Monday, November 7, 2016

In the Art Room: Art Conferencin' in Illinois!

Y'all, I'm just back from another incredible art conference this time in the great state of Illinois, a place I called home for many years. I had so much fun presenting (I was one of the keynotes, eep!), teaching and learning that I just had to share. The art educators of Illinois really know how to make a girl feel welcome and put together a FABULOUS conference to boot!

I kicked off their conference with a chat in a lovely renovated theatre in downtown Normal. I was thrilled that so many folks made it out to hear me chat, I thought for sure they'd be sleeping off their Cubs win. I really enjoy speaking with other art teachers, they truly are the best crowd!
Almost immediately after that, I lead a two hour needle felting session. I love teaching hands-on classes at conferences as it feels like hosting a craft night at my house. Just a bunch of soon-to-be friends, sitting and relaxing all while learning something fun and new. I was so inspired by what folks were creating!
My friend Heidi made this super cute Starry Night inspired hair clip to go with a dress of hers. If you aren't familiar with Heidi's blog, you need to check it out! 
 I love that folks were all set to needle felt on their clothing. Check out this sweet scarf that got a lovely flowery update!
 Amazing art teacher Jen Baker was my BFF at the conference as she made sure I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do at all times (and, with a flake like me, that's a pretty tall order). In all seriousness, Jen was BEYOND amazing as I was witness to her working her tail off the entire conference making sure that EVERYONE was happy and having a great time. She needle felted this sweet little palette on her sweater!

Sue at Back to Back Fiber provided the supplies for our workshop. She sent us beautiful sheets of prefelt that we also used to create wee masterpieces with. 
 Of course we had to make Palette Hair Clips! It's how you know you are officially Needle Felt Certified! 
We even had folks needle felting over holes in their sweaters or dreaming up the cutest of motifs. 
I mean, look how stunning!
For realz tho, my fave part of art teacher conferencin' is making new friends, hearing about their art rooms and learning from them. 
 And even if we aren't talkin' art, we are ALWAYS having a good time!
It was such a wonderful group to sit and stab stuff with. Thanks, ladies, y'all are the best!
Because I just can't get enough of all things fibers, I attended a class by the Fibers Queen herself, Natasha of Ester's Place. Not sure if Natasha knows it or not but she's kinda like my fibers BFF. I love hanging out with her. We had the best time at the conference!
We made these amazing wet felted flowers. I'm not a lover of wet felting...but Natasha is changing my mind! Full details on these projects soon. 
After a wee break, I joined several dozen art teachers for a relaxed and informal Q & A session. That was so fun! We shared ideas, stories and laughed a lot. The best part was we had a very wonderful group of college kids in our group who were fun to share our thoughts on art teacherin' with. 
 This here is one of them! Pleasure to meet you, Samantha!
 Buddies from way back. Always fun to see Kris and make new friends.
 I was super excited to finally meet Deyana in person. We've been internet buds for it really was like chatting with an old friend. She's the owner of Socks and Souls which you should really check out. They have some GREAT art themed socks. I scooped up several. 
 Making friends from my old stomping grounds was so cool. My buddy Nora teaches in Joliet where I grew up!
Jen and I managed to stay out of trouble late into the evening with a group of other art teacherin' types. 
 The next day, I was back hanging out with Natasha again. We made the world's biggest felted collaborative piece. Can you believe this beauty?! I will DEFINITELY be sharing a complete blog post on this with video included. It was so much fun!
Illinois, I had a blast! I was so excited to speak and share with y'all as well as LEARN from some of the best art educators I've met. I was so thrilled to speak in this theatre that I had Jen snap my photo under the wasn't until the photo was taken that I realized the movie they were showing. Idiocracy. How fitting!
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  1. #ilaea16
    You were a FABULOUS addition to our conference. We hope you return next year to learn all about more arty things!

  2. My mom and I took the wet felting silk scarf class from Natasha at Esther's place. So much fun!!


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