Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sister Act

So I just got back into town - again. I was home from Hawaii only a few days before I left to go to Artfest. This is a great art retreat by Teesha Moore for mixed media artists, held in the spring in Port Townsend, Washington. Artfest is turning into a yearly tradition for my mom, sisters and me. This is the fourth year for most of us, and the second year some of our daughters have come as well. Katherine has been teaching there for a few years, and I will apply to teach next year. We have both been accepted to teach at Journalfest, an offshoot of Artfest for art journaling which is held in the fall. Don't worry, the shameless commerce is not yet over.
Here is the thing about leading a very busy life - it is hard to justify or follow through on going to something like a retreat, or classes that challenge you, even when it is also a gathering of family members that live far apart. If we didn't have to register far in advance, and pay a deposit, and coordinate travel plans, and promise to bring supplies to share, and rely on each other for rides, it would have been easy and convenient to say, "There is just too much going on. I don't think I can make it this year."
I was still on such a high from being in Hawaii with Mike, and concerned about handling everything that still needed doing at home, it was hard to take off again. But I'm very glad I did.
I drove up to Montana, picked up sister-in-law Penny, we drove through gorgeous country to Port Townsend with some fun stops at thrift stores, and met up with Mom, two of my sisters and two nieces. I  like seeing how three generations are now a part of this.
For 4 days we were immersed, with 700 others, in seeing, learning, teaching, demonstrating, trading, experimenting and sharing creativity and visual art. I was a part of 2 collaborative books, was able to trade several hundred pieces of art, and took 3 classes. Katherine traded packets of materials she had gathered on a recent trip visiting family in Paris, India and China. And she taught classes in glass mosaics.
We stayed in one of the old officer's houses where Artfest is held at Fort Worden. Each night we would show the work we had done and share new techniques with each other. We always invited the 6 women from next door to come for dinner, and had a great time crowding around the table talking about classes.
This year I had classes in drawing, watercolor, resin work and metalworking. Loved all of them and am already using new techniques I learned. I am working on teaching proposals for 4 new classes. I will post them on my website ( after I submit them. You can also see what I will be teaching at journalfest there. The blog on that site will have more details.
In the early morning, before going to class, I loved walking down to the beach and around the lighthouse point. A very different beach from Maui, but still beautiful. I also loved seeing the deer all around the Fort. They just watched us walking past on our way to class, patiently putting up with our intrusion on their space.
My favorite event outside of class was the Iron Artist Challenge. 20 of the teachers were each given a packet of materials, and one hour to complete a piece of art.
We were able to go around the room and watch them as they worked. It was fascinating, and inspiring to see how each used the same materials in their individual way, making a unique artwork. This is Keith LoBue, Karen O'Brien and Julie Haymaker Thompson at Iron Artis Challenge.

My favorite acquisition - a ring made by one of my teachers, Susan Lenart Kazmer. It is magic in so many ways. Made from a shell used for women's money in Papua New Guinea in the 1800's, and another 1800's shell used by African women to decorate their hair.
My main reason for going - time with wonderful women I get to be related to, either through blood or through art, or both. Women who constantly challenge each other to be creative in all ways. We have much in common and many differences. Being a part of creative exercises helps us celebrate and honor it all together.
Go to and check out "retreats" to see more about Artfest and Journalfest. If you have never done anything like an art retreat, I promise an amazing time no matter what your level of experience. It is the way I teach my classes. The visual techniques develop skills that impact every part of your life.
And, it's a blast.

1 comment:

Barbara Bee said...

Wow! That is overwhelmingly rich and rewarding. I would love to see the ring sometime.