Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Portland... a High(land) Time for Everyone!

Oh my gosh... what a fantastic time we all had at our Portland Art & Soul event! With more than 200 new attendees we had a total of over 400 who joined us! It makes my little Highland Heart go pitter patter. Especially because this means that creative souls are realizing that they really do love to learn new things and make art in-person with their tribe. It's the face-to-face connections and just being in the presence of like-minded people that makes us truly happy!

And happy we were! We had a bagpiper and highland dancers both Opening Night and Vendor Night to celebrate our Highland Fling theme. The dancers were young High School girls who practice 4 days a week. They were darling. Prior to dancing for us Saturday night, they had competed in a competition and had placed first and second. The performance brought tears both nights. It was probably the highlight of my 20 years of producing events!

And yes, we were all a bunch of giddy schoolgirls, hanging out with Outlander actor Jamie Fraser at the Opening Night Party. What do you mean he looks like a cutout? He took time out to bake these amazing Valentine cookies for us!

Students produced breathtaking art pieces and their excitement was over the moon throughout the whole event. There really was a renewed sense of joy exuding from our attendees this year, and the pieces they made were just proof of how much fun they were having.

With classes in every genre, there was something for every person in every category at every level of experience.

Our seasoned teachers — many of whom have graced the pages of your favorite mixed media magazines and how-to books — made sure to guide students through the process of making, whether they were brand new or already had a clue.

They literally take you under their wing and show you the ropes...

...or the stitches! That's why we have the teachers we do. They love to teach and it shows. They love to foster creativity in others and they've already figured out what works and what doesn't. They've done the homework for us.

And that makes for tons of fun in our workshops, as well as a whole lot of happy students who feel such a sense of pride. Just like I do when I see them filter out of the classrooms at the end of the day, gorgeous projects in hand, just beaming. It's really why I do this!

Am I gushing? You bet! These amazing instructors really took it to the next level this year. I'm so grateful to have such a great group of teachers and students. I feel like one big, happy family.

And let's not forget about Collage, our amazing on-site store. Like, seriously? This place was like Nirvana. Everything you could possibly ever need or want, and lots of things that you didn't even know you wanted but had to have. Yup, we all went home with more than we came with.

And Vendor Night was no exception. Mixed media art supplies, ephemera, metal, wood and plastic objects from days gone by, embellishments, original art from our instructors and so much more. And the bagpiper and dancers just made it extra special. I love the hustle and bustle of this pop-up
shopping event.

But really, the whole retreat was crazy busy and absolutely wonderful all at the same time. It passed in a flash, but most fun things do. I couldn't do this without my right-hand chicks and I must give a shout out to the hotel staff, who were exceptional in all aspects of working with us. We cannot compliment them enough for all they do to help make the event a success.

So thank you all for making this such a memorable retreat! See you in Colorado...


photos courtesy of: Edens Canvas, Tamara James; Sally Wilson; Janet Wilson; Erin Keck; Roxanne Evans Stout; Liz Kettle; Kittania Miller; Susan Rossiter