On June 1st, I drove up to Ragdale to install my work in the Meadow Studio, got stuck in traffic on the way back, and missed the window to drive down to the Lubeznik Center in time for the Beaten and Bound reception; not so great, but I used the evening to get things done, at least.
Saturday a ton of tasks, including running some dogbane fiber through the beater (I can’t tell you how good that felt) and Sunday, up early and out to set up for Ragdale Day, which was incredible, indeed, one for the record. Over 500 people came through the studio in four hours. I talked non-stop, taking group after group of engaged folks through the process of harvesting and stripping dogbane fiber (which grows in abundance just across the meadow), preparing it and then demonstrating the making of sheets, answering a lot of good questions about both the process and my work, then repeating the whole cycle for the next group who wandered in. It was a complete blast.
Friends came out, and several were also presenting / performing / doing workshops; supposedly there was a schedule but out in the Meadow, we were simply swamped, so I didn’t get to see what anyone else was doing. But I did tour the lovingly restored Ragdale House, and I am SO impressed – and reassured! It IS still the Ragdale House, very much so…and even more beautiful.
Two lovely folks from Lake Forest Open Lands were out on the Meadow Studio porch and in the meadow, doing presentations and walks. While we were all setting up, discussing what we’d be doing, they asked if I’d like to display several gorgeous Baltimore Oriole nests that they’d brought, made from milkweed fiber. Those nests really did help to explain the process! At the end, I gave the Open Lands folks some of the stripped fiber and paper to use in their future presentations, and I got the marvelous gift of my very own nest (collected by a licensed naturalist; it’s illegal to take them otherwise) to use in mine. It was grand: it was Ragdale!
Today, out to bring home the work; taking it down felt oddly like the end of a residency, so I went for a prairie walk and even wrote in the studio log, and got to visit with Susan a wee bit. When I came home, my copy of 1000 Artists’ Books was just being delivered. It went beyond my expectations. An unanticipated treat was seeing a number of books that were made in my classes, and not exclusively those taught at the former kollidge; that definitely made me smile.
Tomorrow (Tuesday): finish a writing project. Wednesday: pack. Thursday, load and hit the road (on Paul’s birthday!), arriving at Arrowmont on Friday. Whew! Seeyou then.
A tritoma-fest is occurring in several locations around the yard, up to about 30 blooms now from seeds started two years ago. Paul: “What ARE those things?”
PS update: shots of my Ragdale Day installation on the Facebook Page.