Journal Fest Joy

October is a month of change, and one of the best changes you can indulge in is Journalfest, an art retreat put on by Teesha and Tracy Moore. This was my second year, and it was wonderful. You won’t see any photos of the art I did–I shipped a package home and the artwork was in it. The package will arrive at the end of this week.

Journaling at the Blue Moose Cafe in Port Townsend

Journalfest takes place in Fort Worden, just North of  Port Townsend, an interesting town about two hours North-Northwest of Seattle, on the Quimper Peninsula.

The beauty of Journalfest is that it lets you be as much with your thoughts as you like. You can stay in a dorm-like barracks, in small individual rooms with a lot of common place to journal with friends. You can stay in the officer housing, in which case you will have more space.  It depends on how rustic you want your stay to be. You can also stay in Port Townsend, in a hotel. I chose that option this year.

Journalfest runs for three days, and you take three classes from a long list of choices. Each class runs a full day, giving you real depth of learning.

Each evening there is a different activity so you are kept busy. One night there’s a bonfire (complete with s’mores!), another night is a demo- and vendor night, and one night, there is a Halloween party–complete with band and costumes, if you want to make or bring one.

Hadn't seen fall leaves in a while.

This year, staying in a hotel gave me the opportunity to explore the town. I discovered there is a downtown–with restaurants, antique stores, a fabulous coffee house called the Undertown, and The Writer’s Workshoppe, a  store just for writers. It offers classes, books on writing, T-shirts, and pens.

There is also an uptown–up on the bluff overlooking the bay are magnificent Victorian houses, a bakery, and a charming restaurant called Sweet Laurette.

Hannah Viano has an amazing exhibition of her papercuts, Shared is the Sea, at the Maritime Museum through November 5, 2011. When she says she is the daughter of a mermaid and a waterman, I can believe her.

I saw the notice of her exhibition pinned to a bulletin board at the Blue Moose Cafe. I love the cafe for their breakfast of eggs and hashbrowns made with both sweet potatoes and red-skinned potatoes. It’s on the waterfront tucked into the working area around the marinas. They don’t take credit cards and the space is small, but it’s wonderfully homey and comfortable. And you can journal there and feel at home.

The town has a wonderful history, and an ancient geography and emotional force. Bring a raincoat, it’s rainy. You won’t care, because you will be looking at the bright changing leaves against the backdrop of the smokey pines and foggy, low clouds.

On the way there and back, if you are crossing on the Bainbridge Island Ferry, be sure to stop at the small town right after the crossing to Bainbridge Island. Turn left at the first traffic light and enjoy the Blackbird Bakery’s excellent sweet and savory baked goods and coffee. Bring cash, they don’t take credit cards. If you are a knitter or crocheter, you must stop at Churchmouse Yarns and Tea. Stepping through the door is like stepping into the past where handwork is honored. Fabulous yarns of every kind and color, many of them knitted up so you can see what it looks like in a garment.

When my classwork arrives, I’ll do another post on the classes, but meanwhile, start saving to go to Journalfest in October of 2012. You’ll enjoy every minute.

14 thoughts on “Journal Fest Joy

  1. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the sessions you took and the art work that came out of the experience. It seems every day has an effect on my art and I enjoy seeing what others find along their journey. I’m working on my first art journal, slowly due to so many other things going on at present. Sounds like Journal Fest is the ultimate place to learn and grow. Wish it were possible to attend, perhaps they could offer online classes. It wouldn’t be quite the same, but it would be helpful for those of us unable to travel.

  2. Thanks for your post on Journal Fest. I too am back home from there, having had a wonderful time. I liked reading about your experience staying in town. I may try that in the future. I live in Seattle and I’ve never heard the name “Quimper” either, so your explanation was interesting. Apparently it is not a term that locals use.

    • I’m a research geek and a map freak, so it’s not surprising I dug up the name. But it was on all the maps I used to navigate Port Townsend. I spent the day before in Seattle, and that was fun, too.

  3. I’m lucky enough to live nearby, in Sequim, but I must say I’ve never heard of the Quimper Peninsula! Don’t you mean Olympic peninsula? I’ve been to both Journal Fest and Art Fest and I’d say JF is much more subdued than AF. Enjoyed them both, and glad to hear you enjoyed JF, too!

    • Wish you’d left a name. It’s nicer to talk to real people. Port Townsend is on the larger Olympic Peninsula, but is on a separate peninsula (which doesn’t include Sequim). “Quimper Peninsula” is, according to Washington Place Names by James W. Phillips, published by University of Washington Press, “The peninsula named after the Peruvian-born Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper who, in command of the Princesa Real, charted the north and south coasts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca [just North of Fort Worden, where Journalfest is held] during the summer of 1790. The Spanish had given the name Quimper to today’s New Dungeness Bay. . . but the U.S. Coast Survey renamed it with Quimper’s name.” It was also listed as Quimper Peninsula on the map of Port Townsend I was given.

  4. Such a magical part of the country. I adore the Pacific NW. Thanks for your travelogue! Port Townsend is a wonderful little town. Looking forward to seeing the art and hearing about the classes! Thanks, Quinn

  5. Glad you had a great time! I’m looking very forward to seeing what you learned/created this year! How fun it must have been to be in the rain after our dry, dry summer (that is still hanging on!).

  6. Welcome home 🙂 Thanks for the info on the area — one more reason to wish ‘beaming’ was an option for modern-day travel! I look forward to seeing the fruits of your explorations at Journal Fest!

  7. Thanks for your post. I didn’t realize there was an art fest in Port Townsend. That is a great little town, besides being able to do art. How cool is that! Glad you shared your experience.

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