Montana/PNW trip, Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, National Parks and Monuments, Washington, Washington state, Wildflowers

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

On Thursday, May 19, we decided to drive in the rain to Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. When we stopped at the state-run visitor’s center near the edge of the park, they showed us the view we could expect at the observatory, which was solid white. We decided to go anyway, and I’m glad that we did. The ride was beautiful and by the time we got to the top it was snowing.

In the observatory center, we talked to a ranger, looked at exhibits telling the stories of people who did and didn’t survive the blast, and watched a film about how the biodiversity in the blast plain increased because of the introduction of sunlight. Some burrowing creatures and those on the sides of the mountains away from the blast survived. Many new species moved in.

When the film screen came up after the first film, it showed a wall of white cloud behind the large windows. We decided to watch the second film, which was focused on geology. This time, when the screen lifted, the clouds had cleared up just enough for us to see the plain in front of the blast, not the mountain. Everyone hustled outside and we took a few photos before it faded back into white.

On the way back we stopped at Patty’s Place to have some delicious cobbler. When a man at the table next to us asked for Texas Pete for his elk burger, Sandy asked them where they were from. Lexington, NC, right down the road from Greensboro. Patty’s Place had a big wrap-around porch and I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds in one place in my life. I’m sorry that I didn’t have an elk burger. Sounded good.

Then we headed to Astoria, Oregon, driving along the Columbia River on the west side of I-5. I could see living in that area if it wasn’t for earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides and volcanoes. Those make me a bit nervous.

Klondike Gold Rush National Park, Montana/PNW trip, National Parks and Monuments, Seattle, Washington, Washington state

Whitefish to Portland

Somewhere on the way to Seattle, taken from the train:

We had a few hours to kill in downtown Seattle so we visited the Klondike Gold Rush National Park, a museum located in an old hotel, and I got another stamp for my national park passport book. Woo hoo! We visited the other end of this park in Skagway, Alaska back in 2009 when we took a train ride along the White Pass trail of 1898.

Photos from Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle:

^^^Yummy lunch at Pho Fuschia in Seattle.

By the time we arrived in Portland, we had had enough of the train. We took the TriMet light rail to the airport, the shuttle to the rental car agency, drove to a musty Four Points hotel in NE Portland (to which I’ll never return), ate some forgettable Chinese food, and crashed.

fiber art, Journalfest, Port Townsend, Slow cloth, tapestry, Washington, Washington state, weaving

The Sunrise tapestries

Both were inspired by a spectacular sunrise seen from a bluff at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington, on Oct. 25, 2009, the morning I left the first Journalfest. Don’t believe the colors? Look here.

Cotton warp, mostly silk weft – some handspun and hand dyed – hanging in wooden shadowboxes. Each tapestry measures about 7 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches.

$360.00 each, will be for sale at Elements Gallery sometime late next week.

This is why I need the hand surgery – I need to hold a needle in my left hand to do this, and I want to weave more in this series.

art retreats, book arts, Journalfest, Port Townsend, Washington state

Journalfest 2010

Journalfest was, as expected, another awesome experience. I flew to Seattle and took a shuttle bus over to Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington. The town itself is beautiful and if I did nothing but walk its beaches and explore its shops and restaurants for a week, I’m sure that I would have been happy. However, I got to combine this beautiful place with inspiring art classes with three top instructors and great food!

The first day I took Painted Pocket Journals with Roxanne Padgett. This is taking me in more of the direction that I’m interested in exploring – fabric/fibers combined with book arts. We painted and stenciled fabric with gesso and acrylic paints, then stitched and fused them together to make folded covers for books. Pure play for me, and I loved it so much that I forgot to take photos. Sorry! But I did take a photo of the journal that I made for Journalfest in this class. I will be filling it with my thoughts, photos, and drawings of Journalfest. I have many ideas for this as far as little cloth journals for sale on Etsy and at the Indie Market.

Thursday evening brought a bonfire on the beach and a journaling party in the building next to it, heated by a woodstove. Believe it or not, I think that I had my first s’more at this party. I don’t remember ever eating a s’more before. I’ve camped a lot, but mostly in 18th century reenactments, and I’ve never been fond of marshmallows. Yes, it was good!

Because I was on East Coast time, I woke up before dawn every day and wandered out to the beach to take photos as the sun came up. I explored past the limits of the state park this time so that I was legally allowed to gather beach stones. Here is my favorite photo, taken on Friday morning before Orly Avineri’s “Mapping Me” class.

On Friday afternoon after class, I walked a mile up a steep hill and back down into downtown Port Townsend for dinner. I had company. The deer in Port Townsend are like squirrels here – everywhere and quite used to people. Unfortunately, most of the town there rolls up the sidewalks at 6 p.m. so I wasn’t able to explore the galleries. I did get to eat a delectable, decadent seafood/wild mushroom pasta at the Fountain Cafe.

I could hardly hope for better weather that they had when I was there. It was chilly, but mostly sunny and I was able to see the mountains clearly across the water. A local that I met on the beach told me of a good place to find sea glass, so I set out in the dark. I didn’t make it to that beach, but I watched the sunrise sitting on a rock below Point Wilson Lighthouse before I realized that I had been so enrapt in the beauty that I didn’t notice that I was very underdressed and freezing! It is hard to take good photos when your hands are shaking.

So I went back for breakfast and Jody England Hansen’s “Finding Your Niche” class.

This class was good for me – I really want to include found objects in my work, and so I’ve been trying on my own to create niches and doors. I’m not very good at the technique. I wasn’t very good at it in this class, either, so I won’t post the photo of one work in progress until I get a chance to get it to a point where I’m happy with it. Jodi gave me a lot of useful information and good advice though. She has arthritis in her hands so has the same issues that I have with pain. She repeated, “Persuade the fibers to part,” don’t fight with them. In other words, make many light strokes with the craft knife instead of bearing down and getting in a hurry. We also poured resin over objects in shells and niches – what fun! I can’t wait to play more with resin!

I’ve been saving this book to use for my Alaska journal – I made rather a mess with another one its size on my own, trying to make niches in the text block. Jodi used it for a demo and promptly removed the text block, saying that it was perfect for a box. It turns out she was exactly right, and I now have a great structure to contain my Alaska travel journal and some stones and other natural items that I picked up on the trip. I’ll take another photo when I’m done collaging and painting it.

I felt powerful and blessed and courageous and strong on this trip.

Now I am ready for Journalfest 2011!