art retreats, Cannon Beach, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Pam Patrie’s Creative Retreat, May 2016

Later that afternoon, we arrived at Pam’s cabin where Jeanne and Jenny and Glen had already arrived. It was so great to see them and meet Glen. He and Sandy spent most of Saturday together exploring Lewis and Clark National Park, Fort Stevens and Cannon Beach while the women played with dyes and silk yarns. I painted a second weft to try again at home.

As usual, Pam pampered us with incredible meals. On the first night this lemon pasta dish blew me away. That reminds me, I need to put lemons on my grocery list.

I didn’t take a lot of photos here, but that is a sign of a good retreat for me. I was too caught up in the present moment to pick up the camera, and the hours whizzed by. For more photos of Pam’s retreats from 2014 and 2015, please see these links:

A winding path to the sea

So fresh was the air, like a breath taken from the stars

What beholds a given day, an hour, a moment

Tapestry retreat with Susan Maffei and Archie Brennan at Pam’s Cabin Part I, Part II, and Part III.

The June 2015 Trip to Oregon – Pam’s Place

Cannon Beach, Oregon, Portland, tapestry, weaving

We’ll be back

I didn’t do any serious weaving while we were at Pam’s. I played around with color combinations and followed along with her lessons with Susanne, which were very helpful to me too, since I never received any formal training in tapestry. I sketched an idea for another small tree tapestry and came home with many more ideas on the tree theme. I left my “98% Water” tapestry there and Pam is going to mount it for display for me – she is a very kind mentor and friend indeed. On Sunday morning, we packed up our things and waved a sad goodbye to her, with plans already percolating to come back in 2016.

We returned the Beetle to the car rental place, and they joked about charging 25 cents per pine needle stuck to the car. Then we took the train from the airport to downtown Portland, where we checked into the Crystal Hotel. Each room had been decorated with the theme of a song by a singer or band who had performed at the Crystal Ballroom. It seemed as if they knew something about our personalities. Susanne was in Gogol Bordello’s “Wonderlust King” room. I was in Silversun Pickups’ “Lazy Eye” room, with the theme of waiting, something that comes up a lot in my journaling. We loved this historic hotel in the heart of Portland.

We went to Powell’s City of Books, of course, and to Sizzle Pie for slices of pizza with names like “New Maps from Hell.” Their motto was “Death to False Pizza.”

We stood in line at Voodoo Doughnuts for incredible sugar highs.

And, what the hell is this bug that we saw on a Portland sidewalk? It was about an inch and a half long.

Then we got up at 3:30 a.m., caught a plane home, and we are here now.

Cannon Beach, hiking, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Ecola State Park

Susanne said, “What an unfortunate name – sounds like a combination of E coli and ebola.” But it is one of the prettiest beaches on the planet, on the north side of Cannon Beach. We only went to part of it, because it was midday on Saturday and everybody was trying to get in. We didn’t mind waiting in a long line of cars in the cool shade of the woods, but when we heard it was another hour wait to get to Indian Beach, we stopped in this part and hiked down a trail that went to the edge of the sea cliffs and looked down on the beauty below and beyond. Later I learned that Indian Beach is where people go swimming.

Looking back at Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.

See the fisherman near the bottom of that big rock?

Yeah, it got a bit too steep at this point so we sat and enjoyed the view.

As we were leaving we noticed the fisherman was scampering around that huge boulder near the top like a mountain goat. I took this photo of him at the halfway point down. We waited to make sure that he didn’t kill himself, and he sort of slid down with that pole still in his hand.

We tried to go into Cannon Beach for a late lunch but the traffic and parking situation was so insane I nearly had a panic attack. So we headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway with its stunning views over the ocean and found Big Wave Cafe in Manzanita, where we split a fried seafood platter and I drank a Moose Drool ale, which was much better than it sounds. We loved it!

Cannon Beach, fiber art, National Parks and Monuments, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark National Park

On Monday Pam ran errands so we hopped into our rented baby blue Beetle and headed north up the Pacific Coast Highway to Astoria. I like to visit any national parks nearby when I travel so we went to Fort Clatsop at Lewis and Clark National Park, and had a nice walk under the huge trees.

We drove into Astoria, which has an interesting Finnish heritage that I’d like to learn more about, and a place where I’ve been researching real estate on daydream days. However, given the charts of projected tsunami damage from the overdue big earthquake they expect, I think that I’ll seek higher ground.  I like the idea of being near or on the Columbia River though.

Then we had halibut sandwiches at the Screw and Brew in Cannon Beach (a combination hardware store and pub). They were delicious.  We did a little shopping and found a wonderful fabric store, Center Diamond. I had to force myself to have some self-control there, and I will budget with it in mind when I go back. (Oh dear God, I now see that they have an online store.) When we came back, a group of people were pointing at our car and I feared that it had been damaged, but they were talking about it sparkling in the sun because of the resin that had dripped on it from trees. The pine needles stuck to the resin stayed there throughout several days of driving. Fortunately it all came off at the car wash later that week.

Cannon Beach, critters, Oregon, Pacific beaches

I do love a hole in a rock

I wanted to explore this hole last year but didn’t have the courage. I tend to be clumsy and the rocks are covered with sharp mussels. When I saw a little boy come out of this “cave” I wandered in and found that the rocks were not slick but it was still a challenge to keep my balance. Anyway, I came out unscathed which is pretty good for me, and it was totally worth it. It is between Arcadia Beach State Park and Cannon Beach.

The strange teal to grayish green blobs are sea anemones which blossom underwater.

Cannon Beach, Oregon, Pacific beaches, tapestry, weaving

The latest trip to Oregon – Pam’s Place

My friend Susanne and I went to northwest Oregon for a fabulous ten days, where we rented a sweet retreat from our friend Pam Patrie, who also stayed with us and cooked for us and taught us tapestry techniques and helped us build copper pipe looms a la Archie Brennan and went to a book arts class with us and arranged for us to stay with a friend of hers that lived near the conference and was generally the FANTASTIC host that Pam always is.

Lush greens, wild foxgloves and other wildflowers were in abundance.

While everyone on the east coast was suffering in a major heat wave, we had to wear jackets on chilly Cannon Beach. This is Susanne looking at the famous Haystack Rock and its marine garden. We enjoyed Pam’s woodstove in the cabin when we returned.

The wind was whipping the sand at low tide into beautiful dry waves as we walked back toward Arcadia Beach State Park and Pam’s cliffside cabin. Every day the beach looks totally different.

Susanne gets instruction from a master tapestry weaver on her new loom.

Pam made us a tasty pizza. We also visited her community garden plots in Seaside, which provided us with lettuce, onions, and chives. I brought some Old Mill of Guilford yellow grits, which I cooked with garlic, Tillamook sharp cheddar, and her chives. We ate well!

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

Tapestry Retreat with Archie, Susan, and Pam, Day Three

Here’s the finished tapestry. I began another from the same design but I’m weaving it from the other way so that I have to use different, more difficult techniques. It will have a rosy pink background because the sight that inspired the design was the trees against the sunrise reflecting on the water. You’ll see photos later of the second one.

One thing I’d like to emphasize is the great time we experience at Pam Patrie’s retreats includes the dinners and socializing and the beautiful ocean view through the trees. If you go once, you will want to go back.

I had not seen this tapestry by Pam before this trip – aren’t the colors wonderful?

Archie Brennan and me!

Susan Martin Maffei and Archie Brennan. I’d like to take another workshop with Susan and learn the four-selvedge technique. This was the first time I had seen her work in person and it left a strong impression on me. She and Archie said repeatedly that their philosophy was that “tapestry is an open journey.” They start from the bottom with a design but they don’t use a cartoon. Instead they let the shapes and lines of the work lead them forward. That is a very confident and free path to take, and I love the idea, but I’m not sure that it is the path for me to take right now.

I spent a lovely but brief six hours at the Lion and the Rose that evening before flying out at dawn, when I got to see some stunning views at sunrise. My friend JoJo picked me up at the Raleigh-Durham Airport and took me to my car, and I returned to Greensboro and the real world of work, already dreaming of going back.

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

Tapestry Retreat with Archie, Susan, and Pam, Day Two

Morning view from my bedroom window

Well, now I am really, really behind. I have another trip to blog and I hadn’t finished the April trip yet. AND, I go back to Pam’s cabin for another tapestry retreat in three weeks! So, here’s the rest of the scoop on the tapestry retreat with Archie and Susan at Pam Patrie’s cabin near Cannon Beach.

By the end of the second day, April 25, this is what my tree tapestry looked like, turned on its side to show its correct orientation when displayed. I learned how to make a horizontal line between blocks of color smoother by using a split pass. We all concentrated on our own little tapestries, and divided ourselves into the hot-natured group who opened the windows of the room we were in, and the cold-natured group had the heat turned up in the other room. What I found interesting is that I was the only one from the South but I kept having to go outside and wipe off the sweat, while the Canadians were shivering in their coats. We worked it out. Honestly, you cannot make a group of women who are middle-aged and older satisfied about the temperature.

I did walk on the beach around Lion Rock that afternoon for a break but I purposefully left my camera behind so that I’d experience it more fully. I had no idea at the time that thousands of little earthquakes had been happening beneath my feet since I arrived as an off-shore volcano began to quietly erupt. I found a few starfish and sea anemones, but not in the quantities of the previous August retreat.

Susan passed around some of her small tapestries, many of which were woven with four selvedges and shaped. I’m interested in learning more about this technique.

One reason it is so addictive to spend time with other artists is they observe things in a different way. I notice a lot of shadows and small details that most people don’t. Archie pointed out this marvelous shadow shape and mentioned that “somebody ought to weave that.” LOVE

Susan and Archie set up one of their pipe looms to demonstrate on. This makes me want to build one (or buy one). You can get the plans for free or buy one from their website. It would be nice to have a loom this size that is portable and affordable. I like that it can be propped against a wall. The next day Archie demonstrated tying leases on this loom. After watching him, I understood how useful those extensions off the top of the loom are.

One thing you can always count on at Pam Patrie’s retreats is good food. On this evening we had a great vegetarian Middle Eastern meal.

Here are some other luscious little tapestries in progress, by Jay Rudolph, Virginia Baldwin, and Jensen Co, respectively.

I can’t wait to go back to that little room in a few weeks!

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

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

View of the surf and trees below the house.

On 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.

Pam 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.