Friday, October 7, 2011

Art and Soul-Portland

 I have always wanted to experience the Art and Soul Retreat I've heard about for years. I also adore Portland, OR, so I spent weeks making "trades" (little gifties that attendees can stop and trade with you) and I also spent intense time creating a hat for their hat contest. I packed mostly art supplies and very few clothes, knowing I'm going to inherit huge amounts of swag and souvenirs and that my clothes are going to get art goo on them anyway.

I had the immense honor of taking the Charm Buffet class with Peggy Kryzyzewski. It was an entire day of nonstop charm skill learning and creation. I did not want it to end! Each charm we learned how to create was more exciting than the last. Peggy is on my life list of incredible instructors. She has the gift. She made us all feel like family and at home being who we are. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her creativity outrageous! So generous with her info and help. And I was blessed to sit next to her class assistant, Kia, who was so very helpful to everyone and made helping us top priority. Both Peggy and Kia are such experts at what they do!
This is a class photo that lovely fellow classmate Melinda is allowing me to post. Please check out her wonderful blog Melinda's blog This was Rogene Manas' Rogene's site way ultra cool Human Nature Relief class. It was well worth traveling across the nation to learn from Rogene! Everyone in the class was so gifted and friendly as well. The pieces everyone created were gorgeous! I was so into this class that I didn't bother to eat lunch. The art fed me.

Here is another photo Melinda let me post. Right after I overheard a conversation how gesso can be removed with alcohol if it spills, I got some on my fave Andy Warhol tee shirt. I have accumulated such a wardrobe of "studio outfits" since I've dedicated to the art world.

This was the hat contest. The theme was garden, but I asked beforehand and was told we could do any theme we wished. I had garden designs I drew in my ideabook, but the one that begged me most to be created was the city/country theme. It was a metaphor for what I'm going through accepting making art creation a business.

I spent hours needle felting, machine quilting and baking polymer buildings for the city in the front half of this hat. The city represents the business side of art. I have many dreams at night of cities and it's always symbolizing business. On the back I quilted and needle felted mountains. This symbolizes the solitude of the creative process.

 I put a road block of road work and construction workers around the back. I made signs for the road workers out of shrink plastic. In design school we were always reminded to keep the back of the piece interesting too. The road block represents the artist blocks I get when I know I'm creating something to exhibit out in the world. The stars, the moon, and the windows in the city (and on the hat ties) all glow in the dark. This piece was way not fun to take on the plane arriving or returning. On flights, it doesn't matter if it's has to fit under the seat which caused several sessions of having to fix broken parts coming and going on the trip. It was also stepped on and bumped into a number of times. I didn't win any category of the contest, but I gave myself the 'Most Challenging Traveling with Hat Across the Nation' award by buying a "vintage outfit" which I rarely do because it usually gets covered in paint or art goo with this artsy lifestyle.

                                         Here are the contest winners:
Best in Show--Mary Ellen Schree

Mostly likely to be Worn in the Garden--Peg Glyndenege

                                      Most Fitting of Theme on the left--Maureen Conway.
                             The one on the right won Most Original Design---Angela Thoma.
                                       Here is another photo of the display of contest entries.
                                With street statues like this---is it no wonder I adore Portland?
Portlanders were so helpful in helping me find my way around the city to explore. Two women on the street car highly recommended going to Savvy Plus. I am now a huge fan of this shop and owner and recommend it highly as well. It has way way super cool outfits. And this wonderful lady, Gaya, owns and runs the shop. She makes each customer feel so welcome and important. She was so fun to talk with! This is where I purchased a cool outfit prize for "Most Challenging Traveling with Hat Across the Nation" self-proclaimed award.

I had such a special time in Portland. It's one of the coolest cities on the planet. Portlanders are a special breed of friendly people. And I was so impressed of the top notch instruction, students, and experience of Art and Soul.