A new art form each month

So here’s the deal. I figure if I’m going to blog about the arts, I can’t just sit back and watch. Because for every artist who performs before an audience, there are thousands of others who are practicing some artistic pursuit in the quiet of their own home, or with a group of like-minded individuals.

So my goal for the next year is to try a new type of art each month, and write about it. There are plenty of centers around the Twin Cities – and Minnesota – that offer extensive classes in various crafts, from pottery to photography to stained-glass. So why not check them out for the benefit of everyone?

This summer I started with something already familiar to me, paper marbling. Then I jumped into my first attempt at something completely new – making a mosaic. In addition to posting on what I learned, I also followed the work of one mosaic artist from start to finish, and sped it up into what I call “Fast Art.”

Just yesterday, I posted on my most recent venture into weaving. Since I took a very entry-level class (not really enough to merit a “How To” presentation) I plan to return for a little more in-depth instruction later this month. Also, later this week, I’ll profile the work of local weaver Kelly Marshall, and pay a visit to her studio.

The months to come present me with all sorts of options. What to try? And what sort of information would you like me to bring back from the experience? Think of me as your emissary, testing those classes you’ve always had a lurking desire to take, but never got up the gumption for. Information is power…

Some ideas that have been bandied about: how to do a particular dance move, how to draw the human figure, how to pour a metal sculpture, and how to make and use a pinhole camera.

Let me know what you’d like, and I’ll do my best to make it happen. And maybe I’ll even pick up a skill or two in the process.

  • Minn Whaler

    Glass blowing?

  • Jen Creager

    I second the glass blowing. I had the opportunity to take 3 years of it at college – it turned out we have a fairly vibrant community that is hiding behind the scenes.

  • Jenny Lahner
  • Cool project Marianne!

    I recommend you sit with a local applied effects artist, possibly my brother? The time of year is right to apply some spooky makeup or a prosthetic gore effects, maybe just in time for the Zombe Crawl?

    Keep of the fantastic arts coverage!


    -josh (nate’s brother) courteau

  • Marianne Combs

    These are great! Thanks for the suggestions, and please, keep them coming.

  • Hi Marianne,

    I would like to invite you to try chip carving at one of my weekend chip carving classes held at Red Barn Retreats.

    Chip carving is an amazing art and good results are possible in a short period of time after proper instruction.

    You can find out more about chip carving at my website – http://www.MyChipCarving.com or call me at 866-444-6996.


    Classes held at http://www.RedBarnRetreats.com

  • Graffiti!

  • Elizabeth Dwire

    Hi Marianne!

    I’m the primary jewelry instructor at the Veberod Gem Gallery in Minnetonka. We’d like to invite you to try your hand at silver smithing. There are many classes you can complete in one day and come home with a beautiful project! Please contact us at 952-595-8338 or visit the web site at http://www.vgems.net.

  • Dear Marianne, A friend of brought your blog to my awareness. I wanted to share with you and the larger arts community that the University of Minnesota will be hosting the next Society for Arts in Healthcare (SAH) in late April/early May of 2010 here I the Twin Cities – http://www.thesah.org/template/page.cfm?page_id=184

    It seems the Twin Cities is a “hot bed” for the intersection of Arts in Healthcare and our local grassroots group – the Midwest Arts in Healthcare Network (MAIHN) http://www.maihn.org/

    has grown so fast that the national SAH has taken note and is using us a template to encourage the development of similar groups around the globe. Our group was one of the reasons that the SAH has chosen the Twin Cities as its 2010 conference site. Our local MAIHN will be sponsoring an Arts in Healthcare month – April 2010 – where we invite local artists of all disciplines, arts organizations and healthcare organizations to participate by sponsoring events, exhibits, forums or anything related to the value of arts and creativity for health, healing and wellbeing of individuals, communities and organizations.

  • Hello Marianne,

    Rug Hooking is one of the indigeous American folk arts. From it’s humble beginnings of a bent mail for a hook and scraps of cloth, it was truly a craft born out of necessity and a desire for creative expression.

    The simple technique of pulling up loops of cut wool fabric through a linen or cotton foundation produces functional works of art.

    I invite you to visit my website, http://www.ljfibers.com for more information and would love to have you visit my studio.

    When you visit Kelly’s studio again, be sure to say hello for me. Years ago, we used to work together at a local fiber shop.

    Laurie Lausen

  • Rachel Williams

    Hi Marianne,

    I just heard about your adventure on the Current this morning. I think you should branch out beyond the visual arts – what about dancing?

    The Tapestry Folkdance Center has regular beginners lessons in swing dance, contra dance, and international folk dance, as well as frequently a month-long “spotlight” series on a different type of dance. Keep an eye out for more intensive workshops too, if you are up for it!

    Check out their calendar here:


  • Marianne Combs

    Heather – great idea! I’ll definitely give dance a try. Thanks for the tip!

    I wonder what else I could try outside the visual arts… maybe acting? I don’t have much of a singing voice, I’m afraid…

  • Linda Quammen


    I love the idea of your trying out art forms for us all. I tried a one-day paper marbling class a couple years ago–fun!

    My recommendation is that you try needlefelting. All felting is fun but needlefelting is so easy and almost impossible to screw up (you just keep poking your object with that needle until it looks right). You don’t need to knit anything first, either, before felting. Animals are fun to make, especially silly, crazy ones.

    Another recommendation would be this split-ply braiding. Sounds really interesting to me but I’m a bit afraid the prep time might be too tedious for me–want to test it out for us?

  • I can remember being bored stiff until it was my turn to get behind the camera. ,

  • coyote

    How about trying the social political performance art of “coyote”?

    coyote in the archives of mnartists.org forums