Ok, I figure I have made everyone wait long enough for more about ArtFest. I am amazed and relieved to know that so many others are still feeling the same way I am about being home from ArtFest. Retreats such as these, while inspiring are draining and overwhelming. I have found myself alternately inspired and grouchy. I am resentful that it is over while relieved to be home in my own studio. I am enjoying creating with the new things I have learned and finishing the things I started but I miss my new friends.... ahhhhhh.
So anyway, I was hesitant to share my overall feelings about ArtFest but after talking to Hope (who incidentally made that cute ornament shown above for me) today I decided that I am entitled to my feelings and opinions so why not share them. My comments are in no way a bashing of Teesha or Tracy or their fabulous crew of hard working friends and family who work so hard to make ArtFest the success that it is.
Ok, so.. overall I was disappointed. Maybe I had built it up too much in my mind and expected too much but it wasn't what I had hoped for overall. Don't get me wrong, the classes were great and the best part was meeting fellow bloggers face to face. Largely my disappointment was due to the fact that I couldn't help comparing ArtFest to my experience at ArtFiberFest last year.
AFF was in one building so we were all together and it was easy to hook up with people, see what they were working on and visit. At AF everything was in buildings spread all over a large campus so after lunch, dinner or classes were over everyone kind of retreated to their sleeping quarters and stayed there. Our dorm was so far from the Art Asylum room that we didn't care to venture out in the dark and cold to make art with others there.
My major annoyance was in that we had a wing in our dorm which contained the living room and kitchen was taken over by a very cliquey group who was rude to anyone who ventured into their hall. Some of our neighbors complained at us laughing at 9:30 pm! We were finally able to connect with some of the gals down the hall and upstairs from us and we stayed up late a couple of nights creating and laughing.
I am not sure if there are ways to fix the clique-iness that ArtFest has attained. It is a successful retreat that has gone on for many years. I understand that people want to connect with the folks they have made relationships with over the year but to new folks it makes it very hard to break in to those groups. I was expecting the very welcoming and supportive atmosphere that was AFF, where complete strangers were happy to offer you a seat at their table and shared their projects and lives.
Now that I have shared my disappointment.. I'll answer that burning question of whether I'd go back. I don't know. If AFF were to be held at the former location I think I'd head back to that one but now it will also be moved to Ft Worden and may follow in the footsteps of ArtFest. I know people who will be attending so I will wait for a status report before making any hard and fast decisions. I guess at this point, my desire to return is up in the air. I'd possibly go back under the condition that I DID NOT stay in a dorm and that I could share a house with several friends. Its all up in the air...
Pam" journal.. I love it and I am about ready to share but the binding is drying so I will save it for another day. In the meantime here are a couple of shots of Pam's fabulous books. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from her, DO IT!! In addition to a fun style she is so sweet and generous. Her classes are so low pressure but so FUN!!!
I hope I didn't sway anyone from their decision to attend any of Teesha and Tracy's events with my comments. I think they certainly have their merits and Teesha and Tracy DO work extremely hard to make them a success. I believe that everybody should attend at least once and make up their own mind about whether it is the right fit or not. Who knows, after a few more weeks of "recuperating" my thoughts may be different and maybe seeing the wonderful people that I met will be a stronger call to try again.