|Looking out to sea from the beach at the Anacortes ferry dock.|
We checked into Earthbox just moments before we were due to meet Robin and some of the other students for dinner, connected with our "sister-from-another-mother" Jenny, and were on our way "downtown" (3 blocks away) for the start of our dream workshop weekend.
It was the first time I'd met Robin in person. She is taller than I thought from her pictures, very pretty and slim. She was beautifully dressed (every day!) and wearing a gorgeous beaded necklace she'd made herself.
|Lampwork beads at Dream Beads|
We started off with a "meet-the-artist" event at Dream Beads. Leilani Dyer made us welcome and we mixed, mingled, and picked out special beads we'd like to put on our bead embroideries. Dream Beads is a small store with a big heart and a surprisingly large variety of beads and tools. I was particularly fascinated by the large selection of lampwork glass beads by local artists.
The workshop started promptly at 9 a.m on Saturday morning. Robin has the impressive ability to teach while simultaneously drawing clear bead diagrams, complete with thread paths, on a flip chart. And - she makes it look easy! I know from experience that it's not! We all practiced the stitches on small samplers.
|Working on our samplers|
|Robin created this quilt using twelve of her Bead Journal Project pieces.|
Deb Nolan, of Deb Nolan Custom Catering came highly recommended. One friend said, "People will come just for the food if they know Deb is catering." They would have, too! Deb worked with a long list of food allergies and preferences and served us the best vegetarian soups, salads, whole-grain breads, and little "protein sides." She is such a neat lady! Such a good cook, for one thing, and highly organized and efficient and just as nice as she could be. The food was awesome good.
The tables were set up in a U and Robin moved around the center in a rolling chair, helping individually. The great thing about a small group setting like this one is that everyone had a chance to ask one-on-one questions and the others get to hear the answers and learn from each other.
She also called us over in small groups to demonstrate a particular stitch and share how it could be expanded, using her own works as examples. Again, being able to see and hold the actual pieces added a lot to the learning.
|Look at these happy smiles!|
Easter Sunday was Day 2 of the workshop. It was beautiful and clear and cold (45 F?) when we went out to breakfast. Everyone we met in Friday Harbor was so friendly and warm. They really made us feel welcome. Did I plan to have a workshop on Easter? No. I had no idea it was Easter weekend and it kept surprising me.
Many of us, including me, were a little under-the-weather. I love the spring flowers, but they don't love me so much anymore. Still, determined to bead and learn!
Beading all day long wasn't enough! We had evening sessions after dinner, too. One night I put in a stacked bezel around a flower and decided that it was just too high and took the entire thing out before I quit for the night. The next night I worked peacefully on my sampler and really practiced some edgings I wanted to know more about. There is an endless variety of things you can do using four or five basic stitches.
It was fun having my sisters Lola and Jenny there with me. We all had the same basic kit with a prepared piece of fabric, 3 sizes of beads and some sequins. In addition, we could add anything we wanted from our own stashes. Over and over again, without looking at each other's beads, Lola and I would choose the same colors and sizes of beads on our samplers. Sisters!
|Lola's sampler on the left, Peggy's on the right|
Beaded Treasures" book - I've been wanting it for a long time. Snuck a peek at it on the way home on the plane - oooh, can't wait to try it. I have lots of charms and individually interesting beads.
I pretty much bought beads everywhere. Fusion Beads, Dream Beads, Vital Elements.... my brother Mark invited me to go bead shopping with him on Monday and I actually declined in favor of going to the big video store. I wanted to get a present for Doc Matt, one he'd really like, not some hot pink gimcrack orca coffee mug from the ferry, that leaked so badly it ended up in the Goodwill bag. Oh wait, that was MY souvenir gift, not his. If I'd known Mark was going to give me a double daily budget gift when I got back in the truck, I might have re-considered that choice. EXCEPT - we got a whole season - 26 episodes - of the original Star Trek, which will give us many evenings of entertainment.
And I got plenty of great beads, including 24 K Delicas, pearls, titanium, hematite, whales, and some great shell dentelles and cockles.
|Stone cabochon, dentelles, cockles|
|View from the lanai at Lola's - the camera click scared this little squirrel and he ran away.|
Was it my dream workshop? In many ways, YES! Johnny Depp didn't come, but it was probably just as well. We had a superb teacher in Robin Atkins, truly inspirational. I met some great people and enjoyed seeing their work and getting to know them better. The food was awesome. We were surrounded by natural beauty and plenty of flowers. I think everyone had a good time. I hope so!
Would I organize one again? Probably...although I'd rather just be a student at a workshop someone else organized and coordinated.
|Roche Harbor, San Juan Island|