i am sitting here trying to find my way through my thoughts. they’re swirling around, spinning, dancing, like little happy spirits. they’re overly excited, refusing to settle. they’re suffering from happiness exhaustion and let me tell you, it feels pure and sweet like nothing i’ve known before. i still can’t get over my artfest experience. part of me hopes i never will.
without knowing where to begin, i will start at the beginning: day one.
driving north on 101 it was just me, mason jennings, and the beautiful scenery of mountains, windy roads, and ocean. i had a sense, from the pit of my stomach, that this trip was going to change everything. i was incredibly nervous, but with a hope so big, bigger than me. it made me tearful as i melted into the vision of my very own possibilities. I was on my way, in a very big way.
when i arrived i was struck by the beauty of port townsend. downtown was a lively & quaint strip of boutiques, art galleries, cafes. and the victorian homes were glorious. when i arrived to fort warden, the historic military base where artfest was held, i was again struck by it’s beauty. old, historic, & charming. just my style.
i cant tell you how nervous i was standing in the huge line to check-in. it seemed like everyone knew one another from years past of artfest memories. and though there were smiling faces surrounding me, i felt how i expected to feel: like the first day of 7th grade, in the cafeteria, wondering where i should sit. it felt like i was the only person on earth who was there alone. how would i find my way?
i did eventually find my way to my funky old dormitory. i had 4 roommates, all creative spirits with stories of their own. we each had our own bunkbed. no tv. no phone. seriously, just a bunkbed and that was it. it was wonderfully simple.
I met Liz who does Poetry Thursdays that afternoon. thank god we decided ahead of time to meet. i knew instantly i had met a kindred spirit. she was a breath of fresh air, a little gift just for me at the very moment i needed it. she became my soul sister during this crazy experience of artmaking heaven. she is someone who is passionate, sincere, and a person who speaks from her heart, never from the surface. i loved it. we ate every single meal together and we ventured to every single event, outside of classes, together. and let me just tell you there were many, many events. hence, the exhaustion!
that evening, i met the wonderfully alive and vibrant Kim. between me, liz, and kim, we had some serious chatting and excitement going on. so fun. as dinner came to a close, the entire dining area exploded into a frenzy of art trades, a phenomenon i had heard about, but wasn’t prepared for. people were trading all sorts of stuff. small pieces of art, bags of assorted supplies, embellishments. i didn’t have anything to trade but people gave me trades anyway, and by the end of the night, i felt like i had had the best christmas ever. i can’t believe the stuff i came home with! and did i mention the dining room was filled to the brim with my sort of people. clearly, i had found my community. funky women with soaring spirits. i was beaming. and i’m talking beaming. my face hurt by nite’s end with smiling aches. i could have stayed in that dining room all nite long, surrounded by all of them, strangers to me, but not really. no longer nervous and alone, i had found my home, amonst all of them.
later, we went to hear Michael deMeng speak. what an amazing artist. his vision is incredible. i’ve always been attracted to recycled art and he is the master of it’s unique form. in fact, he is featured in my favorite magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors this month.
then we were off to “art asylum.” immediately upon entering this room, i knew straight away why they called it ‘asylum’ because it was madness. imagine a huge room with it’s perimeter lined with long, cafeteria style tables. upon each table was an assortment of unwanted studio supplies people had sent ahead of time. it was like people had cleaned out their studios, their basements,and closets, and put all the unwanted items in boxes, shipped them to artfest, then the boxes were dumped onto these tables! the idea was to grab what you wanted, then to make stuff from the items you found. it was like a giant yard sale, specifically for 400 artists, and it was all free! there were so many people pouring over these tables, searching for goodies, that you could barely move. at one point Liz took a deep breath and said “ok. i’m gonna take a step back” and it really made me chuckle.