My muse was waiting for me in the mountains. The collage with the stick and feather was started at Lake Waccamaw. The one with the creek stones is in progress, and the rocks have a bit of mica/pyrite/gold glitter in them. That one and the blue green collage are based on lyrics from Stairway to Heaven.
After RBG died, I decided that we really did have to get away. I had waffled until the last minute, but I found a place that we could afford that met our criteria during the week this week, an airBnB place called Wild Hare Historic Farmhouse Retreat right on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Sparta and Stone Mountain State Park, only about an hour and a half drive away. The first night we “glamped” in a 1968 Avion travel trailer parked on the property, and then we moved inside to a room with a private bathroom and a Jacuzzi tub. There is a creek with rapids and a small beach on the property, which was my main criteria. I wanted to get next to running water over rocks.
Now I am sitting at the dining room table of the BnB and the only other person in the house this week is one of the owners, Cara, who is very friendly.
Today is a rainy day, but other than being quite chilly the first night, the weather has been lovely.
On the way up here, we stopped at Stone Mountain State Park for a couple of hours, and I have to wonder why it is that we haven’t been up here in over twenty years. It is a pretty short drive and a really lovely park. We hiked a little and hung out beside a pretty creek with a little whirlpool at the top of the rapids.
Then we went into Sparta and ate inside (!!!!!) at a pizzeria but the tables were well spaced out and the staff and most of the customers were masked.
Then I got a major migraine and so I can’t give you a good description of staying in the travel trailer that night. I will say that the sleeping arrangements were comfortable and it was well equipped enough that we could have stayed in there for the week as we originally planned.
The next day I explored the property and the creek, and we drove to Galax, Virginia and had lunch (inside again!) at a combination antique store and cafe called Briar Patch Marketplace and Cafe on Main Street. The sandwiches and soup were very good (oh my God, that pimento cheese!!!) and they were doing all the covid precautions right. It was 2:15 p.m. by that time and there weren’t many people there.
We moseyed around the antique part and it was one of those consignment malls with a lot of different booths. I found a treasure trove of old books for very cheap that were amazing for the kind of collage that I do. I knew that I was in serious danger so I left after picking out three books in five minutes. I do NOT have room for more books. As it is I have started stacking them on the floor. Unfortunately when I went up to pay THAT person was not masked. I handed him my credit card and stepped back in a hurry. Then down the street the music store we wanted to go into had three guys without masks just inside the front door. So we headed back to Sparta.
We visited a local potter’s studio and then hit the Food Lion to get me some Allegra and some snacks. That night I don’t think Sandy ate anything but I munched on Goat Lady Dairy marinated goat cheese and crackers and was happy. We sat beside the fire pit and Cara joined us and brought marshmallows to roast under the stars. Then we enjoyed the Jacuzzi in our bathroom and it was a great one!
Wednesday was warm enough that I waded in the creek and collected a few rocks. Sandy started a drawing for a watercolor of the springhouse. I sat on the back porch listening to the water down below and lo and behold, my muse came back, finally! Next post.
That night we went early to a nice restaurant in Sparta called Crave, and our meals, chicken marsala and spaghetti with Italian sausage, were excellent. We both had desserts that were amazing – tiramisu and Italian cheesecake. We were going to visit the local brewery but had to waddle back to the car and so we came back and spent a quiet night reading and watching TV.
I would be content staying here at the retreat the whole time, actually. There is delicious water straight from the spring, cats, and chickens, flowers and herbs, the sound of water over rocks. I am more relaxed than I’ve been for a long time. I suspect that I will come back. They are not open all the time though, because they are heading to their other job as captains on a catamaran that hosts three couples in Florida! So Scott is already down there getting ready for that gig.
This morning I have been playing with collage. See the next post.
Tomorrow we go back to Greensboro.
I have neglected to post here, but I have been doing a lot on my laptop for work and finishing up the new Tapestry Weavers South website. Transferring the files from the old site to the new was time consuming because of issues with the old design and a problem with getting into the dashboard of the hosting company, but I have FINALLY gotten them to acknowledge that I am who I say I am and now awaiting the information to transfer the domain. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my free time, but it’s almost done, hallelujah! WordPress.com will be much easier to work with since they will automatically do updates and I am already hosting this site here.
“Hallelujah” has been stuck in my brain for about a month now.
Sandy and I suddenly decided to come down to Lake Waccamaw after a call from my sister on Sunday, and I am so glad that we did. The weather is as perfect as it gets. Low humidity and high temps in the high 70s-80s. The water is cool for a change, and there is a bit of a breeze to keep the bugs off. The wifi is better here than it is at home; I guess because there are not so many people here working and taking classes online. I can work on the back porch facing the lake and listen to the waves and birds singing. Zoom meetings will be taking place late this afternoon and tomorrow. At one time when I did freelance work for Greensboro College, I didn’t like working from home, but these days when I can take my work with me, it is wonderful. I needed a change of scenery badly.
First time I have seen this kind of snail. She was a big one!
The plan was to leave tomorrow after the last Zoom meeting so that I can be in the office on Friday, my one designated office day per week. Tomorrow the forecast is for flooding rain from the remnants of Hurricane Sally moving northeast. So we have decided to leave late this afternoon. I don’t want to, but we don’t want to drive three hours in that, either. We will be packing and cleaning, after a take-out lunch from Dale’s.
Last night was a real treat! For the second time since mid-March, we sat down at a real restaurant and had dinner outside, with lots of spacing and beauty in one of our very favorite restaurants, Indochine, in Wilmington, NC. We went all the way, with appetizers, drinks, and dessert, and enough leftovers to eat another meal. If you love Thai and Asian food and you are ever in Wilmington, NC, I highly recommend it.
I have managed to get started in the studio again – there’s nothing that I am over excited about happening BUT I have actually started weaving on Cathedral again and glued some stuff down for collage and doodled a pretty good page during a long Zoom meeting.
As far as Cathedral goes, I finally worked out why I couldn’t weave it for so long. The tension is terrible…so uneven and I tried warping and rewarping this sucker for a solid month before I finally said fuck it and started weaving it anyway. So, after all this time and work I became terrified because it is definitely going to have puckers and and crazy tension problems when it comes off the loom, and I just couldn’t bear to think about it. I was already suffering from severe depression and that just added to the pain.
But all that work and time is wasted if I DON’T finish weaving it, and once I get it off the loom I can warp it with a much shorter warp (at the time I was warping for multiple tapestries – big mistake) and begin another weaving. Now the plan is to be less persnickety about the details and get it to a place that is even on the top and finish it as a smaller tapestry.
^Lighting makes a big difference in how we perceive color. I chose the cool lighting on the left.
Today we are getting some remnants of Hurricane Laura moving through but it’s not bad at all. Sandy and I have decided to go to Haw River State Park tomorrow for our adventure since the weather report is a bit better and I don’t want to stop the studio energy.
I do need to remember to take frequent breaks for my back and neck and shoulders. Yesterday my massage therapy studio emailed to say that they will be re-opening soon for existing customers and I hope that my therapist will continue to work there. I have been seeing her for about four years almost every month until after January. I canceled my February appointment due to bad allergies and at the time we didn’t know that they would be shut down so long.
The good thing about working from home most of the time is that my physical problems are much much better, which leads me to believe that I don’t get up and move enough when I am in my office. Here I can take my laptop to the porch, or to the sofa, or to the bedroom, or answer email on my phone. I get up and play with the cats, take breaks lying down if my back or neck hurts. Teleworking has been good for me.
Not doing too well mentally, though. I brood a lot in my bedroom, play games to numb my brain. Read a little. I can’t watch TV or videos for long – I wish I knew why. It would help to have that distraction and to be able to focus on online workshops.
Okay, break over. Back to Cathedral. I am accepting that it won’t be getting into any shows for technical skill, but it is worth finishing, puckers and all. Who knows, maybe I will be surprised.
Yesterday Sandy and I drove south to Town Creek Indian Mound, a state historic site in Montgomery County, North Carolina. I had never been there, and Sandy had gone many years ago. Unfortunately, the visitor center with the museum and gift shop was closed, but we could walk around the reconstructed mound and buildings and a prairie had been re-established in the once groomed picnic grounds around the site.
There is a large creek running on one side and a nature trail through the woods that is easy and flat, although this time of year it was muggy and buggy. Still, it was good to go some place different and get outside. I was able to get some nice photos.
I wore a mask outside most of the time because my allergies are kicking butt.
Also, I was surprised to see that Troy and Mt. Gilead had some interesting shops in their downtown areas. I hope that they are still there post-pandemic because I’m not shopping for anything but essentials inside stores until things get much safer.
Morrow Mountain State Park is nearby and one thing that I would like to do during this time is to visit as many state parks and historic sites within a day’s drive as possible to force myself out of the house. We used to go to nearby Lake Tillery and Badin Lake about 20-25 years ago when we had an operating jet ski and friends that had places down there. There was a Revolutionary War reenactment that we participated in a couple of times in the area. That area is where the Henley side of my family settled in the 18-19th century. So I wouldn’t mind going back.
Another family connection, although not by blood, is that my grand nephew is the direct descendant and namesake of the archaeologist who directed the reconstruction at Town Creek.
Critters: I have never seen this kind of ant before.
Look out, spider!
Fungi and textures: