It was truly a magical weekend. I don't use the word "magical" in casual conversation, either. My expectations were exceeded, which were already pretty high to begin with.
One thing I have learned over the last few years, since starting a creative business and trying to be a more creative person in general, is that building a community of creative individuals is one of the best things I can do for myself. The women at this retreat--both old friends and new--were crazy talented, incredibly generous, and just plain fun to be around. My heart feels very full this morning, and I am beyond thankful that I was able to be a part of this event.
I was also lucky enough to design the artwork for the aprons given out to the participants. Such a fun project! Artist Lisa Congdon designed the Create Explore Discover logo, which was overlaid on my artwork. Lisa also led a great exercise with the participants on the second night that got us thinking about our creative fears and triumphs. She is a huge inspiration to me--a very down-to-earth person who has built a successful career around her beautiful art.
I took three different sessions during the retreat. First, was Creating Lush Backgrounds, with artist Mati Rose McDonough. Since I have been trying more abstract painting lately, I thought this was a great class to help me develop that skill set a little more (getting started on abstract work is the hardest part for me, and this class gave me a few techniques to play around with). Her class was great--and her table was the messiest at the end of the retreat, which I think is a great sign of creativity! Also, Mati was such a kind soul. So sweet and approachable with a knack for bringing out the best work in her students. I also bought her book, Daring Adventures in Paint, and had a chance to flip through all the gorgeous photos before succumbing to exhaustion yesterday afternoon!
Next, I tried Arm Knitting with Anne Weil of Flax and Twine. The night before, some women were joking about how addictive it is. They were right! I made one long cowl scarf during the class with her (which was so much fun!) and then knitted a second cowl that night when I got home. I just want to add that I am NOT a night owl, but I had to make another one at 10:30 at night before passing out from exhaustion. Now I have two new scarves that I am so proud of! Anne was so energetic and fun to knit with. She did a great job of guiding us through the process. Full disclosure: this class was the one I was MOST looking forward to and something I was totally new to. Anne did not disappoint! And she has a book coming out next Fall that I can't wait to get my hands on (she gave us a few clues on what's in store and I am pumped to try the projects).
The last session I attended was called Five for Five with photographer, Andrea Jenkins. We were told to bring any camera we wanted, including our phones, for a workshop about the art of seeing. She gave us a set of guidelines for visualizing and executing great photos. This class was huge for me. And Andrea was so engaging and approachable. I loved chatting with her about photography, a creative skill that has always intimidated me (to the point that I don't document my personal life as much in photos). The class took a photo walk in downtown Truckee, where we used the tips we learned to capture a few great photos. To be honest, I was really nervous to share mine. And other students' shots were simply gorgeous! But after taking this class, I know this is a skill I want to develop and I am so glad to have insight from a pro to help guide me. When you have a chance, check out Andrea's Five for Five Flickr gallery. I love her work. The way she captures stories and color and beauty in her photos is inspiring!
One instructor that I did not get a chance to take a class with was Courtney Cerruti. I met Courtney a little over a year ago and discovered her awesome talent. She is a maker extraordinaire and has a wealth of knowledge on a wide array of DIY projects. She is also an incredible artist (I absolutely LOVE her portrait work). And she has a couple of books (one of which I own) featuring projects on image transfer techniques, surface design (really looking forward to this one!), and washi tape ideas. If you don't already, follow her!
As you can probably tell, I am glad to have been a part of this, and look forward to being a part of more. And the best news? Create Explore Discover is growing. There will be three more events in 2015, including two one-day retreats. If you can, I encourage you to attend at least one. More details on that to come! Until then, follow Create Explore Discover on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop (and search #cedart2014 for photos of this year's event from the other participants). Oh! And Sarah Stevenson and the retreat will be featured in an upcoming episode of Creative Thursday with Marisa Cummings. Marisa (another fantastic soul! So glad we met!) was capturing video and interviews all weekend. I can't wait to see the episode!