Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lillian Smith Center--last day of June, 2010

But, thank goodness, not the last day of the retreat! That's on July 10. But today I was able to end one of the tasks that have occupied me since I've been here so all I have time to do tonight is post one photo... guess what!

Yep, the red door (made a few others this morning but don't have time or energy to post them, too).

I was up at 4:30 after spending a pretty much wakeful night. Rain through the night and other stuff disturbing my sleep. So I gave up then and got on out of bed and pretended it was the normal 6:30-ish awaking time with coffee underway, writing morning pages, having breakfast, etc. Morning walk and a few photos on the way (where the red door came in) happened at around 7 and it was overcast today at that time. So... no light play on the red door. More tomorrow, maybe, in lots of ways!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back at Lillian Smith after a day in North Carolina and South Carolina... a long one

Ok, Blogo, let's see what you can do without my exporting photos from IPhoto to Photoshop for resizing. I've just gotten back from a long day's journey and don't have time to do the middle step I'm accustomed to doing.
So, here's the red door around 7:30 a.m. Sun was just about to come over the top of the mountain to the east... but not yet quite there to have points of light on the wall.
There were more of those amazing red-orange and quite tiny mushrooms in the moss near the Lillian Smith memorial site. These are only about 1/2" tall for the largest ones... to small sizes.
Snails were still very much present on the rock wall of the house where I'm staying. Thanks, Kaite, for letting me know that what I'd shown yesterday was indeed snail poo. Thought it was but it was also very interesting to see... beautiful linear pattern. This morning I noticed that some of the parts had dried and weren't too obvious. Wonder just how much excrement the snail does in a day?! He/she seems to stay pretty much in the same place on the wall, not moving too much in one direction of the other. My total biological ignorance shows in that I don't know what this fellow can be eating if staying in the same place for days on end... and still producing that much waste!

The yellow mushroom is changing more now... it's beginning to bend at the edges. Is this showing it will begin to dry and crack? Has it reached its peak size and on the way out? I'll keep looking through the next few days to see what changes happen.
My trip today was to visit Bethanne Knudson at Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, SC and Alice Schlein in Greenville, SC. Here are a couple of shots with each wonderfully sharing individual:
Here's one overall view of the mill interior with a jacquard loom in the foreground.
Bethanne show me the harness cords at the top of the jacquard head.
Then I was off in the typical afternoon thunderstorm, leaving Hendersonville to see Alice at her home and studio in Greenville...
... where she shared several of her samplings done on her TC-1 loom and pulled out some of the things from the box she's preparing to take to the workshop she teaching at Complex Weavers Association conference in New Mexico in a few weeks.
Both Bethanne and Alice are so wonderful to share their passion for weaving. The wealth of knowledge both hold is amazing and I am grateful they took their time with me today.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today at Lillian Smith Center-June 28, 2010

First things, first... here's the red door this morning around 8:30.
This morning I put a zip lock bag in my back pocket when I started for the walk. I'm determined to keep drawing as I did the other day in Suzanne Stryk's workshop. I draw in my sketchbooks very frequently about where I am and what I see there. For instance, I often draw a view of a room I'm staying in when I'm out of town; it might be the chest of drawers with the TV on top or a softa in the room. Or even where my laptop sits in the room because I usually have it with me when I travel. But I haven't frequently collected things to draw. Especially such tiny things as insects. I spent about an hour this afternoon after my other tasks working with this little drawing:
I don't know much about insects yet... is this a cricket of some sort? He was tan with eight oval ivory colored markings on his back.
I made a trip to town today for a few supplies and bought a simple magnifying glass so I can even see what I'm attempting with these small, collected things. Here's the sketchbook and drawing tools... just a few things, pencil, eraser, pen... and now the magnifying glass.
Today, after working in the morning on the paper, I wove on the clasped weft sampler in the afternoon. I'd foolishly thought I'd finish it yesterday. Nope! Instead, I spent a bit of time unweaving what I'd earlier started with the clasped wefts using a different, smaller yarn so I could blend two colors. Well, that didn't work out because the edges began to draw in too much, even though I am using a temple and being careful to bubble. The consistency of the yarn was so different that it just couldn't work in a similar way.  By the way, I don't have the temple on the piece right now since I'm taking a photo.
So there. As I get older I don't usually hesitate to take something out and re-do, if that's what needs to be done,  it like I once did. I've got enough experience with some things now that I know that once something is off the track it will never be right, no matter how hard I try or how strongly I tell myself that "Oh, it's OK!" or "I can live with it; nobody will notice!" Well, I notice and I'm the important one here... got to know that what I'm doing is as right as I can make it. It might not be as right as someone else could make it... but as right as I'm capable of at this point in my life.
More of the morning walk photos... not many but I was surprised by one when I downloaded it and looked in Photoshop--it's coming later. I noticed the snails at the back of the cottage again today. Is this snail poo I'm seeing, these beautifully meandering lines that look like intestines or brain matter pulled in a linear way.
And, can you believe how much like the texture of the snail's head this outer edge to this vent is??
I was taking this photo as today's "what is it" shot... and when I opened it in Photoshop, surprise!  I saw the snail! I'd totally overlooked him as I was concentrating on taking the close up of the orange painted surface!
Speaking of orange, this is a close view of the road this morning after yesterday afternoon's heavy rains. Georgia red clay washed through the gravel of the driveway.
Then here's a fallen over mushroom that I spied this morning in the road. It is just amazing to me how many different mushrooms are growing all around, in the middle of the road, on the banks beside the roadway, in the yard... the mushrooms don't care where they grow, they just do it.
And this is the yellow mushroom I'd posted in an earlier blog. It was a small, yellow bud a few days ago and it has now over doubled--maybe tripled in size, has flattened out and I'm wondering how much more it will keep growing. I've really got to find a book about mushrooms to learn more about them.
Tomorrow holds an adventure that maybe I'll post about tomorrow night. Depends on when I get back here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Second week begins at Lillian Smith Center

Not much to show today... I spent the day with revisions of the paper and weaving on the sampler, until the day's storm blew in, around 5 p.m.  This afternoon storm cycle is beginning to wear on the nerves!  At least I don't think anything blew down around here today to block access in or out... not that any of us want to go anywhere at this point of the evening!  And we didn't lose power although there was a blink at one point.  We're told to unplug and disconnect everything here in the Common Room that's related to the internet... the power to the DSL box and the phone line connection, whenever we leave because of the frequency of storms.  And, at this point--I believe it!

Here are a few things I saw and collected with the camera today.  I also did some drawings of things found around, per Suzanne Stryk's workshop yesterday.  I didn't photograph those yet; I picked up another few things to draw tomorrow... or maybe I'll find new things, instead.

Got to start with today's view of the red door:

This mushroom was amazing; the doubled top seemed to emerge from one stem/base.

Nice rock here that I haven't noticed before... is the red from iron oxide?

Looks like a penny for your thoughts, here...

and this is the view of the road this morning, tree cutting to right and left.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A week here at Lillian Smith Center today...

... although most of it was spent at ECHO School for the Arts at the class taught by Suzanne Stryk.  But I began my day, sadly, with a dead bird on my porch.

As I started the morning pages writing around 7 a.m. I happened to look out the window next to where I was sitting and saw something out of the usual... so I walked outside and saw this poor fellow (if you're upset by death like I am... don't read the following or look at the next several photos).

I guess he/she'd maybe hit the window in the night.  The beak of the bird was between the boards of the porch...  the skinny lines at the left are Daddy Long Legs spider legs...

As I turned the bird over to get it into a container to take it to the woods for disposal I saw these beautiful markings on the breast.

When I got to the workshop later, Suzanne Stryk had a bird identification book... this seems to have been an ovenbird... something I've never heard of but is apparently common to this area.

So, R.I.P. little bird.  Thank you for your sharing your wonder with me.

After putting the little bird to rest in the woods near the Lillian Smith memorial site I started the morning walk with the photo of the red door.  Since I was out earlier than yesterday the light was different.  So far, each day I've been hear the mornings have been clear.  Storms have blown up almost every afternoon, however... this afternoon's caused the problem I'll share below.


 I saw several snails clinging to the side of the rock house wall where I'm staying.  Here's just one.

These are tin flowers at the Director's cottage... I happened to stop to photograph them this morning and then I got closer and saw...

 ... YES, another snail in the center of the yellow one!  These guys are everywhere!!   I just love their spiral pattern of shell.
So far, no one has guessed my "what is it" photos... here's another one to ponder.  

At the Suzanne Stryk workshop... here's Suzanne demonstrating a technique she wanted us to try...

Her work is so incredible... and she taught the workshop in a such a sharing way, encouraging all of us to look closely and think carefully about what we were seeing.

She shared work in her sketchbooks, in addition to her demonstrations...

One of the workshop participants was there under constraint... this little toad, being very patient while he was being drawn.  He was to be released soon afterward.

Peggie brought some beautiful objects to draw and share for others... I used a luna moth from her collection for one of my drawings.  Here, Peggie is drawing a Mayfly that John had brought to the workshop.

Here's my first drawing of the day.  Suzanne had set up several pieces of wood outside on the porch, asking us to look at the bark... the texture of the pieces and to use several kinds of marks of the pen to suggest that.

Then we were to choose an insect to draw... this was the luna moth from Peggie's colletion... and, unfortunately, one part of the wing broke off while I was looking at it... I sketched the break...

As the last assignment, we were to do a composite of several things we saw around the site... so here's my take on that.

I didn't bring the little bird that was on my porch for the workshop but felt it was appropriate to draw the one that Suzanne had there.  Poor little things, both of them.  But the way she looks at these dead things is in a way to honor them.  I can say that I've seen both in a way that's clearer than I ever have noticed these little creatures before because of today's experiences with them.

And, then ... to end the day... here's a view of my car being blocked from driving on up to the cottage by the tree that was across the road!  I took the photo as I walked on up, about 1/4 of a mile to make a call to let someone know that the road was blocked.  Rescue came a short time later so now, all's well.  So even retreat days can be full of excitement of one kind or another!

Friday, June 25, 2010

another day at Lillian Smith Center...

... and this one started with good omens... crows talking in the woods.  Since I began to notice and work with crows over 15 years ago (work with in drawing, writing about, weaving tapestries of...) I've come to think of crows as sort of my guardian spirits.  Crows appear in many legends and mythologies--in both good and bad connotations.... although I think the "bad" is really a misunderstanding!

However, today has been productive and I'm further along in the writing and also a bit into the clasped weft technique that I mentioned I'd be sampling.  No photos of that yet... but if you're curious, check out the Peter Collingwood book, Techniques of Rug Weaving.  It's even online, for those who don't own the book or don't have easy access to it (you'll have to scroll down to the book).  One of the "tricks" about the method that I learned in a workshop from Peter Collingwood's son, Jason, is to try to make the linking of the two wefts in the same shed lie under a warp thread... that will hide the interlock on the face and that linking will show at the back of the piece.

So... today's photos are in pretty much chronological order, from the first I took this morning to the last--at a reception for the artist, Suzanne Stryk, who will be teaching a workshop at ECHO School of the Arts tomorrow (and I'll be taking it!).  The reception was a Globe Gallery in Clayton, Georgia--a wonderful gallery owned by my friend, Peggy McBride--who is also the founder of ECHO School.

Got to start, of course, with the red door!

Where did the post hole diggers go?!

A few small things on the walk this morning caught my eye.  I love this roundish rock set into the larger irregular stone path.  And the oak leaf that had fallen beside it was so beautiful.

More mushrooms were out and about.  The diameter of the top of this one was about 6"...  this is much larger than most of the ones I've seen on the walks.

Fallen nuts began to attract my attention today.  Here's one from the walk at Lillian Smith this morning...

And, here's one from the Globe Gallery at the ramp next to the porch.  

Right beside Globe Gallery is a bank of kudzu and I was able to photograph it without worrying about wandering through the vines and maybe never being found again!

I was able to see some tiny, baby kudzu leaves as they are developing... although, the way kudzu grows these guys will be teen-agers tomorrow, and full grown adults by the next day, most likely!

Another small grouping of three kudzu leaves developing...

This amazing twining around the vine still just stuns me when I see it.

Then... on into the gallery for the reception.  Here is Suzanne Stryk, in the center, between Junco Pollock on the left, Peggy McBride, the gallery owner, on the right.  Junco is an amazing fiber artist.  Her current work is with kudzu... she is processing and weaving with it.  In her hand is a portfolio of recently woven work, in fact.  Junco is a professor of art at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Suzanne Stryk talks to gallery visitors about her work...

Friends/former students of mine came to the reception.  Both live in Rabun County and frequently come to events at the Globe Gallery.  I haven't seen them in several years and was glad to get filled in with what's going on in their lives.  Both were art education majors at North Georgia College & State University; after they graduated several years ago they've gone on to teach art in public schools in north Georgia.  Brenda... on my left (right in the pix) recently retired and is loving her freedom!  Georgann (on my right) is still teaching and is moving between two elementary school, still teaching art.  They were some of the most outstanding students who I taught through the years and I was glad to see them again.

And... Peggy on the left talks to Jan Turner, another of the residents at Lillian Smith Center while I'm here.  Jan is a writer who will soon be moving to the north Georgia area--I'm happy she and Peggy met... Peg has a treasure trove of resource information in her creative brain!