I am still vibrating from my experience at Pokey Bolton’s Craft Napa. At one point I was unable to sleep and I just voiced these phrases into my phone to capture the moment:
Porous minds, ready to absorb
I poured out ideas and they ignited
Fearless, open, adventurous students
Tidal waves of energy and creativity
Burned through curriculum in record time
Students left ready to create their own personal vision
Other teachers also felt that the Craft Napa energy put students and teachers alike into an uber creative state of mind. It is hard to describe and may sound overstated, but Craft Napa was unlike any event I’ve ever been a part of. The air was filled with energy and creativity and everyone was so caring, encouraging and supportive.
We even made the local paper.
I had a full slate of classes with Intro to Fearless Free Motion Quilting on Friday, Fearless Free Motion Fills and Frills on Friday and Modern Free Motion on Saturday. I saw passions ignite and students thinking about how they were going to quilt their next piece. I have never had a group of students like those of Craft Napa and it was pure heaven. At one point (thank you for the suggestion Jamie Fingal!) I let my students go to create their own original piece from what we learned in class. It was amazing-each student created fabulous a piece, on the spot. Oh how fun it was to see them create their own work! I do regret that I did not take more photos of class.
Several things set Craft Napa apart. The classroom venue (forgot to take a photo) was perfect. All seven of the large classrooms were set around a large, airy atrium. That allowed for easy mingling and peeking into other classrooms. Our classrooms were well lit and comfortable and Bernina/Meissner’s brought in 770’s and 550’s. My room had the larger 770’s and they were a dream to work on-easy, edited interface, huge bobbin and throat space and beautiful stitches-I was thrilled. We all agreed that the Bernina reps at Craft Napa were the best ever.
There were just no cliques, no distinction between students and teachers, locals vs travelers, quilters vs collagers, etc. There was a very open and accepting atmosphere that permeated all that we did. That made a huge difference in the classroom also-everyone was kind, open and supportive.
There was some sort of event every night. On Thursday night there was a wine blending event. I know nothing about wine and yet I had a blast! Each table had 8 “blenders” that worked together to create the best wine. We started with four barrel samples-Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, all from Napa Valley of course. Using measuring beakers and a pipette, each table created several blends and submitted the best one for judging. Each team chose their judge. My table tied for last place, giggle. I probably was not a big help.
The “Collage a Trois” table won and they were quite proud…and loud!
The next day we all received a bottle of the winning wine to take home-how slick is that?
Also, Meissner’s/Bernina gave away a Bernina 215 to a lucky winner and Karyn Meyreles from my local American Sewing Guild won the prize. Karyn was um, very demonstrative and quite happy with her win.
Friday night was the Artist’s Market where vendors could have a table to sell their wares. What fun! There was a huge variety of art, supplies, ThermoFax screens, fabric, and ephemera to choose from. I scored some fabric from Lynn Krawczyk, an indigo ephemera bag from Melly Testa and a lovely pin from Lilly Williamson that I promptly lost. It was just the coolest grouping of bits and pieces and art. And it provided yet another opportunity to hang out and meet other crafters/artists too.
Saturday was a wrap-up party at Pokey’s Barn.
The Barn space will eventually be a place for intimate classes of all sorts.
Pokey has carefully planned it to be a dream space to create in.
Pokey had a gigantic Bernina pinata created and it was filled with batting, Aurifil thread and other goodies. Apparently crafters need to up their pinata skills but eventually we broke in and scattered for the goodies inside. It was a nice way to wind down and get to know other creative souls.
I stayed over Saturday night and on Sunday Pokey had a very informal gathering to wind down and chat and enjoy each other’s company.
I was basking from the glow of such a wonderful event.
I treasure those moments of being able to get to know this incredible group of strong, amazing women. I created new friendships and grew current ones. I expanded my creativity and learned new things. I felt that students and instructors were reaching deep into their artistic soul. It was a Golden Moment that I cherish.
Oh how I hated to leave!
And I came home to this! It will be worth it, but in the meantime we will be moving out completely for 6 months…and then I will have my studio-WHOOP!
Craft Napa: You. Must. Go. Next. Year.