Going back to work the day after I got home from Art & Soul was a very bad decision. I feel like I have been run over with a steamroller, both physically and mentally. I like to have time to process things, and being thrust back into "normalcy" so soon after an event like A&S without having some down time to relive, rehash, and fully absorb it all frustrates me to no end, only adding to my exhaustion. I was only there for 3 days, and I can't imagine how those who were present for the whole event must be feeling, especially the teachers. And speaking of teachers...I met NINA!! Guess you figured that out from the pic. I wasn't able to take a class of hers, but made a beeline to her table on vendor night as soon as the doors opened. I was hoping to get to her before the crowds descended, but she was already getting so busy, so we chatted a moment, then later I came back by to visit once more before I left. I wanted to get her picture, but she was so wonderful and suggested we both get in the pic. I just wanted to pull her away and go someplace quiet where we could put our feet up with a BIG glass of wine and chat....it's so funny, because I feel like i've known her my whole life. I felt like that even before we met, and I feel it even more strongly now. I wont even attempt to explain further, because I know I can't do the feeling justice, but it's a feeling straight from my SOUL. Now to the rest of the story...lol....my first class was with Leslie Riley (with me in the other pic). WOW...another amazing lady and a great teacher. In her class (Fragments/Story Fragments) on Saturday, I was relaxed and felt free to play and let my creativity flow. I enjoyed every minute of it, which was not to be the case in my other two classes (though no fault of the teachers). There was some incredible pieces made in that class, and I have pictures that I will post in the next few days. I didn't finish my piece, but plan on doing so soon, and will post a pic of it at that time. Sunday I had Traci Bautista's doodles.layers.monoprints class. The best thing to come from that class was meeting a new friend--hi Ellen! She really made the day for me. The class was fast-paced and absolutely running over with techniques, which is a great thing. But by about 3 in the afternoon I was on overload. I couldn't remember what I had learned that morning, or even the techniques in Traci's latest demo. I was getting frustrated, and just wanted to stop. I needed absorb time. But somehow I managed to get through the rest of the afternoon (thanks again Ellen!). Thank goodness I have Traci's book, because right now I am still drawing a blank when I think about that class. Then on Monday was Michael deMeng's Voodoo Doodad Dolls. At certain moments throughout my time at A&S I knew I was in the presence of greatness, and it was never truer than when I was with Michael. I was star-struck, and actually had trouble speaking the first time I opened my mouth to talk to him. I got over that for the most part, though when I left and was telling him goodbye, I teared up and almost cried, so I can just imagine the impression I left on him!! But in my defense I must say that by that time I was worn out, my mind was racing with ideas, and my emotions were running wild. I was sad at leaving A&S (I actually left Michael's class an hour early because I was anxious about driving home), but was also feeling so inadequate, for lack of a better word. I was very dissatisfied with my Doodad doll, while several people in the class made stunning pieces. I have been working for a long time at not being so hard on myself, but that day I just couldn't quiet those inner voices. The reasons I didn't have a good experience on Monday were due to my own inner workings, and certainly had nothing to do with Michael, because he is brilliant. His knowledge of paint and color is astounding, and he is a wonderful person and teacher. He helped me so much throughout the day, and I wish I had been in a better place mentally to take better advantage of the opportunity. I didn't finish that project either, but have lots of ideas for it, and will post a pic when I'm finished, no matter how unhappy with it I may be! Did I mention that Linda and Opie O'Brien were in Michael's class too?! Talk about brushes with greatness! And speaking of greatness, I was also able to meet Jane of Random Arts on vendor night. As with Nina, I would have loved to have had more time to chat, but Jane's booth was a mob scene because of all the cool stuff they had to offer (and rest assured I snagged some of it while I was there!). But I plan on taking a ride to Saluda sometime in the not so distant future for a proper visit. I will definitely attend Art & Soul again; not only for the practical knowledge to be gained and the chance to be surrounded by my "people", but also for the opportunity it gives me to grow in ways not so easily defined.