The retreat I attended last week with one of my online groups, AAWA, was FANTASTIC! This group has about 43 online members and 21 attended the Artful Gathering from all over the country! This is the third annual get-together and Jeri Aaron (super list mom and Gathering organizer outdoes herself every year). (Check out her great blog here.) For the past three years, this has been held over the same weekend that Heirloom Productions holds a stamp convention in Grapevine, TX, and we attend that for one day. (That's another report.)
The host hotel is within walking distance of the convention and close to the airport. Even though I live within 10 miles I stayed at the hotel so as not to miss a thing! From Thursday through Sunday we took over the hotel conference room and CREATED! We each had half a "skinny" table and, the best part, we were able to leave our Stuff there all weekend. We could come and go whenever we wanted; ate lots; went to bed as early or as late as we wished; and laughed tons.
Each year the retreat has a theme and it was western this year. Jeri always designs and kits a tremendous book project around the theme and one entire day is spent on that. Other members design smaller projects or demos and lots of gals bring goodies for everyone. Here's a photo (thanks Linda) of what part of the room looked like - bet it never looks like that for other conventions!
One of our members who couldn't come this year (Sue Wickham of Lily Pepper Primitives) made Jeri this darling fabric collage (above)and Jeri attached it to a denim shirt for the "come in western gear" challenge. Sue makes beautiful art and also made a similar wallhanging as the prize for the challenge. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of that, but here is a tiny little hanging Sue made for each attendee - I just love it!
Every year we do a swap of small art keeping to the given theme. These are the western 3"x5" "skinnies" we did this year. When they are all attached with the binder ring, it's such a cute, fat booklet to remember the gathering.
Here is the awesome western altered wand Joan made for each of us! Imagine making 21 of these things. Thank you so much Joan! Can you see the empty bullet casings on one of the strings and folded beer bottlecaps on another? I just love all the details she managed to incorporate.
I will share more tomorrow!