Watercolor in the Sacred Milieu, at Grunewald Guild!

What a wonderful summertime class we had. Beautiful weather, great company, and lots of art happening!

We shared the Guild with calligrapher Mary McLeod and students, glass artists Gail Kelly and her following, and architect Paul Barribeau presenting on “Sacred Space” to his students. Photographer and poet Mollie captured us all beautifully. Check out this beautiful video of the whole week.

2017 Sacred Arts Week at Grunewald Guild


I just returned from teaching a 5 day silk painting workshop as part of Sacred Arts Week with some other incredible faculty at the Grunewald Guild near Leavenworth WA. It was a wonderful time of silk painting, pottery, exploring the connection between image and word, and creative journaling, not to mention labyrinth walking, chatting late at night, bridge strolling and worshiping together.  Vonda Drees, one of the directors, took these photos and made them into a slide show. Songwriter and Guild member Cheryl Branz wrote the accompanying song. 

The overarching theme of the week was “Wonder, Discover, Begin”. This gave us a chance to delve into the creative process first by sharing how this theme applied to individual faculty’s creative and spiritual lives. Hopefully this sharing strengthened everyone’s courage to create boldly. I think it worked, based on the new artwork displayed at the end of the week. 

Here’s the classes taught and the faculty facilitating: 

Silk Painting: Color in the Wind with Kristen Gilje

A Journal of Wonder, Exploration, & Beginning with Mary McLeod

Handbuilt Ceramics for Hospitality & Liturgy with Sarah Jane

Image to Word & Word to Image with Laurie Rudel & Scott Burnett

Color in the Wild Silk Painting Workshop at Grunewald Guild




Last Sunday I returned from teaching a week long silk painting workshop at the Grunewald Guild, August 3-9 2015.  We had a wonderful week with 11 students, many of those returning students and a few brand new silk painters. We all learned from each other, pushed our own boundaries, made wonderful friends, enjoyed someone else cooking for us, and saturated ourselves with color.

student Becky with wings

2015 silk group portrait

Our class, entitled Color in the Wild, focused on seeing color combinations that nature provides and learning about these combinations with the help of a color wheel. We talked about complementary, split complimentary, and triadic color schemes, use of neutrals, and dominance, to name a few color thinking structures.

Triadic color combos from nature

Each student was asked to choose a primary triadic “pallet” from colors they saw in nature, and reproduce it with the dyes we had available on the above grid.

You will see from the photos below how diverse each person’s work was. Whether a newby or a seasoned silk painter, I was very proud of the depth of challenge each person took on.

Lynn, a seasoned silk painter, pushes her limits.

Here are some pictures of the work we did last week. Be patient; it’s a slide show with 6 seconds in between pictures.



And here we are below, all working in the Fiber Arts Building.

One more tidbit for you: A short video that Susi Franco made for our class

We missed you Janell!!! , and all those unable to come. Hopefully you will be with us next year.

Thanks for a wonderful week everyone. Kristen

Kristen in the Guild Garden
Instructor Kristen Gilje collecting items for color theory lesson



2013 Grunewald Guild Liturgical Arts Weeks

 “At the Meeting of Heaven and Earth”

Grunewald Guild, Leavenworth, WA, August 5-11, August 12-18, 2013

Teaching Liturgical Arts Week at Grunewald Guild with Jan Richardson, Garrison Doles, Gilly Sakakini and Laurie Clark every summer is a treat. I love the way our classes are woven together by Jan’s words and Gary’s music, and often find myself dreaming at night about the magic that will happen between us all the next day. This is indeed a thin place, where we all come together to explore Spirit in, with, through, around, under and above us.

Here’s what Jan has written about our theme “Between Heaven and Earth”:

“In the physical landscape and in the turning of the year, there are places where the veil between worlds becomes permeable. Past and future come together in the present, and heaven and earth meet. It’s not that God is somehow more present in those places—“thin places,” as Celtic folk have called them; rather, something in those places and times invites us to become more present to the God who is always with us. A veil falls away within us. We open, and we see.

Join us as we enter and explore these thin places, the spaces that open before us as we engage in worship, in our communities, and in our daily lives.”

Silk Painting: Exploring Color and Line as a Thin Place

I will be teaching two weeks of silk painting classes during this time, with one building on the other. In Week I everyone is invited, beginners through advanced. During Week II former silk painting students of mine (including Week I students) are invited for more in depth exploration. For more info, visit Liturgical Arts Week on the Guild’s website.

Full information & registration for Week I Silk Painting, August 5-11

Full information & registration for Week II Silk Painting, August 12-18








Wild Journaling in the North Cascades

Drawing and Painting the Wild Journal at North Cascades Institute


Amidst the perfect weather of late summer our Wild Journaling workshop went out into the field to immerse ourselves in the grand mountains, meadows and valleys of the surrounding North Cascades.

The mornings were sweater-weather cool, and we hunkered down in our classrooms to practice our drawing and watercolor painting techniques.  These skills supported our primary purpose of immersing ourselves in nature and recording the experience in our journals.

Thursday afternoon, our first day, we journaled on the short Peninsula Trail on campus, to test out our resiliency. The next day we traveled by bus with our journals and art supplies 15 miles away to Canyon Creek, rich with mining history. We crossed several foot bridges along a rushing creek to find an old miners’ cabin and barn deep in the forest, and spent the whole afternoon out there. Click on any thumbnail picture below to expand, then follow the arrows:


Sunday was our longest day in the field. We packed into the vans again and drove to a large meadow just under Washington Pass. The day could not have been more beautiful.


My students saw me go nuts with the camera. Here are some of the results. Click on a thumbnail, then follow the arrows. When you get to the end of the first batch, go to the second!

We had spent the 4 days of the Creative Arts Retreat with basket makers and artful mapmakers, and at the end of our time together we laid out our work for others to see.Here’s what our art show looked like:

What a wonderful time! Thanks, everyone, for such a great workshop! Hope to see you next year.










Carey Institute Silk Painting Workshop

Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

Carey Institute is on the campus of the University of British Columbia. It’s a beautiful location, on a peninsula surrounded by woods, hiking trails and beaches. I found this out AFTER our class….we were all too busy painting to do much exploring. Although our hosts introduced us to authentic Chinese food and bubble tea.

We had a group of 16 students, some from Vancouver BC and surrounding area, but also some that traveled from Alberta for the workshop.

Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting-32
Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting-32


Alex at Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting
Alex at Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting

 Sarah, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Sarah, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

Edna and Hildie, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Edna and Hildie, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop


Jennifer's Ice, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Jennifer’s Ice, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

We had so much fun and made such good work. Here are 50 pictures for you to see!

Click on one image to make it bigger, then follow the arrows for the next picture. When you are done with the first batch, then go to the next. There are 3 batches!

Following are just a few of my favorites…There are so many. Thanks for such a good week, students!

Sarah's Stars, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Sarah’s Stars, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop


Florence's Flowers,Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Florence’s Flowers,Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

Setting the Dye, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Setting the Dye, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

Joyce, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Joyce, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop

Alex's Fish, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop
Alex’s Fish, Carey Inst. Aug 2012 silk painting workshop



Grunewald Guild July 30-Aug 5

Emily Wagnitz "Labyrinth" Detail, Handpainted Silk, 60" x 11".

Silk Painting Workshop

Emily Wagnitz "Labyrinth" Detail, Handpainted Silk, 60" x 11".
Here’s a detail from a scarf hand-painted by Emily Wagnitz at our Grunewald Guild Liturgical Arts Silkpainting Workshop.

We had beautiful hot sunny weather at Grunewald Guild this summer. A lovely, lively group of 14 students, from age 12 to ?65? or so, we helped each other make some wonderful silk pieces.


Silk painting workshop,Grunewald Guild, Aug 2012
The youngest member of our silk painting group, and the scarf he made. Carefully.


Unwrapping Mary Ann's piece, Grunewald Guild Aug 2012
Unwrapping Mary Ann’s piece, Grunewald Guild Aug 2012

Singing Silk Painters, Grunewald Guild, Aug 2012
Singing Silk Painters, Grunewald Guild, Aug 2012

2012 Emily Wagnitz, "Gabriel", Detail. Hand Painted silk, 60x11". Grunewald Aug 2012-5
©2012 Emily Wagnitz, “Gabriel”, Detail. Hand Painted silk, 60×11″. Grunewald Aug 2012

2012 Jane Middleton, Grunewald Guild, Aug 2012
©2012 Jane Middleton, Grunewald Guild, Aug 2012

Nature Journaling

Drawing and Painting the Wild Journal

Sept. 6-9, 2012, North Cascades Institute’s  Learning Ctr


Preparations for this 4-day workshop are getting me excited! September is my favorite month to be in the mountains here. The weather is cooler but more predictably sunny, the bugs are fewer, and every plant and animal is putting for a last burst of beauty and wholeness before the early mountain snows and cold winds push them back beneath the surface. High mountain summers are brief and beautiful.

© Kristen Gilje 2005 Holden Lake Trail, Watercolor 10x14

We”ll be brushing up on drawing and watercolor skills in the morning, and using those skills to record our high mountain excursions in the afternoon, the easy way: we’ll be shuttled by van to places our resident naturalists choose for us. When it’s time for dinner we’ll be driven back to the Learning Center for a good meal and a warm bed.

Click on this link for more info on the workshop


and click on this one to register:


North Cascade Institute Learning Center near Newhalem WA



Kristen Gilje wild-flowers-may19




Workshop Schedule 2012

Grunewald Guild Silk Workshop 2011
Students at Grunewald Guild Silk Workshop 2011

July 30-August 5, 2012, Grunewald Guild, near Leavenworth, WA

Liturgical Arts Week: A Spiral-Shaped God

Proud students at Grunewald Guild 2011July 30-August 5 Grunewald Guild, near Leavenworth WA

  • Jan Richardson with Garrison Doles: Advent Portfolio: To Illuminate the Season 
  • Kristen Gilje: Silk Painting in the Season of Creation
  • Gilly Sakakini: Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Fresh Approach to Creative Prayer in a Changing Culture
  • Laurie Richardson, Artist in Residence


Feasting at Liturgical Arts Week 2011




August 13-16, Carey Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Carey Worship and Arts Summer School:  A Creative Exploration On the Psalms

I believe my friend Reed Carlson, from Icicle Valley Photography, will be one of the other teachers, as well as possibly a calligrapher. I’ll be teaching silk painting. Stay tuned.


September 6-9 near Nwhalem, WA

North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center:  Creative Arts Retreat

©2005 Kristen Gilje “Storm on the Way Home” watercolor  10×14

In our Wild Journal workshop we’ll start the morning with some basic drawing and watercolor skills, to prepare us for our outings to high mountain meadows with our journals.

September is one of the best months to be in the mountains. Come and join us!