March 4, 2010

Art & Soul in Vegas?!

I realize that retreating in Vegas (with two fabulous girlfriends) sounds slightly suspicious. If you happen to be sitting there with a smirk muttering “yeah right” (like practically ever person who listened to me try to explain VegasArtRetreat) here’s posted proof that art was indeed made.

Mind you, the art came after breakfast. We LOVED this particular Paris buffet so much that we dined here every single morning. I can’t think of any breakfast favs that couldn’t be found on one of the many bountiful buffet lines along with the delightful waitress and new friend, Debbie. After a delicious breakfast topped off with a made-to-order crepe we were pretty much (minus girl scout cookie breaks) set until dinner.

Day one class was “Perching Pixies” taught by the fabulous Stephanie Rubiano. Stephanie’s wry sense of humor was a good match for the three of us as she showed us the ways of a jewelers saw and bench block. I happened to be extremely skilled in securing my bench block to the table. In fact, it took all four of us to get it off the conference room table at the end of the day.

Here we are with the freed bench block and one of my favorite instructors : )

I completed my little Nora pixie (now a sturdy wooden cutout) in class. Isn’t she a cutie sitting in great Aunt Ev’s china tea cup? Heather freaked out *quite a bit* that I had the nerve to glue a pixie to one of great-Aunt-Ev’s-china-teacups, but what’s the point of having heirlooms all stashed away? Pointless I say. Besides I have 11 more…plenty for a proper tea.

Day two was “Gridlocked” with Lisa Kaus. I loved this class and Lisa…an organized, professional and helpful instructor. This piece, painted and built on a wooden block surface, is all about my family of five and the sweetness of home. I had so much fun attaching little bits of this and that including an original doorknob from our house.

On day three, we explored the feminine icon with Katie Kendrick. Katie is the warmest soul and a patient teacher. I painted this forlorn gal, who refuses to give up on love. I’m not quite sure were she came from…I kept thinking how she looked a little KellyRaeRobertsish (another artist whom I deeply admire.) Whatever the case, this girl doesn’t feel completely mine, which isn’t necessarily the point when taking classes. By repeating what’s learned in a class, eventually art that’s unique to the artist will surface. The whole point of classes and workshops is taking in new techniques, being open to experimentation and not stressing so much about the end result. Plenty of time for stressing back in Kansas (or Cincinnati.)

On the very last retreat day, we made dolls from clay with Jan Harris (Judy Wise’s stand-in.) Judy couldn’t attend due to health issues and even though she was deeply missed, Jan did a great job of instructing the class. For whatever reason, Heather and I chose to make extremely large dolls (see doll head in oven compared to rest of the class! yikes.) The Vegas air (bigger is better, more is more) must have been starting to rub off or something. Here we were, all intent on getting these girls done, so what do we do? Well…make the biggest versions possible of course. Completely logical. The right brain had clearly taken over.

Here’s an in progress shot…mine is the doll on the left. And as you may have guessed she did NOT get finished that day, but hopefully very soon. I’ll be sure to post the end results when she’s complete. This was such a fun class…kindof makes me want to get a pasta machine and toaster oven all my own to devote entirely to clay. hmmmmmmmm.

So that wraps up my five incredible and inspirational days with proof that art can be made in this sleep deprived city. The fun part, involving stomach-hurting-laughter, was a given with Heather and Claire. I’m soooo looking forward to the next “retreat”…right after I recover from this one. ; )


  1. What fun! I want to do an art retreat! How do you find out about them?

    sleepyhead designs studio — March 5, 2010 @ 2:18 am
  2. Sounds and looks like lot's of fun!!!!!!!!! Too bad we don't have anything like that here in Germany, but maybe I just have to offer that myself…but everybody starts small ;)

    Anke Martin — March 6, 2010 @ 2:21 pm
  3. As for finding out about art retreat offerings, I've found the ones I've been on in the the back of mags like Cloth Paper Scissors and Sumerset Studio. Happy retreating!

    June Pfaff Daley — March 8, 2010 @ 11:08 am

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