Author Archives: Andrea

Giftmaker Faire 2017

Giftmaker Faire 2017

I prefer handmade gifts to just about any store bought item every time.  The gift of time is the most precious and when someone takes their precious moments and chooses to spend them making something for me…well, it really is the best sort of gift.

Giftmaker Faire is something I started about 5 years ago.  I used to host handmade holiday boutiques where local artists could bring in their handmade items and sell them.. I found them to be a lot of work on my part (all the arranging, advertising, blah blah blah) with moderate to low return.  One year I decided to have a “booth” where you could come and make a simple gift in addition to purchasing the artist’s work and the response was so positive.  The following year I started just hosting the giftmaker part rather than the pre-made (though I would still consider pop-up “booths” with local artist’s selling their items..hit me up if you are interested)

So, that is my long-winded way of explaining how Giftmaker Faire came to be.

Each year I have chosen projects that can easily be made without lots of hand holding instruction.  I set out the tools and supplies you need in stations around the studio and you can come in and make till your heart is content.  If you want to spend all your time at one station and make a dozen ornaments (for example) you are welcome to, if you want to hop from station to station and make a sampling of everything, that is fine too!  You pay for your studio time ($10/hour) plus a minimal fee for each project completed (starting at $2)

Here is our line-up at this moment (I always add more at the last minute..I just can’t help myself…so many ideas!)

Scroll all the way through for registration options.

  1. Woodslice Chalkboard Ornaments (photo cred. pinterest/etsy)
  2. Barnwood Budvase 
  3. Infused Syrup or Vanilla 
  4. Hand-Poured Candle with Art 
  5. Stenciled & Stamped Messenger Bag 
  6. Triple Strand Bracelet 
  7. Collaged Ornament 
  8. Scrabble Tile Coaster 
  9. Sugar Scrub  or Lip Balm   


Click here to view the times available in December.


Next Up…Watercolor, Mono Print Painting & Art Journaling



Artist Danielle Donaldson has walked a creative path for as long as she can remember. Her love of art began, as most young souls do, with a big box of crayons and a stack of coloring books. Over time, she focused her artistic efforts in watercolor and graphite drawing techniques and eventually received her degree in Graphic Design. Her love of fine art paired with her skills as a graphic designer have provided her with an uncommon pairing of intuition and practicality. Her use of big color palettes and delicately drawn details allow her to spin the ordinary into imaginative and balanced compositions. She continues to grow as an artist by fully embracing the creative process in all she does and with each story she tells. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her process and imagination through online classes, in-person workshops, social media and in her book, creativeGIRL: Mixed Media Techniques for an artful life. She is currently preparing for the release of her second book, The Art of Creative Watercolor, available for pre-order on Amazon in late summer-2018.

Danielle will share her experience with watercolor in this charming painting featuring an illustrated bloom-filled Mama Cat.  Danielle is always super generous with her sharing of techniques and expertise.  Click below to register

Mama Cat Illustrated Watercolor Workshop with Danielle Donaldson
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM



Next up  and first Guest Artist of 2018 is Nathalie Kalbach. **NOTE** As of December 7 this class has been postponed to summer 2018**


Last year Nathalie visited and we had a blast!  Her teaching style is so relaxed and informative.  I was first recommended to Nat by mutual friend Julie Balzer.  She was a great fit for the studio and I can’t wait to have her back.  This year she is offering 2 workshops.

  1. Mono Print Painting

Join me for a day long class in Mono Print Painting.

We will dive into the basics of mixed media mono printing first and I will introduce you to

the Mono Print Painting technique inspired by H.N. Werkman. I will show you different

ways to create elaborate and layered mono printed paintings using self made tools as

well as stamps and stencils. I will share with you my thinking process on developing the

technique and how you can put your own personal spin on it, so that you can take this

even further.

2. Art Rules – Art in Translation Art Journaling

Let’s explore several master artists and get inspired by their artwork and

techniques to create wonderful and unique art journal pages.

Whether it be the Impressionist’s amazing color combinations or some of the

Surrealist’s fun collage techniques, there are many different Master Artists whose skills

can serve as a starting point for your own artwork. Find out what you like and what

works for you. Learn about opacity and layering, colors, troubleshooting, mixing

materials, making your own tools, creating backgrounds and patterns. We will work with

acrylic paints, inks, markers, wax bars and other paint media to create dimension and

texture. We will make the most of stencils, stamps, mono printing plates and generic

tools to make our own mark.

Get ready to Rule Your Art Journal!


100 day project…progress

100 day project…progress

I’m loving the new studio! It feels so grown up to have a space like this.  One that doesn’t have my personal projects and paperwork strewn on the tables, one where the storage is down stairs and out of the way, one where you walk in to a beautiful storefront before you walk through the classroom and storage are.  This move was a long time in the making and I’m so very grateful for every part of it.  It is a huge validating reminder of how important it is to wait on Divine appropriate timing rather than pushing my own agenda!  Coming to a place where I am (was and will be) willing to wait and rest in the unknown has been one of the greatest lessons and blessings in this whole process.

As I started this new adventure of 176 Race Street I knew that it would be important to document the first days in a creative way.  I started the #176RaceStreetfirst100days hashtag on instagram to keep myself motivated to make something every day.  I am doing the projects on 3.5″x3.5″ cards (a.k.a. zentangle tiles) that I have taped to my office window in a 10×10 grid.

It has been really fun to see the empty cards get filled up.

here are a few of my favorites so far..

and here is what the wall looks like 39% complete

So far I’ve learned a few things  1.  It is easier to make something when I have scheduled the time  2. on days when I don’t feel particularly inspired I give myself permission to  just throw down some color with the premise that something is better than nothing and done is better than good (sometimes) 3. it is incredibly rewarding to see a project take shape by having the blank pieces up ahead of time it is keeping me on track.

I’m already thinking ahead to what I’m going to “do” with my pieces when I complete them.    Honestly they will probably just stay there for a while..then maybe make it into a binder of some sort or maybe sell them?  What do you think? A few of them would qualify to be part of my 1000 houses project…more on that in another blog post!

One of my favorite pieces was done during a session of “truth cards” I lead at my church.  I want to do more of that!  Anyone interested in a session of “truth cards” join me this Sunday (sept 10) from 1-2:30.  Click here to register.



New Art Book Study Sessions


Book club is one of  my favorite ways to gather community.  Most of us can relate to the tendency to pick up an inspiring book by a respected artist/author only to have it sit and gather dust on the shelf with all our other good intentions.

Book club is a community gathering in which we actually work through said book(s).  Each week I facilitate activities directly from the pages of the latest/greatest art books our community is interested in.

We are gearing up to start some new books in a few weeks.  There are 4 to choose from with plenty of times for anyone’s busy schedule.

Please, if you have any questions at all about how book club works, just ask either here in the comments below or via email (

Starting late August, 2017

Mondays 10am-12pm – Doodle Art & Lettering by Joanne Sharpe OR
Tuesdays 6-8pm – Doodle Art & Lettering by Joanne Sharpe OR
Thursdays 1-3pm – Doodle Art & Lettering by Joanne Sharpe

Wednesdays 3:30-5:30 – No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina Rossi Armfield OR
Thursdays 7-9pm – No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina rossi Armfield

Fridays 10-12 – Zentangle Primer – by Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas

4 Sundays 10am-2pm – Bold Expressive Painting by Annie O’Brien Gonzalez

First Guest Teacher in the NEW STUDIO

First Guest Teacher in the NEW STUDIO

I am over the moon about starting up in a brand new studio.  The move has been an extraordinary amount of work but also a blessing beyond belief.  If you are interested in the long version of the story just ask.  I love talking about the miracles!

It is wildly appropriate that my dear friend Stephanie is our first guest teacher in the new space.  I could not have asked for a more fitting kick off our new chapter on Race Street.

Read on to see what you will be making in the workshops and click the class title for more information and to register.

8/10/2017 (Thursday)
The Hanging Hearts with Stephanie Ackerman
6:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Rip, stamp, layer, stitch…this workshop is filled with all kinds of lovely handiwork.  Stephanie takes you through the process of layering your very own hanging hearts stuffed with a bit of cotton and stitched with love…You’ll be hooked!


8/11/2017 (Friday)
Stephanie Ackerman: Mixed & Stitched
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
$148 (includes lunch)

When you leave perfection and hesitation at the door and come in with an open heart and mind to create something without measuring, planning, placing or coordinating, something amazing happens. You relax and enjoy the process…that is, until you poke your finger with a needle.

I am excited to not only teach you to look at fabrics and felts a little differently, I am excited to sit and create right alongside you. Join me for an entire day of simple stitching, collaging felts and fabrics together, scrap swapping, lunch and finger poking at some point. The most difficult part of this new day long Mixed & Stitched Workshop is dividing the floss into strands and threading the dang needle, I promise.


“My name is Stephanie Ackerman. I am an ordinary girl who is living an extraordinary life where I get to do what I love for a living. I am a regular girl who loves God, my family, my friends, my neighbours, my church, my kids’ school, and the teachers who teach there.

I am a simple girl who loves to make things from paper, batter, fabric, dough (as in cookie dough), and paint…A LOT…probably more than the average person.

At any given moment I might be doing exactly what you are doing…praying, doodling, running, baking, car pooling, stitching, watching my boys skate, surfing, boogie boarding, playing soccer, helping with homework, doing laundry and then doing more laundry, REALLY loving felt, dropping boys off at skate park, volunteering at the kids’ school, reorganizing the “Shead-Teau,” turning trash into treasures, sewing, did I mention doing laundry???”

Moving the Studio/Store to 176 Race Street


Most of you know already because you follow us on Facebook or get our weekly newsletters but sometimes with an over-filled feed and mailbox news slips by and you miss out on vital information.  In the interest of NOT letting that happen I’m posting here as well.

A Work of Heart Studio has been at 2196 Lincoln Avenue(San Jose) for 10 years now.  We have had a wonderful time making art and friends in this location.  If you have been a part of this process in any way, thank you!  It is because of you that we are now looking to move on to the next 10 years in a larger space.  Less than 3 miles away the “perfect” space became available just at the right time.

You can see a short video of the interior of the new space here

The best part is that parking will no longer be an issue.  There is an entire parking lot behind the building and plenty of street parking.

Today (June 16) after I signed the contract my new landlord took the “for lease” sign down.  It was a monumental moment.

Leaving Lincoln Avenue is bitter sweet to be sure.  Wonderful memories have been formed within these green walls.  I am very much looking forward to what is in store for the next 10 years at 176 Race Street (San Jose, California).

Mark your calendars for July 30, 2017 from 3-7pm and come to our Open House.

In for Another Ten… Here is WHY


“A Work of Heart exists to inspire your creativity” has been a tag line on the website for some time now but what does that mean?

Last month I was introduced to Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” Ted Talk.  The message resonated with me deeply.

Amidst the very busy packing and purging process for the studio re-location my mind has been mulling over our WHY statement.  In order to be really clear about the direction for the next 10 years I’ve reflected on the past 10 and tried to identify “why A Work of Heart?” I think it is important to state that while I never set out to be a creative entrepreneur I can not imagine a different life.  While some days I long for someone else to just tell me what to do, I really love seeing what this little business has grown into from all the interaction I’ve had with you, my creative friends, over the years.


One thing that makes the studio special is that here we “gather” in a like-minded creative community to share an experience.  There are so many ways you can learn these days for little or no expense, however, there is immeasurable value in gathering together with a group to create.

Here you are surrounded by “your people.”

We gather to share ideas and resources as we encourage each other as lifelong learners.

We witness firsthand the amazing way a group of individuals can receive the same instructions and each come up with unique results.

It is in this gathering that we nurture a creative spirit.

Watch for part 2 when I talk about the Connecting that happens here.

While you wait, here is an opportunity to pay it forward.

Gathering should not be an exclusive opportunity.  There are many who can not afford the luxury of paying for a workshop or class.  I am inspired to create a scholarship fund to open the studio up to many more who could benefit from our gathering and subsequent nurturing.

If you would like to contribute to this fund in a financial way you can send a check to A Work of Heart at 176 Race Street and mark “scholarship” in the memo section.  I am working on a way to make this easy to do online.  A little testing shows that a donation button using paypal gives paypal 33% of the donation (not cool!)

Alternatively, you can simply send money through paypal as a friend to and add a message that it should be applied to the scholarship fund.

If you are interested in applying to utilize some of these funds you can email andrea(at)aworkofheart(dot)com to inquire about availability.