Hometown, Back Home

Cleveland was, as always, wonderful and way, way too short. (Trip recuperation has been way too short as well, as I’ve needed to jump right into things, most notably to hack back a huge amount of vegetation in order to be able to re-enter, at both the back gate and the front porch.)
A six hour drive from Owego, NY was a bit too much for me, especially with storms during the last third, so I was glad to be able to take two relatively slow days in Cleveland.

aneon The SmithSanctuary always is just that, easy, good good talk, beautiful healthy food, the light, air and comfort of the space high up at the top of an old Victorian, high ceilings, good people, approving amusing cat queen. Bee talk, homegrown hometown honey to eat and bring home. Crystals in the window to send morning light dancing, tighter twilight rainbow reflections onto the windows and calm Jeff Chiplis neon light for the night. Traffic goes by on two sides, a busy street and a freeway, making an amazing range of sound. After Kathy says, “I think of it as two rivers,” it’s impossible to think of the flowing sound in any other way, and it adds to the peacefulness. Aaahhh…indeed, and thank you.

adux I did something I’d never done before, which was a ‘private class’ that did not feel at all like a class and was mighty pleasant and it, too, was peaceful. Aimee came along to visit while it happened (and wrote about it) so we were four very compatible women on a quiet big brick porch, working and talking after good food on a most mild, most lovely day. And ducks! I’ve been loving watching the ducks each emerge online, and there they were. So fine to handle each, to look close, feel textures, and watch two grow.
The next day, the Morgan was peaceful too, though with a poignant air of unused potential. I was glad not to be teaching, yes, but it was hard not to think of the space as I usually experience it, a buzzing hive in that beautiful light. But it gave me some time to just wander a bit. And ducks, more ducks, including the head-explosion-in-reverse finish of this one:

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aRadhaAimee And these two, Radha and Aimee. With the quiet and time to talk, I came away aware of long lines of strong paper women, of Marilyn, of the odd but wonderful lives that paper leads us to.
Just as I was leaving the Morgan, Ana Fernandez, on her way home from my WSW class, pulled up for a visit.

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Hush…

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…a murmuration…

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…impressive and somehow in harmony with the unaccustomed hush in this big, beautiful space.

Then, after driving vaguely remembered streets, I spent the late afternoon with long, longtime friend Joanne, finally seeing her great place, near to the city but tucked up against a Metropark. We’ve known each other since the 70s, were late night RAT compadres: the camera went away, the old mail art and letters came out and so did a lot of laughter; nice. Back to Smiths’ for an equally nice night on into the neon, up and easy relaxing till out, and a no-drama six-hour drive that was still a bit too much, and now: lots to think about while I do the lots there is to do.

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Hometown and Back Home

I’ve been home since Tuesday and quickly became thoroughly immersed in what I hurried home for: our shared not-blog-able situation which is just beginning to shift into high gear. It will rumble on, occupying much of our time for the next few months.

MorganCatalog

This really is a really good show, and the catalog is excellent, with brief essays by each artist.

Cleveland was grand, grand, grand: all of it, the class, the Morgan and Morganites, the friends!  Oh, the friends.  But still I have no words, just huge overflowing gratitude to everyone there in my hometown (friends who reside there and friends passing through) for a time that I can carry within as we go on with our extended odd and sometimes difficult tasks here.

I may not find many words for awhile, but I will try to have images and write a bit, captioning those.

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This is where I asked to stay while teaching, on Tom’s second floor.  I love the light, the space, and waking up to the three koi who live in this fountain. Though they are friendly and stick their heads out to be fed when you whistle ‘Garry Owen’ they’re almost impossible to photograph, never still.  But I like their greeting each morning and evening, very much.

MorganTeach2Above photo courtesy of Lauren Sammon; pretty much the entire class on the first day (a few people were out of the frame).

MorganShapes

The classes all seem to need to start the same way, even though I had several people who were repeating. I do lots of demos, talk, answer questions, and from the first day, odd amorphous shapes begin to appear. The magic is in watching these blobby things develop, get added to, and completely transform over the next few days.

(You can see the Morgan’s Facebook album here. Lauren shot photos almost daily; I didn’t have time for much).

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When the kozo and the color come into play, things begin to get quite exciting. Several people made bark lace to be shaped later; some made bark lace to be cast then and there. I try not to be jealous of people whose knees still function properly!

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At the dye table and in the paper studio; by day 3, people were spread out all over the Morgan.  We were lucky to be the only class running during our five days, so we had it all!

Morganclass3I truly enjoyed working with Radha, who came to develop part of her MFA thesis work; she got some viable prototypes and I will be eagerly looking forward to seeing what happens with them, how the whole fits together.

MorganOceanLike the WSW class, most people came to add something to already substantial practices or to develop specific projects; most left with prototypes and / or components for work to be completed later, which pleases me to no end.  This is Ammon’s main project, a bark lace sea and an abaca boat which will ultimately become an animation.  (On the very last day, a whale’s tail appeared, too). There were many, many colorful bark lace pieces, a series of red bark fists, collages that attained dimension, a series of large abaca-dipped mesh geometric shapes to become an installation, components for arrangements by an Ikebana master and oh, so very, very much more: riches.

MorganFlowahsSome people did finish things; on the last day, Susan left early, all spiffed up for an event, carrying a bouquet of big calla lilies made by re-shaping and dyeing air-dried sheets of abaca and flax.

JulieKiMoNoMorganJulieFriend Julie McLaughlin, whose big beautiful kimono was one of (several) personal favorites in the show, was in the studio making more from the big deckle box; Tom was making some work with it as well. I wanted to, too.

MorganKimono2MorganKimono1Ivey, Eastern Paper Studio apprentice extraordinaire, combined one of her kimonos from Julie’s class with bark lace and a subtle use of dyes, in addition to making several other great things.  This was just gorgeous, both with the light on it and showing through it.

MorganMilkweedThriving Morgan milkweed!

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ASmithpstersThen, after class and leaving the Morgan, a lovely, restorative time at the SmithSanctuary, with message rocks, bee talk, poetry, a trip out for so much great ice cream that it became our dinners (“Our portions are…rather large”, said the waitperson after delivering the giant bowls), stretching, congenial quietness, homemade jam: touchstone time.

GahdenHomeHomePeppasHome, to mid-August gardens needing a lot of trimming back, and burgeoning harvests, some of which have already begun.

ChanceHomeAnd this one. He is HUGE, grew so much; the markings on his coat are changing, becoming more defined; his eyes appear to be changing from bright electric blue to a pale greenish-grayish-yellowish hue.  He is shedding a short, dense undercoat, and he was a total drama queen, yelping and yowling whenever I left his sight for a few days.  We’re back to much-needed training.

73 Hours

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The thriving (and newly mulched) kozo garden at the Morgan, wearing that fresh clean June green. Beautiful.

In the past 73 hours before beginning to write this, I have: shipped out 26 pieces that comprise three larger works (it was a twelve hour day before, carefully packaging fifteen of them that have never been shipped before), driven to Cleveland to pick up more work (a flying 47 and ¾ hour trip from my front door back to it), made a morning rush-hour run to retrieve work from ZIA, and packed and shipped out 42 more pieces that make up seven separate works. Here’s a nice brief advance notice of what the packing and shipping is for (which shed some light on curatorial curiosity I had). Tonight, I am happily having a small thud, the palpable relief of getting the work (almost) all out in decent time.

ASmithfarms

After a great breakfast, a sweet short morning walk to Smith Farms, complete with milkweed.

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A friend’s lovely house and huge studio behind: hometown is having her come out to the second floor porch to say hi when she saw us passing.

Running to Cleveland was not at all exhausting, it was strengthening, calming and heartening (and a few times, almost teary on my part) because of the good people I saw (and even a couple I missed due to the pace) and the gentle pouring out of support amid the laughter and good talk that is what, well: going home is.  I didn’t even realize how much I needed that until it happened, and oh, I thank you all.

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Big Ass paper was happening at the Morgan: Julie (at left) and all the great interns and staff.

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Tom and Aimee joined in.

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Rain threatened, but (probably impressed with the paper) held off for The Drying.

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Oh, the Morgan of Cleveland, Oh

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(There are always unexpected ideas there: tartan felts!  I’m sure I still have a worn out kilt here).

Tomorrow, we learn a great deal about what the next few months will hold for us at home, and that will bring another sort of relief: paths to follow. I’m so glad my own path took me where it did this week.

anewkozo

And a new young kozo plant and a four-leaf clover followed me home: even more well-being came with them. I am a very lucky woman.

 

MJC Fiber Flux by Smith

My friends Smith & Lady went to the Morganites: Fiber In Flux opening reception this past Friday in the hometown.  Smith kindly sent some excellent raw photos of my works in the show. I did some color-correcting due to the hot harsh gallery lights, and -presto- an instant almost-no-writing blog, on a grey cool rainy day. So: here is my part of the show, with many thanks, Smiths.

aflux‘Incident’

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‘The Rationale Escapes Me’

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‘Reap’

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Lady K with ‘Up My Sleeve’ – a book made in 2013 that’s not on the web site and is hard to photograph.

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‘It’s Academic’ (note to self: send more detailed installation instructions).

Comforts of home and hometown

April came in fast: surgery for Chance on the first, and then constant mostly effective efforts to keep him quiet for a week, which had to include The Cone.  I attended training class without him, and it was very good for me to have time to observe the other pups working.

aChance1

I resolved all but one last exhibition, cleared out my office (used as literal cold storage during what has been officially proclaimed the coldest winter that has ever been recorded in Chicago), got taxes ready, packed and loaded up work for the Morganite show, and had a sweet, fast trip to Cleveland, where my only regret was that I didn’t get to see Aimee’s solo show (and also check out its location).

aMarket2

It was a Morganite convergence weekend. Time there Saturday was short but rich: dropping the work, hanging a wee bit with Julie, Tom, Bruce, Mason as they all worked away, and seeing the working beater room, all the stuff happening with the Asian Paper Center, the latest fantastic donation of a superb collection of binding tools, a Kensol, brass type and a very sweet smaller working Washington hand press, and to take in the fallow garden, the winter-aged ears (I’ll write more about those soon). That evening there were twelve for a lovely dinner cooked by Mike and salad by Julie (massaged by Mason).  The Morgan is one place where I can always enjoy that sort of gathering: time to have side talks with everyone I want to see, and it absolutely doesn’t matter how much I do or don’t hear at the table: what I do hear is great, and when I don’t, I’m just plain pleased to be watching so many people I like so much relaxed and enjoying each other, and feeling the warmth that provides (even when everyone is a bit tired, including me).

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The Morgan garden, waiting. I didn’t take many photos there and none during the party. At the Morgan, I’m often too busy talking and/or using my eyes to listen. With the Smiths, silences and images are a natural, easy part of the whole.

ASmith

Two good portraits happened; Smith writing above, Lady at the Market below.

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The rest of the time: my other warm hometown place to be, the gentle, sharp-witted, easygoing poetic energy of the Smiths and Mandikat. There, there are long, long friendships still unfolding, and this time the addition of Joanne and briefly, Wendy; and vicariously sharing in Lady’s full ongoing gathering of and intimacy with her environment and community energy. I so much like this chapter of the Smithstory: something long-deserved.  Saturday morning, a trip to the lifelong constant of the West Side Market.  Smith and I returned Sunday for a hometown farewell, viewing a mural of community by long ago colleague, cartoonist Gary Dumm, in excellent collaboration with spouse Laura Dumm.

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In the middle of the drive between (western Ohio, eastern Indiana) there were still big crusty patches of dwindling icy snow on the northern sides of the freeway ditches.

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At home, by Sunday, the cone was too full of duct tape repairs to be of any more use. The hind-leg bandage is frayed but still intact and will come off at the vet’s tomorrow, when Chance should be cleared to go for walks again and back to class in the evening. Today we began regular training again outdoors, Lupe had a long grand walk, and I planned my early garden work and pup-proofing for later this week. Spring.

And in the meantime, this show opened in Arizona, this class has only one space left, and this (larger) one has four spaces, and I am going to stick around after that for a gift to myself, and take this. Yes!

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(Oh, I also bought and installed a new kitchen gate.)

This! and This! and That and That

I’m not even going to mention the weather over the past few days; no matter its influence over what happens here. I’ll just shut up and wait for spring.  This evening at ZIA Gallery, we will begin to summon it. I’m looking forward to the reception (perhaps because my quiet year has been a wee bit too quiet? Hmmmmm…)  Doesn’t it look festive?

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GREAT NEWS: The Morgan Conservatory summer class schedule is now online and open for registration.  There are so many stellar offerings!  I’m SO pleased to be returning, and this year, we have expanded the class: five entire packed days of 3D, time to explore deeply.  It’s the second of only two classes I’m teaching this summer, so sign up now! And check out the pages of marvelous classes!

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On Facebook a few days ago, I saw one of those memes, which called itself an old Polish proverb and read, “Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys.” (Someone else commented that their grandmother used to say, “Not My Farm. Not My Pigs.”) While those sayings are refreshingly true of my relationship with higher ed now, I still could not help being impressed by these events. (In my time, I have seen adjunct faculty go from being respected team members to actively being mocked for raising valid issues, and have witnessed them being told that the direction of the department they had been deeply involved in for years was none of their concern, because such lofty issues were now the exclusive province of the tenured).  So, this is refreshing, encouraging, and something I honestly didn’t expect to see within my lifetime. (here’s a cliffnotes synopsis).

And, an interesting follow-up about someone who has impressed me from the beginning, regarding a part of higher ed that becomes all-consuming, but is rarely addressed. Congratulations, Ms. M!

And now: off to prepare To Summon Spring.

ChanceTall And since I have almost written an entire post without mentioning him, here is our wee pre-teen: getting so tall!

City of Light, City of Magic

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Sadly, I did not take nearly enough pictures: too busy!  Here is a portion of the very full class at work.

Tonight’s blog title comes from Randy Newman’s song ‘Burn On’ from the 70’s (music or lyrics here), which was meant to be sarcastic. But for me his delivery (memorized before deafness) rather succinctly captures the paradox of my strong affection for my hometown and my ‘industrial byproduct’ roots. Even though my early life was spent there during the time of its greatest decay, it was indeed also a magical place, a pleasingly eerie landscape of rust and crumbling past industrial splendor, completely open to the adventurous young whatever-it-was that we were. That magic has changed, but is still present, and it was absolutely grand to be back for a busy week. Highlights were many and bright:

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Jared’s mural on the big shed across from the kozo garden reminds in some ways of Randy Newman’s song,..maybe only because the mosquitoes don’t bite me anywhere near as often as they do Aimee.

Always, always, one is the Morgan itself, and always, always Tom Balbo and also always, Susan, Lauren, Margaret, Jared and all the Morganites.  I don’t think that there’s a single negative personality attached to the place; everyone is happy, helpful and honed in on what needs to happen (even when – even especially when – there are hundreds of things that need to happen simultaneously). The class was very full and totally energetic, and many grand things happened or were begun. Chris Takacs taught a leather-paring class in the bindery at the same time, lots of other paper projects were happening, the marvelous new beater room was steadily being built (it’s larger than my entire basement studio!), auction donations were rolling in and the kozo garden was beautiful, ready for its dedication in September. There was a constant stream of visitors, all of whom received personal tours and attention while all the rest was going on.

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Beater room!  With two sets of big doors installed while I taught.

Aimee

Aimee with the odd rolling pin, beginning some joomchi magic.

I got to have so much quality time with Aimee!  She came to stay for three different nights, in spite of being loaded up with appointments and admin, and we ‘camped’ on mattresses in Tom’s second floor gallery; its partitions became cozy private rooms once we stopped talking late into every night. I liked the space so much that I asked to stay there instead of moving up to the fourth floor when that became available. I was able to peacefully stretch almost every night, thanks to Aimee’s loan of her yoga mat, and, though I forgot to take photos, it was also fine to wake up and feed a morning snack to the three koi who live in the indoor fountain (they eagerly pop their wee fishy heads out when you whistle).  Aimee and I talked and talked and talked: valuable, enriching and most enjoyable.  Many of the possible paths she’s uncovering give me great hope for us all.

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Velma taught at the Morgan earlier this summer; in certain ways she was with us as well, as you can see!

Staying with the Smiths for two days after the Morgan class was excellent, next to those stretching sessions and late-night talks, the closest I got to completely relaxing. Lady K attended the class, which was wonderful, and so was all the delicious vegan food she made.  And of course, the easy flow of everything and the simultaneous calm comfort and energy of both Smiths makes the atmosphere peaceful even when things are actually quite busy.

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At the top o’ the stairs, things look different now at the Smiths’ sanctuary.

Seeing some other old friends piled on even more greatness: Sunday evening dinner (and a class-is-over margarita) with Cindy and Aimee, Tuesday lunch and then sitting in the nearby park with Joanne, and thanks to the Smiths and Susan Kelly, Saturday night at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where Jeff Chiplis had some beautiful, wry work featured in a four-person show. I saw more old friends there and met several new, and it seemed like half the class attended as well.  Jeff also came by to visit later at the Smith’s.

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 Cleveland ear-fungi.

I continued to work at the Morgan on Monday and Tuesday while staying at Smith Central, getting the JentelShofirst small colony of Cleveland ear-fungi ready to go. It was too rainy to install on Tuesday as I’d planned, so yesterday, I said goodbye to the Smiths, went to the Morgan and, in overcast,  damp weather, installed ears in a configuration I haven’t had the opportunity to do before, bought some flax from Tom and made some near-future plans, documented the ears, said more regretful goodbyes and hit the road. While I was driving, this show opened in Wyoming.

I got in before the sun completely set last night; this morning, quickly unloaded the car, unpacked the studio and adjusted the beater. Heather and Erin came by to beat the first four of six pounds of varied fibers for some of their upcoming projects; they’ll return again tomorrow afternoon and evening to finish up. I quickly put some of Tom’s flax to soak as well, to beat on Saturday.

Now I have just about five weeks at home before the next round and then: the huge ‘ahhhhh’ of Ragdale.  Lots to do during the coming five weeks, though: projects, webpages, harvests and more, but first I’m taking the long weekend for me, Paul and Lupe, prep and the gardens. I’m loving it all, and very glad to be able to call both Cleveland and Chicago home.

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Some of Elizabeth Mather’s work drying on the ground in the sun.  She took the class last year, and she had a wonderful kozo heart in the current Morgan show, and awhile ago wrote this nice short blog about these.  That’s my only small regret for the class, that I didn’t have time to gather people together at the to reiterate: it’s not so much what you make during the three days, it’s how things develop later that’s important. 

On the other hand (ahem), some pretty great things were made; I just didn’t get to see them finished, as most went home wet. Rachel was a Morgan intern, so her piece remained to dry, and I got to see it finished and its predecessor in the show.  Wonderful!

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The Processing Begins

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.

Chataqua

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!)

Carota TBalbosis

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.

BalboCastle

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.

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New 5lb beater at Tom’s, made by the incomparable Helmut Becker.  There’s a window in the roll cover!

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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!)

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Scottish lichen, uploaded fresh this morning: just…wow.

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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.

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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.

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One thing I don’t need to process: I know that I am a fortunate, grateful and wealthy woman.

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Receiving blessings at the Church Of Not Quite So Much Pan and Suffering 

Days of Thanksgiving continue

I’m home, and though I did take Sunday for an all-day, no-alarm Giant Thud, I still have a week of busy-ness and overlapping events (all of which I’m grateful for) before I begin truly settling in for the winter, and quietly begin to process all that’s occurred this year.

First, the art that happened in Vermont:

Here’s where the ear was installed (just one, because I’m not sure my bit of structural jury-rigging is going to keep this one any more stable than the first).  Initially, I wanted them to be on dead trees only. I was at dinner at one point, thinking aloud about how I was to differentiate between dead and live trees in late November. Vermont Studio Center co-founder Jon Gregg was at my table and said, “You are in Vermont.  People drill into live trees all the time.” And so I spent Wednesday afternoon hanging out over the river, grateful for all the tree-climbing I did as a child.  I was too good with my dyeing, and the ear side blends into its setting, making it quite difficult to discern from across the river.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all.

I might like this a little better this way, but still remain somewhat unconvinced.

These two are in progress still, a few more things to be added to the tall one, structural work on the smaller.

I packed the car up Wednesday night after open studios, documented the ear location Thanksgiving morning, then had a lovely, sunny drive, skirting the Canadian border to arrive at Velma’s warm, wonderful North Country sanctuary. The day was just perfect: sunny, not-cold, a spontaneous meadow milkweed harvest, a tasty dinner for four with even tastier conversation (which I could hear ALL of; excellent after a month of meals in a room with 50+), and Velma and I talking, talking, talking late into the night and resuming in the morning. Just: wonderful. Also to see so much of her work in person! I wanted to stay.  I left with generous gifts of milkweed, flax and cedar fiber, a perfect packed lunch and this:

my own ‘witches’  brew’ – eco-dye bundles (my first ever!) of linen and paper –  to be opened in a few days, to extend the day’s warmth and friendship whenever I look at them.  On a rainy drive heading south to be funneled onto interstate blandness, I marveled at the connections the internet allows us, once again.  In an earlier life, Velma and I would have been neighbors (just before our paths diverged, and I chose art school, a partner I am still friends with acquired acres in the North Country and built a house there, where he lived for many years).  And yet, Velma and I met anyways, for which I am very grateful, as well as for meeting her sweet, smart, intrepid companion Wendy: border collie love and wistfulness on my part (she is a bit camera shy up close).

I hit some nasty weather, lake effect snow/hail and nasty winds coming off Lake Erie, all the way down from Buffalo NY to Cleveland.  At one point, a long line of us were doing 25 miles an hour with flashers on, and I decided I was being stupid, and that I would stop as soon as I saw a motel, but by the time I did, it had cleared enough to just become an annoying, no longer dangerous drive. I gratefully arrived at Cindy’s late, and we, too stayed up late talking, talking, talking, and made some tentative summer plans.  She didn’t see my note asking to be woken next morning, which was ultimately good; I slept a couple of hours longer than I would have, which I was thankful for during the drive home.  Then: the bank, to FINALLY deposit the check that had sat uselessly on my desk all month in Vermont, a quick stop at Busta gallery to pick up my (thankfully packed) work, and a visit and lovely homemade-by-Lady lunch and talking, talking, talking at the Smiths‘ (where I forgot to retrieve my hearing aid case, which is thankfully a reason to return – as if I need one!)  I really, really wanted to stay at Velma’s, Cindy’s and Smiths’ (and to stop at the Morgan and stay too) but I was also very, very grateful to arrive safely home, and for the fact that I’ll be staying put for a good while now.

Yesterday, I delivered the work to ZIA gallery for this: the opening reception is on Saturday, the same day as the Ragdale holiday party (where I’ll go, quickly, first). ZIA gallery director (and artist) extraordinaire Anne Hughes was packing things to be shipped to Miami for this…and a portion of (S)Edition is attending!

Lupe can also be camera-shy up close, but she has not left my side for more than a few minutes since I returned.  And now, today: I’m sending some things off to Australia, hanging up the wee seasonal lights, and The Bro arrives for a week of Our-Own-Early-Winter celebration: more abundance to be very thankful for.