12 and is based on double occupancy.

It includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation at Las Bugambilias
  • Painting and creating with Sunny and Michelle all week
  • Welcome fiesta
  • Cooking lesson at Seasons of My Heart Cooking School with Susanna Trilling
  • Market tour
  • Visits to artisans – black pottery and alebrijes
  • Visit to museum and paper making demonstration
  • Art supplies
  • Transportation within Oaxaca
  • Time to explore Oaxaca and its many artful offerings
  • Opportunity to sign up for massages and/or a temazcal
  • A new art tribe

Excludes airfare to/from Oaxaca and taxi to/from airport (approximatley 250 pesos)

TO REGISTER:   Click the Pay Deposit image below.  I will send paperwork to you once you have registered.


We hope that you can join us for this joyful time in Oaxaca. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me using the contact form below.

Posted in art retreat, Artists, Collage, Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting, travel vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments