just ramblin’

Next week I’m taking a staycation and I have a lot of projects in mind and a couple of events to attend, including seeing Gordon Lightfoot in concert at the Carolina Theater in Greensboro – a great venue for a great artist.

Today, I’m considering my priorities in what I want to accomplish and what I need to get done. I’m taking a small weaving workshop on sakiori (Japanese rag weaving technique) that is not far away, so first on the list is to assemble and warp my new-to-me Beka rigid heddle loom, and cut/tear half-inch strips of rags for this workshop next Saturday. This is mainly an exercise in creativity and fun, and usually no matter what the subject is, I learn something from a new teacher.

Secondly, I am going to spend some time catching up on the online courses I signed up for LAST YEAR and this year, with the priority being to warp up my new-to-me Mirrix loom in the four-selvedge technique I’ve learned in Rebecca Mezoff and Sarah Swett’s “Fringeless” online course. I hope that this will lead to me weaving small tapestries for book covers and even pages. Making a tapestry book has long been a goal for me.

Other priorities are preparing “puzzle piece” squares for Jude Hill’s current online course as a traveling project. I’d like to do some more cloth strip weaving and make some bags like the ones I made in India Flint’s “Bagstories” course last year.

Another prep project is to make the components for several books, covers and pages, to have them ready to bind. I want to bind at least one book with some of the signatures I made in Leighanna’s workshop at FOBA, and it is mostly ready.

Also, I just finished the first season of “Stranger Things.” As usual, I am behind on popular shows and normally I can’t handle horror shows or flicks – I tend to have nightmares – but this struck me more as a combination of “Freaks and Geeks” and Stephen King. I will probably finish watching the series next week.

I will need to get my battery replaced in the car. We jumped it off after some difficulty after it sat for a while and I drove it to the mechanic’s shop, then made the unwise decision to drive it back home and see if it cranked in the morning. Now it won’t even click when we try to jump it. If we can get it charged again, I will leave it at the mechanic’s shop and let them replace the battery and check out the rest of the electrical system. Fortunately I walk to work and we can get by with one car most of the time, but it limits what I can do during weekdays when Sandy is working unless I get up at 6:30 and drive him to work and pick him up at 4 p.m. I don’t really want to do that.

Once the heat wave settles down, which according to the forecast should happen around Tuesday, I am going to fire up the electric dehydrator and dry a bunch of cherry tomatoes, which are beginning to produce a lot more than we can eat. The UNCG garden is producing plenty of lemon cucumbers, which I have mostly given away, some zephyr squash, and the Roma tomatoes are beginning to ripen. The pole lima beans are now healthy looking after a Japanese beetle attack, but it has been so hot that they have not blossomed, so I hope for a fall harvest. I’ve harvested and eaten onions – the first onions I’ve ever grown from seed. The garlic bulbs did not separate into cloves so I’ll have to figure out what went wrong. We have had a few peppers of various kinds, mainly Italian frying peppers.

Other than that, I am daydreaming about my plans to go to Ireland next June, probably by myself!!! and Sandy has applied for Social Security, so he can retire at any point he wants to now. Since we can’t retire to Ireland, I want to try to come up with ways to go there fairly often. I have an app on my phone called Hopper that is good at alerting you to price drops and rises in airfare on certain routes and days, and I’ve found quite a few AirBNBs that are very inexpensive. If you reserve way ahead of time, you can usually find good prices. Also, I learned on the recent trip to Oregon that I do just fine with a loaf of good bread, sharp cheese, fresh fruit, and nuts for my meals. I’ll be at an art retreat for a week but I want to spend another week walking on the coast.

Yes, I am trying to maintain my mental health during a time of political horror in my own country. At least the racism is out in the open now, but these fascists are scary. My father fought in World War II. What would he say if he were alive? It’s hard to imagine that we are in this place of meltdown, and I will probably end up writing about my helpless feelings about the fall of our civilization at some point. What do you do when people refuse to believe the truth? It is beyond my comprehension.

Honestly, “Stranger Things” is much less scary and a whole lot more believable.

I will add a statement on the sidebar about the appearance of ads on my blog beginning July 28. It is part of my expense cutting to push my money toward retirement, travel, and art expenses. I won’t see them or have any control over them, but I’m not spending any more money on this blog, and that is when my bill is due to prevent ads. Please, just ignore them. Don’t click on them. I hate advertisements and I do not choose the content.

Focus on Book Arts – Surface Design on Metal and Paper

I have so much fun with Leighanna Light’s techniques that I decided to take both of her classes at FOBA this year. I took a break on Friday because I have finally learned that I cannot go full charge for five days at an art retreat without falling apart before the end. Kathy went home. So that was the day I roamed around town by myself and took photos. Susanne and I sent three boxes full of stuff that we bought or no longer needed for classes back home by Priority Mail. I repacked everything and left the suitcase with one wheel in the garbage can.

On Saturday, Judy joined my class, so it was nice to reconnect with her. She gave me an accordion flag style book she made with her handmade paper and photos she took of the textures at Yellowstone National Park. Such a nice memento of our time together there. I’ll post a photo later. Also sitting at our table was Virginia Sumner, attending her first art retreat. She was kind enough to give us a ride back to the MAX line station so that we didn’t have to lug bags too far. You can check out Virginia’s artwork here. I love making new friends at art retreats, even though I didn’t try very hard at this one.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

phototransfer

^^^On Saturday morning we concentrated on the techniques that would have to dry for a while. The first thing we did was make gesso photo transfers on metal. It’s a very simple technique but I always have problems with any kind of photo transfer. I think that I will try to rub a little more paper off.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^I had some extra tin so I played with gesso and stencils again.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^We went out and picked leaves to do leaf prints on copper and brass. This is a technique that Leighanna developed. The brass turned the copper a bluish color where they were stacked – or was it the copper turned the brass blue – aw heck, I’m mixed up, but it was cool. I think that the brass is the bigger piece.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^We spent the afternoon painting and stenciling and stamping watercolor paper with gesso, let them dry, then painted over them with dyes and chalk paint. I could do this for weeks and I don’t know why I don’t do it more when I am at home. I am resistant to getting paint on my hands and I hate gloves so I guess that is it, but if I am somewhere else in a workshop I am happy slapping wet stuff on paper and getting it all over me. I kept going back and adding more color here and there.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^The following day we tore our papers into signatures and bound them into a book with a canvas cover with a longstitch binding. I can make three more books with the extra signatures I made.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^Then came the tough decision – what metal plate to use on the cover? I would have been fine with several of these. It helped to cut down the leaf prints into smaller sections. Once I did that, one stood out and I went with it.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

We attached the metal with a metal punch and little nuts and bolts. I originally bound the book with red thread to give it a pop, but after I attached the plate I rebound it with black thread. Part of the look was to hang ribbons and yarns and odd bits to the threads hanging off the spine. I like that kind of thing, but I didn’t go for it with either of my books. I preferred the simple look of the plain black thread on the spine, so I brought the ends of the threads to the inside as in a pamphlet binding.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

I still need to glue the back and front papers to the cover, but I’m very happy with the results I had in both workshops. I don’t expect to come home with something that I am so satisfied with, because the idea is that I am learning and playing, so this was great.

Susanne and I flew back on the redeye from Portland to Greensboro late that night. PDX is a great airport, with good shops and restaurants at normal prices. I end this series with the amazing banh mi from Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, which I washed down with a “Made Marion” marionberry cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. I will miss the food and drinks in Oregon.

Bahn Mi at PDX

Focus on Book Arts – The Construction of an Art Book

My first class at Focus on Book Arts was with Leighanna Light, titled “The Construction of an Art Book.” Susanne and Kathy joined me for this one. For two days we collaged, painted, and stenciled a strip of canvas that was folded and glued into a book. We also stenciled onto metal pieces and applied chemicals for a “faux etching” effect.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^The process

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^Painted canvas strips drying

FOBA- Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book

^Photo by Leighanna Light

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^^^My book and each page spread

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^Faux etching with stencils on copper and tin

FOBA- Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^photo by Leighanna Light

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^Leighanna with the students’ books

FOBA- Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book  class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

Forest Grove Eats

We ate well in Forest Grove, but mostly from two places: the downtown farmers’ market where we shopped on Wednesday evening, and Kama’aina, an award winning Hawaiian restaurant that we could not stay away from. We went there three times: on our first night in town, where I had the limu ahi poke bowl that I have dreamed about since the last time we ate there in 2017. We went back after our first class finished on Thursday night and ate garlic furitake fries and edamame appetizers and then Susanne and I went BACK on Saturday afternoon and did it all over again. They also had the best porter I found in town on tap – D’Visionary from Pono Brewing Company in Portland. I wish I could find it here!

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Kama’aina

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^On the same corner with Kama’aina was Slow Rise Bakehouse. Susanne bought a loaf of seeded bread that I ate with almond butter and sliced pears three times – oh yum. The last morning I stuck my head in just for the smells. I had bought this bread two years ago at the farmers market and swooned over it then too.

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^FG Sushi, very popular, very small, very good. The salad had a particularly wonderful citrus dressing.

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Downtown

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Valley Arts

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^off 19th St.

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^garden gate

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Bathroom sign in Ridgewalker Brewing, where I enjoyed a couple of beers at the bar on Friday, my introvert recharge day.

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Great posters in the bathroom at Waltz Brewing, where we dodged a hail storm walking home from the farmers’ market. I had hoped to buy a growler of the delicious coffee porter like last time, but they didn’t have any dark beers on tap.

Hey, I hear you, where are the photos of this amazing farmers’ market you carry on about every time you go to Forest Grove? Well, sometimes an event fills up your senses and you don’t remember to take photos. Also, a bad storm was cooking in the sky and we loaded up and left in a hurry. We bought strawberries, blueberries, two kinds of raspberries, two kinds of cherries, another loaf of rye bread from a different baker, lemon hummus, tabouli, tzatziki sauce, pita chips, and a jar of almond butter made with coconut oil. Behind the Farmers’ Market we picked up two delicious cheeses from the Urban Decanter. We munched on these goodies until we left Oregon.

I would like to continue eating this way.

Final note: We were very sorry to see that Maggie’s Buns, another of our favorite places to eat, had closed. We weren’t the only ones who were sad about it.

Okay, the rest of the posts will be about the FOBA classes.

Forest Grove, Oregon

On Tuesday morning, we hit Powell’s one more time, then packed up our stuff and walked to the nearest MAX stop. I lost a wheel on my luggage with the heavy art supplies, but between the two of us we managed. We took the MAX all the way to Hillsboro, where we caught a bus to Forest Grove. Had it not been for the broken wheel, it would have been easy. I won’t mind taking public transport again to this conference, but I will buy a heavy duty wheeled carry-on bag before my next trip.

We both are in love with Forest Grove, Oregon. I long to live there. The weather was almost perfect, temperature wise, anyway. That was a relief since the last two visits were during awful heat waves.

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Front of our AirBNB

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Angel and daisies

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Yummy black raspberries for free munching

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Chickens and guineas

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^View of our apartment and balcony from the trail

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Sign that convinced me to not walk on the trail

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Main Street redwoods

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^I like the color scheme of this historic house

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

Forest Grove, Oregon

^^^Gorgeous flowers and gardens on our walks from our B&B to Pacific University.