It’s been a week since I returned home from California and Craft Napa. I had to hit the ground running when I got back to Michigan (after sleeping for an entire day, the 3 hour time difference really knocked me for a loop) so that’s why I haven’t blogged about it yet. I wanted to take time to really write a heartfelt post about it and not fly right through it.

Let me say that I’ve been to several retreats – both as a student and as a teacher. And Craft Napa was nothing like any of the others I attended. This retreat was so community based it was amazing. Everyone approached their classes with an open heart and mind and it was truly all about creating art from the soul. I adored the experience so much. ?

This post is picture heavy because it’s the best way I know how to relay the weekend. And I’ll be up front that I swiped quite a few of these photos from Facebook because I was so wrapped up in teaching I didn’t take many on my own. If you spot a photo that is your’s, let me know and I’ll put a credit to you beneath it.

Here goes…

Carter wasn’t thrilled about me leaving, he tried to slow down progress when I was packing to leave:


 I taught two classes during the three day retreat – “Become a Confident Paint Flinger!” and “Printed/Stitched Collage”. First up was the Paint Flinger class:


The second day I taught my collage class – which answers the age old question of What in the Heck Do I Do With this Fabric I Just Printed? – and I didn’t get nearly as many photos. (I swear time was going three times as fast.) But here is a shot of student work laid out to dry.


The last day of the retreat I wasn’t teaching and needed to figure out how I wanted to spend my day. At first I thought I  would go wander around downtown Napa and look in the shops but let’s face it – unless it’s an art store, I’m not much of a shopper. At the last moment I decided to take Jane LaFazio’s “Text on Textiles” class. (She graciously didn’t mind that I snuck in at the last moment.)

I’ve long admired Jane’s work but I’ve never met her in person. We are both collagists and hand stitchers so I was super excited about getting to spend the day with her. An added bonus is that Frances Holliday Alford was also a student in the class (she also took both of my classes which was great fun to watch her work). She is another artist I’ve long admired but never met in person – I call her the Embellishment Queen. Follow the link on her name above to see her work and you’ll see what I mean.

I loved the class. It was very personal. So although we all followed Jane’s formula for the project, they are all different and reflect our personalities. Here is Jane admiring some of the work done in class:

 

I used some of my demo fabric from my Paint Flinger class to build some of my collage pieces:

 

Here is where my project was at the end of class:

I still have a lot to do on it (and the white circles are foundations for collages I still need to make) and I will continue to blog about it as I make progress on it. This is a Slow Stitch project – I plan to take my sweet time with it and really enjoy the process.


On the last day of the retreat, Pokey graciously hosted a gathering at her new Art Barn:

To say that the space is gorgeous and inspiring is an understatement. I managed to snap a few photos with people and learned that having short arms makes selfies that include other people a challenge. (Short girl problems.)

 


 While I was tired when I left, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’m so inspired to continue to create and really helped me connect with how much I love teaching. I’ve got a lot in the works for the year and I’m excited about how fulfilled I feel.

I napped on the plane on the ride home. When I woke up mid flight I was greeted with a pink sunset:

 

It felt magical. Just like the entire experience and I’m happier now than ever to be part of such a generous and loving art community. I couldn’t ask for more. ?