Friday, March 26, 2010

Let the Pattern Sorting begin!

In a corner of my studio today sits an empty chair awaiting my arrival. Note the boxes on the floor surrounding that chair. It's the day of the great pattern sorting. Some people have collections of ceramic elephants, some have postcards of places they have visited or wish to visit while others have books lining every horizontal surface in their homes. The list of potential collectables is probably half as long in number as there are people. Even in homes where there is little other than the very basic items of life, I have found collections. There may not be as many items as there are patterns in those boxes ... and other storage places ... but for now, following the very successful conclusion of the RAGS Wearable Art show and sale, it's time for the annual pattern sorting. The decision about whether to keep that 1980 jumpsuit pattern, with the bell bottom legs and decorative full length zipper down the front, weighs heavily upon me ... to the chair ... in the hopes that I
will return, from under that pile of patterns, fabric etc, ... to write another day.

Much later ... would you just look at those boxed patterns: labeled and shelved and even a sack full of "no further use" in this studio patterns, ready to deliver to a painter friend who may incorporate them into an amazing work of art of a different nature! Next to tackle the fabric, thread, buttons and general "stuff" pile on the work table.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eastern Washington Meanderings

Topographical maps have always fascinated me. I find wonder in the idea that the lines and contours of the earth are able to be transferred to a two dimensional "picture" I can study. Today it would have been wonderful to have a topographical map to look at as we traveled the blue highways of the northern areas of Eastern Washington from Republic to the Methow Valley where we are now nestled in at the Chewuch Inn, in Winthrop, for the final two days of our mini vacation. But let me return momentarily to Sleeping Lady Resort and share a few images I captured there to remember our time spent among the whispering, long needled pines. Can you see the sleeping lady lying along the crest of the mountain? She's a little difficult to make out but once you "see" her she's quite clear. We bade her farewell, not unwillingly, when we found that the resort was to be the site of a meeting of about 200 trial attorneys for the next 3 days! The energy would certainly have been different that when we shared the entire place with a delightful Feng Shui practitioner who was there in Leavenworth to help a couple site a new home they will be constructing!
I wanted to share the image I captured of part of a spectacular glass sculpture, created by Dale Chihuly and his team of glass blowers and installers, specifically for the view of Icicle Creek that it overlooks from the top of a granite boulder. I loved this detail of the light showing through the more than one thousand "icicles" created by the glass blowers. We left Sleeping Lady sure we will return there for another quiet retreat. But now we know to ask with whom we will be sharing the facility!

Peter wanted to see Grand Coulee Dam on this trip and so it was to that direction we headed
through some of the most stunning scenery. I don't do well when trying to describe incredibly beautiful scenery ... suddenly adjectives seem irrelevant or wrong somehow. I will allow a few of the images to speak for themselves.We traveled east around
Wenatchee,took the road north and then east to Coulee City.

Between Coulee City and Electric City we passed the famous landmark of Steamboat Rock state park: we were unable to determine just what it was in
this monolith that caused it to be named for a steamboat!

On up
the eastern shore of the huge lake created by the dam, pausing for lunch at Electric City ... we shared the bar with a wonderfully colorful group of locals gathered to have lunch at the Electric City Grill. It was around 1pm when we had lunch there ( not choosing either the Breaded Gizzards or the Bar Kicken' Broasted Chicken!) and we were a bit nonplussed to see a woman sit beside us, order a "vodka and seven" and watch the young waitress pour at least 2 1/2 ounces of vodka into the glass and a tiny bit of "seven" ... 7-up! We were reminded of our good fortune in life. Electric City is not a place either of us would have chosen in which to live. Grand Coulee Dam is certainly grand and impressive to see. Photos that we might have taken wouldn't do the mammoth structure justice. Only a small trickle of water issued from the dam and as we have seen every place on this dry side of the state, the water levels in the lakes appear to us to be very low.

Driving on through Wilbur to Creston,
we found the wonderful piece of folk carving pictured here beside a restaurant that was shuttered and abandoned. Turning north our route took us alongside the huge Roosevelt Lake ( created by the Grand Coulee Dam) to Gilford where we crossed the FREE ferry to Inchelium and from there north on a brilliantly constructed road to the point where we joined Highway 20 westbound to Republic. The scenery along this drive was diverse and so beautiful - and we found Republic to be a very interesting town and the motel we chose spotlessly clean and comfortable. Republic at about 3,500 feet was crystal clear air and very chilly.

At the Tamarack Cafe we partook of a splendid pizza and engaged in conversation with a delightful group of sophomore and junior high school students, from the local school. We were amazed at their willingness to chat with us and even more amazed when the mobile phone of one rang, and she got up from the table and went outside to answer and have her conversation!!!!

Breakfast next morning at the Sportsman Cafe was as enjoyable for the conversation we had with the locals as it was for the good rural food.
Before leaving Republic we ventured into the local thrift shop where just about anything you could want was available: we paid for our 2 teaspoons and a wonderful down vest and packed and were on our way.
Wauconda Summit on the road to Tonasket was quite snowy, and beautiful, on both sides but the road clear and dry. Meandering waterways we saw along the way were varyingly snow embellished and there was certainly more snow on that pass than any we have traversed. Driving over Loup Loup summit was also very snowy but the scenery spectacular and we virtually had the road to ourselves only rarely seeing another vehicle as we drove down into the stunning Methow Valley: it was almost six years ago that we were here for 4th of July celebrations.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Reward

Driving Highway 2 through Index on our way here yesterday, Peter suggested I needed to avoid the telephone poles. I think they add something to the photo! The mountains along the way were breathtaking.

Just outside Leavenworth, Washington ( on the eastern side of the state over Stevens Pass on Highway 2) along a road that meanders along through a rural neighborhood one comes to a fork in the road. Turn left for Sleeping Lady Resort was our choice and it is from here that I write: the only sound is YoYo Ma playing Cello (thanks to the amazing tiny speakers I purchased to attach to the iPod function on my iPhone!) and Peter turning the pages of his book as he lolls in a rocking chair in the corner of our beautiful cabin in the woods here along Icicle Creek. The sun comes late into this deep valley and it is casting beautiful light across the wooden floor. I am luxuriating in my reward for a few months of very hard work in my studio.

Last week at Larson's Mercedes Benz dealership showroom in Fife the 16th annual RAGS wearable art show and sale played itself out over 3 1/2 days. Those who organized ( the fabulous women of the RAGS Guild) and we artists who had spent the previous months creating our goods to sell, were cautiously hopeful that people would turn out again and make purchases - one third of which is given to the prevention and intervention programs at the YWCA of Pierce County. However we all know of the current economic challenges and I am guessing I was not the only artist who wondered if he/she would take back to their studio most of what they brought to sell. Our amazing $80,000 gift to the YW for each of the past 2 years we didn't think was possible to repeat.

The results for the whole show will not be known for a month when totals will be revealed at the YWCA's annual luncheon but I was thrilled to part with a major portion of the works I had created and many of the artists were likewise pleased. I am always grateful that people enjoy wearing my work and I have also learned to not be crushed when someone says "No thank you". My marathon days of cutting and sewing for sometimes as long as 12 hours were rewarded .. and now the restful days are here: my reward!

Sleeping Lady Resort is a unique place built by Harriet Bullitt ( see in the mid 1990s and a place we have tried to come to a couple of times in the past, but not been able to get a reservation: the secret is to come in the off season. Nestled in the woods among the beautiful long needled pine trees you find on the dry side of the state, it is an ecologically conscious site with much to offer. It was my birthday gift from Peter, last birthday, to come here and so we are here to loll and do as little as possible for a few days.

In the corner of our little cabin is a telephone ;
what a relief that it isn't mine to answer but it
looks beautiful, in its own way, nestled there
in the morning light!

Walking out the door, the fragrance of the pines is amazing and one only has to look up through the needles of the tree outside the door to imagine the potential for creating something wonderful by interpreting those pine needles into a design ... but for now it is surely time for the first nap of the day.