Gearing up for Art is….You! Stamford

Mixed Media CollageLast year was my first year for Art is You and I’ve already written that I felt so fortunate to have found out about it online while surfing around for mixed media art technique tutorials and other info.  Mind you, this is a prime example of my finding something that sounds perfect and going with my gut.  It wasn’t until I was already there I learned there are other art retreats held in various parts of the country and oh so much more cool Art is You! specific detail.

Given my newbie status last year I must say I prepared rather well and there’s not a whole lot I’m doing differently this time…well maybe a lot of things but more like fine tuning vs. major game plan overhaul. Here are some of the things I did to prepare better and set myself up for a better time in general…

  1. Staying at the Sheraton the entire time.  Having a home base in the midst of all the action is worth the few bucks I might save at a cheaper hotel.
  2. I’m prepared to take copious notes throughout because all I thought I’d remember when I tried doing things a second time back home….I was missing quite a few steps.
  3. Created a small binder for myself with print outs of the overall agenda, workshop descriptions for my classes, instructor bios, supplies lists.  I know everyone is going to wish they had one too so I’m cross-posting this to the yahoo group so get the word out while there’s still time!  Image
  4. Put the supplies for each class in individual mini storage bins.  I’m taking a class each day so with five classes it’s easy to get mixed up about what’s needed for which class….there is a good bit of cross over esp with paints and brushes but the things unique to each class are in their own container.  Thank you Dick Blick!
  5. Made it a point to find and join the private Yahoo group for attendees.  Doing so kept my excitement high, served as frequent reminder to get my gear together, enabled me to get to identify a few people that I absolutely must meet in person, find a friend from the DC area and arrange to have a drink together when we get there on the 9th.
  6. Got myself an inexpensive tutu…the cheerleader or whatever in me hates to be without a costume when I have an opportunity to dress up.  The tutu might be for one special event or day but I have to say that I might wear mine every day…not sure if I can stand the tiara on the whole time but it’s going with me for sure!
  7. Taking classes every day/every opportunity.  I learned so much last year that took me so far in my art through the past year that I  decided if I’m going to make the trip I’m going to max out on learning everything and anything I can from this group of great teacher artists.  The repeats:  Jodi Ohl and Sue Pelletier.  The “I signed up too late and her class was full but I’m so excited just to see her again:  Tracy Verdugo from Australia.  The new ones:  Andrew Borloz and Andrea deMeng.

One thing I did not do that I still may regret, or at a minimum consider doing differently next year is shipping all of my supplies to the hotel in advance so I can take the train up to CT without worrying about dragging the supplies with me.  I’m not looking forward to driving up alone even though I love to drive my little BMW and it’s basically a straight shot up I-95…it just gets long especially on the way home when I’m tired from the virtually non-stop activity and engagement and sensory overload and stimulation.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Art Case!!  LOL



  1. I look forward to meeting you. This will be my third year. I live in Arlington, ship my things ahead, and take the train. It is lovely to travel “hands free”. If you look back a few days on the AIY Yahoo group, you will see that we have another DC area attendee this year, Ellen. It is wonderful to know that our numbers are growing. Be sure to say hello on tutu night — I’ll be the little old lady in an aqua and purple kaftan. Judy Hand Pitts

    • Hi Judy – I’m looking forward to meeting you too and unlike last year I am following all of the posts on the Yahoo group so I did make Ellen’s acquaintance on there and she’s also taking the train (Wed) and we’re going to meet up for a glass of wine that evening so if you’re arriving Wednesday and you’re up for it please come find us in the bar. My tutu is black and it’s rather long – – contemplating doing a little something with it to fluff it out more and raise the hemline from mid-calf to the knee – I’ll get to that next week! Hey, remind me to show you my art journal entry about the dream I had of my great granny – in the dream she had on a gorgeous aqua and purple kaftan, LOL…..I would love to do hands free travel but since I’m driving I don’t mind bring it all with me – but I was determined to keep all of my supplies organized and my agenda front and center because I don’t want to be surprised about what I’m to work on when I get to my workshops…..
      I honestly could’t imagine that this year could be that much better than last but having kept in touch with all of my teachers from last year as well as Sallianne and Ellen and having a list of “have to meet” new people started from interacting on the Yahoo group…..I’m going to be floating from this one for quite a few months after getting back home, I can tell already!

  2. All good advice, I attended 2 years ago, couldn’t return last year as we moved house, but this year I am returning.
    I brought with me last time all the items on class supply lists plus so much more…”just in case” which I didn’t need so I have learned this time.
    My carry on case for the airplane will be used to transport items to the class and like you I have separated each class supplies into separate muslin bags (as I am flying…only way from England lol)
    Tutu is ready, pink pjs for the pyjama day…tiara currently being made by a friend.

    I am taking Sue Peleetier class on Monday and Jodi’s on Sunday so should see you.

    I ended up having 5 boxes mailed home as I had a trip to Michaels…Heaven.

    Downtown is definitely needed, I indulge myself by having a room to myself, one because I snore and two so I can close the door and unwind – there is so much to do all the time.

    So I look forward to meeting you and to giving you a trade.

    13 days and counting x

    • Dawn,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting – love that –
      I’m likewise really looking forward to meeting you and I’m dying to see this tiara…..handmade by a friend huh? Sound like it’ll be fit for a queen…which by the way, couldn’t you have just borrowed one from you know who since you’re over there and all, LOL.
      I’m in Jodi’s class on Thursday and Sue’s on Monday so we’ll overlap by one class – yeah!!
      So excited!!

  3. C-Sweet, this is all terrific advice. I have participated in a dozen or so polymer clay three to four day retreats, and all of this is so true.
    Staying at the same venue is a big difference. With these kind of folks impromptu things happen all the time. And the brain and senses get so filled all day long, you need the energy for regrouping/sleeping, not commuting!
    Take notes. Lotsa notes. And pictures if possible. Then as soon as possible, even if it’s not until you get home, go back through the notes and make them make sense. Otherwise you’ll go back and look at them sometime weeks or months from now and wonder what in the world that scribble was supposed to mean. You’re going to be taking so much in at each class, it all starts to blur. I’d suggest a notebook of some sort to take to all the classes and leave lots of blank space between each class and each line for when you go back and clean it up. And this would be a good place to put a copy of your schedule, so you always have it with you.
    I’m taking a container for each class too. And as you said, there is a significant cross over for tools, so I’m leaving a note in each bin that reminds me to grab what I need from the previous bins!
    So, so glad I found the Yahoo group.
    Secret Cheerleader, eh? As a semi-retired professional clown, any chance to wear wild and crazy is right up my alley! I suspect there are a lot of inner children being let loose at this event. (If you don’t have a tutu, there are feather stoles in almost every craft store…)
    Take advantage of everything you can join for expanding your horizons. But be aware that you can go into overload. Take regrouping time or downtime when you need it, or it can all turn into just one big blur.
    Rolling suitcases and rolling bins are a godsend. Even just getting one of those rolling supermarket wire bins collapse down to near nothing, but can help immensely getting your art stuff (bins, magazines, paints, all that STUFF!) from the car to your room, or that kind of thing. Somewhere on the AIY website is suggested a rolling backpack or carry on kind of thing to carry your stuff to class and such. Great idea, it leaves both hands open for hugs and shopping!
    C-Sweet, I hope I didn’t hijack your message. I wanted to say you have excellent suggestions here, and I am reiterating they are great ideas!
    One more suggestion? For those who have a hard time with heat (hot flashes?) and air; Black and Decker makes something called a Snake Fan. About $20. Works on batteries, takes up little space. (there are other very small, battery driven fans too) Can provide some air movement and coolness when your having a power surge!

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