The Adventure of Artfest - a Novel

What an experience! I’m so completely inspired I can barely deal with myself today.

It’s almost to the point of being a disadvantage because I’m having a hard time focusing on anything else! After painting, playing and connecting with other artists for 4 days I'm finding it quite hard to adjust myself back to my "normal" life. (i.e. the dayjob)
More-so than any other vacation I've taken.

I am so extremely greatful that I took this opportunity, made the financial leap and went to Artfest at the last minute this year. Everything worked out so perfectly it just felt like it was meant to be. The workshops I took, which were not of my own choosing, were all AMAZING and I know that the techniques I learned within them will change the course of my artwork. Already, on the drive home on Sunday I had to stop and rough sketch out ideas for 3 new paintings.

The photo above is the art mess that was the dining room I shared with 6 other artsy ladies (including my Funky Wallpaper person from Anahata Katkin's class!).

I stayed in the Officers housing of Fort Worden - this cool old funky house across a field from all the Artfest workshops. It was a super fun house because I got to stay with some super amazing folks. I shared a room with Kecia of Lemoncholys which I felt incredibly lucky to because we got along fabulously. Much fun and talk was had between her & I. And she had another friend staying in the house as well - Jennifer, who I also got along fabulously with. Great long walks and talks of art & photography and the ways of the world with those girls!

Also in our house was Julie & Candice of the Art Nest who brought some exuberant fun energy to the group and an artist from Alaska named Jane and another artist named Jennifer. We all had some wonderful times in the house coming home after our classes and showing each other what we had made and drinking tea & wine by the fireplace in the dining room.

Kecia & Jennifer taking pictures of the Fort

The first night there was a little disconcerting. Artfest has gotten HUGE - it was way bigger than I ever imagined. So upon my arrival, which was somewhat late due to having to work that day, I quickly checked in and unloaded my stuff to an empty house and then headed off to the Commons for dinner. I got my tray of food and then walked into the dinning room to eat - and there I was - standing with my mouth agape in the doorway holding a full tray and not a single place to sit in sight. The room was huge and packed to the gills with barely room to squeeze between the tables. Waves of laughter and excited energy and bright colors abounded. An entire cavern of artists! Whoa.

I admit that I felt immediately overwhelmed like that first day in a new school. Within barely a moment though some nice folks were waving me over to an empty spot at their table where once seated, I got to witness the artfest phenomen that is "Trading". Many participants who come will make hunderds of little mini art bits - ATCs, charms, etc to trade with other artists. I knew this in advance and had just brought a few of my leftover craft show things due to time constraints. Little did I know what a frenzy it all was though. I was kind of glad to not be involved in it that first night. Much better to watch the exchanges people made. Throughout the week I did end up trading some things but mostly I just gave away things as gifts to my housemates & new friends.

On Thursday the wariness that I had felt from the massive crowd was washed away the moment my first class started. It was with LK Ludwig and the workshop was called "Seasons Journal". We got to play with many of her nature journaling techniques which included gelatin prints, layered tissue paper collage and bleaching. Messy and fast paced and exciting and fun! LK was a generous and through teacher and I enjoyed the class immensly. In the afternoon we began the process of building a journal to sew all of print pages into. I'm excited to upkeep that journal as my new Art Journal - which I've never really kept one. That in itself will change my creative process I'm sure.

Gelatin Nature Prints

After class I had to run into town to get more cough syrup because unfortunately, my Seattle Crud Cold had still not left me and I had coughed all through the previous night. Once I armoured myself with some serious cough syrup though things got better.
At the house that evening we all got more acquainted and then all turned in early in preparation for our classes the next day.

Friday came with a grey foggy northwest drizzle which was perfect for heading into a workshop with Misty Mawn. She had soft music playing in her classroom when we all came in and the rain made for a soft relaxing backdrop for a morning of learning gel transfers and painting. By lunch the rain had cleared and the sun returned. There was a building excitement that day on the Artfest campus for Vendor night was that evening. Kecia, Jennifer, Julie, Candice and I all fortified ourselves for the mad dash of Vendor night by going into town for mexican food - fabulous fun!

Artfest Vendor Night

At Vendor night Kecia was offering chair massage which I helped her garner interest from the crowd by getting to be her first "demo" massage. That was a serious treat for me - AND Kecia ended up with a line for the entire rest of the night. Guess I must have looked pretty darn relaxed. (Thanks again Kecia!)

Which I think helped me be not quite so nervous when I finally went up and introduced myself to Kelly Rae Roberts. I've read her blog for some time and have watched her grow into the amazing artist that she is today. It was through her blog post that I found out about the opening and therefore found myself at Artfest in the first place, so I had prepared a gift for her of a wood burned pendant to say thank you. I absolutely LOVED seeing her paintings in person finally (so much more depth of layers!) and I actually ended up chatting with her & her Mom for a bit. Turns out I share my name with her grandmother - how weird is that? We ran into each other a few more times the following day. She had wandered into my Saturday class midday to check out all the funky wallpaper people in process, and then I got to see her amazing workshop creations that evening at show & tell. It's an interesting thing to actually meet someone who's blog you've followed. A strange phenomen of our digital age - that feeling that you know someone and of having a friendship that you don't actually have because that person doesn't know you at all. Strange indeed. But upon meeting her and talking with her and then waving at each other at artfest, I felt like there could be perhaps a future real friendship afterall. I think all of the artist blogs that I'm drawn to are not necessarily because of the art itself, but perhaps more of just finding someone who shares a piece of your world view and who is struggling everyday with the same sort of muse and dreams that you yourself wrestle with. It's an amazing blessing that we artists of this generation have been gifted with. Our community of others is vast and wide.

The last day found me half of my housemates in the best workshop I've ever taken - Funky Wallpaper People with Anahata Katkin. The above picture is of the painting I made in that class which Anahata had commented that she looked like me. At first I balked but I think now I see it. She IS me - in a community of artists that is vast and wide, looking to the future.

For a complete viewing of all the Artfest pictures, check out my Flickr page.


kelly rae said...

sara everett, you are delightful. so happy to have met you but not nearly enough time to chat. will you be at art/soul in portland?

your description of artfest reminds me so much of my first year..the massive trading frenzy..the not quite knowing where to sit...the joy and apprehension all at once...the crazy vendor nite. omg!

thanks so much for my pendent..what a treasure it and you are!

candice elton said...

So fun to get to know you. You are a sweetie with such talent. I hope our paths will cross again soon. The picture looks so cool with your colorful outfit. Here's to Chipotle brownies and 5E.

kecia said...

sara, i am so glad you were my roommate - my luck, totally! i'm glad you enjoyed meeting Kelly so much. i've got a few of her pieces and they are so lovely. she does indeed seem like such a nice person. can't wait for her to start teaching! i think your wallpaper person looks like you too - and you should take that as a compliment - she is beautiful. (now, i don't want to hear that mine looks like me!)
miss ya roomie,

Julie Collings said...

dear sara,
it was wonderful having you in our house. your art work is so original and fresh. i loved the wallpaper woman you created. i have to agree with anahata she is you with the flowing art hair and serene expression. i am so happy you are looking forward. . .there is such an adventure ahead of you i can just tell.
miss you, julie