COMING SOON! Ministry of Mixology: Chicago

COMING SOON! Ministry of Mixology: Chicago

Posted by DecoArt on Jul 7th 2016

We asked Andy Skinner and Tracy Weinzapfel about their upcoming workshops at the Ministry of Mixology in Chicago. The event takes place on 22nd and 23rd October this year and more information can be found on the website at Make sure you sign up now!

How did the Ministry of Mixology come about?
ANDY: About three years ago Di Oliver (of UK company Tando Creative) and I were discussing the possibility of me teaching at one of her events and we just clicked. We got chatting and realized that there was a market for affordable mixed media retreats – and the rest is history!

Where does the name Ministry of Mixology (MoM) come from?
ANDY: Di and I couldn’t come up with a name we liked for the retreats, so I posted into our DecoArt Design Team group asking for ideas. One of our DT members, Jools Robertson, came up with the name and we it loved instantly.

What’s the philosophy behind MoM? Why did you decide to be a non-profit?
ANDY: We had a vision to create great value workshops that were focussed strongly on art education, rather than being about making money. Our AIM is to be Affordable, Inspirational, and Memorable. We still get a lot out of it – as well as the sense of achievement, being a part of MoM is a great promotional opportunity for our own brands as well as those of our sponsors.

What is mixed media and why did you choose to focus MoM around that type of crafting?
TRACY: Mixed media is the freedom to create with a variety of surfaces, mediums and paints and forgo the ‘rules’ to push your creative limits. It is a meaning of expression and I leave a piece of me in every artwork, class and project I take on. Mixed media allows some creative license in each class, so each person can create a piece that’s personal to them. No pieces are ever the same in my classes.
ANDY: Have to agree with everything she said :).

Do you have a favorite moment/memory from a past MoM?
ANDY: It’s the coming together of like-minded people, the friendships built and the camaraderie. On each event these friendships grow stronger.

What kind of products will be used in the workshops? 
TRACY: We work with our key sponsors who provide loads of great products for the students to work with. Each class will cover a wide range of products from the DecoArt Media line, plus Stampendous stamps and embossing products, and Tando Creative surfaces which are custom made in collaboration with the tutors.

Who are the sponsors and what are they providing?
TRACY: We have a great range of sponsors and they are the backbone of the events allowing us to keep costs down and value up. It is a partnership which works to mutual benefit in terms of cross promotion. They are also kindly providing items for the goody bags - the canvas bags themselves were even donated!

Can you give us a sneak peek at what you will be teaching?  
ANDY: Here are a couple of pics to tempt you – but we’re not going to reveal the techniques you’ll be learning. That we be a surprise on the day.

In the past you’ve had evening activities, will there be something similar in Chicago?
TRACY: Yes, we are planning an informal meet 'n’ greet on Friday night. We have an onsite retailer and open art area where on Saturday night we will have fun demonstrations and make 'n’ takes. 

Is there a shop and what can we buy!?  
TRACY: We will have an onsite retailer who will carry the full range of DecoArt Media products and other products in the DecoArt range, stencils, Tando Creative substrates, Stampendous stamps (Andy Skinner Stamps!), Dare 2b Artzy Stamps (Tracy's stamps), and lots more!

What do you like best about teaching alongside each other? 
TRACY: I like the banter and quick wit that we have. It keeps the classes entertaining as well as educational. Also there is something organic about sharing that creative space with someone and trusting they will not gesso over the layer you just did (although we sure joke about it). I think some of my favorite pieces have been from our collaborations because they push us in directions we had no plans of going in creatively.
ANDY: We really are both on the same level and like to add a sense of fun to our classes, we both have trust and respect for each other and working together is always enjoyable. Plus I agree with Tracy that it’s good to be taken out of our comfort zones.

Describe each other in three words.
TRACY: Only three they have to be nice ones? Funny (just slightly less than me), talented, and caring.......yes he cares about each and every event he participates in.
ANDY: What she said lol!

Andy, you and Tracy are famed for your pranks and camaraderie – we saw the hats you gave everyone at Dare to Create, is Tracy out for revenge in Chicago?
TRACY: Not at all.......I have called a truce and he is safe in the USA with me. 
ANDY: LOL I am going to be watching my back constantly!

What’s in the pipeline for the future?  
TRACY: I would like to see more locations in the USA based on geographic demand. Also I’d like to bring in new diverse teachers, demonstrators and projects to share with everyone.
ANDY: I’m teaching at a Ministry event in the UK again in November this year, and we’ve already started talking plans for 2017.

You can follow the Ministry of Mixology Facebook page for more news: