Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Oregon, May 23-24, 2016

We saw our friends off on Sunday and Monday and Pam was kind enough to let us stay another night at her cabin while we figured out what we wanted to do next. Our only plan was to return to Portland on Thursday night, when our car rental was over. I wanted at least one more day on the coast. We cleaned and did laundry at the Livermore House and headed south to Manzanita to have lunch at the Big Wave Cafe on Hwy 101. I needed some fried halibut before I left the coast. We drove a bit further south and poked around a few shops in the little town of Nehalem, then went back to Pam’s cabin, said goodbye to her, and caught the sunset over the ocean one last time. I finished weaving my sample, although later I went back and unwove part of it and altered it.

On Tuesday, the weather forecast was excellent so we decided to drive up the Columbia Gorge, spend the night on the east side of the Cascades, then drive several hours farther southeast to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We stopped on Alberta St. in Portland on the way to have a piece of pie and explore a few stores there. I took a photo of this house because I think that the colors might be nice for our Craftsmen house when we paint the exterior.

Then we stopped at Multnomah Falls. I did walk on that bridge, but I got off quickly. I hope that I’ll be able to go back and hike to some of the other falls along here one day.

We turned south at the Dalles, and ironically, just after the sign stating that we had left the national scenic area, there was this view of Mount Hood. And I began to fall in love with central Oregon. Maybe it’s because that I grew up in the swamps that I love hilly dry country with lots of sky.

When we got to the tiny town of Dufur, we reached our destination for the night. We were the only guests on a Tuesday night at the Balch Hotel, a lovingly restored hotel built in 1907. We had cheeseburgers at the saloon across the road, then settled in to the former “Ladies Sitting Room,” our bedroom with a view of Mount Hood. The next morning, we had a wonderful breakfast in the hotel which was included. This may have been the best deal on a lovely hotel I’ve ever gotten. The rooms and the grounds were gorgeous.

My view at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday was this. I picked up my phone and snapped it from our bed, then went back to sleep.

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

On the beach at Oswald West State Park

Sandy and I rented the Livermore house about six miles south, and I was determined to get down to the beach there this time. The last time I stayed there my knee was aching and I listened to my body. This time my hip was just going to have to deal with it. Winter storms had washed away the first public access point I found so I drove down to the next one, where I found gratitude for the new stairs.

^^^Tempting, but nope.

The house is nestled in a temperate rainforest on a sea cliff. I wished that I could have one rainy day all day to spend there. What a restful place.


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

Astoria, critters, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Astoria, Oregon, May 19-20, 2016

Sandy and I arrived at the Commodore Hotel in downtown Astoria in the early evening. The Commodore is a restored hotel with tiny rooms and (in our case) bathrooms on the hallway, but big on style and absolutely clean as a whistle. The staff was great. We were offered a glass of local beer before we headed to our room on the second floor, where we had the street view.

Astoria is a big tourist place but it is also one of the oldest towns on the west coast. The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean here at the mouth of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark National Park as well as several historic sites and state parks surround it. There are lots of interesting shops and artists and several breweries here. Our first stop was at Fort George Brewery. I ordered the Plaid Scotch Ale and the Quick Wit. Not my favorites. But we ate dinner at the bar and I pronounced both the Wallapa Bay oysters and the “Buddy Rich” beet and arugula salad the best I ever ate.

The next morning we walked along the harbor. There were a lot of murals. We shopped in a good thrift store and Sandy bought me a beautiful batik tunic from La Luna Loca. We ate lunch on the waterfront at Bridgewater Bistro, where I had the salmon.

Before we left Astoria, we had to go see the sea lions. I was surprised at how big and loud they were. We saw some of the boats that were the subjects of the paintings in the restaurant.

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!