This post is a bit on the long side. So please, settle in with a cup of tea and pretend we are sitting at my kitchen table and enjoying the little mason jar of tulips that sits there as we sip our tea and eat some cookies. And then I start telling you about ArtFest. Day 3.
Friday brought another early morning. This time I worked on my altered book in my little room at the B&B. Being a morning person during these first two mornings was fun (but it quickly ended on Saturday).
My workshop was with Claudine Hellmuth. I was excited to take a class with someone with such a following, someone who has honed her skills and found her niche. Claudine showed us some techniques and then let us get to it. And I had a lot of fun just playing. I learned some great new paint techniques (like spreading a surface with elmer's glue and then painting over it. as it dries, it cracks in some very cool ways). This class was a different experience for me. How to explain. We were to bring photocopies of some black and white pictures. I took this to mean old photos (and that is what most people brought). However, to me, this meant bringing pictures that had meaning for me. So I brought several pictures of my relatives (grandparents, great-great grandmothers, and so on). Because of this, I had a little trouble figuring out what to do. I had this idea to create something for my mother. The words came to me as I was painting the cigar box we were using as a shadow box (the picture below makes this a bit clearer), but then I realized I didn't have the photo I needed. I decided that I would have to wait on creating that piece for my mom. So, I decided to use a picture of my grandmother with her grandmother (so my great-great grandmother who lived to be 102. I was born on her birthday). My grandma was a little girl in the picture. I was very stuck on this idea of creating something as a tribute to them. Because of that, I didn't know where to go. Claudine's pieces are so whimsical. And I didn't feel the whimsy. Until I thought, "what if my grandmother is holding flowers in the piece?" Then it all came together. I have to admit that I am very proud of this finished product and think these little boxes make great gifts. I need to fix the way my great-great grandmother is sagging just a bit here (sorry ella), but overall, I just love it!
After the workshop, Kelly and I connected and went to the Art Asylum room. She started working on the second canvas from her workshop (check out the finished product here - I LOVE it), and I worked on my altered book. As we were working, Jennifer Louden and her friend (Barbara I believe) came in and were commenting on how we were such die hards working after our workshops. It was funny. I knew it was Jennifer right away, but I wasn't about to start gushing "oh I love your books! I read your blog!" and so on because I feel like "famous" people deserve their space. We ran into each other again at Vendor Night...and I had a class with her the next day (more on that class soon!). It was a treat to be able to connect with her, hear about her radio show, and the amazing workshops/retreats she is offering in the Seattle area.
That evening, Jonny arrived. Because I was already paying for my B&B room and because his spring break started that day, he drove up to Port Townsend to join me. It was great to have him with me for this last part of ArtFest. It was nice to have someone to talk to about the experience as I went to bed the last two nights. And I am so glad he arrived in time for Vendor Night because I never could have described it to him in a way that would do it justice. But I am going to try right now.
Vendor Night. Imagine, a room filled with 400+ people who are all so happy to be connecting with one another and discovering new art and connecting with the artists who created each piece. I am not sure how many vendors there were (maybe 50?), but they were all incredible. I was just sparkling with the joy of seeing all of this amazing art and connecting with these beautiful people. Kelly, Jon, and I had so much fun wandering, looking, and BUYING!
I bought this beautiful piece from the sweet and kind Tracie Lyn Huskamp. I felt an immediate connection with Tracie and her work. It was wonderful. Check out her site and explore the world of this amazing creative soul. (the words on the piece: Let me share the love and favor of the few who know me best, And I'll spend my time contended. This just simply summed up how I felt the entire weekend. I knew it was mine. And she knew it too as we talked and laughed and connected.)
Then I found a funny little pile of pendants on one table. I thought they were all beautiful, so I looked through them all. And suddenly I gasped out loud and started tearing up. I grabbed Jon's arm. "Look," I said. His mouth dropped open just a little bit. He said, "It is perfect." The joy of having someone just get you. And know. Yes. This is perfect. It says everything for me. And the shell, the little turquoise dot, flowers, the words. I said to the artist, Heide Murray, "you didn't know it at the time, but you made this just for me." I am wearing it all the time.
Traci Bautista had a great booth. I purchased some words and some fabric. I would love to take a workshop with her some time. And I can't wait to read her new book. I also bought a fun bag of ephemera from Amber Gibbs of Queen of Tarts Stamps.
Then I discovered the wonderful art journals of Randi Feuerhelm. I bought her incredible decks of cards with her artwork on one side and tips for art journaling and altered photo ideas on the other (if either of these topics intrigue you, I really suggest getting a set. they are fantastically fun!). Again, I felt a connection with her right away - it was great to talk with her. I can't wait to dive into all these ideas she shares and start creating. It will be like taking little mini-workshops with her!
Finally, I came across Theo Ellsworth. I stood there in awe as I turned the pages of his capacity zines. This boy (okay, I say boy because he just seemed like he could be one of my brother's friends...and my brother is still my baby brother even though he turns 25...that's right, 25 people! next week) has one of the deepest spirits of anyone I have ever met. You just get this right away. Reading his work and looking into his eyes. He just gets it. Life. Living in this life. The pain. The beauty. The joy. The grief. He just gets it. I was reminded of the first time I looked at Brian Andreas' work over ten years ago and laughed and cried and knew I had found someone who understood my soul. This is how I felt reading Theo's work. Jon agreed. We bought all six issues and can't wait until he unveils #7 on his website.
By the time I got to Tracy and Teesha's booth I was happy that a) all the people were starting to leave so I could actually get to their table and b) they took credit card! I found some incredible stamps and had such fun talking to Tracy, learning more tips from him. Such a kind open heart he seems to have. And the quotes on these stamps...I would love to just sit and talk with the two of them for hours and just say thank you. Thank you for sharing all that you know so that I can know that I am not alone.
Other artists who spoke to my soul that evening (but my pocketbook could not come up with anymore money...one day): Carla Sonheim (an amazing tender woman; the little girls she creates are just gorgeous), Annie Lewis, Kathy Welsh, Laurie Mika, LK Ludwig, and Keely Barnham (I bought her incredible zine, Stray Stitches, just to revel in the beauty of her inspiring work). Several of these women teach workshops, so I hope to learn from them some day. (There were others, really, I was inspired by everyone, but these were the cards that I picked up.)
Kelly and I shared show and tell in the car (because everything was closed in downtown Port Townsend). Then Jon and I went back to the B&B where I talked his ear off for another couple of hours. Then off to sleep with dreams of Ganesha (really, I dreamed of the Hindu elephant god that night).
Thank you for reading this long post, you dear people from all over the world who stop at my blog (now that I have site meter I know you are out there. I don't know you but I appreciate you stopping by for tea). I said to Jon, "look at how long this post is." He replied, "People are going to be reading a very tiny book." It just made me laugh.
Yes, there really are (at least) two more installments of this adventure (I haven't written them yet...but they will come). But, I promise to pepper in some shorter posts too (hee, hee).