If you’ve been to one of the large mixed media art retreats, you know what an impact they have on your life, and if you’ve been lucky enough to attend one of Teesha Moore’s retreats—Artfest, JournalFest, Art Fiber Fest, Play—you’ve had an experience you’ll never forget. As you know, this is the last year for Artfest—Teesha is moving on to other adventures—and lots of people who attended over the years are feeling really nostalgic. For my book, Destination Creativity, we attended Artfest; I’d taught there a couple of times years ago and was thrilled to get to go back. Just last week, we received this tribute from a long-time attendee of both Artfest and JournalFest and wanted to share—and we had an idea. Read Angharad’s tribute and then share your own with us here for a chance to win a copy of Destination Creativity. Destination Creativity is filled with photos from the retreats we attended and includes five complete workshops from Jesse Reno, Carla Sonheim, Deryn Mentock, Daniel Essig and Melissa Manley. For all the details, check the bottom of this post.
Looking Back at the Fests of Teesha Mooreby Angharad Jones
When I started attending the Teesha Moore “fests,” I was a young mother with almost no interaction outside the home. I came to my first one, ArtfFberFest, and stayed off campus so I could be with my young family when not in class. I remember Teesha (a complete stranger at the time) exhorting me to stay on campus, to leave my family to fend to themselves, something I felt my baby daughter was too young for me to do. Yet in the subsequent years, I came to cherish the alone time going to a Fest gave me. It wasn’t merely leaving my kids and being by myself, it was the act of indulging in myself—something I have a hard time doing—that felt so luxurious. I’d skulked about the outskirts of the mixed media world for a while, investing in the supplies but never getting into the groove of making art for myself. I was shy, embarrassed, self conscious; and I felt guilty about focusing so solely on myself for even a few days a year. But I was hooked. I was also envious of Teesha and her crowd. The art they made seemed so effortless, and I wanted it to rub off on me. Every year, I would impatiently wait for registration to open. I had attended several ArtFests, but when I caught wind of JournalFest, I jumped at the chance to experience a smaller, more focused Fest. And. I. Loved it. I LOVED IT. I loved the other participants and the work they created. I loved the teachers Teesha pulled together, I loved Fort Worden, with its beautiful houses on the beach, I loved the time of year, which truly felt like home to me (a transplanted northwester) and I loved Port Townsend with the Siren bar and its jalapeño peppers and pear cider. I loved when I decided to start camping instead of staying in the dorms, reveling in the truly alone time I carved for myself on these trips. This last journalfest was my best, the classes taking me to deep dark recesses of my psyche and really getting me to create in a way that I never had before. I cried. Loudly. Publicly. I was grateful and excited, and finally in touch with whatever it was that drove me to the Fests to begin with. I got home, full of plans for the next Fest, when Teesha announced that she is leaving the fest business altogether to follow her heart in other directions. WHAT??? It took me a second, I confess, to forgive her. But in the end, if that was my last Journalfest experience, then it was a huge gift she gave me. She taught me to take the time for myself, to truly invest in my passions, to try even when I felt stupid, or cliché, or vulnerable, or a little crazy. She taught me that it might take 7 years (it really did) but that eventually you might actually touch the part of you that drove you to try in the first place. For the moment, there is a void in the mixed media, art journaling world, one that I am sure will be filled by another talented organizer and visionary artist, but for right this very second, I would like to stand in the void, and say thank you to Teesha (and Tracy and all her family and crew, for without them I know this would have been nearly impossible) for giving me the gift of some time with myself. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you….
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