How can I adequately convey all of these deep feelings of friendship, camaraderie, creative energy, and sparks of electricity that happened between a group of 80 or so artists during the fleeting days spent at ArtFiberFest.
Where do I begin... I want to share every minute with you and not miss any precious detail.
Perhaps, I should start with my arrival in Seattle... where Marylin and I spent a delightful afternoon soaking up the atmosphere at Pike's Market. Browsing our favorite stores such as Watson Kennedy, the Perennial Tea Room, and catching a bite to eat at the delectable Mischou's Deli, which was strongly recommended by the the ladies at the tea room, and it did not disappoint.
I collected a few trinkets during the visit, such as a CD of Jimmy Durante that was playing in the Watson Kennedy store, where I found myself humming along to the music piped over the speakers.. and smiling when I realized I was being quite loud... purchasing 2 tiny bud vases made by a local artist to add to my collection of pottery, buying mouthwatering chocolates to take home, and flowers... giant bouquets of color just waiting to be scooped up and proudly displayed for the ridiculous price of only five dollars.
Each treasure serving as a reminder of my time here... caught-up in the hustle, bustle of this busy city and daily life.
Then stepping onto the ferry at the winding down of the day, having a ship take us, to almost what felt like another world, across the sound to the Olympic Peninsula... drawing us ever closer to our beloved Port Townsend.
We arrived in the quaint village, anxious and giddy with anticipation, ready to see the Fort and all those beautiful faces of old friends that have been away too long.
After many hugs and bursts of exclamation when one friend sees another for the first time, the moment was here. It was the official start of the retreat with an opening meeting and the masters' of ceremony, Teesha and Tracy Moore, at the helm and leading the way.
Thursday began with high wind warnings and a deluge of heavy rains. But after dropping Marylin off for her first day of class, I set out upon my free day, ready to explore, determined not to let a little water dampen my spirits. I walked or rather blew down the sidewalks of main street, visiting the various shops, chatting with store owners, discussing mostly the weather everywhere I went, always in search of more treasures to carry home. My wet escapade was not in vain. I found gorgeous beads, lovely vintage photos, and stacks of the yummiest dyed wool felt in a rainbow of colors to buy.
Soon the rain stopped, the clouds cleared and I knew it was time to drink in some of the magnificent scenery from the beach at Fort Worden. I wanted to comb for a few gifts from the sea.
Although the sun had finally appeared, the wind was fierce. It stung my face and burned my eyes. However, I was persistent and continued to wander across this sandy terrain. The waves were still angry from the morning storms. The beach was littered with large mounds of seaweed and driftwood. I discovered a small handful of shells and an incredible stone that was faceted like a gem.
Before I knew it... time, once again, had leapt foward with lightning speed, so I headed back to the Fort for the evening activities. After several fast and furious rounds of swapping and trading everything from funky fiber flowers to fabric charms, and even misc fibers, Marylin and I set off for town with our friend, Dawn Shepherd. Dawn is the owner of Mother Rubber Stamps and has been a friend ever since we sat next to each other in class at the last ArtFiberFest.
We had the pleasure of Dawn's company during our class at ArtFest and now she was joining us again for class.
Dawn was celebrating several special happenings in her life. The first being her birthday and the second was the purchase of a new home. To mark both of these dubious occasions in grand style, we treated her to a wonderful Thai restaurant in town call Khu Larb. I had never eatten Thai food before and am sorry to say that I did not realize what I was missing. Number 48 on the menu was DELICIOUS, and I made a "happy plate" rather quickly after the food was served.
Friday was ACTION PACKED with teaching and vending. As usual, Marylin and I were blown away by our students. Like proud parents, we are just as excited as they are when we see the results of their artistic efforts. Vendor Night was SPECTACULAR. I love collecting works of art from such talented artist that also happen to be my friends. The hardest part is trying to choose, since I would not mind taking home everything on the table. It was a busy rush of activity, and I was so pleased that my new bird pendants were so well received. I have only a few left.
One of my absolute favorite purchases from vendor night came from my dearest darling friend, Liz Elayne.
Liz and I felt an instant connection of friendship and love when she visited my vendor table at ArtFest 2006. I have been so very fortunate to have her as part of my life ever since that meeting.
It is Liz's smile, joyful radiance, and grace, as well as her eloquent use of words that continually inspire me. She has started creating the most ENCHANTING flag banners. The picture below is the banner I knew had to be mine the moment I laid eyes on it... in fact, it was indeed one that she had not even placed on the table yet.
Reading each square of fabric brought tears to my eyes. The sentiments were breath taking and simple... a mantra to live my life by. Now, this garland of fabric and words hangs in my studio. It is something I look at everyday and cherish.
And I could never forget a most memorable Saturday spent with Keely Barham making WOOLY BEASTS.Or how Marylin and I made a MAD dash out of class, ordered a pizza to go, and rushed back to our rooms so that we could put the finishing touches on our little creatures before Show and Tell.
I can hardly believe that after waiting for months on end for ArtFiberFest to come... it is over and all a memory.
I barely had time to hug my friends like Syd McCutcheon, Mary Stanley, Alma Stoller, Lisa Engelbrecht, Dawn Sokol, Kristin Steiner, Pam Garrison, Lisa Call, Lori Seavey-Christian, Gail Cowan, Betsey Spencer, Carla Barrett, Tammy Gilley, Laura Murray , Jan Ringgold, and Deb Lewis and it is over.
Now I will have to patiently or impatiently wait for next year.