Create with Best Friends You’ve Never Met

cate pratoGiddy. Giddy, I tell you. That's how I felt when I arrived at our first CREATE retreat last year and the stars came out. There I was, standing at my Studios booth in the store and display area, and one by one, artists I felt I knew–but I had never met–wandered in. 

cate and blinn at createIt was like having  a frontrow seat at a Hollywood red carpet event. Oh my gosh, it's Beryl Taylor! Look, Jane LaFazio! And Jamie Fingal with Leslie Tucker Jenison–hey, they are best buds in real life. Linda Blinn, Kelli Perkins, Judy Coates Perez–all amazing artists I'd interviewed, emailed, and Facebook friended…whose art left me breathless–they walked right in front of me.

And then, they each came up and hugged me. What's more, I watched this scene played out all around me, the entire weekend, as other "friends who've never met" hugged and squealed as they met for the first time or again after a long separation.

Then the best part: everyone got to make art together.

This year we will host two CREATE retreats. The first one comes up in Costa Mesa, California, May 18-21, 2011, and we already have an impressive line-up of artists I can't wait to meet. Here's a sneak peek.

Thomas Ashman

Mixed-media artist and bookbinder Thomas Ashman is this year's Cloth Paper Scissors "Art Journal/Bookmaking Artisan 2011." He has developed unique book binding techniques using glass, sheet metal, and various types of hardware for binding and covering handmade art journals.

He is going to teach "Charming Sheet Metal Pendants" and "Dremel Applications for Mixed Media Artists."

Joanne Sharpe

"Whimsical art maker" Joanne Sharpe is a nationally recognized artist, licensing designs to the crafts, fabric and giftware markets. She is known for her brand of distinctive hand lettering and use of bright, bold colors. And I'll tell you, I could use an infusion of Joanne's juicy art during this cold, white winter.

Joanne will be teaching "Color Blast Buffet Journals" and "Oh My Word! Artful Lettering Inspiration Journals."

Ty & Marcia Shultz

And now for something completely different: After art school Ty & Marcia Shultz started a business making props for the movie industry making molds, sculpting, painting, casting in metal, plastic and rubber among other techniques. In their classes, they try to introduce new materials and techniques previously unavailable or unfamiliar to artists, opening new vistas for them.

They will teach "Critters and Creatures" and "Mold Making 101."

The range of artist who will be teaching at CREATE this year is wide and varied. The entire list of instructors and classes, as well as registration information, is all available on the CREATE Costa Mesa Retreat website. Go visit it now for the scoop!

I know I can't wait to meet my old friends, make new ones, and make art together. 

P.S. Did you go to CREATE last year? Which "friend you've never met" did you get to see there? What was that like? Leave a comment below.

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