Home! I got in Friday afternoon, and have been decompressing with happy Man and Dog: the Pack is together again (admittedly, one of the pack is not quite unpacked yet). This first summer trip has been (as Velma wished for me!) something of a watershed; wondrous. Both my destinations far exceeded any good things I might have anticipated even in my broadest imaginings, and the road itself was rich, easy, calm and warm.
A short stop at Chataqua Lake.
There is so much to process, to write about and also to privately ponder and grow into, and a lot of portioning-parts-of-it-into-media, too: blogs are forthcoming here and at MakerCentric, plus website updates and a new page to be added as well. (I have just about a month’s break to do that in: foresight in planning, for once!)
Finished just before I left: industrial vegetable, species Carota TomBalbosis
But first and foremost, HUGE thanks are due to the warm and wonderful folks along the road, without whom this would not have been the amazingly all-round positive experience it was. All were at places and with people who are touchstones for me, places that also feel like coming home, and there was one wonderful gamble as well.
First, Tom Balbo and the Morgan. It’s always both comforting and exciting to walk into the Morgan, whether you’re going to be there for ten minutes or for weeks. When I e-mailed to say I was stopping by to pick up my beautiful new half-size bal (a gift from Paul, via Aimee’s work with her connections in Korea, shipped to the Morgan earlier) and wanting to get flax, Tom immediately asked if I wanted to stay overnight. Oh, of course: yes please! That’s always a huge treat; just seeing what’s new in his ever-fluctuating museum / studio space on the fourth floor. That would have been absolutely wonderful as it was, but Tom’s spontaneous kindness literally saved me from a faux pas of my own making, and allowed the entire trip to happen without what would have been a major troubling glitch. I can’t (ever) thank him enough! Here is a nice recent feature video about Tom and the Morgan.
New 5lb beater at Tom’s, made by the incomparable Helmut Becker. There’s a window in the roll cover!
The soon-to-be WSW Compound is progressing nicely. Kozo will be grown out front; beautiful.
The next day, I took six healthy young kozo plants to Ann Kalmbach and Tana Kellner at Women’s Studio Workshop; a gift between dedicated handmade paper producers and perpetuators, from the Morgan to the WSW ArtFarm. I was more than pleased to be the delivery person! I’d thought I’d simply be stopping for a night in one of WSW’s spare resident / intern rooms, but instead, I was surprised and very happy to be Ann and Tana’s guest: a delicious home-cooked (and much of it home-grown) dinner (with Anita Wetzel’s kind and witty company as well) and breakfast; with great, fun, wide-ranging conversation, and a long after-dinner talk about Scotland, looking people and places up online with Tana as they came up. Ann and Tana are there now, in a breathtaking, remote setting! I am so excited for them both (and I just received a gorgeous lichen photo from Tana, who’s already out hiking!)
Scottish lichen, uploaded fresh this morning: just…wow.
The 12 noon ferry heading towards Vineyard Haven, shot from the 10:45 ferry from Oak Bluff.
I made it to Haystack on time, had a glorious two weeks, drove down to catch the boat and had another fabulous four days at Seastone Papers on the Vineyard: those experiences definitely require their own blogs, ASAP! On Tuesday, lovely Sandy Bernat shepherded me to the ferry back to my car, parked in Falmouth, MA. I drove till I was tired, then pulled off to find a motel. That happened to be in Corning, NY: I slept long and deeply, and then spent a nice few hours at the Corning Museum of Glass. It was much better than I anticipated, fascinating with live glassblowing and flameworking demos (they do these on cruise ships as well!) by articulate, precise craftspeople with nicely miked headsets and a good broadcast system: I could actually hear them! And featuring some rather amazing innovations in glass, as well as its history, chemistry and stories, and a huge collection all housed (of course) in a very glass-y building, below. It was a most interesting, relaxing stop before the final two legs of the trip.
The Church Entryway
The last but never, ever the least stop, was with Kathy and Steven Smith: they call their place (wherever they are) the Church Of Not Quite So Much Pain And Suffering; that is, actually, not a joke. The calm, relaxed and peaceful – yet always intellectually vibrant – energy of the home they’ve so willingly shared with me so many times let me do the final Cleveland-to-Chicago run carrying that peace they create within me. Once again with their encouragement, I stopped for an extra night, stretched, relaxed, and renewed my body and brain. A thirty-year-plus friendship through wild and sometimes rough times and now this ripening: riches.
And through it all, behind it all, at however far the physical distance: Paul. Missing me but encouraging and supporting me, happy knowing that I am happy, having my discoveries and adventures. When I arrived, there was even a welcome-home gift: these handmade fiber-beaters, beautifully balanced for my hands, turned from hard maple.
One thing I don’t need to process: I know that I am a fortunate, grateful and wealthy woman.
Receiving blessings at the Church Of Not Quite So Much Pan and Suffering