Like Jillian, I find that my head too, is still spinning, post conference. I came back to Peter's Valley and immediately launched into prepping the studio for our first 5 day workshop, which was amazingly successful and ended yesterday. From this point, the conference is feeling very far away, like a dream. In fact I did have a dream about the conference last night, likely induced by the lateness of my posting.

Betsy Douglas's  Swap Pins 1998-2011

 

I'd like to use this post to focus on the things I loved about this conference, because there was a lot to love. Most of these things were small, though. I felt that there wasn't really a stand out lecture this year (maybe Bettina's but I missed most of it because of the Trunk Show), the Trunk Show wasn't quite as successful for myself, as I had hoped, and it was difficult to get out and experience anything beyond the Westin Kierland. Which as Jillian pointed out, had both it's advantages and disadvantages.

Fancy Schmancy

 

However, I loved setting this year. I thought the resort was beautiful and I loved the heat and the desert. In fact I was a little disappointed that it wasn't hotter. I was not so thrilled with the expense and dining options of the resort, but I loved this patio. I did finally make it to the pool, but missed out on the fire pit. Sad.

I loved seeing Betsy Douglas's Pin Swap pins from the past 20+ years. I loved looking at the collections from the other past conferences I've been to and finding pins that I have in my collection. The only thing is, I'm almost positive I swapped with her in Houston, and I didn't see my pin. Bummer. I made sure to swap with her this year though.

Kathleen Browne's work in Heat Exchange

I loved, loved, loved all the exhibitions. No the layout wasn't super great, but that's not a SNAG thing, that's a City of Phoenix thing. I had insider information from someone on the Exhibitions Committee that the plan was to have everyone end up at Mesa Arts center, so I did manage to do things in order and see everything Friday night. I do think that they should have made it more clear to everyone else though. I know several people that got mixed up. I went and saw Heat Exchange first, and it-was -phenomenal. This was my favorite show. I even loved it more than Hot Under the Collar, and boy did I love Hot Under the Collar. I also enjoyed Jan Arthur Harrell's enamels, the Past President's show and finally seeing Lynette Andreason's work in person. (I've been blog stalking her for a long while.) I would have loved to have been in any of the exhibitions this year, and I thought the organizers did a fantastic job.

Why are there water birds in the middle of Arizona?

But I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this conference is the fact that I knew so many people and got to reconnect with so many old friends. I remember my first conference, Cleveland in 2005 where I only knew the couple of people from Kent I was with. My first full day in Phoenix, I couldn't cross the lobby with out waving to someone or stopping to talk for a minute (or 5, or 10) or coo over someone's adorable baby. It makes me feel good, like I actually have a place in this field, like I am actually someone worth knowing, or the simple fact that my introvert self has actually managed to put myself out there enough to meet people. I think my favorite moments of the whole conference were the long talks I had with Jillian (she had my in hysterics over her obnoxious cat), and catching up with my undergraduate professor, Kathleen Browne. I realized that for me, this conference was less about meeting new people (which I did still do) but more about reaffirming those existing connections I already have. I love this field, despite the pitfalls and the difficulty. I love the work that we make and the people that I somehow, almost miraculously find myself included in.

I also loved the band. I totally danced my ass off.

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