So glad I made the decision to attend the first-ever KolajFest, a multi-day festival & symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society, held July 12-15, 2018 in New Orleans.It was an honor to deliver the first presentation in the Collage-Making Space, “Ripping It Up,” followed by a demo of my wet-working technique and time for those attending to give it a try. I challenged everyone to try ripping their papers... there were a lot of meticulous paper-cutters in the room so it was fun to see people experimenting and working outside their comfort zone. It was great to connect with people in a truly hands-on way right at the outset of the conference. I so appreciate all of you who were able to be there and participate with such enthusiasm. Thanks to Ric Kasini Kadour and Chris Byrne for their support in prepping for my talk and to Kevin Sampsell and Jay Berrones who set up and managed the collage-making area. I was glad to be the “guinea pig” in that space -- and get my session out of the way! There were lots of choices of where to be and what to focus on at any given moment -- so it was sometimes very hard to decide which session to attend. Beyond the planned sessions, I loved connecting with other collage-makers in the moments in-between and during the walks between venues. Meeting and spending time with people whose work I’d long admired online was really wonderful. Some of my personal highlights included:• Spending time with like-minded, paper-loving collagists with such diverse practices, visions, and approaches -- who embrace this medium with near-fervent enthusiasm.• Getting re-acquainted with Jill Stoll, an extraordinary collage-maker whose new series “Women Standing Alone” was represented with two works in the exhibition “Revolutionary Paths: Critical Isssues in Collage” at Antenna Gallery.• Connecting with an artist whose work I’d admired online, Andrea Burgay, who brought the first issue of Cut Me Up magazine with her. A call and response project, you cut up the first issue to inspire a collage, then submit your work to be considered for inclusion in the next issue, and so on. Only a few copies remain; order one here.• Hearing about the many creative collaborative projects that Amy Tingle is working on via the Creativity Caravan. I'm enjoying her book, Strange Diary, or How to Make a Collage.• Seeing presentations that placed collage in a broader historical sense and learning about Todd Bartel’s concept of “UnCollage.”• Meeting Danielle Krysa... aka blogger/podcaster The Jealous Curator. Be sure to check out her new book, coming in October, titled A Big Important Art Book (Now with Women). Mine is pre-ordered :)• Learning about Jay Berrone’s business, Toil, launching now via kickstarter -- for the purpose of reproducing collage via the medium of silk screen printing.• Having conversations about raising the profile of collage plus creating more community and collaboration opportunities... riffing off all the enthusiasm in the air.• Getting fresh ideas about my role in the world of collage and wondering how those might develop...• Exploring previously-unknown-to-me parts of New Orleans in the mid-summer heat and being rewarded with amazing food, jalapeno watermelon margaritas, and great conversations.OK, I’ve barely scratched the surface! Kolaj magazine’s recap of KolajFest is here and worth a read. Maybe I’ll see you at the next one?Huge thanks to everyone who participated with such a spirit of generosity and to all those who made this inaugural event possible.