Creative Coach University Spring 2013

For several years, Walnut Hollow has provided a variety of products for Laurie Speltz to use at her gatherings held twice a year near Des Moines, Iowa.  This year, Laurie shared photos with us so we could share them with you. Laurie calls her gatherings “Creative Coach University”.

Creative Coach University (CCU) is the brain child of Laurie who is “The Creative Coach”.  It was created to share new product, ideas and techniques with participants who normally didn’t get the opportunity to attend trade shows and conventions.  The goal was to allow these students to not only learn about new products but also get the chance to take them out for a test drive and see what can be done with them.  Attendees are pushed outside of their box and comfort zones.  They learn not only from their own work but from the work of all the other participants.  They are allowed the chance to brainstorm and play with products and techniques.  Play is the one thing that most people don’t take the time to do.  Laurie doesn’t put an emphasis on finishing the piece during a session, she concentrates more on gathering valuable lessons and alternatives to projects.  Sharing is what everyone looks forward to.  They are invited to use their cameras and gather as many ideas off of other participant’s projects as they would like.  They learn to gather ideas for the future and to repeat the projects when they get home in the comfort of their own studios.

class sharing

classroom 1  classroom 2

Where most seminars have a sample project and everyone tries to match it, participants at CCU try to and are encouraged to come up with something unique and new to share.  They do have the option of following the example if they aren’t ready to step out of their boxes.  People enjoy the freedom to “play” with products and adapt the project to meet their needs.  They have professional crafters, designers, teachers, shop owners and general crafters/painters participating in each session.   They also cover topics such as:  how to get published, trends, color, how to hunt for the ideas, how to spark creativity, legal issues related to the industry, ethics, business practices, how to buy wholesale, how to attend trade shows, how to find new products and more. The topics explored are geared towards the participant’s needs and questions.

This is what Walnut Hollow sent:

Savannah Thin Plaque

Savannah Thin Plaque:   Laurie said, “The Savannah Thin Plaque was a lesson in recreating the look of tin on a board with a layered design using stencils and stamps on top of it.  The sample they were working from was done on a tin pocket.  They learned a lot about blending and layering of color to create the illusion of tin in their backgrounds.  The rest of the project was achieved with stamps and stencils.” Stampendous, a rubber stamp company and more, provided lots of stamp options to work with. The participants used Laurie’s line of Basecoat Stencils to add fun borders and elements.  You can see variations in stamps used, theme, borders and colors in some of the samples shown here.



scalloped board 12

scalloped board 11

scalloped board 10

scalloped board 9

scalloped board 8

scalloped board 7

scalloped board 6

scalloped board 5

scalloped board 4

scalloped board 3

Margy's piece

Silhouette Plaques:  Walnut Hollow provided these 3 styles of Silhouette Plaques to CCU.

Silhouette Square    Silhouette Circle

Silhouette Bird

This board was done at the end of the day after working with all kinds of background ideas.

silhouette board in process1

silhouette board in progress 2

silhouette board in process4

silhouette board in process3

The students worked with multiple tools to create textures and design in their backgrounds.  They received their Silhouette Plaque in a drawing and had the chance to choose their shape. They used tools to create an interesting background and then stamped or stenciled to add elements on the Plaque.  They had been given all kinds of household items and other products to create texture and design.  Most were planning on using the opening as a photo holder.  Some ventured out and tried other solutions for it.  Other ideas included hanging a cutout in the opening and creating a design around the opening.  You can see by the ideas that they really took the opportunity to try different seasons and styles.  They also looked at a lot of journaling ideas being used by paper crafters and mixed media artists.

Participants were very pleased with both surfaces and enjoyed the opportunity to use them.





silhouette board 18

silhouette board 17

silhouette board 16

silhouette board 15

silhouette board 12

silhouette board 11

silhouette board 10

silhouette board 9

silhouette board 8

silhouette board 7

silhouette board 6

silhouette board 5

peg benda board

happy miller photo

If you would like to learn more about Laurie Speltz and Creative Coach University, check this out

Thanks so much to Laurie and her group of creative students for sharing so much with us. It’s our favorite thing to see what others do with Walnut Hollow products.


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