Monday, October 24, 2016

In the Art Room: Wisconsin Fall Art Conference, 2016!

So, never having been a teacher of any other subject, what I'm about to say is completely based on my totally biased and awesome opinion: Art Teacherin' Conferences Are THE BEST Conferences. There. Take that Typing Teacher Conferences (1. Is there such a thing? 2. It took me five minutes to come up with some sort of teacherin' conference to reference without hurting feelings. Sorry, Typin' Teachers. Y'all just don't strike me as the party animal type).
Last Wednesday, I got up at the butt-ugly hour of 2:30 am (that is MORNING, people) because I was so eager to get to the Wisconsin fall art conference and join my soon-to-be best friends. Well, that and the fact that the only decent flight I could find was at that unholy hour. Flying over Wisconsin was a beautiful treat. Can you believe this landscape? 
The WI fall conference was in LaCrosse which is my new favorite town. There's a bar, an antique shop and coffee spot on every corner. That's a winning town in my book. As I was walking out of the airport, my two favorite Wisconsinites were walking in to pick me up: Jen Dahl and Tiffany Beltz. Both Jen and Tiffany worked their tails off to make the WI art conference amazing. Tiffany went above and beyond recruiting fantastic presenters, hand-stenciling over 400 packets for each attendee, baking cupcakes for all involved AND presenting her self! She's a beast, that Tiffany Beltz. I want whatever she's having. Seriously, Jen and Tiff, y'all made my trip a wonderful one, thank you so stinkin' much!
After having a wonderful breakfast with Jen and Tiff, I did my best to lend a hand and help set up. Really, there was nothing to it, they had everything so well organized. That evening, there was a lovely reception for the art teachers who had artwork on display. It was there that I got to meet my online friend Jeanne Bjork. What I loved so much about meeting my folks whom I've only known online is the ease that I can chat with them. It's almost like reuniting with old friends. 
That morning, after a lovely breakfast with Jeanne, I managed to pop into a sessions that looked like so much fun: Stuffed Monsters. Dustin Anderson, Wisconsin art teacher, lead the session and it was so much fun. Big shout out to Dustin for allowing me to crash his monstrous party!
My kids are gonna LOVE this lesson!
My favorite thing about attending conferences: making new friends and seeing what others create. Art teachers are so stinkin' creative, y'all. Go figure. 
Immediately after Dustin's session was mine. I taught two hour long needle felting classes back to back. I love teaching needle felting because it's a craft that EVERYONE can do. It's like having a big ole craft night with all of your new favorite friends. 
We stabbed and stabbed ourselves palettes or anything else we had in mind. My buddy Lindy needle felted poppies onto a pair of leg warmers!
 I do believe I created a bunch of needle felting monsters!
 The following hour long sesh created the same cuteness. Our supplies came from Back to Back Fiber (thank you, Sue!). 
I mean, look how cute! I wonder how many of these were worn when the teachers returned to school. 
I taught over 60 ladies to needle felt! I need to invest in a herd of sheep, y'all. 
After attending a wonderful presentation on mindfulness in the art room, I met up with a group of art teachers who wanted to take the later afternoon to soak up LaCrosse and it's vintage offerings. I had so much fun with my new buddies! We hit LaCrosse Prairie Vintage, a coffee shop and a three story antique mall all before settling down for Bloody Marys, deep fried cheese curd and something called Tat-Chos (um, tater tot nachos aka HEAVEN ON A PLATE). It was so funny, when we were paying the tab, my friend Bonnie remarked, "it seems like it must be so late!" We looked down at our watches only to find it was only 7pm. We'd worn ourselves out!
Bright and early the next morning, I was up and on stage. I was the keynote speaker for the conference (that sounds so strange to say!). I had so much fun sharing stories about my art teacherin', art makerin' and life living journey. Normally, I get a touch of the jitters when presenting but the folks of WI make me so comfortable that it was like chatting with old friends. Love all y'all!
Right after that, I was back to workshop teaching. This time, I taught two hour long sessions on weaving. We explored cord and straw weaving. 
Special thanks to Leah Keller, Frank Korb and Jeanne for helping me wrangle up supplies since I ran out! I managed to overpack my outfits and under pack supplies because #priorities. 
I really gotta say it again: my fave part of the conference: making new friends.
Hanging out with folks like Frank, making new friends and catching up with "old" ones is my most favorite thing ever. Thank you so much, Wisconsin, for having me. I love y'all and had an absolute blast!

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4 comments:

  1. It was a pleasure having you at this conference! It was definitely one of the best I have gone to- your keynote was great!
    It is a hoot to see myself on someones blog other than mine! Lol.
    Rock on Cassie! you are a wonderful spirit!

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  2. Bethany10/24/2016

    It was so awesome to have you in Wisco and so glad you loved it! It was great having you and I already started a cord weaving project with my kids! Thanks for the fun, project ideas and inspiration! :)

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  3. I sure do wish that I could see you "live" @ Dallas. I found out that you were presenting last week. I started teaching elementary this year and love everything you share.

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  4. Anonymous10/30/2016

    Hi Cassie! So glad you got to visit us in Wisconsin! While I was not fortunate enough to be in your weaving seminar, a friend of mine was and she mentioned that you were playing with the idea of weaving people. I've been doing character weavings for about three years ago, so I thought I would share. Check out my blog post for some pictures (http://esaaart.blogspot.com/2015/05/native-american-weaving.html). My friend also told me that she thinks your cord weaving technique would make great arms. Would you be willing to share how you do cord weaving?

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)