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:

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.

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

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

On Sunday, I took a walk on the beach with my camera in tow. I nearly wore it out. I learned that the greyish green circular blobs blossomed into sea anemones. The starfish were celebrating in their party clothes. The sea gulls were really, um, mean to each other.

Linda Weghorst showed us her portfolio and photos of her work. Her figurative work inspired me to try my hand at it. She is the current president of Tapestry Weavers South, and as such she has connected me with the local tapestry weavers in my region. Plus, we hit it off like gangbusters and I am quite happy that she only lives two hours away!

Both Pam Patrie and Linda are professional tapestry artists who have woven very large commissions, and they provided a wealth of information about that process. I myself am not interested in doing any commission work but it was very enlightening to hear stories from the business end of being a tapestry artist.

Steve Karakashian showed us his progress in sampling for a large project – to reproduce an Egyptian shawl that belonged to his mother. Here is his sample for a border design:

I love this tapestry of Mount Rainier in progress by Ashli Tyre. She is weaving this design sideways. I use this same type of small loom and it is great for travel. Ashli is an accomplished Navajo rug weaver and she is trying tapestry as a less rigid approach to weaving design. She spins and dyes her yarn as well.

Jeanne Bates was a familiar name to me from the Internet world because she started a website about tapestry way back around I first started my own website, before I started blogging! She was a worker bee, making sure that we were all comfortable and fed and provisioned with the weaving supplies we needed. I was in awe of Jeanne. She hardly ever sat down! She brought along some of her tapestry samples as well, which you can see at her website.

Pam and Steve left for the day to attend a service in Portland, and Shirley Anne, a talented artist in many media, and I checked into our rooms at the Wave Crest Inn, within walking distance in Cannon Beach. It is a fascinating older place filled with antiques, artwork, and a quirky sense of humor. Jenny drove us around Cannon Beach so we could fantasize about buying a house there, and we briefly went to Seaside for a quick grocery trip. Safeway and Costco were the ONLY stores I went into during my entire trip! Guess it is obvious that I am not a shopper.

Then Jenny Heard and I got down to weaving our tapestries on the back porch (see top photo), where it was chilly but humming with the surf of the Pacific Ocean and the cries of gulls. Guess what? NO BUGS. Just some cute chipmunks running around. I could hang out with Jenny for days, I think. I tried to get her to hire me as an assistant, but she is happy with the one that she has.

Jan was the Divine who gave us rides to and from town. I hope to see her on my next trip because I didn’t get a chance to get to know her, and I’d like to.

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

An eastern horizon was like a memory

By the second day, I felt like I was where I should be. I felt like I was home. I feel this way every time I go to the West Coast.

Pam started us off with a design exercise. She passed out small pieces of gesso board and a piece of yupo paper to make small designs with the idea of murals and the theme of the sea in mind. Two of my photos of these ideas didn’t photograph well. I chose the photo of my feet in the Pacific for my small tapestry and the design of the photo at the top of this post for my next one (which I didn’t have time to do in Oregon).

I learned a great new way to warp my loom warping two at a time. I purposely did not take many photos on this day because I wanted to be present in the moment, but during the next few days I made up for it and how. So much beauty. So many fascinating books and objects.

More tomorrow.

art retreats, Cannon Beach, Oregon, Pacific beaches

A winding path to the Sea

Let me say it right up front – Pam Patrie is an AMAZING hostess, and her cabin on a cliff overlooking the Pacific oozed charm and personality and comfort. Here is the front of her medicine cabinet in the bathroom!

Once we unloaded the food and supplies, Linda and I walked down the path to the beach as the other tapestry weavers trickled in. It turns very steep toward the bottom and was a good hamstring workout.

We dined like eight queens and one king while there. It was all fresh, healthy, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious. Almost everyone contributed to the cooking except Linda and I. Shirley was responsible for this incredible curry meal on the second night.

I’m warning you now, the photos are overwhelming. I won’t be writing that much about this particular retreat.

So much of it can’t be expressed adequately in words.