Welcome to ArtLeap!

At ArtLeap we host workshops and retreats that draw out and develop your creativity. We encourage our participants to dive deeper into their souls and dreams and selves.

We believe that a creative practice contributes to a whole hearted life.

We practice. We make things. We find joy in making, and in the making we find practice. Practice is the repeated performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency. That sounds kind of dry, but if we practice what we love, we find the juice. Yes, we practice to become fluent, but we also practice to ignite our curiosity. Curiosity allows us to find what works and what doesn’t as we strive for greater understanding and the freeing of our inner artist. This leads to further curiosity, more practice, more juice, moments of beauty, balance and joy!

That’s why ArtLeap is here: We inspire seasoned makers, we motivate new crafters, we gently guide you into the practice of curiosity, we help you find your joy. We do it together, to encourage each other and discover ever greater inspiration by sharing and supporting.

We invite experts in their fields to facilitate workshops in textile art, sewing, drawing, painting, photography, writing, jewellery and other art forms. Stay tuned as we add more instructors and media, and please make suggestions if there’s something you want to explore.

The people behind ArtLeap are Barb Mortell, respected North Shore quilt artist and teacher and James Emler, Photographer and well known photography instructor. We are excited to be working together in this new venture.

We’re starting with a series of workshops by Barb. More than just technique classes, Barb Mortell’s workshops include colour theory, design basics, tricks and tips to retain spontaneity, and how design trumps technique.

But you also get the benefits of Barb’s art education and her years of experience in sewing everything from traditional and improv quilts to clothes, to boat covers, to upholstery… tips and tricks on sewing curves, pressing seams, fine finishing details, how to make an artwork lay flat at every turn, pinning and sewing, inset seams, figuring out how to put things together…

The class may seem eye-rollingly simple, but doing this kind of work with a group of like-minded people, and having the input of a practiced and patient instructor brings more than you expect. You can take the same workshop again and again and find yourself creating something totally new, because you are working on YOU and YOUR art practice. Working in a series and repeating the same experiments with slightly different criteria opens new paths of exploration and exciting results.

This is the crux of ArtLeap: to share the wealth of knowledge and creativity, freeing yourself to achieve the art you want to make. 

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