10 April 2007

ArtFest part deux

"Sing" by Hope

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- birdcage
So, back to the positive. I have been working on my "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!!!
Pam- Birds

Pam- Wish
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.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Artfest is kind of a dream for me, and I'm devouring all the posts and pics like crazy. I really appreciate your honesty, and it doesn't ruin the dream, just makes it more "real". So there are some problematic issues too, it's not all sunsets and wonderful people and art. That's ok. I'll know what to expect when I finally make it there ;-) I'm glad you enjoyed the classes, though! The journal is fantastic!

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  2. Awesome post Heather. Like Hagit said it's refreshing to hear it's not all rainbows and magic moments. (If only to make me feel better because I wasn't there! LOL!) I would have been laughing with you at 9:30:) I'm a rebel like that! It's a tricky thing when you bring so many diverse people together. That Pam Garrison is one-in-a-million isn't she? I can never get enough of her art style. Thanks for sharing:)

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  3. Thanks Heather. I think this is good feed back. I've never been to ArtFest but it is a dream of mine to go someday. I think feedback like this is good if it's done constructively, which you've done here. It can only help make things better and make people more aware of things next time around.

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  4. Hello! I love the ornament Hope made you- it's just perfect! Love the art journal pages made by Pam too! Well, I love everything Pam makes!! I can't wait to see your "Pam" journal! Love your blog and all your wonderful artwork!
    Michelle

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  5. I read all this gushing about how great Artfest is and it makes me want to go soooo much. But it is a chunk of money and I have been concerned about not knowing anyone. I'm not part of the "in crowd". I think it would be real tough to get out there and be on the "outside". So I'm sorry not everyone was open to forming new friendships, but it sounds like you found a good group of like minded people to share your experience with.

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  6. I am SO thrilled to hear someone tell it real.
    I just knew that it all couldn't be wonderful.
    Everything has faults *somehow* and I applaud you for being "brave" enough to share your true feelings with us.
    I do have a friend that verbally {over the phone} shared some disappointment with her overall stay...and this was her first time, too.
    I agree with you, that everyone needs to form their own opinion but I'm thrilled that you shared yours with us !!!!!
    AND....if I go....I'd love to share a place with you !!!!

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  7. Hey Heather! miss you on the Yahoo Fat Books group:) I agree with you about the clique issues-my first time attending ArtFest was in 2005 - my husband , daughter and I actually made a family vacation out of it-we took in the sites of Port Townsend and Seattle, and they did stuff together while I was at class and the vendor show, etc. We stayed at the Commander's Beach house which is an amazing B&B in Port Townsend right on the beach and when we go back in 2008 (yes I am attending again:) we will surely stay there again. I am a pretty shy person so going up to people and starting conversations is not the easiest thing for me and while the people in my classes were great and I met up with a couple people that I knew from online- I found that if you were not already part of a "group" then it wasn't really easy to get into one. I did go to the art asylum the first night and didn't stay long since everyone was already in their groups-again, could be partially my fault since I am not very outgoing but I guess I was hoping for others to see me by myself and offer to hang out, create together, etc. But I have heard the same from other retreats as well such as Art and Soul, etc so I don't think it is just Artfest that has the clique atmosphere. I hope you will still attend next year-we can meet up and hang out!!!

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  8. Ok, first of all thanks for laying it all out, the good and the bad. As a person who is so totally not cliquey, and totally "un known" in the whole blog & creative world, that is one thing that does make me leery of these fests. Artists are peculiar little spice packets you know and sometimes some of them prefer not to associate with a "crafter" - this I've found on a few wonderful art blogs, but that doesn't deter me from going back to see what they're doing now and leaving an occasional thumbs up comment. In saying that, I'll also say there's some awesome artists who are indeed equal opportunity frienshipish to everyone. Know what I mean jellybean? Que sera sera... I've been throwing around the idea to go to Art & Soul cuz it's just the next state over but I was leary of going alone. For the reasons you spelled out. So. You wanna come with me? hehehe. So to make a long post short... thanks for the real skinny on the subject :)

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  9. heather~ first of all i am glad that i put a face to the banner faerie!! and was so happy to meet and how funny the circumstances that we met!! second of all-kudos for you for being honest, i choose to stay off campus and felt that i didnt miss out on anything and i agree with you on the cliqueyness of some ..it certainly did exist and i just chose to ignore it..i think there will always be that type at a large function//but all in all i will do it again and am excited to try artfiberfest this year also...and i will be looking for some tips on artfiberfest..
    xoxo~kim

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  10. just passing threw blog land,come on over for a visit

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  11. Can't wait to see your journal, Heather! I know it will be beee-u-teeeful! xoxotg

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  12. Karin (creativechaos)4/12/07, 12:43 AM

    I have never been to artfest so I can't comment on it one way or another. But this post illustrates why I always come back to peek in on what your doing over here on your blog. I LOVE your honesty about things. And, that you are brave enough to just lay the deck of card on the table with clarity and tact......Karin :)

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  13. The artwork is utterly outstanding!
    Dx

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  14. Hello Heather! I recieved my wonderful spring giveaway prize in the mail yesterday!! The postcards are so beautiful and the sweet Easter egg ornament is so so cute!!! Thank you so very much!!
    Michelle

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  15. I too applaud your honesty. Artfest sounds fabulous and it is great to see the works that everyone is posting but I can easily imagine a certain cliquiness (did I spell that right!) to it. Gosh, we are all adults, it seems like it would be time to leave the high school antics behind. Maybe we should all start our own artfest. No cliques! :)

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  16. Hi Heather,
    Thank you for being so forthcoming. I can relate to so much that you explained. For me, I knew absolutely no one except for one person I had met briefly last summer. Of course I had a very long list of blogging friends I wanted to find, but I had never met any of them except through the Internet. I very much enjoyed feeling like a 'big girl' and doing it alone, but there were a couple nights where I thought it would have been so much more fun if I had some pals to hang around with. I made a decision to sit at different tables for all the meals and I enjoyed that very much - I met so many nice people. There was one day however, that unbeknownst to me (until it was too late), I sat with a large group who were traveling together and not interested in me at all. That was the first time I got the cold shoulder.

    I agree with you about getting a bunch together and staying in a house next time. I'd be game for that because I definitely felt alone and didn't do anything in my dorm once I was there except chatting with some folks on the very last night. I guess I was just so happy to be there that I accepted the circumstances, but I think for next time I'd like to do it differently!

    Love your Pam book and will enjoy taking her class one day.
    Holly

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  17. thanks for your very candid post. I've felt like that at some retreats I've gone to, and have started to be more selective about what I attend. I too loved the camaraderie of being in one building at AFF and sitting out in the hallways or lobby and doing stuff.

    I am planning to go to AFF again, but this time am going to stay at a hotel in town with some others. Let me know if you are interested and I'll send the info on the hotel.
    I need to be able to do what I wish and laugh all night if I can. The group I'm gonna be with (and you know some of them) is a bunch of kindred spirits.

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  18. Hi Heather,
    Being your next door dorm mate, along with my mom, I know exactally what you are talking about with the group at the end of our dorm we discussed it). Since it was my first ArtFest I was glad to have had my mom to hang out with when not in classes. It was nice getting to meet you and Sharon and talking in the hall. Hanging out upstairs that last night was the most visiting with others we had doneduring the whole event. Everyone we met that night was totally friendly and it made a nice ending to our time there. I for sure would still go next year because the classes were great and I really enjoyed them. However I don't think I would do the dorm experience again. One of the Officers houses or stay in town maybe. How long did it take you to "thaw out" after 4 days in your freezing room? - Sharon

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  19. I think each year there is a different vibe at ArtFest...my first year I traveled alone and made friend in the dorm and people where really cool about taking me in. I did the group lunch and dinner and made some good friends that way. This year did have a little different feel and I am not sure why. I love ArtFiberFest because of the size...it is easier to get to know people. I think it will still be a small event and different than ArtFest even though it is at Fort Worden. At any rate...I hope to see you at ArtFiberFest.

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  20. I don't like that it is all spread out either! I feel very fortunate to have met you in person and spend a little time with you.

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