2014 Instructors

We’re excited to announce our



Diana Trout–Diana’s professional life is weighted equally between her twin passions for teaching and creating. Her stitched mixed media textiles, watercolor and bookarts have been exhibited nationally. Trout is a gifted and esteemed instructor who encourages a carefree and non-judgmental approach and her artwork and articles have appeared in national magazines, including Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Her hobby of quilting offers her a rich sandbox to play with color shape and texture and she brings this inspiration to art journaling.

Trout’s book, Journal Spilling, Mixed Media Techniques for Free Expression, is used by artists, art journalers and teachers. Trout trained in Painting and Printmaking at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She is a life time learner and explorer. You can reach Diana at her blog, http://dianatrout.typepad.com/

A Day in Your Life, Watercolor & Writing Art Journal Workshop with Diana Trout:

Use watercolors and writing in this fun and playful journaling class to catch a mood and express it with imagery. Participants will go back and forth with writing prompts in a written journal and watercolors and pens on art paper. They will learn to work with watercolors by lifting, working wet on wet and resist. We will also play with some interesting new pen media that you may have never used before!



Lisa FirkeLisa Firke—whose surname rhymes with “quirky”—likes things wry and whimsical. Whether working traditionally or digitally, she favors a clean, folk-modern style. Over the past fifteen years, she’s produced art for both print and web, run a one-woman design studio, and mentored fellow creatives. She holds a BS in Elementary Education. She grew up in a handmade house in Princeton, NJ and now works from home in the woods of Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. Find her on the web at lisafirke.com.
The Creative Lettering Workshop with Lisa Firke:
What’s IN a name? How to embellish the letters in that most personal of words—one’s name—*without* training to be a professional calligrapher.
  • personalized gifts
  • name plates for student desks, lockers, etc.
  • labels for bulletin board displays
  • and much more
In this workshop we’ll make personalized name-plates, emphasizing along the way that lettering is all about DRAWING the letters, rather than WRITING the letters. We will look at letters as canvasses for tiny pictures and as parts in the whole composition. We’ll also cover how to warm up and prepare, how to recover from the inevitable blots and smears, and what to do about the running-out-of-room-for-the-letters problem!
The beauty of hand-lettering is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The “hand” showing in the work is one of the traits that makes it beautiful. Participants will come away with a finished name plate and also receive an illustrated packet with an example alphabet and tips for further exploration.


Dar and Deb Portrait 2012Deb Barends has been teaching in the primary grades for 35 years.  In addition to providing fine arts enrichment activities in her own classroom, Deb loves children’s literature and teaching writing to children. She has been a curriculum writer and has presented numerous workshops in language arts, creative arts and Math Their Way both locally and nationally. She believes that interweaving art and music enhances students learning in all areas of the curriculum. She is experimenting with various art techniques and teaching art workshops for children.

Dar Hosta James is an award winning children’s book author, illustrator and educator who is known for her seven, published picture books, her presentations on creativity at national educational conferences, and her programs and residencies with elementary schools throughout the country.  She is an annual presenter at the American Horticultural Society’s Children & Youth Garden Symposium and a literature judge for the Growing Good Kids Book Award Panel.  Dar has published over 100 books written and illustrated by children and teachers through her Deluxe Publishing Program, and these books can be seen at Blurb.  She is currently a faculty member at the Arts Council of Princeton where she teaches both children and adults and is a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. She received a BA in creative writing from the University of Missouri, a language arts education certification from Cleveland State University and has been working with children and adults in education since 1992.


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