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.

art retreats, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Arcadia Beach State Park

Arcadia Beach State Park is just down the road from Pam’s cabin and has a much easier access to the beach than the steep cliffside path at her place. We stopped there to meet other participants and transport everyone who was staying at the house at Cove Beach a few miles away. This is Humbug Point and Lion Rock between the park oceanfront and Pam’s cabin.

Looking in the other direction:

Horsetail along the path:

We settled into a house with a gorgeous view over Cove Beach in Oswald West State Park, then went back to Pam’s cabin for dinner and Archie showed us slides of his work. I had a very comfortable bed this time and I slept well. It was a little rainy and the Pacific roared steadily on the beach far below.

Ferns were everywhere:

Oregon, Portland, Wildflowers

Portland and on the way to Cannon Beach

I stayed in an Aloft hotel on Wednesday night, which I specifically chose for its proximity to the light rail system station so that I could explore on my own. My brain doesn’t function when I am sleep-deprived, and my sleep gauge was on red from several nights of anticipatory anxiety. I checked in around 3:00 that afternoon, spent two hours dithering over where to go that night despite researching it online beforehand, then gave in to a nap with the idea that I’d wake up in time to take the train downtown and hang around Powell’s for a couple of hours. I remember giving myself permission. Then I woke up at 9:30. So I skipped dinner, gave in to exhaustion and slept until 4 a.m.

A Benson Bubbler, a Portland kinda thing

At 6 a.m. I was on the train downtown with Voodoo Doughnuts as my chosen destination. I had just enough time to have a maple bacon doughnut, a cup of coffee, and to take the train back to meet Jeanne for my ride to Cannon Beach on Thursday morning.

We rode around a bit until Costco opened, picked up some food and drinks for the retreat, then headed to Cannon Beach. We stopped at this rest area in Clatsop State Forest for a little picnic lunch, and enjoyed the wildflowers on a nearby trail.

Oregon, Wonderfulness

In the air over Oregon and Minnesota (I think)

Day one: I leave Raleigh Durham airport and wonder at the landscape below as I fly to Portland, Oregon. The sky is clear most of the way and when I leave the mostly tree-covered land of the southeast the patchwork patterns of the farmland translate to fiber and cloth in my head. I trace the river basins with my fingers and imagine traveling along them on the surface. The oxbows fascinate me, because they tell stories of the rivers’ past. “Here’s where I used to go, until I found a shortcut.” Are the oxbows sad to be left behind or are they happy to be in retirement?

The vast wilderness of the West makes me feel much calmer. There are many places that we haven’t decimated yet and where nature will still kick yo’ ass if you don’t behave and respect it.

I am particularly thrilled at the sight of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens poking up above the clouds and the other mountains. There is another volcanic peak in the distance that I identified as Mt. Rainier upon return and looking on a map. I can’t believe that I can see that far away. The person next to me on the plane is from Portland (I ask, since we are almost there) and she can’t tell me the names of the peaks. She knows about Mt. St. Helens but she really just wants me to shut up.

The first two were taken on the way in on April 22. The others were taken on the way back on April 27 and the sun was rising and the window was not scratched up. I didn’t ask my seat neighbor any geological questions on the way back.

Funny, I used to prefer the aisle seat.

The Columbia River

Mt. Adams. You can barely see Mt. Rainier in the distance if you look at the large size.

Another photo of Mt. Adams at sunrise, this time.

Mt. St. Helens at sunrise. The blowout is on the other side.

Pretty sunrise.

I think that this may have been over Minnesota. I want to do some abstract design based on this one.

Again, closer to Chicago, not sure what river, but love those river channels.

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

and a flower, always a touch of beauty

Wednesday, August 27, our last day at Cannon Beach…

The famous Haystack Rock.

Not nearly as crowded as an August day on our beaches here.

At Wave Crest Inn

Shirley’s little tapestry

Flowers around Pam’s cabin

Pam drove Linda and I back to Portland where we stayed at the fabulous Lion and the Rose Victorian Inn. Possibly the nicest place I’ve ever slept.