Returning to the flock…

Wow, over a year has gone by since the last Artful Journey retreat, and even more time has passed since I posted here.   I took 2015 off from holding an event so that I could get my house in order (literally and figuratively).  Last spring and summer is a blur as I did some remodeling, upgrading and landscaping (yes, all at the same time) to my home. Now that the major work is done, I get to tweak things a bit and just enjoy my new surroundings.

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I love watching the birds bathing in the little bubbler, gathering on the feeder, even making a nest in one of the (what I thought was just decorative) birdhouses.  I watch them as they care for one another, sharing their new home with the hummingbirds, the squirrels, lizards, and even MadMax.  It’s a little community with their own language and understandings of how to live together and support one another (unless Max has other ideas).

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It reminds me of how much I miss my ‘flock’ of students and instructors who I’ve come to know over the years.  For a brief moment, I thought that 2014 would be my last retreat…but I was wrong.  I was given the clear sign that it wasn’t time–that those connections made over art and nature and stillness are too vital to my well-being.  I treasure the times I’ve spent up in the redwoods with all those talented souls, and I’m not nearly ready to move on.  I still have new friends to make, and old friends to meet up with.  I’m excited about the possibilities for next year as I start working on both retreats.  I’m ready to join up with the flock again and see what adventures and new memories are in store for us!

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AAJ Instructors (part two)

In my last post, I highlighted two of the AAJ Retreat instructors who will be teaching at the February 2014 gatheringAlbie Smith and Katie Kendrick.  Completing the lineup of 2014 instructors are Stephanie Lee, DJ Pettitt and co-instructors Danielle Daniel and Mindy Lacefield.

Stephanie is returning to AAJ for the third time and I couldn’t be more pleased.  I’ve been trying like mad to recall where/when we first met, but all I know is that it seems like I’ve known her for a very long time.  She’s an old soul, so maybe we’ve passed this way before!  She’s honest, fun, insanely artistic, and forthright; all traits that I deeply admire.  We worked together as instructor/organizer for years, but I really got to know her better when we spent time at a small retreat in Salt Lake City five years ago.  Chatting and riding (around and around and around) through town on the free shuttle; making bezels for the first time in her class; and roaring with laughter over stories told at night upstairs at the big art table are memories forever etched in my mind.  For AAJ, she’s developed a special class that fits in beautifully with the sacred nature of the venue.  The class description here is so beautifully written; I just know it’s going to be a very memorable workshop.

Vision Quest:  Symbols of Passage

Vision Quest:  Symbols of Passage

I’m super excited to welcome new instructors to the Journey, co-teachers Danielle Daniel and Mindy Lacefield.  They were inaugural attendees of the first AAJ retreat in 2009 and I clearly recall when I first met them, standing there in the Assembly room.  I told them then that there was something very special about them, as anyone who has met them can attest to.  Danielle had stories to tell that were just clamoring to get out, and Mindy’s artwork was so unique and had such a personal style to it.  They’ve both created amazing art careers and I’m absolutely thrilled that they’ll be returning, this time as seasoned instructors.  I know their class will be very popular, as it combines both of their unique talents and personalities as well.  This class is going to be fun, fun, fun—check it out here!

And then there’s DJ, whom I’ve known for about 10 years, and who has become a very dear friend and co-conspirator in all things creative.  We first ‘met’ when I emailed her after having seen her work online at her local stamp store, and the rest is history.  We are convinced that we are sisters separated at birth, as there is just no other explanation for the shenanigans that ensue when we’re together.

She has become an integral part of the Journey, and her influence and creative contributions are invaluable.  I’m heading up to her WA home in early September for our annual brainstorming/arting session where I snatch ideas and hope some tiny bit of her creativity rubs off on me we plan for the upcoming retreat.  We spend a LOT of time laughing and bouncing ideas all over the place; it’s really the best form of therapy!  Her class will undoubtedly fill quickly, as it does every year, so I encourage you to take a look here, and then be ready for registration opening next Monday at 7pm Pacific time!

So there you have it—six extraordinary instructors, and five of the best workshops around!  AAJ has become an annual tradition for many, and I look forward to seeing old friends, and to welcoming those who are joining us for the first time.  See you on Monday!

A Bird in the Hand

A Bird in the Hand
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AAJ Instructors (part one)

Registration is fast approaching for the 2014 Winter Retreat, so I hope you have the date (August 26!) circled on your calendar; you can find all the details and info right here.  Our venue is the lovely Presentation Center, nestled in the redwoods just above Los Gatos, in northern California.  All five workshop offerings are amazing, each one very unique, so I hope you’ve had a chance to look through them and see which one ‘speaks’ to you.  In this post, I’m highlighting Katie Kendrick’s class and Albie Smith’s, just to give you a little insight on why I love having them teach for AAJ.  I’ll introduce you to the others next time around!

I don’t recall the exact moment that I first met Katie (over 10 years ago!) but I can tell you that once you meet her, you never forget her.  She has a certain spirit about her that just lifts you up, that makes you feel better by just being near her.  You want to just hang out with her, hoping that some of her goodness will rub off on you.  She’s funny, generous, accepting, and the talent and creativity just drip from her fingertips.  In all the years I’ve organized workshops, I’ve had only glowing reviews of her as an instructor, which is really something!

She’ll be teaching at AAJ for the 4th time, including the workshop she did when she and Judy Wise came for a Day Journey weekend years ago.  We have some great memories of that trip, involving “snakes” in the pool, sloppy doggy wake-up kisses, and crashing into screen doors.  And there was even more fun in the workshop…lol!

There is no doubt that you will have a fun and memorable experience in her class as well.  Her painting techniques and methods come from many years of exploration and self-discovery.  I promise that you’ll be better for knowing her, both as an artist, and as a human being.  (I can honestly say that about all of the instructors lined up for the 2014 retreat, so I don’t know how you’ll choose among them!) 

You can check out all the details of her workshop right here; be sure and contact her directly if you have any questions about the class.  She’d love to hear from you!

I was first introduced to Albie when I signed up for a book workshop with her at Artfest many years ago.  She was such an excellent instructor that I actually finished the project (which is a huge deal, as those who know me can attest to).  Since then we have worked together many, many times and we have become very dear friends. 

She’s taught at An Artful Journey a few times and each time, her students turn out the most amazing work.  She’s a great teacher, she’s playful, she gives it her all (and then some), and she’s an absolute hoot!  

It’s hard to imagine the retreat without her, and I’m just so blessed that she keeps wanting to come back for more.  She likes to limit her class size to 14 so that she can give every person the attention they deserve.  She’s been playing with the Gelli plate and is so excited to be incorporating this tool into her surface design workshop!  You can check out all the details of her workshop right here.

So there you go—just two of the five offerings that we have in store for you.  Next up I’ll be highlighting DJ Pettitt, Stephanie Lee, and the awesome duo, Mindy Lacefield and Danielle Daniel.  Hope you’re considering spending a few days with us next year!  Check out all the retreat details right here.  I also want to remind everyone that there are two partial scholarships being offered, and the deadline for applying is August 21; details can be found here on the retreat page–just scroll down to find the document.  I’m so excited to be able to help a couple of well deserving people attend the retreat!  See you again soon!

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2014 Retreat News

I don’t have any earth-shattering excuses for being absent so long, just the run-of-the-mill life stuff that we all face.  Problem is that the longer I go without posting, the harder it is to actually do it because I somehow convince myself that I have ALL that explaining to do.  And the days run into weeks, and the weeks fly by, and then it gets just utterly ridiculous.  And that’s where things stand today.  So I’m just going to start with where I am, and we’ll go from there.

The February retreat was beyond fantastic, far exceeding my expectations (even though I try not to have any); great instructors, fabulous attendees, perfect weather.  Really, it was magic.  DJ took this pic of some of the attendees one fine day, in-between lunch and class (like herding a bunch of long-tailed cats in a roomful of rocking chairs!)  Maybe next year, I won’t let them in for lunch unless they get in the group shot first!  Better yet, I’ll bribe the all with my famous Journey cookies…yeh, that’s it.

I’ll dig up some more photos and include them in another post, but I mainly want to draw your attention to the Winter 2014 Retreat.

I’m thrilled that the Presentation Center is welcoming us back on Feb. 27-March 3, 2014.  They even said they’d arrange the same mild weather for us!  And I’m beyond excited to have some of my favorite instructors back, as well as a couple of ‘newbies’ (but not new to AAJ, as they were attendees at the inaugural retreat).  Returning are DJ Pettitt, Katie Kendrick, Albie Smith, Stephanie Lee, and then Mindy Lacefield and Danielle Daniel are co-teaching a class. (Check the links on the left to go to their website/blogs)

We’re still finalizing the workshops, but they’re sounding really, really good!  I would NOT want to have to decide which one to take!  (I know I’m a tease, but I can’t help myself)  The classes will be on the website toward the latter part of July, with registration opening on August 26 at 7pm Pacific time.  I hope you’ll mark your calendars and sign up early; we had a full house last February and I expect it to be the same this time around.  I promise to post more class info here as things get firmed up, so stay tuned…the website is slowly being updated as well.

In other news, grandgirlies are growing and are as delicious as ever; Max is managing to stay out of trouble in the new neighborhood; new fence is up and hardscape and arbors are next, along with landscaping.  Once that’s done and I can look out and see green (yay!), I’ll focus on the inside.  This house has turned out to be more of a fixer-upper than I had anticipated, but it’s all good.  All this hard work keeps me out of trouble…mostly.

I look forward to getting ‘my voice back’ and hanging out here more often!  Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend, if you’re stateside!

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Lending a hand…

 

Greetings!  A number of art retreats and artists are coming together to lend a hand in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and we need your help!  The gals over at Art-Is-You have led the way in creating a website to help us help those in need.  Just click on the link above to read about their efforts, who is involved and where the funds are going.  Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated!

And to sweeten the pot a little, anyone who makes a donation and then comments here will be entered into a raffle to win a little artistic treasure.  Max will help me choose names on Saturday, December 1 and the lucky winners will get one of the following:

An original painting by Katie Kendrick;

A beautiful handmade book by Albie Smith;

A Provisions packet of vintage papers and ephemera;

A Provisions packet of vintage fabrics, trims and bits.

This is our way of thanking YOU for being a part of this relief effort.  Again, just click on the logo above to go to the official website and make a donation, and then come back here and leave a note in the comments area and you’ll be entered to win.  Good luck, and thanks so much!

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Neither here nor there…

but scattered a little bit everywhere.  That pretty much sums up the state of things, as I’m in the process of moving out of my home of the past 21 years.  I’ve got mostly-packed, half-empty rooms with piles of stuff everywhere, and then I’ve got painters, electricians, hardwood floor guys, and a BIG mess over there.  But in just a few days, I’ll be sitting in my new place, surrounded by boxes, wondering what hit me.  I’m not moving far in distance, but it’s a big move for me in other ways.

It was a summer full of precious time with the grand girlies; visits from family and special time with my best-est childhood friend; lots of hard work and tough decisions, but also quiet moments of gratitude for my time here.  I’ll miss this house for a lot of reasons, but I’m ready to move on.  It took me awhile, but when I was ready, it was an easy decision.  The house sold in less than an hour, my offer was accepted on the other house (out of 11 offers), and both homes had a short escrow.  Everything flowed so easily, as it does when things are meant to be. 

The real work is ahead of me now.  There’s the obvious stuff, like taking out all the damaged cement, landscaping, replacing the old linoleum kitchen floor, covering windows, finding spaces for things in a much smaller house, etc, etc.  Those are all minor though, and they’ll get sorted out in due time.
The tougher part will be dealing with all the emotions surrounding the events these past four years that led me to this space in my life.  It’s acknowledging and honoring the losses, the disappointments and the fears; it’s about taking the time I need to feel them, and then letting them go.  It’s also about feeling the exhilaration of a new adventure right around the corner, wondering what might be in store for me.  I’m curious to know who I’ll be when the dust settles and I have a chance to look around.  I wonder what I’ll find?

As soon as I get a tiny bit settled, I’ll be diving in head-first on next February’s Artful Journey retreat, which is already about 80% full!  What a blessing that so many artists want to come up and join us in February; I’m SO excited to have that to look forward to.  I’ve missed my art peeps!  See you on the other side!
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Give-Away Winners!

The magical, mystery random number generator has come up with the two winners for the vintage ledger sheets, and here’s the evidence:

Congratulations to Kelly Warren and Lorie (Garver?  Is that you?)  Just shoot me an email to confirm your addresses and I’ll get a little packet out to you in the next few days—I’m sure you’ll put them to good use!

And I love hearing from folks who are excited about attending the retreat–makes my heart swell up like a balloon!  I’m so fortunate to have the VERY best instructors who want to teach for me (did you see dear Nina’s recent blog post?), and the BEST attendees too.  So many great memories, and lots more to come!  Check back here in coming weeks for updates.  Have a great weekend!

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Workshops are up!

Last Night’s Dream—Nina Bagley

 The workshops for the 2013 Artful Journey Retreat are now posted online for your viewing pleasure!  We’ll be gathering in the Santa Cruz mountains of northern CA next Feb/March for a long blissful weekend of art, friendship, collaboration and inspiration.  The instructors are offering their very best just for you and I’m sure you’ll find something (or two or five!) that sparks your interest. 

The Ultimate Art Book—DJ Pettitt
Mapping Me—Orly Avineri
Sumptuous Papers—Albie Smith

Registration opens online on July 10 at 10 am Pacific time, so be sure and mark your calendars!  I’ll be posting more details and class highlights as time goes by, so keep checking back here.  I’m SO excited to have this event to look forward to, and am already beginning to plan goodies and activities for the retreat.

Nourishing the Creative Heart—Katie Kendrick
No Limits—Jesse Reno

Speaking of which, this is the last day to leave a comment for a packet of cool ledger paper (see previous post).  I’ll be picking two names this evening, and the winners will get a yummy selection, so you may want to join in!  As I ‘hunt and gather,’  I’ll be looking for more goodies to share with you in upcoming give-aways.   I LOVE this part of the job!

Hope you’re enjoying the first day of June—we officially declared summer yesterday with a little fun in the pool.  Doesn’t get much better than this…

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Hunting and Gathering…and a Give-Away!

Hunting season has officially begun and the search is on for yummy provisions for the next Artful Journey!

I went to a local vendor faire last weekend up in the Santa Cruz mountains.  It was a gorgeous day, with lots of artsy vendors, happy faces, good food, and friendly little goat families. (I bet you can guess who was first in line for the bus!)

I picked up three amazing old ledgers from Brussels, which will likely be put to good use in some way for retreat attendees—the largest journal is HUGE, about 24″x26″!

Some of the pages will definitely end up in Provisions packets that I’ll have for sale at the retreat as well.  But since I’m not the greedy type, I’m going to share the bounty with a couple of readers here (a few pages from other vintage ledgers just might find their way in there too–you just don’t know).  Just leave a comment on this blog post and I’ll mail out a nice little packet to two lucky winners next Friday.  Be sure to leave an email, so I can get in touch with you!

Just in case you were wondering, Max is also doing some hunting and gathering…sigh.  So far, I’ve received gifts of a dead mouse, a live rat, a robin, a scrub jay and a crow—I’ll spare you the details.  Yep, we’re in full wild kingdom mode around here.  Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you on the other side!