Intermission: Photos from the cliff path and the beach









Blue jellyfish

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Tapestry Retreat with Susan Maffei and Archie Brennan at Pam’s cabin, Pt. 1


Top: View from my bedroom window. Click to play sound.



View of the surf and trees below the house.

IMG_6115On Friday morning I got up to find Jeanne sitting at the table drawing with watercolor pencils and the other women gone downhill to walk on the beach. Jeanne offered her pencils for me to try them and I ended up, quite unintentionally, with my tapestry design for the retreat. I am fascinated with the trees on the cliffs.

When we got to Pam’s cabin, I decided to rewarp the loom that I brought instead of using the loom there. I learned my first lesson when I heard Susan advise another weaver that she had warped her loom too tight. I’ve always warped for tapestry as tight as possible, and I go pretty tight on other weaving also. So I didn’t worry as much about tightness this time, and I was surprised to get an even tension this time right away.

One of my goals for working with Susan and Archie in this workshop/retreat was to get more comfortable with weaving vertical lines in tapestry, so I wanted to weave this design the way I drew it. Susan talked me into weaving part of it from the side, which was much easier but still gave me a few challenges. This turned out to be a psychological advantage as well, because I told myself that this was a sample for the full-sized one I eventually would weave, I could let myself experiment.


IMG_6122Pam Patrie, our lovely hostess, stayed busy cooking dinner for a big crowd each night and she cooked lunch for Susan and Archie each day. Fresh baked bread, delicate soup, and delicious meals. She and Jeanne ran errands and worked hard to make us all happy.

I now think of Pam as my fairy godmother. She brightens my day every time I talk to her and spending time with her is a joy. I really can’t express enough how positive her influence has been on me in the past year.

A few of us walked down the steep path to the beach below where a “bloom” of bright blue jellyfish had washed up on the tide. They looked like sapphires with tiny crystal sails. There were no tentacles but they did stink.


That evening Susan showed us some of their actual small tapestries, as well as an artist’s book of photographs of her very long tapestries.



I went back to the cove house with the intention of weaving more, but the sound of the surf below lulled me to sleep almost immediately.

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Filed under art retreats, Cannon Beach, fiber art, Oregon, Pacific beaches, tapestry, weaving

Arcadia Beach State Park


Arcadia Beach State Park is just down the road from Pam’s cabin and has a much easier access to the beach than the steep cliffside path at her place. We stopped there to meet other participants and transport everyone who was staying at the house at Cove Beach a few miles away. This is Humbug Point and Lion Rock between the park oceanfront and Pam’s cabin.


Looking in the other direction:


Horsetail along the path:



We settled into a house with a gorgeous view over Cove Beach in Oswald West State Park, then went back to Pam’s cabin for dinner and Archie showed us slides of his work. I had a very comfortable bed this time and I slept well. It was a little rainy and the Pacific roared steadily on the beach far below.

Ferns were everywhere:



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Portland and on the way to Cannon Beach

voodoodoughnutI stayed in an Aloft hotel on Wednesday night, which I specifically chose for its proximity to the light rail system station so that I could explore on my own. My brain doesn’t function when I am sleep-deprived, and my sleep gauge was on red from several nights of anticipatory anxiety. I checked in around 3:00 that afternoon, spent two hours dithering over where to go that night despite researching it online beforehand, then gave in to a nap with the idea that I’d wake up in time to take the train downtown and hang around Powell’s for a couple of hours. I remember giving myself permission. Then I woke up at 9:30. So I skipped dinner, gave in to exhaustion and slept until 4 a.m.


A Benson Bubbler, a Portland kinda thing

At 6 a.m. I was on the train downtown with Voodoo Doughnuts as my chosen destination. I had just enough time to have a maple bacon doughnut, a cup of coffee, and to take the train back to meet Jeanne for my ride to Cannon Beach on Thursday morning.


We rode around a bit until Costco opened, picked up some food and drinks for the retreat, then headed to Cannon Beach. We stopped at this rest area in Clatsop State Forest for a little picnic lunch, and enjoyed the wildflowers on a nearby trail.





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In the air over Oregon and Minnesota (I think)

Day one: I leave Raleigh Durham airport and wonder at the landscape below as I fly to Portland, Oregon. The sky is clear most of the way and when I leave the mostly tree-covered land of the southeast the patchwork patterns of the farmland translate to fiber and cloth in my head. I trace the river basins with my fingers and imagine traveling along them on the surface. The oxbows fascinate me, because they tell stories of the rivers’ past. “Here’s where I used to go, until I found a shortcut.” Are the oxbows sad to be left behind or are they happy to be in retirement?

The vast wilderness of the West makes me feel much calmer. There are many places that we haven’t decimated yet and where nature will still kick yo’ ass if you don’t behave and respect it.

I am particularly thrilled at the sight of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens poking up above the clouds and the other mountains. There is another volcanic peak in the distance that I identified as Mt. Rainier upon return and looking on a map. I can’t believe that I can see that far away. The person next to me on the plane is from Portland (I ask, since we are almost there) and she can’t tell me the names of the peaks. She knows about Mt. St. Helens but she really just wants me to shut up.

The first two were taken on the way in on April 22. The others were taken on the way back on April 27 and the sun was rising and the window was not scratched up. I didn’t ask my seat neighbor any geological questions on the way back.

Funny, I used to prefer the aisle seat.


The Columbia River


Mt. Adams. You can barely see Mt. Rainier in the distance if you look at the large size.

Mt. Adams

Another photo of Mt. Adams at sunrise, this time.

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens at sunrise. The blowout is on the other side.


Pretty sunrise.


I think that this may have been over Minnesota. I want to do some abstract design based on this one.


Again, closer to Chicago, not sure what river, but love those river channels.

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