Friday, August 29, 2008

Retreating to The Art Nest

I had a truly fabulous experience at The Art Nest in Park City, Utah back in June. Candice and Julie are the most generous and hospitable hosts, and two of the kindest people you'll ever meet. Every detail was taken care of, from arranging transportation from the airport, to putting handmade nametags on our doors at the B&B, to gifting us with this darling packet of items to use in our workshops. Plus, they managed to round up three of the best instructors around: Stephanie Lee, Carla Sonheim and Alma Stoller. It doesn't get any better than that!

The first night, we were treated to a dinner in town at Bistro 412. They had wonderful food, and it was a great way to meet our fellow attendees.

We stayed at this comfy B&B, right off the main drag and just a short walk from where our workshops were held. We were spoiled by their buffet breakfast every morning and the freshly baked cookies and snacks each afternoon when we returned from class.

There was a lovely patio in front, and a relaxing sitting area off on the other side. Who wouldn't want to sit here and spend some time in the morning journaling?

Each instructor taught one day, and each of them was my favorite at that moment! I've taken a lot of classes, and been to a number of different art retreats, but this threesome was truly a match made in heaven. We got a taste of metalsmithing from Stephanie, drawing and watercolor painting from Carla, and fabric play with Alma. This is a picture of the little packets Alma made up for us to use in class--she's so generous and fun, and her fabric art comes straight from her soul.

All the instructors said that one of the perks of this retreat was that, in addition to teaching, they also got to take each other's classes. Stephanie and Carla had great fun in Alma's class, producing fabric bracelets among other things!

Stephanie's class was chock-full of information and demos, torches and soldering--we could have spent days and days playing with all the techniques she showed us.

And under Carla's expert instruction, students produced amazing whimsical drawings, many of which were truly exceptional pieces of art (not mine--that's a whole other story!)

It truly was an amazing few days, and I know that the other 20+ attendees felt the same way. I'm just so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate and to get to know some of the other women that attended. Candice and Julie are quite a team, so if you ever get the chance to go to one of their retreats, DO IT!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Knowing

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
Gilda Radner

This pretty much sums up my life right now. This past year has brought major changes in all areas of my life: career, relationships and health. It’s not what I had planned, but it’s what I’ve got—Delicious Ambiguity. I like the sound of that. It’s all about acceptance, gratitude, and being open to the possibilities.

I’ve now reached the halfway mark in my recovery from spinal surgery, and am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been six weeks since my surgery, and the neurosurgeon originally said I’d have to wear this neck brace for 3 months. So I’m on the home stretch now, hoping to get this thing off and be able to drive again in just a few weeks. Patience, patience…

The most positive outcome of all this turmoil has been the constant love and support I’ve received from my friends (you know who you are!). Having to ask for help and rely on others is a humbling experience, and I’ll be forever grateful to my good friends who have been, and continue to be, so supportive and giving. Thank you, thank you--from the depths of my soul.

Of course, there's nothing that will hasten healing quicker than a crazy dog and a silly 2-yr. old granddaughter! Laughter is truly the best medicine. (Can you see the family resemblance?)
On another note--the week before my injury, I had the great good fortune to attend The ArtNest in Park City, Utah. More on that fabulous week in my next post…

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sharing the journey...

Imagine. If you will. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California, away from the distractions of daily life: A retreat center with quaint dorm rooms located in the Main building; cottages scattered throughout the forest, each accommodating from 4-10 people; three days of creative exploration with one instructor; evening gatherings to share ideas, talents, dreams. Whether it's to learn new techniques and take your art to a new level, to replenish your spirit, to connect with like-minded souls--you'll find all of it at An Artful Journey.

This is the type of retreat that I'm drawn to at this stage in my life, so I'm thinking there might be others out there as well. The first Journey will take place on Feb. 18-22, 2010, with the following fabulous instructors: Lesley Riley, Misty Mawn, Nina Bagley, Albie Smith and DJ Pettitt. The retreat is in the planning stages, so more info will follow as we move along this path. I hope that the idea of a smaller, more intimate gathering appeals to you as it does me. Although I love many of the retreats out there, I'm finding that I'm looking for a slower pace right now, and the chance to really delve into one project and take the time to explore it. That's my vision for An Artful Journey. I hope you'll join us!

ps--oh, and I've got a few other ideas up my sleeve, like offering 'day' workshops with guest instructors at a nearby locale in 2009...stay tuned!