During Dawn Nakanishi’s amazing sabbatical opening I was asked by one of our members about Yuma, “What is Yuma like?” I joke that what happens in Yuma stays in Yuma, but the truth for me is that the preparation, the actual experiences, and the in-between Yuma times… I still have a portion of the Yuma experience with me. It is hard to explain if you haven’t been there, but I will try:
This year there were several hundred attendees. This often ranges to upwards of 3-4 hundred – students, instructors, and enthusiasts. I can’t say everybody is alike, but the Yuma experience does transform everyone.
It starts on Thursday night at Lute’s Casino, this is a part not to be missed. So remember there is a time difference between California and Arizona. This seems to have screwed up every person at one time or another.
At Lute’s everyone has a chance to bring and exchange mostly for free, pins that have been made with other participants who bring pins to swap. You meet first year people, and Yuma veterans. Since this was Yuma’s 28th year-several folks have not missed a beat.
Metal presenters this year were Ken Bova, Kristen Beeler, and Kathleen Browne. Ken Bova taught us how to make a rivet hammer out of a chopstick, dental floss, and a 40 penny nail – he went MacGyver on us.
We got to see and hear about the 5-8 year gestation period that inspired Kristen Beeler’s 35 brooches and 6 necklaces that was a recent exhibition of her work. Kathleen Browne shared her intended and unintended voice expressed through her work and peoples reactions to her work.
Yuma is not just about the metals folk, the mud people, textiles, furniture, photo and painters were all represented there. Brush making for painters and potters was taught by Glenn Grishkoff. There is something for everyone. And the best part about it is that whether you are a participant in the saw, file and solder relay races, refereed by our own Lynda Watson, or shouting support for your team, everyone is approachable.
There are new and old friends to share time with. I recommend the comradeship and kindred spirits I have met at Yuma known to me as the “Yumarian Clan”. Pack your dancing shoes, and I will see you there.