Ah, Virginia! I love this state and what a good time I had in Hampton! Being here reminds of my childhood in the midwest - people are so friendly and things are more laid back than here on the West Coast. Traveling to Hampton is a long, all-day affair from Portland and the plane was late into Atlanta, causing the baggage to be left behind there. The last leg of the flight to Newport News was pretty scary at times, with major turbulence in one of those small puddlejumper kind of planes flying through the thunderstorm that had spawned the Suffolk tornado earlier. I was so happy to get to my room at the Embassy and fall to sleep after saying hello to my roommate, Maria. She owns Collage, a wonderful mixed media store in Portland, Oregon and brought her store to Virginia for the Art and Soul attendees.
The next day was spent getting the welcome bags ready and setting up the store and getting ready to welcome everyone. We had great food and fun at the opening night party and then sat down to be creative with the Ranger staff, who led us in making a beach-themed project. I sat next to Cyl, a gifted flamework and fused glass artist, who made the greatest frog glass beads for trades and later shared her beautiful fused glass cabachons with me. She has inspired me to learn how to flamework my own beads.
The week flew by quickly, meeting wonderful artists and getting to know the area. I ventured out to Norfolk to the Tidewater Lapidary Supply who has the most amazing collection of jewelry making tools and at a good price. While I only stopped by for saw blades, I left with new files and a new source of Grobet tools. Glenny loaned Keeley Barham, her mother and I the rental car and we drove to the local beach to put our feet in the Atlantic Ocean. The water was so warm, compared to the Pacific Ocean, but absolutely full of jellyfish. Several people were catching them in buckets and they were beautiful to watch as they pulsated in the water, but several of the kids on the beach already had welts from being stung.
After gathering a few shells, we went to Suffolk to visit the Shooting Star gallery and the Suffolk Art Museum. Both locations were having shows relating to words in art and handmade and altered books. It was an incredible display of books, including three by Lesley Riley. The currator in the museum donned her gloves and paged through Lesley's bird themed fabric book so we could ooh and aah over her pages. Inside the museum was an old cigarette machine that had been made to dispense small works of art called an Artomat. Apparently artists across the country populate these machines with art the size of a cigarette package and you put in your token and pull the knob of your choice to vend art - how cool is that? On the way back to the hotel, we saw one of the buildings badly damaged in the Suffolk tornado. How amazing and sad that the wind, which we long for as a breeze on a hot summer's day, could turn so violent and do so much damage. My heart went out to the victims and kudos to Glenny for donating the vendor night and silent auction proceeds to these devastated folks.
Vendor night was frenetic and wonderful, as always. And as always, there was so much more that I wanted to buy than I had money on hand. I was happy to see the Huskamps, Marylin and Tracie, again. And Tracie had made me the most wonderful necklace. I have loved birds since I was a small kid in the woods of Oklahoma and Missouri and Tracie presented me with a lovely handpainted bird pendant graced with an old vintage pin. And Marylin brought me dried flowers from Missouri, a state that is near and dear to my heart. Thank you both so much. I peeked in on their journal class the next day and was in awe of the work the students did in the class. The journals were beautiful. I later got to have dinner with the Huskamps and Lisa Englebrecht, whose calligraphy and artwork I have always admired, but have been too intimidated to try- my fifth grade teacher went gray trying to improve my cramped writing style!
On Sunday night I taught my class and could not have asked for a greater group of students. We had fun as learned how to drill rocks and shells and glass, etch copper, resin coat the copper charms and make a beaded bracelet to bring them all together. Here is a photo of student Christy Grant's beautiful bracelet. I had so much fun spending the evening with these talented ladies. But all too soon, it was time to pack up and leave. I hope to come back again and get more of a chance to explore the state almost all of my ancestor originated from in the 1600's and 1700's in hopes of finding some of the ancestoral sites mentioned in the genealogy research my sister has put together. Thank you all for your warm welcome and hospitality.