Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Contemplating Art Retreat Teaching Applications

It's always an issue when applying to teach at art retreats ....... charging for kit fees and creating a supply list. There are two sides to these issue and I've been on both of them.

Many teachers have supply lists a mile long and they are daunting when you look at them as a student. Some of the supplies can be costly and then there is the problem of packing everything to bring, especially when flying these days since some airlines charge so much for baggage! When there are a ton of expensive items one must consider the investment of them and is it something they will use? If you take a mixed media painting class and decide you suck at it but you have $80.00 invested in the supplies then you have to be prepared to eat that cost and donate the supplies or store them indefinitely in hope that one day you will use them.

Some students complain about instructors charging kit fees. I know my kit fees are usually the highest but that's only because I am buying silks to dye which cost. I don't make a profit off the kit fees. I figure my cost, which is the lowest since I have wholesale accounts, not at a retail value. I don't charge for the dye involved or the equipment I invest in to bring. I have to have microwaves to heat set the dye in. Lining up microwaves and garments racks for vendor day is stressful for me if I'm flying to a retreat so I attend those I can drive to. I just load the car with all I need and away I go down the highway. I am hoping that students understand why I charge the kit fee and that they understand they are getting a good deal. Another pro for the kit fee is that students don't have to order the silks and bring it with them. I hope they understand I can't afford to buy everyone the silk, so I charge for it.

I try to keep my supply list at the least amount of items I can. I understand about having to pack a mountain of supplies, I'm a student many times myself. But think if the teacher has to bring everything?!! It would be cost prohibitive to teach. Well it depends on what you're teaching and what it entails.

I took an art class with Kelly Kilmer years ago, before 911, when she could travel with a suitcase full of paints, and markers, and gel mediums and it was freeing for the student to just show up and get to experiment with all those goodies in the techniques she was teaching. But now it's hard to travel on an airplane with some of these items, let alone bringing a whole suitcase which you would be charged extra for after a lengthy inspection. Some items have to be shipped ahead of time, more cost. I sure hope students think about these issues and realize why kits fees are necessary and why they are asked to bring supplies instead of everything being supplied for them.

This is what my car looks like after it's packed with stuff to take to teach at an art retreat.

So now I'm filling out the applications and really paying attention to these issues.

For all retreat goers and instructors who are reading this I'd like to know your thoughts on this subject!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wisconsin Journey

The trip to Wisconsin was successful. It was the family reunion on my husband's mothers' side. The bugs were incredibly awful! Swarms of mosquitoes and biting flies I did not relish but the rest of the time there was great. I walked the gentle sloping fields to the creek, I looked intently at the clouds, clouds we don't see often where I live in California, thunderheads and approaching storm clouds filled with rain. I noticed wildflowers, trees, and rushing stream waters. I slathered on repellent hourly to fight against the relentless bugs. (did I already mention that?).

We took my 93 year old mother-in-law who has trouble walking because of sciatica and weak hip and knee joints that are painful for her. We lined up wheelchairs in the airports. We took a direct flight from San Jose to Minneapolis and then a long trip through the terminal to baggage claim (I kid you not, miles between gate and baggage). We were glad we had hired a nurse friend to go with us. After we left the airport it was still a 3 plus hour drive to the farm which put us there close to midnight. The next morning we drove an hour away to Rice Lake to rent an RV for Rose to be comfortable in for the next several days. She doesn't remember a lot, short term memory is fairly gone. After we got her settled in the RV she wanted to know where her keys were so she could lock up and we explained she didn't need them to lock up, that she was in an RV at the Farm. She thought she was back home and then asked how she got to the farm. She couldn't remember the previous whole day of traveling, even though she stayed awake all those hours. She has moments of being lucid and remembering and then it goes away and she gets disoriented. But she has such a positive attitude, always upbeat and things are just fine. I hope if and when I get to that stage of life I will be as pleasant as she is but I think I might be the grumpy old lady type.

The nurse left us on Sunday and we were the ones to take care of Rose and on the long travels home on Monday. It made me appreciate care givers so much. I realized I am not the nurse type. It isn't that I don't care or have the compassion, it's the actual physical part of what it entails to care for someone on this level, having the stomach for it I guess. Lelani, we appreciate you sssooooo much for all you do!

Now I'm home, that journey is over and I'm preparing for my next one to Phoenix. The kits are made for my class and I'm finishing up some pieces I've been working on to sell on vendor day. AND Joanne, one of those pieces is your duster jacket. This is a garment my friend Joanne sent me to upcycle for her and bring to Art Unraveled. She wanted to be surprised and I'm having such a hard time not to send her pictures and ask if she likes it so far. I just have to have faith she will!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"It's A Family Reunion Like You Wouldn't Believe" .......

....... A line from the song "Skinner Creek" off of Michael's cd Reunion.

We'll be heading to the 100 year anniversary of the farm Michael's mother grew up on in Northern Wisconsin tomorrow. We're taking his mom with us who turned 93 last month. They'll probably be 100 people there, camping in tents, in RV's, and staying up all night around the camp fire. Five full days and no computer. This will be the interesting part, not be "connected" for five days. It's debatable as to whether we'll even have cell reception or not. My kids are going with us, ages 22 and 19. Think they can survive 5 days without computer access or cell phone? Hhmmm. No texting?!

I'm looking forward to walking to the creek, fishing, tubing the Flambeau, seeing fireflies at dusk, eating fresh caught and cooked fish, having no schedule, telling stories around the fire. I'm not looking forward to the mosquitos as big as houses, sleeping in a tent on the ground without an air mattress, ticks & chiggers.

I'll be back on the 20th and then I'll be getting ready to travel to Phoenix for Art Unraveled to teach and vend.

Hope everyone is having a lovely summer!

"I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."

— Robert Frost

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Handkerchief Poppies

I've created more vintage handkerchief flowers which remind me of poppies, especially like the Matilija poppies that are in bloom around my house now.

I have just listed a few of these pins I've made on my wayward threads Etsy shop.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Handkerchief Poppies

Over the years I have collected printed hankies and always wondered what to do with them. The color and cheeriness of them attracted me to buy them at flea markets and thrift stores until I have accumulated quite a pile of them. I stored them in a round Blue Bell ice cream container for years until a few weeks ago I took them out again to admire them. I have to do something with these!

I had seen other artists make flowers out of them but they cut them and I couldn't bring myself to do that. Am I nuts? I started gathering them and folding them and pinning them on garments and finally I came up with a flower I could make them into. When I sent the pictures to show my sister she commented that they looked like poppies and I agree they do have that floppy quality of a poppy so that's what I've decided to call them. I did not cut them, they are hand stitched so if someone wanted the hankie back again (?) the stitching could be remove.

I've sewn vintage buttons as centers and each flower will have a pin back sewn on so you could wear these on any garment, a hat, or perhaps use them to decorate a room.

I've only made these two so far but just had to share them and plan to make more. Wouldn't a bowl full of these be uplifting to see?