The Fabulous Adventure of The Art Retreat: Art Unraveled

Wednesday, August 10th

By now, most everyone has headed home and is beginning to unpack. Oy. Unpacking is even more intimidating to me than packing, which is bad enough. I’ve got stuff scattered all over the house because I can’t remember where it was before I packed it or–more likely–it wasn’t in such a great place, and I figure this is the perfect opportunity to find a better place for it. But never mind that–here’s one last little video from our adventure at Art Unraveled. On Saturday night, teachers signed up–the brave ones did, anyway–to participate in art-making/torture/an auction to raise money for scholarships to Art Unraveled 2012. They were given a bunch of random supplies–they got to pick stuff from piles on several tables–and a time limit (which I extended because it was so much fun watching them work/suffer) to create a piece totally unlike their usual work. They got to play, and people got to watch. Some people suggested that if the artwork had been more like the instructors’ usual work, it would have raised more money. That wasn’t the point, though–the point was to have fun, and nobody would have signed up if they’d been expected to create Great Work in front of a crowd of people, using foam letters and glitter, with me heckling them. So this was just for fun, and it did raise quite a bit of money–right at $900. I handed the microphone over to Michael deMeng for the auction, and he did a fabulous job. Since he was working, my husband and photographer, The Ever-Gorgeous Earl, walked Michael’s masterpiece down the runway. Here you go:

Here’s the first little video from the Coloring Outside the Lines party last night. There should be more later in the week as I have time to go through all the videos and photos.

Sunday morning, August 7th

We’re heading out today, but I hope to get at least one more movie ready before we leave. Until then, though, here’s a quick run-through peek at the authors involved in the book signing on Wednesday. Ideally, I’d have had videos ready and uploaded the morning following each event, but, man, taking HD videos and editing them into movies that don’t take more than an hour to upload on a really slow connection? I could easily have stayed in this room 24 hours a day, sitting right here with the Macbook. And what fun would that have been?

So here’s one; check back soon for another (I hope).

Saturday morning, August 6th

Yes, people actually do take time out to eat lunch here, although you’ll notice in this quick little video that we’re mostly talking instead of eating. I found a home for my artwear aprons–you’ll see the black and white one with its new owner~~

And now a peek into Chris Cozen’s workshop, “Cloudy or Clear.”

A Little Peek Inside Sherri Haab’s “Transfer, Etch, Rivet” Workshop at AU

Friday morning, August 5th

Last night was the book signing and panel discussion, and I hope to get a video of that up later this morning. It was lots of fun, even if it was in the Yellow Lighted Ballroom (my husband has come to loathe ballrooms all across the country for their pale, weak, anemic yellow lighting). I do so hope it doesn’t take six tries again today–I was kind of hanging onto my last nerve by my teeth yesterday. There was much gritching in the land, is what I’m saying. Be glad you couldn’t hear. But to get you started today, I’ve uploaded a passel (a technical term meaning, “about nineteen”) of photos over at Notes from the Voodoo Cafe, so hop over and take a look. There are links to the websites and blogs of most of the people there, at least the ones I could find. And then check back–here and there–because I’m going to be here uploading more Art Unraveled Goodness until the cows come home. Or until me + hotel internet service come to some serious blows.

Thursday Morning Video~~

Good grief. It took only *six* attempts to get YouTube to fully upload this video–it’s been a long, long morning. But it’s worth it–it’s a fun visit to a couple workshops that might not be what you think of when you think of art retreats. Take a look~~

Thursday, August 4th

Since WordPress has some odd little issue this week and won’t let us upload photos here, I’m posting Art Unraveled photos over on my personal blog, Notes from The Voodoo Cafe. Until the IT guys get it fixed, I’ll post video here and photos there. Sorry for any inconvenience, but I think the hopping back and forth will be worth it to get to see people having so much fun. I’d like to say I’ll get all the photos up at once, but that’s not going to happen–check back whenever you get a chance~~

And yet MORE from Wednesday! If you haven’t yet met the Journal Fodder Junkies, you need to–these guys have some interesting stuff going on, not just here at AU, but also in their book and on their blog.

Wednesday, August 3rd

Well, my little chickadees, various servers and platforms and Other Big Important Internet Things are conspiring to make it impossible, for right now, to upload photos and videos and Other Cool Stuff. Which is kind of irritating, because I have things to share. I have a little video and a some cool photos, and I’m going to have more, and I wish I could just hold the photos up in front of you and say, “See? Isn’t this cool?” Alas. Technology is fabulous, and technology is a pain. I’ll try once again to insert my first video here. If it doesn’t appear below, please 1) check back and 2) think warm fuzzy thoughts for me + technology so I don’t say horrible, insutling things about it and do irreparable damage to our already-sometimes-fragile relationship.

Thank you.


Tuesday, August 2nd

We’re here in fabulous Phoenix, surrounded by happy, excited artist/students. If I had a clue–as in, ‘could remember that I was supposed to get my internet access code,” I would have posted yesterday. Alas, I didn’t remember that. And let me just add this: the desolate stretch of I-10 between El Paso and Phoenix has lots and lots of internet dead zones, not unlike those holes in Christopher Walken’s brain after the car accident. Only these black holes provide no useful information; they “provide” only much frustration. You can’t talk on the phone, you can’t tweet, you can’t get email. I grouse about it and then catch myself and go, “Whoa.” Because years and years ago, back when we first started going to art retreats, lack of internet access on the road or the plane or the ferry or whatever–it wasn’t even a vague concept back then. We weren’t connected, so we didn’t have that angst when we discovered we couldn’t be in immediate contact with the whole world. Now we can, but here’s the thing: being in instantaneous contact with the whole world is one thing; being in a big room full of other creative people is a whole different kind of being in contact, and honeys, there’s nothing in the world like it.

We’ll have photos soon, I promise–as soon as the technology cooperates, we’ll have photos and video.


Art Unraveled

Oboy, oboy! We’re packing up to head out to Art Unraveled, the fabulous art retreat held every August in Phoenix. Yeah, I know you’re thinking, “Phoenix? In *August*? Oh, my.”

But it’s truly wonderful: it’s held in the Embassy Suites, where it’s cool and lovely, with a fountain and a pool (and a bar! with snacks!), and you really never need to leave the hotel. You check in, get settled, and then spend the next week hanging out with other creative people who love all the same things you do–you know, the things nobody else seems to get, like rusty stuff. Old ledger pages. Crayons. Enamel. That kind of stuff.

I love art retreats, and I think everyone should attend as many as they can. I know they can be expensive, but some of them–like Art Unraveled–allow you to show up, take a class, and go home. You don’t have to pay for a whole week or a whole slew of classes, although my guess is that you’re going to want to, once you find out what it’s like.

Dale at Art Unraveled 2010

You’ll hear a *lot* more about my belief that art retreats are vital to creative souls in the coming months as my book comes out. Destination: Creativity is about our year of criss-crossing the country, packing in as many art retreats as possible. Of course, we didn’t come anywhere NEAR Dale Wigley’s record; at 81, she hardly ever misses a single retreat.

We get to see our favorite people.

Ruth Rae and Tonia Davenport









Don Madden

Susan Madden







We got to see Don and Susan at several retreats last year, and it was always fabulous–I can’t wait to see them again~~



Anyway, so we’re heading out, and the good news is that I’m kind of a Roving Reporter, reporting from the field. I’ll be moderating a panel discussion with teacher/authors and being a Mistress of Ceremonies for Teachers Coloring Outside the Lines, and I’ll post photos and videos all week long (keeping my fingers crossed that all the various technology required to do that will all cooperate with 1) me and 2) each other). Here’s a sample to pique your interest–a video of Mary Beth Shaw from Vendors’ Day last August:

Now, if for some reason this is the first you’ve heard about Art Unraveled, but you happen to be somewhere near Phoenix and would love to jump in, the good news is that if you go here and find a workshop that 1) grabs you and 2) isn’t full, there’s still time. You don’t have to sign up for a whole slate; you can contact Linda and sign up for whatever is still available. And if you don’t want to take a workshop but would love to shop (duh), then next Saturday, August 6th, is your day for the Shopping Extravaganza.

So I hope to see you there. If you can’t make it this year, then I hope to see you right here, where I’ll be posting regularly about our adventures and the people we see and (yikes) the cool stuff I find that begs to be bought and brought home.

See you soon!

For even more hits of inspiration, visit Ricë at Notes from the Voodoo Cafe.


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3 Responses to The Fabulous Adventure of The Art Retreat: Art Unraveled

  1. Seth says:

    Thanks Rice. It is the next best thing to being there!

    • Rice Freeman-Zachery says:

      We wish you were here–we were saying that last night, hanging out in the lobby!

  2. photocatseyes says:

    OOOhhhh, I am so jaleous. My mother in law lives in Phoenix and I would so love to be there with you. I know the road between El Paso and Phoenix, over I 10… Grin. No internet all right…
    I am currently sitting in my house in UK, with POURING rain outside and wishing I was in Arizona. Six months to go before I come back…
    I am loving the goodies shown from the retreat… The video’s and such. For those of us who can’t be there a bit of a heads up… Can’t wait to come and live in America so I can do all those fabulous art things…

    Catherine in wet England, 65 degrees… Baahhh hummmbuggggg