Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Artwerx Review

Warning: This is going to be a long post so go get yourself a cuppa tea and make yourself comfortable!

So here is the run down of my Artwerx experience:

I arrived at the hotel at 4:30 p.m. and checked in for the weekend. Penn and I were stay out in Richmond so we could have the feeling of a real art retreat. When we booked our room way back in January, I thought it would be a nice change to stay in a hotel for the weekend and not have to drive back and forth to the events. Little did I know! LOL! I registered us both and picked up all the little goodie bags that you get when you participate. Lots of fun stuff in them and we were also given lovely steel mugs with Artwerx and the date engraved on them. Very cool!!

Anyway, I didn't take any classes on Friday which turned out to be a good thing since my dear friend Lisa was graduating from Massage Therapy that afternoon and I was invited to attend. Friday night was however the vendor's market at which I dropped a few bucks. (Classic understatement!) It was crazy busy, mainly because there was alot of great stuff to be had. I bought some charms from Sally Jean, a whole pile of goodies from Papier Valise and a mica kit and some copper from Quietfire Designs and a rubber freebie. Penn also gifted me with some rubber from Lost Coast Designs which was very sweet of her.

By the time we finished oogling and shopping, it was after 9 p.m. so we went off to the restaurant to have dinner and pour over our purchases. We crashed and burned at about 11 p.m., but I was so excited a barely slept a wink.

Up early and off for a quick breakfast before heading to Nina Bagley's Sticks and Stones class. I have to say jewellery making is completely outside my comfort zone and totally new to me which is why I decided to take that class. As a result, since I wasn't relying on skills I already had, I had to concentrate really hard to know what I was doing. What I really enjoyed about the class was that the ladies sitting next to me, Carol and Lori Ann were great and we were swapping odds and ends for our jewellery. Lori Ann was hugely helpful to me. She had taken another class with Nina the previous day and was quite confident in creating the wire twists and connectors so she was able to show me exactly what to do if I got stuck. (Angels come in all forms!)

I worked my butt of, drilling with a dremel underwater to make holes in shells and stones so I could add them to my necklace. I managed to complete my piece. It's not exactly how I envisioned it, but for a first effort, it wasn't bad and I will know next time what I will want to do. You have to start somewhere!

Penn and I had lunch with Janice from Papier Valise. It was good to take a bit of a break from the heavy duty concentration of the class and just chat and grab some lunch. I was pleased to learn that Janice is every bit as lovely in real life as she is online. Must be those good Easterner roots! *hee!*

After class, Penn and I had just enough time to run up to our room and dump our stuff and then make a quick grocery run to the corner store from Fruit Loops and milk for Sunday's brekki before heading back to the Thirsty Turtle for a get together of the Byhandartists. (Suzanne Cannon's Yahoo group.) I was hosting a danglies swap and there were 7 of us in the swap. The danglies turned out to be jewellery so everyone ended up with a neck full of jewelley! It was fantastic! It was really wonderful to put some faces to the names I have become familiar with online over the last couple of years. Everyone was really friendly and kind. Suzanne surprised us with some raffle prizes and I won a collage packet.

After we got back to our room, I set up a workshop in our bathroom from Penn so she could learn how to make shaving cream paper and bubble paper. It was pretty funny listening to her blowing the bubbles. We were laughing and I kept thinking she would forget herself and inhale the bubbles through the straw instead of blowing out and get a mouth full of soap and ink! (She didn't though!)
We finally cleaned up and hit the hay at midnight. Again, I was too keyed up to sleep.

Thank god for the alarm, because Penn and I would have over slept without it. We woke up with just enough time to grab a quick shower, eat our cereal, check out of our room, load the car and dash to class. The one glitch in all that was that we didn't have spoons for our cereal, so I ended up starting the day with 4 Fruit Loops to my credit. Good thing I was too excited to notice how hungry I was!

Sunday was Sally Jean's Lighthouse Class. It was amazing. She had wonderful ephemera to share with us, lovely little kits made up and she has such a great teaching style. She was very down to earth. positive and approachable and worked very hard to make sure everyone was as comfortable as possible. I loved that she walked around the room giving lots of encouragement to everyone and offering help where it was needed. I really enjoyed the energy in the class and it was great to work on something I felt was "my thing" (collage) so that I could just relax a bit and enjoy the creative process without having to think too hard. I was pretty nervous about soldering, having tried it in the past and having NO success with it, but surprisingly it wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated and I managed to get a good result. By the time I left, I had my house constructed and all that's left to do is to paint the base and wire the light bulb, which Mr. Sally Jean graciously showed me how to do.

*As an added bonus to my weekend, I managed to win myself a $500 US PProfessional Xyron 1250 Machine!!! It was competely unexpected but I am excited about playing with it!! Woohoo!

So, I would have to say for me the best part of Artwerx was probably just learning some new skills and also getting to hang out with old friends and make some new ones too. It was really satisfying to spend time in the company of other artists and to fill up the creative well again.

I will be posting pictures as soon as I get a chance. I am still in exile do to bathroom repairs that are crawling along at a snail's pace, but hey! I have walls now!!! (The wrong paint colour, but I have walls!) Tomorrow will mark a month since we had to get out and it looks like it will still be another couple of weeks. *sigh* You have no idea how much I long to be home and get things back to normal. The only way to get through this is one day at a time.

Anyway, I am so glad I went to Artwerx. It was the best time!

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