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Well, can I tell you what an adventure Art & Soul Portland was? With a Pocket Skirt Contest, dozens of classes, a couple hundred students, Vendor Night, book signings, an art auction featuring teapots decorated by instructors, free giveaways, and our on-site store open all day and all night… can you say… inspired!

The Pocket Skirt Contest was simply splendid with several participants vying for the top spot. From sweet to racy, from shiny to cutesy, from hand-painted to handy the lovely contestants gave us quite a show. The 4 winners received a free class at a future event in the categories of Most Wonderlanderful, Best In Show, Most Likely To Be Seen On A Paris Runway, and Most Functional. And the judges added one more category for Elliot, our emcee… Most Transparent! Can you guess which one she is? Hee.

The class selection was fabulous, with everything from making Metal Clay Charms to Steampunk Jewelry… from Flying Mechanical Birds…

to giant Big Birdz (but hey, they break down to fit in your suitcase!)…

and from Dumpster Diving to using Drill Presses, Chop Saws and more!

The camaraderie at Art & Soul is palpable. Everyone is so friendly and happy to be surrounded by other women (and men) who enjoy being inspired and pushing the limits of their creativity! Students and teachers sometimes become lifelong friends, as do classmates. It’s the kind of event where you could take a last minute class, and everybody would lend or give you supplies to use. We are a special breed!

The Vendor Night is a fabulous frenzy of mixed media madness. Many of the teachers sell their own creations as well as components so you can go home inspired and make more stuff. There’s also tons of local artists and retailers represented for more found object, exciting ephemera, cool collectible and beady goodness.

So, if you ever get the chance to attend one of Art & Soul’s Mixed Media Retreats, you’d definitely have a grand old time. And if you attended the Portland event, we’d love to hear about your favorite class or experience. Let us know!

And I’d like to extend a special thanks for the Art & Soul staff as well as everyone at the Embassy Suites, Sheraton, as well as Maria and her cast of helpers from Collage. You all make this event into something really special.

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I am mourning the loss of a long time supporter of Art & Soul and dear friend, Carol Parks.  May angels carry you on their wings, dear one.