Tag Archives: weather

My Awesome Treehaven Experience!

This year continues to be a year of firsts for me – first art fair, first invitational solo exhibit…and now, my first-ever art retreat class at a remote location!

I applied for the ArtStart Rhinelander‘s School of the Arts retreat called Art in Nature back in May.  I had heard about it through Arts Wisconsin – the School of the Arts has a rich, 60-year history and ArtStart is revitalizing it, which is wonderful news.  So imagine my delight when I discovered that I would be teaching my proposed class, “Collagraphs from Nature” there!

The entire retreat was held on the Treehaven grounds.  This place is AMAZING.  Imagine a fully modern summer camp, and you get the gist of the place.  It’s used year-round, mainly by UW-Stevens Point forestry students.  It’s nestled in the middle of nowhere, in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  It’s truly remote – I felt so secure in its isolation.  I love places like this. (MAJOR bonus – it was about 15 degrees cooler there than in Fond du Lac, where we’re having a bizarre heat wave of 90 degree weather this week!)

fullsizeoutput_3c8b
My sweet room in the White Pines cabin!
fullsizeoutput_3c8c
Don’t you just love this handmade sign for the gift shop? 😀
fullsizeoutput_3c8d
This is the Winterberry Dining Hall. I felt like I was back at family camp!

I arrived on Friday afternoon and immediately set up my room.  I was so happy I could do this ahead of time, because then I could relax the rest of the evening.  We all had dinner together and heard the keynote speaker, Kristin Thielking, who’s a professor of sculpture at UW-Stevens Point.  She talked about the beautiful structures and installations she and her students create in natural settings.  It was so inpsiring, as it was the first time I’d ever really been interested in large sculptures.  I broadened my mind as to what a “sculpture” could truly be!  And now I have some ideas for our own Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum!

My class was right away on Saturday morning, so I ate breakfast with the group and got back to my classroom to make sure everything was set up and ready to go.  I had nine people in my class, which was a great size!  I showed them how to make collagraphs the way that I make them, and we had a total blast.  Here’s a slideshow of their beginning monoprints, their composing stages, and their final collagraphs, which were made from items found right on the Treehaven grounds or from some items I had gotten in our prairie.  Each student’s finished pieces were unlike anyone else’s, and that made me so happy. I absolutely LOVE it when that happens – when the artist’s vision comes through in their work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This teaching experience is another highlight in a year of highlights for me.  I enjoyed myself immensely!!  And to top it all off, I stayed for the afternoon and took Debra Jircik’s Harvest Papermaking class, which I’ve wanted to take for the past three years or so.  Kismet!  I loved it, as I knew I would.

fullsizeoutput_3caf
Here we are with our papers made from corn husks, milkweed stalks, iris leaves, day lilies, and Abaca fiber with crushed leaves! They all turned out so beautifully.

It was one of those weekends I’ll always remember and cherish.  I was yet again reminded how extremely fortunate I am to be able to teach and create art in this way. It doesn’t get much better than this!  🙂  Many, many thanks to Melinda Childs and Ashley McLaughlin for just a wonderful retreat!

 

Advertisements

Craziest. Night. EVER.

We have a saying in Wisconsin that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.  (Actually, I think most Midwestern states have that saying.)  Last night, I found out how true that saying is – almost literally!

I participated in the first-ever igNight Market in Green Bay, which happens to be my hometown.  I’d heard about it via Facebook and thought it would be fun, since I hadn’t done any sort of selling of my art there.  I left Green Bay in ’96 and this business of art wasn’t even on my radar yet.

I was pretty nervous about this market, since I knew Brian would be out of town and I’d have to go it alone.  I was as prepared as I could’ve been, which is always helpful, but I was still anxious about putting up the tent myself, as this was my first real art market ever! (I also realized afterward that I just can’t go it alone to these markets – not yet, anyway.)

I got to the market at the perfect time, had a super amount of help from the fabulous staff with set-up, and was on my way.  For a first-time event, the crowd was fantastic!  I had brought my collagraph series and my Painted Desert rust-dyed encaustic series along – one on each table (you can see that in the photo, above).  I had also brought along some of my matted linocuts.  The wind was pretty strong so I had to keep some of my work flat, but it didn’t seem to matter – people were really interested and I had wonderful chats with a LOT of people, and I made some sales!  (It is here where I have to say I am so very grateful for my amazing dad in-law, who made those cool shelves for me!  He’s such a great guy.  I’m super lucky.)  😀

I also got to see many Green Bay friends whom I don’t see enough, like my old college roommate Pia and her husby, Phil.  We had a chance to reminisce and also talk about an upcoming ride we’re doing, which was great.  I saw two of my art friends, Steve Ballard and Geri Justinger.  Steve’s wife Patricia was so lovely and got me water, which I desperately needed.  Geri is super thoughtful and had brought me a huge lot of graphic tape the last time she was at a thrift store and delivered it last night (thank you again so much, Geri!!). I got to see my friend Cheri Larson, whom I hadn’t seen since 2013.  But the craziest meeting happened to be with my friend Amy, whom I met on our first day of 6th grade in 1979, and her husband Bill.  I hadn’t seen her or Bill in person in over 20 years!  It was fantastic.

It is during this reunion of sorts where things get really bizarre.  As you can see from the above photo, when the market began there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  It was really warm, and I was sweating profusely, but so was everyone.  I think it was even fairly nice out when Amy and Bill found me.  But then….

IMG_4429

Yeah.  This happened.  You can see that Bill is hanging on to the tent so that it won’t blow away.  There were some other lovely people in the tent on the other side who were helping me too, just some folks who took shelter when the storm hit.  (What you can’t see is the insane amount of lightning.) The radar said we were in a “dangerous thunderstorm alert”, which was supposed to pass in about 10 minutes (it didn’t).

About 20 minutes later Bill ran and got their car and drove me to mine. I had made the executive decision to leave, on account of the fact that the streets were getting flooded and everything was soaked.  I was really afraid for my art (which, I am happy to report, made it through unscathed!).  They asked if I needed help tearing down and I said no, that it would only take me about 10 minutes.  When I got back to my booth, they were both there, waiting for me, and helped me load up my car.  I could’ve cried from thankfulness.

I drove home through one of the worst storms I can remember driving through – it was really rough.  We were all going about 35 mph for a good 20-mile stretch (Green Bay is about 70 miles from Fond du Lac).  But I took my time and I made it home in one piece, set everything out to dry, and went to bed.  🙂

The take-away from all of this?  Actually, there are many:

  • I have wonderful friends, even ones whom I hadn’t seen in decades
  • There are so many lovely people out there willing to lend a hand
  • The payoff for being super-prepared is immense
  • I will try to not sweat the small stuff
  • You don’t mess with Mother Nature – she’ll win pretty much every time.  🙂

I have one more of these markets, on September 16.  Brian is coming with me this time and I’m pretty sure the weather won’t be quite as wicked!