Monday, October 29, 2007

Lookin' for FUN and Feelin' QUILTY

Remember that Simon and Garfunkle song... "Feelin' Groovy"? Well, I have changed their lyrics... just a little... to fit my mantra for the next week. If you surmised by the title of this post that I am headed out the door once again, then you would be right!

This time I will be traveling to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

Marylin and I leave on Tuesday, and we hit the ground running for the entire five days. Our visit is shaping up to be some of the most action packed/non-stop moments of our entire 2007 schedule. Both of us will be teaching or demo-ing continuously from morning until late evening.

We are BEYOND EXCITED! to be sharing our mixed media fiber techniques and projects. With a Big!... BIG!!... THANK YOU going to the ULTRA FABULOUS Lesley Riley, who invited us to be part of this HUGE 55,000 attendee Extravaganza.

We will also have the great honor of demonstrating most of Friday in the Quilting Art and Cloth,Paper,Scissor Booth located right in the center of the Grande Hall of the Houston Convention Center. Marylin and I will each have a table for demo-ing. She will be showing off our Funky Fusion techniques, and I will sharing my bird/naturing painting on fabric. So, if you are attending the show and plan to be around on Friday, PLEASE stop by to see us!

I am furiously packing clothes, class samples, demo samples, along with gathering a few extra goodies for students and friends that I will be seeing.

I promise to take LOTS of pictures and regale my adventures when I return!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Living This Artistic Life

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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Home Again, Home Again...

I am home from a WONDERFUL week at ArtFiberFest. There is so much to share, but I am still unpacking from my travels.

While I am getting myself organized, sorting through pictures, and collecting my stories to tell, I thought I would let you know that I have a few copies of my petite 4"x6" book, "Small Glimpses", filled with bird artworks and poetry, available on etsy.

This little treasure has eleven original poems and accompanying artwork printed in full color on bright-white heavy linen paper. The outside brown craft paper cover is hand painted with gold leafing to accent the book title and tied with a vintage ribbon. A small charm is attached as a modest invitation to the reader.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It Is Time, Once Again

It is time, once again dear friends, to be off. I leave tomorrow for a place that feels like a small slice of heaven. I often experience a deep yearning to return to this haven when I have been away too long.

This Shangri-La is an escape from one life's endless responsibilities, the perpetual to-dos, the nagging worries, and other realities of the everyday. A place to think, to breathe in the fresh air of majestic snowcapped mountains, and be close to the sea. A somewhere that I can be surrounded by the healing elements of such a magnificent natural landscape that is much different than the plains of the Midwest.

I am traveling to Seattle, Washington but more specifically, Port Townsend to partake in the 3rd annual ArtFiberFest.
It is hard to adequately articulate the creative ebb and flow of this retreat, which is so very different from others that I have attended.

This gathering, where we speak a somewhat different language, using words such as fabric, thread, needle, felting, stitching, beading, dyeing, is far from the welding, soldering, hammering, liquid nails, metal, and painting mediums most mixed media artists are normally accustom too.
It is this world that is rich with soft fibers and beautiful textures waiting to be touched and embraced, and artisans that preserve age old traditions of quilting, sewing, and intricate handwork, along with pushing the boundaries of these utilitarian processes, with their hints of cottage craftiness, into the elevated realms of art.

I will experience the best of all worlds during my visit. Normally, when I participate in a retreat each and every minute is jammed packed with loads of activities.

It is lots of fun to be going and doing, spending time creating and being with friends. However, on this trip not only will I have the privilege of teaching a class with my adorable mother-in-law, Marylin Huskamp, vending, and being a student, I also have the rare opportunity for a day all to myself... to be alone with my thoughts, explore the beach, walk the quaint streets of a sleepy downtown, soaking-up the sun or rain with no set agenda. Moments to unwind and let the day take me where it will.

Although, I truly savor the idea of these upcoming days... I know in my heart that every second will bring me one step closer to the moment when I come full circle having traveled the pathways back to a place here in Kansas that I adore and dearly love... a place I call Home.
"But even being out in the world
experiencing Life, having an Adventure
there is a small space in my heart
with a longing to be Home."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

beneath a gray sky

Poetry inspired by the friendships made and renewed

above the clouds a halo made of sunlight
yet, beneath a gray sky fell a million drops, each one
sparkled and spangled with dreams, renewed hope
taking your hand in mine...

as we turned toward a caving in
sharing this moment, our lives, talking about the day
lifting our faces to the heavens...
letting the water quench these parched souls.

Monday, October 08, 2007

To Portland We Go...

"Never shall I forget the time I spent with you.
Please continue to be my friend as you will always find me yours."

-Ludwig van Beethoven

This last week, I made a journey to Oregon. I have never had the pleasure of visiting this state, let alone the fair city of Portland. Although I did not have a chance to explore due to the lack of transportation, I am thoroughly enamored by its lovely Pacific Northwest charm.

However, it is always the company I keep, no matter where I am, that not only persuades me to want to return, but stirs my heart into knowing that I MUST come back.

My adorable mother-in-law, Marylin Huskamp, and I had the wonderful opportunity to share not just one but two classes, the Fiber Fusion Journal House and the Fused Fragments Extended Journal, with some incredible students.

I am always inspired by the finished artworks that emerges when we teach... pieces that are beautiful, thoughtful, creative, and so very unique from every single class participant.

well...just take a look for yourself.

MANY thanks go to the Art and Soul coordinators and staff for making us feel so welcome.

And a BIG Thank You to those artists that shared the day with us. Your talent and creative energy made our experience so very special, like each one of you!