Back Forty Update and Market Report

It finally got cool enough for my butterbeans (or lima beans) to produce again. They will keep going now until a heavy frost.

My field pea crop is winding down. I prefer to eat them freshly shelled (not dried like this photo) with “snaps” – the immature pods snapped like green beans. This year they have been besieged by big black ants who hang out at the top of each pea and will run up your arm and bite you. You have to be very careful when you pick them. I don’t know what I’ll do about this next year. At least they are not fire ants.

Fig tree shadows

The fig tree has gotten huge again. I’ll have to cut it down by at least half this winter. Again.

The last fig

The last fig of the season is now in my stomach.

Market report:

Back in the early days of this blog, the focus was on Slow Food, especially on local food at a time when Greensboro markets and restaurants were just beginning to get on board and understand the meaning and implications of buying locally. I was a member of the board of the Friends of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market before that volunteer group went through an weirdly political totally insane lie-based attack resulting in its dissolution. Since that time, the management of the market passed to a non-profit group who has brought the market back to a wonderful community again, which I am particularly grateful for since the insanity migrated over to Deep Roots Market. But that will be the subject of another post.

This morning at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, I bought the following:

Water buffalo cheese from Fading D Farm of Salisbury, NC. WHOA! And so good!
Buttercrunch lettuce, hydroponically grown from Tony
Stoneground yellow grits from Old Mill of Guilford
Small sweet peppers
Soap from Carol at Mimi’s Soaps
From Anna at Zaytoon:
Baba ganoush
From Rudd Farm:
Sweet bicolor corn, my favorite
Butternut squash
From Daniel at Nimby Farm:

Normally I also buy milk, meat and bread there too but I ran out of money this morning! I have a lot in my freezer, though.

I used to go to Deep Roots Market after the market visit to buy what I couldn’t find, but honestly nowadays I find most of what I need at the farmers’ market. I’ll go to Costco or Bestway or Harris Teeter or Earth Fare to find the rest of my needs until Deep Roots changes course, if it survives. I do still go to Deep Roots occasionally to buy things when they have the owner discount month to buy only products that are cruelty and GMO free. Today I’m heading to the other stores.

Art Makers Denver


^^^McNicols Building

I’ve just returned from a new-to-me art retreat, Art Makers Denver, where I took a paper painting collage class from Elizabeth St. Hilaire. I’ve been following her work online for a while and since I like to visit my family near Denver in September I jumped at the chance to combine that trip with this retreat this year.

The retreat was smaller than most of the ones that I’ve attended elsewhere, which made for smaller classes and more attention (if you like more attention). I had a big table all to myself, which was great since I tend to push into other people’s spaces. The venue was the recently renovated McNicols Building in Civic Center Park, a spacious and light-filled place. Delicious lunches were provided on two days and on the third day we were each given a $10 voucher to use at the food truck festival in the park outside. We got lots of extra goodies such as locally made sodas and juice drinks, healthy snacks, a copy of Uppercase magazine, and various arty thingies.

I was really looking forward to taking one of Leighanna Light‘s book classes because she is, well, AWESOME, and because I learned so much about connecting found objects and working with metal in the class I took from her a few years ago, but her classes were canceled. I looked for Helen Hiebert, who is huge in the papermaking world and I simply wanted to meet her, but her classes didn’t make either. So hopefully this retreat will become more popular as it matures and more people learn about it.

One other note before I get on to the other photos…this was the first time that I took the bus round trip from Westminster, a suburb of Denver, to downtown. It was an easy, clean, flawless experience. I heard good things about Denver’s new light rail system too. Although the train trip to the airport is a bit pricey, it still beats the price of a taxi or renting a car, and costs less than paying for parking downtown.


^^^Since Leighanna’s class was canceled on Sunday, I spent an extra day painting and printing papers in Elizabeth’s class. I didn’t mind, because I love doing this. I went as fast as I could without overthinking. The only things I kept in mind were the colors I might need for the collage and layers. Lots of layers. I used old book pages, dictionary pages, sheet music, map pages from a book about Colorado mining towns, washed and dried coffee filters, handmade papers, and the backs of some of the papers I painted and printed in Albie Smith’s class at An Artful Journey in 2011.


^^^Some of Elizabeth’s demonstration papers using alcohol droppers and spritzing with liquid dish soap on top of wet paint.


^^^Beautiful art installation to which the attendees were asked to decorate a tag and hang.


^^^Because the nearly full moon was huge over the weekend and I could still see it hanging over the mountains each morning, I hoped to do this painting as a collage after my apple. But time ran out. I’ll do it here in North Carolina.




^^^Everyone in class painted an apple before class in acrylic on a firm surface such as a canvas covered mat board or wooden panel. Elizabeth wanted us to work with a simple shape where we would learn about light and shadow. I’ll work a little more on my background, but my apple is done. Even though two people told me they thought it was a pumpkin.o_O




^^^More Denver scenes.

In downtown Chicago

Chicago River view

I didn’t spend very long in Chicago. On Thursday afternoon I was sleep-deprived and it was drizzly.

Route 66, Chicago, Illinois

Union Station, Chicago, Illinois

On Saturday afternoon I spent a few hours in the Art Institute of Chicago, where I took dozens of photos, but I’ll only share one painting photo. Everywhere I turned I saw a slide from one of my art history classes! It was quite impressive and very overwhelming. I couldn’t begin to see it all, so I concentrated on early 20th century paintings, my favorite period.


Chicago cityscape

In front of the Art Institute of Chicago

In front of the Art Institute of Chicago

Giacometti and the view from inside the Art Institute of Chicago



I was so pleased to see this Franz Marc painting. He is one of my very favorite artists and he died young in WWI so not only was his time cut short on this earth, not much of his art survived the Nazis.

I had never been to Chicago, and I didn’t have much time, but now I will have a better idea of what to do next time I’m there.

In South Bend, Indiana

Century Center, South Bend, Indiana

Reflection in the Century Center next to the St. Joseph River

These photos are from my brief trip to see the American Tapestry Biennial 11 at the South Bend Museum of Art on Sept. 2, 2016. See my previous post for photos from the exhibition.

I arrived late Thursday night on Amtrak after flying to Chicago and hanging around downtown most of the afternoon. I booked a great inexpensive AirBNB room near downtown near the river and hospital, so if you ever need a recommendation for an AirBNB in South Bend, contact me in the comments. The only struggle I had in South Bend was finding a good cab service. Yellow Cab finally came through for me. I walked around most of Saturday and early Sunday morning. Even though the town’s downtown streets and sidewalks were torn up for widening the streets, it was still a pleasant experience. I needed some river time.

St. Joseph River, South Bend, Indiana

St. Joseph River, South Bend, Indiana

Fish Ladder on St. Joseph River, South Bend, Indiana

South Bend River Lights

St. Joseph River, South Bend, Indiana

St. Joseph River, South Bend, Indiana

In tiny Pier Park next to downtown, I became fascinated with the old paving bricks. I think that I might use these in some kind of artwork. Maybe tapestry.

Paving bricks in Pier Park, South Bend, Indiana

Paving bricks in Pier Park, South Bend, Indiana

Paving bricks in Pier Park, South Bend, Indiana

I never went over to Notre Dame University, but downtown had interesting architecture. Some unusual small shops, a natural food co-op and a yummy Italian bakery are on the east side of the river. I went to Fiddler’s Hearth and ate a banger boxty and drank a couple of pints for a late lunch. They had trad music later that night but I ended up back in my room early, since I had plans to explore the Art Institute of Chicago the next day and needed to catch the train early. Next post, Chicago.

South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana

Indiana Earth

Evening primroses in the morning

A Trip to See the American Tapestry Biennial 11 in South Bend, Indiana

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Dorota Wronska, “Dance”; Laurie O’Neill, “98% Water”; Sharon Crary, “It Seems to Be”

As many of you know, my tapestry “98% Water” was accepted into the American Tapestry Biennial 11 and the exhibition is traveling to three venues: the South Bend Museum of Art in Indiana, Mulvane Art Museum in Kansas, and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California. Indiana is closest to me, so I traveled to South Bend via Chicago for the artists’ reception last Friday.

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: Mary Kester, Laurie O’Neill, Becky Stevens

The gallery area was spacious and it allowed lots of room for viewing the individual tapestries. Two other galleries there were part of the reception so we had a good crowd, excellent food, and great music. Connecting with fellow tapestry artists Mary Kester and Becky Stevens helped calm my jitters and I left feeling rejuvenated, ready to get back to weaving despite any obstacles, and best of all, I finally felt that my work belonged in the show. A huge weight was lifted from my soul. I did not realize how fearful I have been for months about this reception and how my work might be perceived. Mary Kester especially motivated me when she told me that she wove most of her multi-layered tapestry with her non-dominant hand!

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: Ruth Manning’s “Social Graces,” Becky Stevens with “Read All About It,” and Mary Kester

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: Mary Kester and her tapestry “Gavrinis Keep”

Here are some photos from the exhibition. I mostly took photos of details of the other tapestries, since I have a catalog of the show and I’m interested in studying the techniques of others. Now I realize that may not have been the best choice for blogging this experience for others, but it is a good thing that I am no longer thinking about what I will blog instead of being in the moment.

For more photos, please see my Flickr album, or click on a photo to get more information. I’m still working on getting the titles of some of the tapestries shown here. It’s been a busy week and I don’t have my catalog with me.

American Tapestry Biennial 11

American Tapestry Biennial 11

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above three photos: Barbara Heller,”Detritus” and details.

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Cecilia Blomberg, “Point Defiance Steps”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Linda Wallace’s “The Journey Back”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Alta Turner, “Concession (Grudging) to Alzheimer’s”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Suzanne Paquette, “Cordes Sensibles”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Janette Meetze’s tapestry diary “Red Dirt Days, Journey through 2014”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Mary Kester, “Gavrinis Keep”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Gabriela Cristu, “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”

American Tapestry Biennial 11

Above: detail from Becky Stevens, “Read All About It”, one of a series about climate change


Above: detail from Urban Jupena’s “Mt. Abu.” I think it’s obvious why I was fascinated with this one.

It was a great experience and honestly, it was worth the trip even if I hadn’t been in the show.

I started weaving on “Cathedral” again the morning after I got back. Will update soon.