Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reflections on an art retreat

Reflections on an art retreat....

What a wondrous event this past art retreat turned out to be. Five of the most generous and giving artists attended (Adrienne Goodenough from Wales, Jessie Scherf from New Zealand, Debbie Warren from MI, Carol Sweeney from WA and our own Zeb from OR, as well as two extremely talented instructors, Jeni Calkins and Cory Celaya. The work created during the week was extraordinary and culminated in shrines that were just exquisite.

With the exception of Zeb and Debbie Warren (who I had met briefly at a rubber stamp convention about 3 years ago), I had never met the retreat attendees. I had been an efriend of Adrienne's for quite a few years and Jessie and I exchanged some emails a few months before she arrived. We agreed everyone would make charms to bring and exchange so we could create a one of a kind charm bracelet to remember the retreat and all the talented artists that attended - and new friendships. It was such a good idea and I'm still in the process of putting mine together. I want to solder all the jump rings so that I don't lose any of them - they are such precious reminders.

Jessie from New Zealand was the first to arrive. She came a few days early to compensate for jet lag. It was the right thing to do. She definitely missed her true calling in life. I feel she could have been a world class, famous comedian. She had me in stitches the whole time she was here. She came bearing all sorts of wonderful gifts from New Zealand. They have the most exquisite shells and products from the sea I've ever seen. She brought me a present someone had made to give to me. Her charms were a delight and so appropriate for New Zealand.

Debbie Warren from Michigan was the next to arrive just hours before Adrienne and Carol. She sent boxes of goodies before her arrival to be shared with the group. She also brought wonderful charms she made for each of us as well as a charm bracelet for us to attach the charms to, and fibers, and ultra suede, and copper and...and....and. Debbie has a truly giving soul. She was my alarm clock during that week. I awoke every morning to the wonderful sound of laughter coming from the kitchen. It was Debbie making her Cherios, doing her exercises...and laughing.

Adrienne from Wales and Carol from Washington State were the next to arrive.

Let it be known Adrienne's pictures on the web do not do her justice. She is so much prettier than her pictures, with naturally curly, thick gorgeous hair, and she has the most beautiful speaking voice. Definitely could be an announcer for the BBC. She came with gorgeous charms, wonderful teas, divine chocolates and Crisps (potato chips to those of us in the U.S.) of many different, unusual flavors. All of which are long gone, eaten with much relish by the Hansons. She also brought me a pendant that is to die for.

Carol was beautiful, tall, blonde and so very, very, very nice. She was an absolute delight. The charms she created were wonderful. I had a lot of fun with Carol doing the copper enameling class. I loved what she did. I didn't get to spend too much time seeing what everyone else was doing in that class. I gave Tom, our cook, the afternoon off to play bridge, so I was the chef/instructor, running back and forth between copper enameling and Cornish hens. I needed to keep an eye on Zeb. Zeb with a big torch in her hands could have been very dangerous, lol.

Jeni Calkins' Squishy Book class will always remain one of my favorites. Not having gone to kindergarten, it allows me to have that little girl finger painting (or playing in a mud puddle) feel. However, the finished product - the book and the internal art pages - is a true work of art and makes one feel better about helping the environment and creating something beautiful at the same time. It was so good seeing and talking with Jeni. I miss her.

Cory Celaya's class opened a whole new world to me - the world of canvas. I had never worked on a piece of canvas till Cory's class. My life will never be the same. Canvas always had this mystique about it. It's what real artists work on. It was always very inhibiting to me. Now I LOVE IT!!!! Can't wait to get the opportunity to try more with it. Thank you, Cory, for opening this new door for me.

Also while she was there, Cory cut and styled my hair with her creative talent and eye for design. Her art extends to many realms including permanent make up. You are THE BEST, Cory. I hate that we live so far apart now. I miss you, Cory.

Every night during the retreat, we had Margaritas (or two or three or....) around five o'clock. It was a great time to relax and discuss the day's classes and artwork. Tom's dinners were definitely looked forward to and he didn't disappoint us. I think we all gained a little weight during the week. At least Carol and Jessie hiked some mornings to work off the excess calories.

We took a day to tour Tubac, AZ which is a very artsie community with lots of galleries, stores, and restaurants. But we had to stop on the way to Tubac at the Buffalo Gals Gift Shop and Hardware Store. Yes, you heard right. Only in Sonoita would they combine a beautiful gift shop with local artists' jewelry, leather goods, furniture and more with a hardware store that has a little of everything and will order you anything you can't find. It's a great place to visit. And we had to stop in Patagonia to browse the stores and galleries and have a picnic lunch. Then on to Tubac for, I mean shopping and having an artistic experience in the many gorgeous galleries, then a rest break... and Margaritas!!!!!

I had a really, really wonderful time during the retreat and I know everyone enjoyed meeting those they've talked to on line and off and enjoying Jeni and Cory and Zeb. The artwork created, the ideas shared, the comraderie - these memories will last a lifetime. I hope we will get the opportunity again in life to get together. I'm missing everyone already.

After the Retreat was officially over, Adrienne and Jessie stayed a few extra days. We took a day and did a tour of Tombstone, AZ. Yes, we got to see Boot Hill and the gunfight at the OK Corral! The actor playing Doc Holiday stole our hearts (or maybe it was a case of lust, lol). He wasn't all that good looking but he had such expressive eyes (had a lot of devil in them) and such a manner about him....He definitely was Doc Holiday, the very educated Southern gentleman who quoted Shakespeare to us. I spent way too much money on Western shirts. Jessie and Adrienne got to see what a Javelina looks like - had a stuffed one in a store window. There is also a Goodenough Mine there which we didn't get to explore. Next time, maybe. I want to go back. Saw lots of trinkets and embellishments I could use on my shrine. Just ran out of time.


Michi Michaelson, Orange County, CA said...

Gosh, you all look like you're having TOO MUCH FUN!!!! I'm especially fond and JEALOUS of the photo of the MARGARITAS!!! I'll drink to that!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!

Pam McKnight said...

Looks like great fun! I found you through the "Creative Life" yahoo group. I've have just added you to my blog. Check out my assemblages @

Cory said...

Thank you my friend for the kudos...I LOVE your canvas.

Miss you so much...Cory