On the trail in Tucson and Prescott…..

IMG_6433Just returned from a teaching trip to Arizona. We drove our RV out to Tucson once again for Art Retreat in the Desert.

IMG_6332It was crisp and cold in the morning and even woke up one day to ice in the fountain which is so strange when you are surrounded by cactus! What is fabulous is that this RV Park is less than two miles away from where the event was held, so an easy commute to “work” each day.IMG_6454

IMG_6331Art Retreat in the Desert is a wonderful event hosted by the ever-gracious Barb Solem and her lovely daughter, Erin, who make up Vivi Magoo…named after Barb’s grandchildren!IMG_6326IMG_6431

I started off the week teaching a class called Grateful Hearts to a small group of Vets….this was a free event for military vets from the surrounding community. Barb’s idea to support these folks who serve our country was a wonderful, philanthropic way to Give Back and Pay it Forward. It sounds like this will become an annual event at Art Retreat in the Desert and I am sure it will grow year after year.


It was really fun because most of these folks had never worked with polymer clay before. I always love turing people onto the magic that is polymer clay and they made some unique and beautiful clay hearts!IMG_1683IMG_1686IMG_1688


My first official class kicked off on Monday with Divine Shrines. This was a full day class that ran from 10:00am until 9:00 pm with a three hour break in the middle! We needed every moment to finish these beauties!IMG_6334IMG_6336

Here are a few samples of what was created this first day.IMG_6429IMG_6427IMG_6425IMG_6420IMG_6418IMG_6413IMG_6419

My buddy Kat Kirby and her cousin-in-law, Priscilla holding their awesome shrines!

My buddy Kat Kirby and her cousin-in-law, Priscilla holding their awesome shrines!

There is always time for a little happy hour in the evening after class, always a nice time to catch up with people like fellow instructor, Robert Dancik. Hubby had fun learning about some of the materials that Robert uses to create his unique pieces. Fellow teachers, Debby Anderson and John Creighton Petersen also joined in!



The next day’s class was called Make Your Case where we had fun creating lots of tiles with which to adorn cell phone cases!IMG_6434IMG_6435IMG_6436IMG_6438IMG_6441IMG_6440

My last class of the retreat ended up being a private lesson in box making! IMG_6442IMG_6445IMG_6444


After class on this day, I hit the famed Tucson Gem and Bead show and managed to do a little damage!! I love that Barb plans her art retreat during the run of this crazy, huge event where all of Tucson is transformed into a jewelry shopping bonanza!IMG_6448IMG_6446

I always have fun seeing folks like Becky Nunn of Nunn Design at the event, To Bead True Blue at the Doubletree Hotel. Becky has a wonderfully artistic aesthetic and sells a quality line of jewelry findings.IMG_6449IMG_6451

On our last day in Tucson, we decided to spend the day at Saguaro National Park. It was a beautiful clear day and we loved it! Next time we will have to spend some time hiking there.


After leaving Tucson, the ol RV headed up to Prescott…..IMG_1778 where I was scheduled to teach at Kat Kirby’s fabulous studio. Couldn’t believe she actually had an RV pad ready to go!
IMG_6464IMG_1772IMG_1854Kat’s studio was a converted 10 car garage that now includes not only Kat’s studio, but her husband Bill’s incredible guitar making studio but also a guest suite for visiting artists! Heavenly!IMG_1836

Bill showing us his studio

Bill showing us his studio

Kat’s studio was large enough to accommodate the 18 students that were taking my two day class called Mixed Media Mosaic Shrines.

Kat and I in her studio

Kat and I in her studio



I really liked this wall plaque in Kat’s studio and it kind of depicted our fun group, a gathering of lots of creative, like-minded women who created great energy for our weekend together.


Our gathering of "wild women" minus my buddy Pam Gemin who had to leave early!

Our gathering of “wild women” minus my buddy Pam Gemin who had to leave early!

Here are some examples of work in progress:


a happy teacher standing next to a lot of beautiful house shrines!

a happy teacher standing next to a lot of beautiful house shrines!




On Saturday night we ventured into Prescott and had a nice dinner together.IMG_1780

While we spent two days creating these beautiful pieces, David went off exploring in Kat’s FJ.



This beautiful place called The Dells is a location I will have to see on my next trip to Prescott!IMG_1839IMG_1797It was a fabulous weekend that came to a close all too quickly…..and we were sorry to say bye to my fabulous group of wild women, and my hosts, Kat, Bill and of course, Ripley! (sorry Peaches, no pics of you!)IMG_6494

David, the dog whisperer

David, the dog whisperer


Thanks so much to all who spent this lovely weekend with me and many, many thanks to Kat for hosting me!

The next day we pointed the RV home and made our way through the desert with yours truly at the helm!! (well just for an hour or two!)IMG_1885


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