All Decked Out

Leighanna Light


Many of us are drawn to texture & old worn surfaces. As strange as it sounds, peeling paint, aged metal, splintering wood, rusty stuff & stucco all hold a special place in my heart.

In this workshop we will transform ordinary metal & canvas into two fabulous chunky and beautifully embellished decks of cards.

Each student will receive 10 flat pieces of metal and 12 flat pieces of prepared canvas, each 6 X 3 inches, to transform into beautiful works of art. Over 3 days I will be teaching a plethora of juicy techniques that we will use to create texture and to re-create the look of aged worn surfaces, and we will explore a wide variety of techniques used to distress metal, cloth, paper & found objects.

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Starting with 10 pieces of plain flat metal, our focus will be on collage, patina & cold connecting. You will receive in depth instruction on how to work with metal including…

  • applying texture to metal
  • metal transfers
  • a variety of ways to forge, distress & mark metal
  • how to add ink & paint over images as a design element
  • how to use patina to change the look of the metal
  • alternative ways to attach objects your work without using glue
  • how to correctly use tools & products, including the doming block & a few new surprises
  • how to master object placement, composition & problem solving
  • how to add texture & depth to your work
  • how to create a cohesive, themed project

Starting with 12 flat pieces of prepared canvas, our focus will be on layering, texture, mark making & surface design. You will learn how to create the look of old, grungy, fabulous surfaces using plaster, wax, gesso, ink, glaze, and non-acrylic mediums to create a rough, matte surface.

You will learn how to mark, resist, scrape, carve, mono print, imprint texture, layer, stain & how to easily create patterns using rust. We will experiment with creating multiple prints using a Gelli plate, and I will teach you how to incorporate transfer images and how to work with color, composition & texture.

So jump in & get your hands dirty! No experience necessary, just come with an open mind, a playful heart & leave your critic and ideas of perfection at home! You will leave with a diverse and intriguing body of work in deck form. You can use these individual pieces as such, as a guide for future projects, or bind with wire or ribbon. I use many of these techniques in my other work, including assemblage, bookmaking, journal pages & mixed media canvases.


Supply List:
For the best class experience, it is very important to bring exactly what is listed on the supply list. Please gather your supplies early, since you might have to order some things online. If you have trouble finding anything, or if you have any questions please contact me at least two weeks prior to class at

  • White gesso–at least 6 oz.  Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Gesso, medium bodied, available at Dick Blick. Any brand of gesso will work, but the thick Utrecht gesso is best for this project
  • PVA glue–4 oz., available at Dick Blick
  • Adirondack dye reinkers  (NOT alcohol inks)–2 or 3 bottles of your favorite earth tone colors. Not available everywhere, but do a google search and you’ll find them.
  • Chalk Paint–any brand in 2 or 3 of your favorite colors. Michaels usually has them, or you can find them here.
  • Acrylic paints–any brand, in a few of your favorite colors
  • Dorland’s Wax Medium, 4 oz., found here
  • Craft heat gun
  • Palete knife, scrap paper, rags, water container, apron
  • Several paint brushes, including 1/2″, flat, and a small detail brush
  • 12 images with large focal point (3×5″ printed on laser copier, on inexpensive copy paper in black/white or color
  • Small images and ephemera (wide variety, 6×3″ or smaller)
  • Small found objects to embellish your deck
  • 3-4 small, rusty pieces (or enough to loosely cover a 3″x6″ surface)

Optional Items–I will have several of these to share, but if you’d rather not wait, please bring your own

  • Gelli Plate (please bring if you have one)  I’ll have two to share.
  • Stamps and stencils in thick, bold designs
  • Small brayer
  • Texture tools
  • Stamps and stencils (I’ll have plenty)
  • Crop-a-dile or metal punch (only if you have one; I’ll have several to share)
  • Alcohol inks
  • Brads, eyelets and wire
  • Gilder’s paste (wax based medium to alter color of metal)
  • Sketchbook or journal if you use one

A $30 kit fee (payable directly to instructor) includes the following items that you’ll need to complete your deck:  10 pieces of pre-cut metal, 12 pieces of prepared, pre-cut canvas, wire, sandpaper, a nice package of ephemera & images, transfer image, glaze, patinas, plaster, matte medium, paints, paper, consumables, and other items

*I bring a small amount of all consumables listed on the supply list to use in my demos & for you to sample. However you will most likely fall in love with these products & want to use much more than I can supply (especially the chalk paint, wax & re-inkers!)

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