art, art retreats, dyeing, fiber art, Georgia, Lake Waccamaw, National Parks and Monuments, tapestry, weaving

Tapestry Weavers South Retreat

I’m taking a personal day to recharge after a particularly sweet and inspiring art retreat weekend with members of Tapestry Weavers South at Epworth-by-the-Sea on St. Simons Island.

It is a lovely venue and the price was very reasonable for three nights and all meals. We were lucky that even though most of the Southeast US was getting pummeled by thunderstorms and flooding, we only had a few light showers and the temperature was perfect. On the last night we enjoyed the veranda next to the river and it was lovely – not muggy at all and I didn’t notice any bugs. The sunsets were nice too:

^^^Just outside my window

The greatest value of this retreat was the talent and encouragement of my fellow tapestry weavers. I’m not kidding – if you are a tapestry weaver in the southern U.S., I recommend that you join this group.

I left for the retreat with just a vague idea of what I might do, and a fairly neurotic state of mind about my weaving break. I was also worried about sitting for the long drive and the workshop in general, but I met April Price near Charlotte and she drove the rest of the way, so I was able to adjust a rolled-up towel under my legs, hips, and back frequently. That helped so much, and I am grateful for her willingness to drive! April organized the retreat and did a wonderful job.

I left the retreat with a warm feeling of making new friends, and the beginning of a small tapestry on the loom that I am excited about. Some of my artist crushes were there and we got to know each other. I was encouraged to continue my tapestry diary that I dropped at the end of March and was given a few suggestions on how I might proceed from here.

You are likely to see more from me on the subject of Tapestry Weavers South, because I suspect that I’m going to break my vow of getting involved in group leadership and help out with this one. Just in a minor role that I’m comfortable with, though.

Jennifer Sargent was our featured artist and she shared a slideshow of her work and critiqued the pieces that other weavers brought. She gave me very positive feedback on my own work.

We honored Tommye Scanlin with a lifetime membership and an emotional celebration on the last night. She was my first teacher that was an actual tapestry artist. We figured it out that was in 1991! She is loved by so many people.

I decided to work with the abstraction of a favorite photograph of rain on Lake Waccamaw, using my naturally dyed silk/cotton threads from India’s online class. It’s interesting that I return so often to this family place at Lake Waccamaw for art inspiration. Even the threads are wound on driftwood sticks that I picked up on this shore.

April was kind enough to go with me to Fort Frederica National Monument so that I could get a stamp for my National Park Passport book. The deerflies were pretty bad and we were short on time so we decided not to walk to the actual fort, but it was a lovely park. The 42d Regiment of Foot battled with Spanish forces there in 1742 so I was especially interested in visiting. That was our regiment when we were 18th century re-enactors. We drove around St. Simons Island, then we stopped in Savannah and ate Crabcakes Benedict at Bar-Food, which I highly recommend. Just as we were driving into Charlotte, the bottom fell out and I have rarely seen such a hard rain. I thought that I might have to spend the night at April’s house but we looked at the radar and I made a good decision to drive home. I wonder how many inches fell in that half-hour?

cemeteries, Georgia, Savannah

Bonaventure Cemetery

I love to explore old cemeteries and imagine the stories behind the stones. Bonaventure is the Victorian (and later) cemetery that was featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was still cleaning up from the damage of Hurricane Matthew from about a month before our visit and parts of it were blocked off, but the beauty was still there.

Although I love the beauty of old cemeteries, I do not want to be buried in one. I want my ashes scattered in a mountain river or stream, to eventually make their way to the sea. That’s the final journey I think that I would like to take when the time comes.

Georgia, National Parks and Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, Savannah

Savannah, Georgia

We went to Savannah, Georgia for the first time on Sandy’s birthday, and here are some photos. We found a good deal on a little AirBNB apartment that was not in an expensive neighborhood, but had a lot of charm. The weather was perfect, and we left just as it turned cold for the first time this fall. Savannah was still cleaning up from the damage from Hurricane Matthew.

Here’s the most photographed fountain in America, I believe I was told…

A ghostly Sandy

We spent some time at Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge. The nature drive was through a former rice plantation. I guess that alligators and Spanish moss just isn’t exotic to me – having grown up in the southern swamplands, it seems like home. This gator seems awfully bony. Maybe someone had been feeding it because it started swimming toward me once it noticed me.

One day we drove to Fort Pulaski National Monument The Union forces were using cannons with rifled barrels for the first time and were bombarding from so far away they didn’t even know that they were hitting it. So it was a surprise for both the Confederates and the Union when the North won that battle.

Me and the Dude. Wish I could have afforded one.

The place I liked best was Bonaventure Cemetery. I’ll do a separate post for it.