I have spent the day in macroeconomics world, editing an online course. This is so far from my last few days that my head is spinning a bit. I don't even know where to begin, so I will begin at the beginning.
Wednesday night I met up with Kelly and knew I had found a friend. It was wonderful. She is the first person I had met in person from blog world. We could just set all the surface stuff aside and simply connect. I feel so blessed to have had a friend with me during this entire experience. We are at similar places in the learning curve of art world, so we were able to share our questions, answers, and she gave me so many tips (like getting a tackle box for my art supplies! by the end of this week I will be the proud owner of a tackle box). Throughout the entire time, we shared stories, laughed, she put up with my crazy excitement (and I was more than a little crazy with excitement - thanking Teesha Moore twice for letting me attend so last minute. My husband said I was a bit like the toy horn you use on New Years that you blow and the paper part rolls out into someone's face - I was literally like that horn sometimes and that is so not my usual personality), taught me a lot about life and art, and simply got me. She is an amazing artist and she is learning to let go of the inner critic. I can't wait to see what she creates next (and I do want to be the first person to buy something of hers). Thank you Kelly.
During dinner that first night, I met up with Kim. (Oh my friend, I do believe that we have known each other in a past life.) I truly feel like I have always known her. She is an incredible woman. And I am so lucky that she just lives up the road and can't wait until I can spend the day in her studio. She made me the most delightful little book that I will fill with my words (and make a few more like it on my own). I love the way that Kim looks at the world. Her kind, honest heart shines through just like it does on her blog. She created some amazing artwork this weekend that you should check out on her blog. (Kim, be warned, I am inviting myself up soon!)
That first night there is a bit of a trading "frenzy" after dinner. People bring things to trade. From artist trading cards to bits of stuff to things they have made to beads and bobbles. I was a little overwhelmed by this but didn't want to miss out on all the fun. I brought some CDs (my current playlist I listen to as I create and write) and some bags of stuff one might use in a collage or to make an altered book. (I have a few of both left, so if you would like a CD or a bag of stuff, email me and I will send one out to you.) During this time of trading I learned something that would hold true for my entire time up there: this group of people who attend ArtFest are incredible, kind, crazy, friendly, amazing individuals. I received some wonderful little trinkets during this time of trading, and it was fun to see people excited about my CDs and bags of "stuff." I realized I didn't have to feel accepted by the group (the fear of not having anyone to sit with was a big one for me) because I was already part of this group.
After dinner, there was an opening meeting where Tracy and Teesha said hello and Michael DeMeng spoke. This was my first introduction to Michael's work. One word. Wow. I hope to one day take a class with him. His opening talk was great. I wish I had taken notes, but I was simply trying to take it all in. Right before I sat down for this meeting, I heard someone exclaim "Liz Elayne" - there she was - Blue Poppy. I wouldn't see her again until Saturday (we had a class together - more on this soon), but as I looked into her face and hugged her, I could hear the actress from the PBS version of Anne of Green Gables saying, "I knew we were kindred spirits." (Elizabeth - I hope you could hear her too.)
When the meeting ended, Kelly and I went to the Art Asylum room. Incredible. Tables of stuff for all of us to use to create. But it was kind of like a sale at Nordstrom, if Nordstrom was a thrift store. It was crazy fun. Kelly learned that I can get a bit overwhelmed in crowds as I said, "I think I am just going to step back" more than once. We found some neat things though and spent a couple of hours talking and creating together.
Then I went back to my room at the B&B. It was nice to stay off campus this first year. I know I need my space. I could read and take a breath and have hot water and not have to stand in line for things...
A sneak peek of more to come: Thursday is the day that changed my life forever. (I am not kidding people.)