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Don’t forget that Art & Soul Retreats has a very special talk radio program to keep you inspired in-between events!

Hosted by professional artist and mentor Lesley Riley, Art & Soul Radio explores all aspects of the creative process. Whether you’re just beginning to explore your creativity or are a professional artist, this show is for YOU! Guests and topics include artists, authors, art materials and techniques, the business of art, creative blocks, “aha” moments and more.

Every other week the show offers a plethora of creative ideas! Personally, professionally and artistically you’ll generate more abundance, clarity, confidence and creative energy as your host, Lesley, inspires, encourages and ignites your Creative Spirit! Join us for our next exciting interview, or listen to past episodes… all for free!


I always seem to “fly by the seat of my pants,” making decisions “on the run” and then I wonder why my life seems to be so hectic and chaotic?  But I wouldn’t know how to live any other way. Life would be boring for me if all were planned and organized too far in advance.  So, with that philosophy, I made a snap decision to attend the Houston Quilt Festival, which took place a week after Portland Art & Soul. I had been toying with the idea of going for months, but was uncertain about making a commitment so close on the heels of A&S, knowing that I most likely would have the post event body deterioration. However, everything fell into place, the Universe wanted me to go, so I boarded Continental at the crack of doom in the morning and headed east.


I was told that the Convention Center in Houston is the size of 3 football fields, and of that I have no doubt. It was HUGE. It reminded me of how I feel when I walk into Fabric Depot, complete fabric overload. Where do you go first?  What do you select? What can you make? I want it ALL and it’s so confusing that I usually end up leaving with nothing. When I was young (ahem, a couple of years ago) I sewed everything.  As the years progressed and my interests changed/developed, I left sewing behind. Lately, however,  being surrounded by fabric artists like Lesley Riley and Ruth Krening, I’ve found myself yearning for a new sewing machine….and projects. Not quilting, I have no patience for the time involved creating those amazing works of art,  but more in the mixed media realm.  So here I was, in the middle of this gigantic seamstress’ playground, having a fabric clastrophobic experience. It was Art & Soul vendor night on steroids.

I ran into many A&S attendees,  instructors and business associates. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the word travels at a gathering, even with 55,000 attendees present. It’s almost like we have an invisible antenna network. I would be puttering along in my scooter, and bam! There was Mary Fisher.  “I heard you were here”, she said.  It was fabulous to reconnect with her. We would finish our conversation, head our separate directions, and then bam!  There was Alma de la Melena Cox!   “I heard you were here”, she said, and the reunion would commence.  This connection continued each day as I met and was introduced to more and more delightful people.

The most fun occurred on Wednesday evening. I had just left Lesley’s booth and was heading to Make It University, when bam!  There was Cindy O’Leary and DJ Pettitt.  What a reunion we had!! 


As the saying goes, “What happens in Houston, stays in Houston!!”  Heh heh heh.


There were traditional quilts.

goat quilt

And fun quilts (my personal favorites). 


There were hundreds of quilts and unbelievable expertise. I took a class in ribbon embroidery; something that I have been wanting to learn for quite a while. Very relaxing and rewarding (for me), so naturally I had to purchase a ton of hand died silk ribbons.


I looked at all the sewing machine booths and managed not to cave to the show hype.  I have no clue as to what type of machine I eventually want to own.  Those fancy ones scare the heck out of me.  They appear to be possessed.

I was there for 5 days and did not complete the entire circuit.  I thought our mixed media people were dedicated, but we cannot begin to hold a candle to the quilters.  It is fun, though, to see that there is  a definite cross over between the two mediums.  The $10,000 award winning quilt was embellished with paints and fibers.  It was a free hand eclectic design of a flying woman.  Quite original and ornate.  Not a traditional quilt at all.

The Make it University booth, sponsored by Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors was swamped the entire time. I enjoyed watching the people eagerly await each drawing to see if they were selected for a free class.  Pokey Bolton and her crew did an amazing job that week.  I was tired just watching the enthusiasm at the booth.  But to me this is a further indication that mixed media is truly a medium for all endeavors.

Friday morning arrived and I knew it was time to return home. I hadn’t given myself enough time to recover from Portland and this whirlwind was quite the experience. My body was telling me that I had probably overdone it a bit and sure enough….I managed to fall at the airport. I am fine, but am looking at the possibility of surgery next year. Not something that I want to contemplate in any manner, but I suppose that I have been putting it off for too long.  However, right now I have much to do , so it’s off to the next adventure!!

What a great turnout for Portland this year. The Embassy was a bustle of activity as attendees and the public mingled and shopped on vendor night. It was great to see so many folks taking advantage of the gift it was to have all of these amazing artists, instructors and suppliers in one place. And the selection of vintage ephemera and photos, mixed media art, paper goods, jewelry, charms and tons more, was out of this world. It never ceases to amaze me how our vendors find some of these treasures, antique milk bottle caps, flash cards, keys from a 1,000 years ago, (okay, maybe not that far back). Incredible. A good time seemed to be had by all. I know I enjoyed myself. Can’t wait for next year. 


Blue ballons (and beautiful charms).


Vintage keys and other goodies.


Vintage dolls.


Visitors and attendees finding treasures.