It’s hard to write about Artfest a week after my return. Things just don’t feel as fresh in my mind, and it wasn’t the transformational experience for me that it seems to have been for lots of people that have attended over the years. I think the reason why is because I feel very in touch with my art and have found ways to keep myself working on projects in a consistent way. I am also lucky enough to be part of a group of very creative friends who help me stay inspired and challenged.
I like traveling on my own because I am much more relaxed about meeting and talking to new people. I stayed in a dorm room with three other women – Michelle from Texas, Jamie from Atlanta, and Cathy from Edmonton. I also met Emily from Portland during dinner on the first evening and she was lovely to hang out with as well. There were nice people in all the workshops I took, but I tend to get so focused on what I’m working on I don’t talk very much in class.
My first workshop was Portable Shadowbox Shrines with Laurie Mika. She showed us how to create mixed media mosaic tiles from polymer clay (sculpy) using rubber stamps, acrylic paint, mica powders, and other random objects. Laurie had everyone raring to get started as she did her demo at the start of class because she made it look so easy. By the end of class everyone had a stunningly beautiful finished shadowbox shrine. I could barely take my eyes off my own.
The little orange bird, key, metal stars, and other objects are all things I picked up at Ruby Dog over the years.
My workshop on the second day was Mystery Play Inside with Theo Ellsworth, a wonderful artist Boris and I came across when we were in Portland last July. I was excited to take a workshop with him because I really like his work, and admire his ability to recreate his own inner world through drawings. Theo provided everyone with a person-shaped piece of thick paper and did three different drawing exercises throughout the day to get us to “loosen up” our drawing skills. I found it difficult to sit and draw all day because I am more of a doodler these days, and it’s not my strongest ability.
On the third and last day of class I took a metal working workshop with Richard Salley to make a Formfolded Copper Box. I loved playing with the metal, pounding it with hammers and folding into shapes. The lid of my box was much more bumpy and organic looking than everyone else’s work, and it made it difficult to attach to the hinge in the end. I was reminded of how much I hate soldering, but by the end of class I was much better at it.