Thursday, April 3, 2008

Long weekend...lots of places

From Friday last week until Tuesday this week I was on the road in North Carolina. I didn't quite live in my car but as I stood, spreading hummus on a bagel in the parking lot of Earth Fare in Asheville, I wondered if those watching thought I did! No, instead I had a great time with friends in different places...the parking lot lunch was just a blip on the great weekend of connecting and reconnecting with people I love.

Friday, I made a quick stop at John C. Campbell Folk School to see the results of the nuno felting class taught last week by Mailiss Petterson, from Norway. Her work with silk and wool in the felting method she uses is just beautiful. The students in her class had wonderful pieces and were all quite excited to have learned so much during the week.

After that quick stop I took off again toward Waynesville, NC to stay overnight with a couple of friends who I haven't had time to visit with in years. And they weren't even there!! I cat-sat for them on Friday night...had a quiet time with Murr, the cat and good thinking, sketching and weaving during that evening and the next day. Leslie and Richard returned from their trip late on Saturday and we had time to catch up on life's events. Before dinner Leslie and I took a short walk on a portion of the NC "Mountains to the Sea" trail that passes at the back edge of their property.

Murr had a propensity for sitting in the saddle of an earthenware horse at the house--a favorite spot from which he can watch the birds outside, Leslie said. I was quite taken with Murr and made several sketches of him while I was there.

And I just had to have one photo of him in the saddle!

I stayed Friday and Saturday nights with L & R, then passed through Asheville on my way toward Winston-Salem. I always have to stop at the Folk Art Center when in Asheville and on this trip, Liz Spear was one of the craft demonstrators. I'd bought a handwoven jacket from her a couple of years ago and this time purchased a vest...handwoven front, commercial fabric back. I love her garments--beautiful colors and yarns, exquisite tailoring.

Since my goal was to be in Winston-Salem early on Monday, I decided to drive in that direction later Sunday afternoon. I stopped at Statesville that night, leaving only about a 45 minute drive for the next morning. I checked into a motel, took in my sketchbook and "trashy" mystery novel, my bag of veggi sushi and spring rolls from Earth Fare, my stitching (left the tapestry loom in the car)--and settled in for a quiet evening.

Early the next morning I peeked out the window to see fog and rain underway. I'd hoped to finish off the drive in dry conditions but took to the road about 9 a.m., windshield wipers doing their best. I got to W-S by a little after 10, picked up the two tapestries that had been in the new members exhibit at Piedmont Craftsmen, and headed southwest toward Noel and Patrick's place in the mountains of Western NC.

I stopped again in Asheville as I passed through to select several pieces of fabric from Waechter's Silk Shop, buy a few supplies for school and a new reed for my 60" loom at Earth Guild, and have one more stop at Earth Fare (where I had the previously mentioned parking-lot lunch!). By this point in the trip, by car was brimming with stuff! The assorted traveling studio things I take with me on any trip were combined with purchases and picked-up tapestries from the past three days...all making for a very full car.

The oasis of Noel & Patrick's property called and I arrived in time to see the chickens and guineas before they roosted for the night. Pat Williams has recently completed a commissioned tapestry for Noel and the unveiling took place, along with a toast to the work!

The subject of the tapestry is Patrick, who is actively involved with the biological control of the wooly adelgid problem effecting the hemlocks. He studied the various methods available and determined the sassy beetle is the best option. Two years into releases on their property has shown the hemlocks there to be making a remarkable come-back! He shares his work with anyone who will listen--faces skepticism in some places, down-right anger in others. Yet property owners with whom he works are seeing remarkable results. Who would have known that an environmental issue such as this could have so many political ramifications? I've seen what I've seen on Noel and Patrick's property--can "testify" (as we used to say in church) to the effectiveness of the sassy beetle on the trees there. How this can be overlooked by many is beyond my understanding--other than to wonder how "invested" in other methods of "control" those nay-sayers may be?

Anyway, a toast to the miracles of hemlock revival and Patrick's involvement with it! From right to left, there's Noel, who commissioned the tapestry. Next, standing together are Pat (the tapestry artist) and Patrick (Noel's husband). Another friend who's very familiar with Patrick's work with HWA stands to the left and her service dog--a beautiful German Shepherd--is behind Noel. All are grouped in front of Pat's beautiful tribute to "The Tree Wizard"!

Monday night with Noel & Patrick for both Pat and me, then we were all off on separate ways Tuesday morning...Pat to a new members' meeting at Southern Highland Craft Guild, Patrick to meet the FedEx driver with a shipment of beetles on the way for him, and me to Hambidge Center to drop off work for the Botanical Art exhibit.

Back at my studio yesterday I found tulips blooming in the yard! The weather was so warm that I was able to take the loom to the screened-in back porch and weave for a couple of hours before last night's class. That was one of my fondest desires for this new studio--the porch where I can weave when the weather is fine. The light is very good, the smells and sounds of the back yard and the neighborhood are comforting. I know I'll enjoy this out-door (sort of) studio space very much in the next months.

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