Oh my. Arizona was such an adventure. I think the blogging part of my brain fell asleep though because I came home with very few pictures. I was busy watching, thinking, learning and meeting new people.
I flew up on Thursday and first thing after renting a car I drove to Mesa to the neighborhood where I grew up. My parents lived in the same small stucco house for 42 years on the edge of town. Then Mesa exploded and now the old neighborhood is a barrio in the town's center with the same tiny houses and shady gardens full of citrus and palm trees. I miss the long orange and fuschia sunsets, the saguaros, date palms and the eerie neon motel signs with ladies that plunged into swimming pools and called out their blinking promise to weary travellors. It was a different time. Imagine a world without plastic.
This building was a laundromat when I was a child with no sidewalk and only a dirt road on two sides. My mother and I used to walk with a wire cart to do the laundry in the wringer washers here and then take the wet clothes home to dry on the line. It always smelled like soap and bleach and we met the other neighbor ladies here to gossip and work. The women had strong, fat arms and sweaty faces. Everyone was big and I was little. There was an open irrigation canal that ran down this street and when I was a child at least 2 babies that I remember drowned there at different times. It was an ongoing danger in those days.
After a day of memory lane and a long visit with my oldest friend (we were Brownies together at the age of 8), I drove to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Peoria where Art Unraveled was being held. It was good to shake the cobwebs out and come back to the present.
I got to meet Deryn Mentock who came to AU from Texas. I've seen her work from time to time online and so finally meeting her brought everything to life for me. Until I can connect an artist with their work it is impossible I think to get a full picture. Her blog is going right up on my bloglines now. Check out the jewelry she makes. She is a lovely person. Hi Deryn!
The only art supplies I brought to AU was my little traveling acrylic set, a brush, an Uhu stick and some scissors. Oh - is wine an art supply? Just wondering.
And I finally got to meet Kelly Kilmer in person. Her students were having the most fun and Kelly was so relaxed teaching. One attendee took our photo together but the camera shook and I turned out looking like a blurry lopsided pygmy next to the red haired goddess so I'm not showing it.
A rainbow of colored tissue paper drying on plastic barrier paper on the garish hotel carpet. A familiar and happy sight.
I'll have more to show and tell once I get my bags unpacked. It was another experience that has guided me more strongly toward teaching and away from art fairs. When I arrived home (that's Mt. Hood in the photo above) John and I went out to eat and we excitedly discussed what might happen if we just up and changed everything in our lives after 27 years of doing art fairs and selling in galleries. I have been a teacher of sorts all this time. Sharing everything I know with the wonderful friends I've made on the road and urging others to express themselves and open their hearts to joy.
I've said enough for now. I am bubbling with hope and enthusiasm. To be continued...