I got back from Houston late last night. Today is a decompression day.
I had a total blast. I should have done this years ago. And yet, if I had, I doubt it would have had the same impact; for where I am today — professionally, personally, artistically — this was the perfect time for me to experience this.
I of course have a zillion stories… I’m not going to take the time to go into them right now — maybe later.
I had my portfolio reviewed, and it went well, but for all the importance I had placed on it, it was 15 minutes out of my weekend. Good advice, but not as earth-shattering as I thought it might be. Particularly since (through sheer dumb luck and coincidence) I ended up having dinner with the reviewer the night before! It was somewhat like Burning Man in that respect; I felt like the entire weekend was a marathon of cool, fun, important, and interesting things to do, with lots of odd, weird, right-place-right-time coincidences and very little down-time. There was so much interesting content presented in the lectures and art exhibitions; and there was much interesting discussion of that content with very smart and well-informed experts. The hotel bar became a focal point for a lot of this and I ended up having drinks every night with a different set of fascinating, oftentimes famous, people. I felt very lucky to have a seat at the table for this, and to not only hear what they had to say but also to be able to participate in the discourse.
Some of these folks were Seattle metalsmiths or gallery owners that I might never have had the opportunity to get to know. Those were some of my favorite experiences.
Next year Seattle is the host-city. My challenge right now is refrain from overcommitment; there’s a lot of work to be done and they will need a lot of help, but I have my own work to focus on. But I will most certainly be involved in some way. Houston, by all accounts, set the bar; I heard many times that this was a particularly awesome conference. Seattle has a tough act to follow.