A Different Kind of Workshop for Me

I’m going to teach a workshop. This is not big news to anyone but me, but for me, it’s kind of huge. The last time I taught was, I think, at Artfest, and it’s been almost a decade. Before that, I used to teach quite a bit, and I taught a bunch of different things. What I loved best, though, was teaching altered artwear–journal skirts, various kinds of embellishment, ways to get words and images on clothes. The problem is that those kinds of workshops weren’t really popular because most people, if they’re going to travel somewhere and take a day-long class, want to have a finished project to show for it. They want to have something to show their friends and fellow attendees at the end of the day so they feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth. I understand that completely. Unfortunately, that’s not the kind of stuff I do: I like things that take time, and those things don’t lend themselves to a one-day workshop.

I’ve had conversations with artists since, other people who feel as I do: that there’s a whole big opportunity out there to do things differently, to have holistic retreats, where people could immerse themselves in the creative life and take some of that energy back home with them. We imagined workshops that might go a day or two or a whole week, with people meeting in the evenings to continue working, sitting around and drawing or stitching or working in their journals. And there would be yoga and massage, cooking demos and lessons and communal meals people worked together to prepare. Journaling sessions, spontaneous demos of things by people who weren’t instructors but knew how to do something others wanted to learn. There’s nothing like that out there that I know of, but I can feel it getting closer to happening. There’s a lot of us wishing for it.

Then I got a note from Sallianne and Ellen of Art is You Petaluma. We went there last year, remember? They invited us to come back–The Ever-Gorgeous Earl to take photos again and me to host Art Church, the early-morning panel discussion about passion and creativity. And in addition to those, they asked if I’d like to teach a workshop on making Yoolies. You remember Yoolies:

[Let me add a disclaimer here: we’re getting a flat fee for hosting the discussion and doing the photography and offering my workshop, so I’m not using this space to advertise to get sign-ups for the workshop so I can make more money. It doesn’t work that way for this. While I’d love to meet y’all and have you come sew with me, this isn’t an ad to get me the big bucks.]

Now, what’s amazing about this is that they wrote up the description for me, and they totally got it. That is just so amazing! They got the idea of thrifting and making something into something else and slow hand stitching and the whole thing–they just completely got it. How could I not jump at the chance? So I’m going to go teach, after I said I wasn’t going to teach any more. And I’m excited about it not just because I love teaching but because I imagine this is just the beginning of something really cool: a new kind of experience. Slower. Deeper. Holistic and integrated and very, very rich.

I’m imagining this might be the way of the future–where things all tie in together and people go home with ideas for living a more creative life in whatever way that’s possible for them. It might be an impossible dream–I certainly have no idea how to make it happen, but then I’m not an organizer. I’m just a big fan of the communal creative experience. And now I get to go teach at one of them–woo-hoo! To find out more about my workshop, go here. To find out more about Art Is Petaluma, go here. To find out more about all the other wonderful art retreats, try googling “mixed media art retreats”–all our friends will be right there at the top of the list with links to keep you happily dreaming for hours. Enjoy~~and I hope to see you in Petaluma in September~~


Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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