Finally....after hours of culling and sizing photos in between all the activities of life, I offer a mainly pictorial show and tell of my adventure teaching at Random Arts for the second year, and some photo highlights of my visit with dear friends.
I had such a wonderful time, and feel grateful to Jane who has done such a great job planning for this event, arranging all the details, and bringing me out to this fascinating part of the country! Despite both of my checked bags - one filled with class samples, the other with clothing and personal items - being "delayed" (lost!) for 2-3 days, and several other small snafus, I was able to keep my focus on the wonder of being in North Carolina in the present moment, and not let the stress of these unexpected events freak me out.
I have to thank friends Katie and Joseph Marley for helping me do this; they are the good folks that take me in, this year and last, and take such good care of me when I visit Saluda. Joseph drove me to Asheville so I could buy essentials like undergarments and toiletries at Target when my bags were MIA, and took me to the Asheville airport to check on ones possible arrival, and it WAS there, whew, such a relief, as it was the one I wanted most, not with my clothing and personal items but with class samples that I needed the following day. And dear Katie, who fixed me a soothing lavender Epsom salt foot bath the evening of my first day class after I mentioned my swelling and sore feet, and who also made sure I had a thermos cup of fresh brewed coffee (freshly ground beans I might add) to take with me in the morning. Such dear people, who have already invited me back next year to stay with them, and hope I will make it a yearly tradition. That is my hope as well.
I taught two classes while in Saluda; on Friday I taught a mixed media wallhanging class and Saturday was the whimsical folk art doll class. Jane has posted photos and commentary on her blog of most of the participants so I direct you over there if you'd like to see more. What I have done here on my blog is to create two photo albums, one for the wallhanging class, and one for the doll class, where you can see all the photos of student work I have uploaded. You'll find these photo album links on the right sidebar. I don't do well remembering names (or numbers) so what you'll see posted is artwork and sometimes faces of the participants. They were the most delightful people to work with - full of energy, enthusiasm, daring, and abandon all wrapped up in a manner of gentle kindness.
Here is Trinka, Vicki, Angela, and I as we dined one evening at the Purple Onion in Saluda - delicious food and delightful conversation.
And these soft chocolate cookie/cake cream filled delights were dessert on Saturday, made by the chef of the Saluda Grade Cafe, whom I ran into in Janes shop on Thursday afternoon, and was reminicing about how scrumptuous they were when I ate them last year. She had intended to make a different desert that day, but changed the menu to include these because I loved them so...thank you, thank you!!!!
Several of the attendees were in my classes there last year, and some had driven 6-8 hours from South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama to attend. Thanks to each and every one of you that attended, for your sweet presence, your enthusiasm, and for traveling the distances many of you traveled to make it. I hope to see many of you again next year.
I left Saluda after my Saturday class in my little rental car, and headed for the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit dear Nina, who welcomed me with open arms, a bottle of wine, and delicious goodies including a yummy wedge of brie cheese that cheese-loving, cheese-snatching Aspen burgled from the plate when we weren't looking.
That lead to a face-0ff between Nina and Aspen, Nina trying to pry Aspen's mouth open to get at the cheese, and Aspen clenching on to it with all his might. It was a hilarious site, lasting a good 2 minutes - Nina not wanting Aspen to get away with poor manners that included cheese-snatching, as well as a very upset stomach, and Aspen emitting a low growls, jaws clenched at Nina tried to pry them open. The most delightful part of the whole thing for me was that from that moment on, Aspen took quite a liking to me - I think somewhere in that dog brain of his he associated me with that tasty cheese, and was quite attentive and affectionate to me from that point on!
Much of my time was spent on this wonderful deck with Nina, looking through her plethora of amazing artworks, those I've seen in books and magazines for years now, sipping tea with a lovely breakfast of avacado and tomato on biscuits in the morning, savoring glasses of red wine in the evening with a delicious grilled shrimp dish, or just sitting watching the skies change over her incredible mountain view.
But perhaps the thing I'll remember most, although I don't have a photo to show you of it, is the time spent out on the deck, listening to the exquisite song of the wood thrush that Nina has mentioned periodically on her blog. It was such a thrill to hear that beautiful sound, I found myself looking forward to twighlight time, just so I could hear that sweet sweet song - although they sing in the mornings and various times during the day, the twighlight song is supposed to be the sweetest. The first day back home, I kid you not, I went to the library and asked for a CD on Pacific Northwest bird songs. I was soon to learn, and I was quite disappointed I might add, that the little wood thrush song I had enjoyed so much is available only to those who are so lucky as to inhabit the woods of the east coast region- that the species doesn't live out here in my woods. My favorite bird song here I learned, comes from the Song Sparrow - a breed that inhabits these woods. But the wood thrush it is not....
I had to take a shot of these in the grocery store, so southern - nothing like this on the west coast.
From here, I took a beautiful drive through and along more mountains to visit Misty in Virginia. Oh, such a beautiful time I had there, getting Misty and her family all to myself for awhile, seeing their special places like The Barn Swallow, Sugar Hollow, an art museum I can't remember the name of in Charlottesville, a trail in the country where we searched for fireflies at dark and where her special tree grows, time spent painting together in her studio, eating delicious vegetarian meals made by Misty, reading to her children, cuddling with her cat. Precious friend, precious time. Here are a few of those photos:
And to wrap it all up, here is a painting I did yesterday. I've decided to do a series of these faces - 5 or 7 of them - all 12" x 14" on vintage phonograph album covers. Oh how fun it is to ride on the tails of creative inspiration; I'm wishing this for all of you as well. And thanks for stopping by!
today is the first day since i've been back where i can just relax and pudder. after diligently working on resizing photos and starting to compose my written east coast blog adventure all morning, i decided to take a break, and blow off my 'to do list' for the afternoon - to just paint in the studio. what a relief, like a big exhale. here is my first completed painting of the day...
****3 hours later.... wow. after spending time with this painting i can see and sense some of misty here, can you? both her energy and painting style. the funny thing is that her artwork wasn't anywhere in sight as i painted, but i do believe that i must have carried some of her beautiful creative energy back home with me after our visit. we are all so very influenced by the artwork of others...****
i got home late last night after a day of flying on connecting planes that took me from the east coast back home to the other. once home, i fell into bed, and allowed myself to sleep in this morning...hmmmm so sweet. now, after 2 cups of strong coffee and a shower, i am on my way out the door - my heather is waiting for me to come "rescue her" and watch my three grandkids while she takes some much needed time to do errands and enjoy some alone time for the next few days. so everything else (except the animals) must be put on hold till i return. i have emails to write, calls to return and over 450 photos to go through. and then i will tell you all about my wonderful adventure out east, from teaching in saluda to my visit with beautiful friends. for now, i'll just say it was exquisite and wonderful, and i feel happy and full...
i'm scurrying around, doing all those last minute things you do before you go on a trip, in addition to working on class samples and a few dolls to bring along to sell. Time really got away from me, I didn't get nearly as much done as I hoped to but I'm happy with what I did get done and I still have 36 hours before I leave for the airport (if you don't count sleeping time) so there's hope yet... this doll, another class sample, is a big (20") soft girl - they just keep getting bigger and bigger :-) I won't be posting again till I get back so until then, xo.
i know you've heard it before, and if you come back, you'll hear it again - the forest and river where i live is a magic place, i do believe it is. from the time i leave the porch of our house and set foot on the trail, i feel the heaviness that often sets up residence inside me, deep within my solar plexis, begin to loosen its grip, and i feel a shift in my mood, a lightening taking place. being in these woods, no other human creature about, time disappears and i feel a silent deep peace, wanting for nothing. Residues of this peace follow me back home when it's time to go, no matter how dark my mood may have been walking in. it's magic. i feel grateful beyond words to have this healing place...
this one isn't quite done; I still have borders and some stitching to do.
These fabric wallhangings are so much fun to do and I'll be demonstrating several options to choose from, which explains why my samples all look different from one another. I did some catching up on my blog reading and after reading DJ's and Stephanie's posts about their incredible experiences teaching at Valley Ridge recently, I felt my own excitement bubble to the surface in anticipation of my first teaching experience there in September. I've heard teachers and students alike rave about Valley Ridge - the beautiful and bucolic surroundings of this southwestern Wisconsin retreat center, the wonderful studio with plenty of room to work, and the way hosts Kathy and Bill go above and beyond to make classes a memorable one-of-a-kind experience for attendees. There are still openings in my workshop, so if you've been thinking of a way to pamper yourself while spending a relaxing weekend making art in the company of other creatives, i hope you'll think about joining me there...