Ronni Hunter Studios

Abstracting the West

art quilt, collage, Exhibits, mixed media, surface designRonni HunterComment

In January I wrote a post about some pieces I was working on in response to an upcoming call for entry.  The pieces were finished before the end of 2015 but the call for entry didn't happen until spring.  I didn't want to say anything about these pieces until I knew if there were going to be restrictions about posting artwork that was accepted.  Happily, my work was accepted into the show and there are no restrictions, so I'm free to share.  

The Laramie Art Quilters group is hosting a show titled Abstracting the West.   The show will be on exhibit at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, which is part of the Wyoming State Parks system. The facility is best known for housing Butch Cassidy during his only stay behind bars. An historic treasure in Laramie, WY, the park welcomes over 29,000 visitors each summer. Their new exhibit hall will house Abstracting the West from July 1, 2016 until September 30, 2016.  The reception for this show will be on June 30th.

These three pieces came together so easily for me that I began to wonder if they lacked legitimacy.  It's funny how we can come to feel that "real" art only happens where there is a struggle involved.  I'm choosing to see this experience as an indication that this type of mixed media stitched work is what really makes my heart sing.  It is hard to tell from the photos, but there is more paper than fabric in these quilts.  

Colorado: Harebell

42" x 30"

(sandstone, blue sky, sunsets, wildfires, India Paintbrush, purple mountains, wildflowers)

Colorado: Aspen

42" x 30"

(Colorado forests of aspen and pine)

Colorado: Columbine

42" x 30"

(columbine flowers, aspens and pines, mountain lakes, starry nights)

Colorado: Aspen - detail

(In this detail image you can more clearly see the white organza applique that I used to create the focal images in all three pieces.)



Two shows!

acrylic paint, art quilt, collage, Exhibits, mixed media, surface designRonni HunterComment

Everything seems to be happening at once right now.  I have artwork in two different shows that are both having artist receptions tomorrow night.  I am happy to announce that my piece Reflections will be shown at the Art Students League of Denver.  I took at class last year with the wonderful Jo Fitsell, who invited me to participate.  I honored that she thought of me!

Summer of Art: ASLD Students’ Exhibit

Invitational- Faculty & Students
Exhibition Dates: May 25 – June 22, 2016
First Friday Artist Reception:  June 3| 5:30 – 8pm
The Art Students League of Denver is an inclusive and inspiring art community where artists of all abilities are guided by professional artists to reach their highest potential. This exhibit highlights the talent of beginning to advanced students chosen by their instructors to represent our artists’ community at its best!

A couple of years ago I took a class with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  The class was about painting canvas and then cutting it up and reassembling it into painted canvas quilts.  I was so inspired by the workshop that I went home and painted several canvases.  Unfortunately I was not struck by inspiration at the time and never came up with any ideas for what to do with these painted canvases.  Until now!  40 West Arts announced a call for entry with the theme of Drip!  My painted canvas had been largely painted with dripping paint so I knew this was the time to get those canvases out and make something.  The following piece came together and I'm excited to say it was accepted into the show.  It is titled Polychrome Rain.  The reception for this show will be at the 40 West gallery on June 3rd, from 5:00 - 8:00 PM.

 24" W x 43" H  Painted canvas and silk, collaged papers, acrylic paint, gold cord.  Machine stitched.

24" W x 43" H  Painted canvas and silk, collaged papers, acrylic paint, gold cord.  Machine stitched.



Urban Rhythms Show

acrylic paint, art quilt, collage, Exhibits, mixed media, surface designRonni HunterComment

Earlier this year I created this piece, titled All Dolled Up.  This is theoretically part of a series, the first of which is my piece Reflections.  I have in mind an ongoing series about feminism.  All Dolled Up explores the ways in which women feel obliged to remake themselves into perfect dolls in order to be "good enough" in a society that worships youth and has very narrow and unrealistic ideals of beauty.  The number 10 on one of the mannikins probably speaks for itself, but I thought I would explain that the other numbers on and around the other two mannikins are the first several numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence.  I'm no mathematician so I will just say that these numbers represent a ratio that is often seen in nature and is considered visually pleasing.

I'm a bit behind the 8 ball in sharing that this piece was,accepted into an art show being held at the Art Gallery at the DPAC and Backstage Coffee.  The venue is a nice cafe at the Denver Performing Arts Center, which is a really high profile venue for all the artists involved.  There are a lot of high quality pieces hanging in this show.  Between the great food at the cafe and the wonderful art on display I'd say it's very worth checking out!

Theme:  Urban Rhythm

Urban:  in, relating to, or characteristic of a city or town.

Rhythm:  Movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions.

The Art Gallery at the DPAC and Backstage Coffee is located at 1000 14th St. 1B-1, Colorado.  The show will hang from April 24th through July 10th, 2016.

Deconstructed Screen Printing

surface designRonni HunterComment

I got together with a friend last weekend and we did some deconstructed screen printing.  She has set up her whole apartment as an art studio and has a long print table in the middle of her living room.  It was awesome!  I made a messy chaotic screen that I was sure was going to look horrible, but the end result was wonderful!  Still messy and chaotic but I love it!  I don't know if I will use this as a whole piece or cut it up.  Probably cut it up, but we'll see.  I adore the look of deconstructed screen printing and it is so much fun to do, but it is a mess and I just can't see buying and storing the supplies at home.  But its a really great excuse to get together with my friend!  Thanks Karen!


ExhibitsRonni HunterComment

My quilt "Piece of Mind" was featured in the Adventist Hospital Healing Arts program in 2015. The Parker Arts Center is now featuring the Healing Arts Exhibit in conjunction with photography and music related to the concept of how the arts can aid in healing and health care.  This is another exciting opportunity for the artists to show their work in another venue.

Above & Beyond Exhibition

acrylic paint, collage, mixed mediaRonni HunterComment

I'm exited to announce that my piece "Reflection" was accepted into the SAQA Above & Beyone Exhibition which opens at the Lakewood Cultural Center on January 22nd.  The LCC Main Gallery is a really nice venue for an art show and I'm certain that the pieces on exhibit will be excellent.  This show is all about the vast variety of techniques and approaches that art quilters are taking with their work.  I submitted "Reflection" because the techniques include an image printed onto silk with my home computer and printer, unusual materials such as Lutradur and acrylic paint and fabrics that I had designed and either dyed or painted myself. This medium is so exciting and versatile, which is why I love it so much!


acrylic paint, art quilt, collage, mixed mediaRonni HunterComment

Not long after I took that workshop with Deborah Fell, I heard about an upcoming call for entry for a show that will take place in 2016.  I don't want to say too much about this because I'm not sure what the status of  this show is at the moment, but between the techniques I was using after the workshop and the call for entry, I was hugely inspired!  The "theme" I chose to interpret was my personal vision of Colorado.  There was a ton of leftover material from the workshop that I wanted to use, but in the end I had three large pieces in mind and had to make even more materials.  A surface design superstorm hit my studio when I got out the Gelli Plate, stencils, stamps, and any other mark making tool I could find.  When I thought I had enough collage material I painted some canvas and began collaging.  When everything was dry I cut the collaged canvas into 6 inch squares and combined the colors into the background for a quilt.  I forgot to take photos of the original canvases but I did take some of the second round. Here are some pictures of the uncut canvases and one of the backgrounds that I assembled.

Mixed Media Collage

acrylic paint, art quilt, collage, mixed mediaRonni HunterComment

Last September I took a workshop with Deborah Fell.  The workshop was a blast, and while I'm not sure I learned anything new in terms of technique, I did seem to get a lot of inspiration and I came away feeling like I had "permission" to do some of the work I've always wanted to do.  At the workshop I got started on several different pieces, but no where near finished on any of them.  When I got home I continued to work with one piece in particular.  I mostly took apart what I had begun at the workshop and revamped the whole thing.  Something about this process really spoke to me and I completed this piece in record time.  I began with color washes on a piece of canvas.  Then I collaged papers and fabrics on top with glue.  These collage items were created in a frenzy of mark making and painting until I had two tons of materials that I began randomly tearing up.  So fun!  When I had a collage I was happy with I added batting and backing and began stitching.  There is more paper in this "quilt" than fabric, and quite a few layers in some places but I had no trouble stitching it.  I love everything about this process and I'm thrilled with the result, although not so thrilled with the photo, LOL!  Here is the final piece.

BOP Abstract 2015

One For The Road Workshop

mixed media, collage, acrylic paint, art journalingRonni HunterComment

This past July I had the pleasure of attending another workshop with the amazing Lynne Perrella in Taos, NM.  I had never been to Taos before so it was a double treat for me.  The drive was stunningly beautiful!  The workshop took place at the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House with is a sort of bed and breakfast place near downtown Taos.  I would recommend staying there any time.  The food was fabulous and the atmosphere relaxed.  Our project was a folded book with a travel theme.  It took me about a month to get mine finished.  I'm not thrilled with the end result, but I enjoyed making it.  This is created on red rosin paper with acrylic paint, collage, and Portfolio water soluble oil pastels.

Front Cover

Pages 1 & 2

Pages 3 & 4

Pages 5 & 6

Back Cover

Gothic Ghost Tale

Ronni HunterComment

Although I failed to create much in the way of completed art work in 2014, I did spend some time working on projects.  Last June I blogged about a project I was working on that was all about Gothic windows.  I adore Gothic architecture and really wanted to do a piece about it.  I got to this point and got stuck:

I worried over it, thought about it, took it to both my critique groups, and still could not resolve certain design flaws.  Eventually I decided to put it away for a while and come back to it later.  "Later" became now when I saw that Somerset Studio magazine had put out a call for Gothic themed artwork for a 2015 issue.  The time away from the project was very helpful, as it allow my brain to percolate on solutions in the background and this time I was able to bring the project to fruition.  I will be mailing it off to Stampington and Co. this afternoon.  Wish me luck!  Here is the finished piece:

Gothic Ghost Tale

I was too busy to work!

Ronni HunterComment

Have you ever had a friend that moved away?  After a while you realized that you haven't called or written, and you feel so bad about it that you don't know what to say, so you don't call or write?  Next thing you know its been ten years.  That is sort of my relationship with this blog.  LOL!

Lest you think I developed a horrible lazy streak in 2014 I thought I'd fill you in on my busy year.  The truth is, I took too many classes! I was so busy working on projects I began in one class or another that I only got one piece of work finished.  I took classes on dying silk organza, marbling fabric and paper, learning from your own work, deconstructed screen printing, turning a watercolor painting into a quilt, making mixed media journals, and intuitive painting.  Whew!  I came out of all of that with some lovely pieces of fabric designed by Moi that I am excited to use in future projects.  Here is a little collage of some of the fabric I marbled:

I played in my art journal and spent quite a little bit of time working on a piece about gothic windows.  The windows piece hit a wall I couldn't get around so I put it on hold for a while so I could work on this piece below.  This one was accepted into both the Creation Health art exhibit being sponsored by the Adventist Hospitals and also the Front Range Contemporary Quilters online portfolio for 2015.  This is hand dyed (not by me) cotton, fused and machine quilted.

I am in the middle of working on a piece that I wanted to enter into a competition but the work is going slowing and I won't make the deadline.  I've also started a piece for a challenge with one of my critique groups.  We challenged ourselves to make something using some of our hand dyed/painted fabrics.  At some point I will find time to take some pictures.  Maybe.

Work in progress

Ronni HunterComment

Happy Friday!  I don't work on Friday's so all Friday's are happy for me.  I should write an ode to the flex schedule!

Today I thought I'd write a post about something I'm in the middle of working on.  This began as a result of a call for entry for pieces about arthictecture.  I was not able to get this started, much less finished, in time for the entry deadline, but I'm still working on it.  I decided that my love of Gothic architecture was a good place to start and I began working on this piece about gothic windows.  Here is a picture of an early stage of the piece:

These are pieces of painted Lutradur.  I have painted, stamped, and stenciled designs in my chosen color scheme and arranged the pieces in order.  One small piece is missing, but it shows up later.  The next photo is further along, after I have stitched all the windows and quilted the whole thing:

As you can't see, the quilting isn't very visible so I may go over it again to make the stitching bolder.  This is the point where I decide if I should bother continuing.  Actually, I've been wondering that for quite a while as I worked on this piece.  Most of my work hits this stage where I just don't feel like it's going well.  I think most people can relate to going through this difficult process!  I took a mixed media workshop with Lynne Perrella last year and she said that if you don't like what you have done so far on a piece, then you haven't done enough.  Of course, she is a "maximalist" so more is more!  A philosophy I totally agree with.  I decided that part of what I love about Gothic architecture is the busy ornateness.  Since I'm not satisfied with this piece right now, I plan to keep going!  At the moment I'm working on bas relief gargoyles in polymer clay.  When they are far enough along I'll show them to you!

New website and blog!

Ronni HunterComment

Welcome to my new website and blog!  After much prodding from a good friend, I finally got around to updating my on-line presence.  It is my hope that the new web site will prove to be a more professional way to present my art portfolio.  I kind of doubt I'll ever be an amazing blogger, but I do enjoy the chance to include more information about what I'm up to than the web site alone would afford me.  So!  On to business as it were!

The early part of this year I was busy with art journaling and I do not yet have photos to share.  As always, I got back around to mixed media art quilting and this is what I was working on:

Sorry for the somewhat blurry photo!  I have this opinion that "in progress" shots are not worth setting up the tripod.  I think I need to look into a better camera because if I don't use the tripod with this camera, I get blurry pictures.  Anyway, last year when I took the workshop with Sue Benner I cut out about a million pieces of prefused fabric in blue, gold, and olive green.  Since I had so many left over from the previous two projects, I decided to go for a third!  I did add some fusible to an inner office envelope for variety, and I spray painted through alphabet stencils to create the lettered fabric.  To make the green spirals I took pieces of green fabrics and fused them into a square shape.  Then I used a rotary cutter and cut the square on the bias to make multi colored strips of green.  I've done a little monoprinting and splattering with acrylic paint.  I was considering giving up on this project because my stitching came out much wonkier that I liked, but I've shown the piece to several people and they all think the wonky stitching goes well with the general wonkiness of the piece, so I guess I'll go ahead and finish it.

There is more to come on other projects in process, but one blog post at a time!  Thanks for stopping by.

2013: More catching up!

"Lynne Perrella", "Monoprinting", "abstract art", "art quilt", "art", "mixed-media", "quilting"Ronni HunterComment

In April 2013 I took a workshop with the amazing Sue Benner .  The workshop was all about abstraction and we were asked to bring some examples of artwork from another artist we admired.  Sue showed us images of artwork done by past artists who had used artworks they admired as inspiration for further abstraction studies.  The artist I chose for my inspiration was Lynne Perrella.  This was my first workshop with the Front Range Contemporary Quilters and I was hugely intimidated by my fellow students and Sue herself.  In spite of that I had a wonderful time and learned more than I could have hoped to in a few short days.  At the end of the workshop I had two very incomplete pieces of art, but seeing as I would be jetting off to Connecticut three weeks later I was not able to continue working on these pieces when I got home. The workshop in CT with Lynne Perrella and Michelle Ward was one of the best things I have ever done and also left me with unfinished artwork.  I spent the summer working on those pieces and then along came the workshop with Katie Pasquini Masopust and more incomplete art.  Well, I'm happy to say that I have now finished all the artwork I started in these various workshops.  At the end of the Sue Benner workshop my first piece looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

The photo does not do it justice as you cannot really see the lovely sheen of the silks and the sparkly organzas.  My best friend made the little polymer clay faces for me and I just love them!  Wow, putting these photos together is an interesting instruction in photography!  Hmmm.......  

The second piece that I began at that workshop looked like this when I got home:

Sorry for the blurry and off color photo.  Knowing it was nowhere near finished, I did not put much effort into taking a good shot.  I was pretty excited by this piece as it was quite a departure from my usual stuff and I liked where it was going.  After practicing on other things to explore monoprinting and quilting options, I ended up with this:

One of the most important things I learned from the three workshops was that I tend to be much too literal.  I am now exploring ways to take things further and to expand on my original concepts.  Invaluable!  Each of the pieces I began in a workshop last year has led to other pieces of art and more ideas.  I learned new techniques and made friends and I can't wait to do it again in 2014.

2013: Catching Up

"art quilt", "art", "collage", "graffiti", "mixed-media", "painted canvas", "quilting"Ronni HunterComment

2013 was a busy year!  I made a ton of art and really learned a lot.  I was fortunate enough to attend three very different art workshops and I spent most of the year either finishing pieces that I began at those workshops or making art inspired by what I learned.  In September I took a great workshop with Katie Pasquini-Masopust and I recently finished some of the work I began there.  The first piece is called "Cosmic Duet #1" and consists of two panels that are meant to be hung together.  The second piece is titled "Hot Graffiti".  I love both of them and love, love, love this technique!  Before this workshop I had never painted on canvas before and I love the way it feels and the fact that you can sew it.  How awesome to combine all my art loves:  painting, collage, and sewing!  Elements of this technique would apply nicely to paper too, although to be honest, the thing that makes these pieces sing is the quilting, which you could not do on paper. My mind is off and running with ideas for experiments! 

These are photos I took with my phone camera of the canvases for "Hot Graffiti" prior to cutting them up.  Sorry they are a bit blurry.  I had never used the camera prior to doing this!  Sometimes I feel like a Luddite.  LOL!


Painted Canvas

"art", "paint", "painted canvas", "spray paint", "stencils"Ronni HunterComment

In September I took a class with Katie Pasquini Mausopust where we learned to paint canvases, cut them up, and reassemble them to make art quilts.  The class was fantastic and I just loved Katie.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera and had to take pictures with my cell phone.  Now I can't get the pictures off my phone! I'll get that worked out eventually!  In the meantime, I was so inspired by Katie's class that when I got asked to make a memory book for a retiring coworker, I decided to paint and quilt some canvas.  I began by painting a background of colors in acrylic paint.  The result was fairly uninspiring but I intended to stencil over it so it wasn't too distressing.  After hand stenciling two large motif's I realized that doing it this way was going to take FOREVER and I was in a time crunch.  What a great excuse to go buy some of the new Liquitex spray paint.  Whoo-weee!  I spent a fun filled, happy hour out in the sun spray painting through all my stencils and the results came out better than I could have imagined.  The memory book looked great after I quilted it and I made a small bag for a friend out of a remaining piece.  Now all I have left are some small pieces and these photo's.

Far Away Places - Finished!!!

"art", "collage", "mixed-media"Ronni Hunter1 Comment

I finally finished the pieces that I started at the Far Away Places workshop in May.  It took me a month and a half, but that's not too bad for three pieces of art.  At the workshop, Michelle advised us to COMMIT. Decide on one thing and commit to it, and the next step will follow.  When I got stuck working on these pieces I tried to follow her advise.  Truthfully, on the project above, I felt like I didn't have a clue and was going to screw it up anyway, so I might as well just do whatever came to mind.  It worked!  I can't say that I accomplished the things Michelle was trying to teach us, but I did end up with a piece that I'm happy with. After working on this piece I found myself with a big desire for more stencils!

My '"far away place" was some sort of mix of Gothic European elements and Indian elements.  Two styles I love.  This piece is 12.5" x 36" in real life.  I blurred out the face because I don't own the photo.  I have no intention of selling this piece or submitting it to an art show, and I don't intend to profit from it in any way. But I am really happy with it and wanted to show it on my blog.  There is a lot of Portfolio oil pastel on this piece, along with acrylic paint and collage.  The acrylic paint goes over the pastel very well, but it scrapes back off the pastel quite easily too.  The substrate is red rosin paper, and many of the collage elements are on plain old photo copy paper.  Considering the delicate (and non-archival) nature of the materials, I felt all these pieces needed to be sealed really well.  The Portfolio's are water soluble so I couldn't brush on a liquid varnish.  I decided to use a Golden spray varnish which worked very well.  I will also frame these pieces so they look nice hanging in my house and are protected from the elements.

When I got back to work on the piece above, I was pretty sure it was going to end up in the trash.  But I persevered and ended up with a piece I like so much that I am going to include it in an exhibition I'll be showing in at the end of the year.  Lynne 's approach to things really helped me here.  She said that if something she tried worked well she would usually do more of it.  So I tried to both COMMIT and DO MORE.  Good advice!  Now I'm getting back to work on the pieces I started in the workshop I took with Sue Benner in April.  Sue had so many great ideas for abstraction that I really want to try.  I'm taking at least one more workshop this fall so I figure all of my work for 2013 is going to come about as a result of multiple workshops.  I've been feeling kind of blocked for a long time now, but these workshops are giving me direction and opportunities to learn and to practice.  I have a lot of hang ups about making art, but my one great "skill" is my ability to follow through and to not stop trying.  Making art is a huge leap of faith and I work hard at maintaining my faith that doing the work will lead to better art.  I'll take care of the quantity, and the creative source will take care of the quality.

Michelle Ward does these great Evidence Pages that she often shows on her blog.  She provided us with little labels for us to use in making our own evidence pages from the workshop.  I'm keeping a scrapbook of things I've done and so I decided to make my own evidence pages, including a folder that I could keep mementos of my trip to Connecticut and the workshop.  Here are a few pictures of my evidence pages.

Award of Excellence!!

"40 West Arts", "Experiments", "art exhibits", "art", "awards", "collage", "flowers", "graffiti", "paint"Ronni HunterComment

Graffiti Lilies

I entered this piece in the 2013 Inspire show being put on by 40W Arts here in Lakewood, CO.  This year the shows theme is recycled art or vivid color.  Happily for me I had this piece in the works.  This is made on recycled inter office envelopes, with newspaper, paint, tissue paper, various pens and grease pencils.  I mounted the collage onto a black fabric background that I pieced out of fragments of cloth leftover from some other project.  The background is quilted and trimmed with black satin ribbon.  I think it fits both of the shows themes!  Much to my delight I was asked if they could use my artwork for some of their outreach efforts and I won an Award of Excellence at the show.  My very first award!

Here is the thing about this piece..... it came together rather intuitively.  This never happens to me and finding that inner voice has been such a struggle.  I just wanted to play around with techniques one day so I started layering paint and newspaper on these envelopes and then tearing the paper back off to reveal layers.  When I decided I was done I had a background that I really liked.  But as usual I had no idea what to do with it.  It hung around on my design wall for several weeks while this teeny tiny little voice in my head kept whispering " add lilies made of more inter office envelopes".  I resisted.  Resistance is my specialty.  But I kept getting the same message and eventually I caved in and went for it.  This is the first pieces I've made that my husband genuinely likes.  The first piece that won an award.  Hmmmm.  I'm guessing that that intuitive voice in my head knows what its doing.  Now I just need to learn to hear it better.

Far Away Places Workshop

"art", "collage", "mixed-media"Ronni Hunter1 Comment

In May I flew to Connecticut to take the Far Away Places workshop with Michelle Ward and Lynne Perrella .  These two amazing women have been my mixed media heroes for years.  It's hard to believe that in a very short span of time I got to take workshops with the artists whose work I most admire.  Far Away Places was about imagining some distant exotic locale that spoke to your heart.  Some people chose Russia, Morocco, or a fairy garden.  I wanted to play with elements of Gothic European architecture and Indian opulence.  Michelle was our instructor on the first day and we worked on these accordion books.  Let me just say that Michelle is a stenciling wizard!  She also designs amazing stencils and she brought a huge pile of them and let us use them.  Another wonderful artist, Margaret Applin , was also taking the class and she let me use some of her great stencil designs as well.  Michelle's demonstrations and instructions were like a light bulb going off in my head.  Until I got to work, at which point the light promptly blew out.  Sigh.  I get in my own way so badly.  However, I was by no means the only person who did not get their project anywhere near finished.  I love the colors and shapes I've got going here, but I'm kind of stuck on what to do next.  Here are some better views of the front and back panels:

On Saturday Lynne took over teaching and we worked on these long banners.  I ended up working vertically, so maybe mine is more of a panel.  Lynne showed us how she uses Portfolio Oil Pastels to color faces and other elements in her work.  Both Lynne and Michelle make great use of stencils and masks.  It was so fascinating to watch Lynne demonstrate.  Here is my banner as it looked at the end of the day:

Getting this home in a suitcase without getting is creased was a challenge!  One of the things I love about Lynne's work is the rich color and busy-ness.  There is so much going on in her work.  Endless small details to peruse.  After taking this class I can look at her work and understand better how some of it was accomplished.

On Sunday Michelle and Lynne taught together.  We started by making a grid, either by collaging pager or painting, and then added other collage elements on top.

The grid part was easy.  I excel at creating backgrounds.  I just get stuck after that, LOL!  At some point I will add a headdress to the woman and details in their clothing.  Below is a photo of my work space at the workshop:

As with the Sue Benner workshop, one of the best parts of this experience was meeting the other participants.  I had so many lovely conversations with total strangers.  I dug deep down into myself and dragged my inner extrovert out into the light and it was so worth it.  This was my first time going to the east coast and most of the other women there were from nearby areas.  A couple of lovely ladies came from Toronto.  Something about taking a workshop draws a connection between everyone for a few days.  Its a wonderful feeling.