California Finale

I’m sitting in the Ontario, California airport.  The ticket counter doesn’t even open for another couple hours.  I have a flight to Houston at 1am.  So I have a long wait.  But no matter.  I love airports actually.  I am anonymous, I can sit and read, sleep, play with my laptop, and be alone.  Which after five days at a whirlwind intense conference, I desperately need.

This was an amazing experience, in so many ways.  I got a major creative infusion, and shared so much with so many old and new friends, I got some much needed creative feedback, and am able to make a bank deposit again after so many months of not teaching.  All five days of my seminars and workshops were great.  The students enthusiastic, and easy to work with.  Very Californian!  The weather was refreshing after leaving Newark right after a snow storm.  Not too hot, but warm enough in the sun to eat outside.  I had some amazing food, and got to know my roommate, Judy Ness, wonderful person, and superb rug weaver.  I love meeting new people, getting to know them, sharing a room, turns out she does yoga in the morning like me, we both celebrated the sunrise, noting that our room in the Marriott faced east.  We would wander off in the early mornings for breakfast, and on Saturday morning, finding our favorite place closed on weekends, we found a Coffee Bean, where we got a bite, listening to a young guy on an acoustic guitar playing Led Zeppelin.  It was an interesting California experience.

eggplantgreensartichokesOn the way back from our breakfast, in the middle of the street, vendors were setting up their booths with fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, for a weekly farmers market.  For someone who recently left NJ in the snow, this was a feast of color, texture and some amazing shapes I’ve never seen. I’ve changed the wallpaper on my desk top to be this splash of green and red in the fresh lettuces on display.  The eggplants were a gorgeous color, on the aqua color tablecloth, and I can see using the color combination in a new piece.  I love artichokes, and I’ve never seen artichokes this big.

runway1runway2finalebackstageSaturday’s class was on photographing your work.  Students sent in their images ahead of time, and after the three hour presentation I did on what to do and what not to do, plus all the technical information, we sat around critiquing their images.  All of us learned a lot, and appreciated each other’s feedback.

I finished up the class, and raced over to the convention center for the fashion show rehearsal.  I have attended many many conference fashion shows, and I will say, hands down, the Association of Southern California Handweavers puts on the best one of all.  The level of talent is huge, and the coordination and organizing of the show is always excellent.  And what I love about this particular show, is that the weavers and fiber artists themselves do the modeling.  Having a professional model in your work is nice, but seeing the person who made the work, wearing something from their hands, presents the complete package.  These women and men were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and though I spent most of the show backstage waiting for my entrance, the crowd from what I could hear was thrilled with the production.

My turn came about 3/4 of the way through the show, and the blinding runway lights notwithstanding, the cheering supportive audience made it clear, the dress I worked so hard on was a hit.  I blogged about this dress, all through January and February, I called it Frosted Florals, and I felt great in the dress, it was all worth it.  My roommate did her best shooting photos of me from her seat in the audience, and she captured the moment well.  Later she snuck backstage to get an additional photo of me in the dress.

Sunday morning started really early, with the time change, and the early morning coffee with keynote speaker John Marshall, I know John, we have taught together at many conferences, but I’ve oddly never heard him speak, and he was terrific.  He said a lot of things that I’ve never thought about, talked a lot about color literacy, seeing in three dimension, which I do, and I found, as tired as I was, I hung on every word.

My final seminar was teaching inkle weaving for about 15 students.  They brought some challenging looms, and it was a group effort to get everyone warped up, but they stuck with it, and produced some beautiful bands, many of them advancing to pick-up techniques by the afternoon.

I was packed up by five, and waiting with my feet up for my ride to the airport.  It was an exhausting week.  Now I’ll just curl up with my Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novel, great airport reading, and wait for the ticket agent so I can check my 140 pounds of luggage.  It was a great week, but I sure will be glad to get home.