Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back to Reality, Part II

Just back from a few days at Ponte Vedra, a longstanding tradition of the Easterlin family. Re-entry was much easier than my return from Blowing Rock. WHEW!

At the beach, I claimed leisurely hours to read and had the opportunity to feast on the newest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. As I read, I stumbled on the first published announcement for Debbi and Cheryl's new book, Mixed Mania. This book, available November 1, promises to amuse and astonish the reader with "recipes for delicious mixed media creations." I am thrilled to say that a piece of my work is included in the book! The photo of Cheryl and Debbi featured above was taken by me at Arrowmont a few weeks ago. As is clearly seen, collaborative writing is a piece of cake for this dynamic duo!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Garden

butterfly bush, yarrow, snapdragons, rosemary, shasta daisy, baptisia

When God's plan can not be discerned, I am thankful for the beauty that He has created for me in my garden.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back to Reality...

photos by Renee!

We packed our things this morning, took a final hike down to the lake, said our goodbyes, and departed for Durham. WOW! Our time at Chetola was magical. We are counting down the days until next summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Renee's photographs of the ducks and geese at Bass Lake on the Chetola property.

Following dinner last night, we hiked down to Bass Lake to walk the trail. The geese and ducks were captivating and I admit to doing more sitting and staring, than walking. Renee was able to get up very "close and personal" with the geese!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blowing Rock and Ben Long

fresco at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Jefferson

I drove from Gatlinburg to Blowing Rock on Saturday to join portions of my family for a relaxing few days at Chetola. Yesterday, we went to see Ben Long's frescoes in West Jefferson county. I had seen the frescoes last fall with my students, but enjoyed them even more during a second viewing. The frescoes are magnificent!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday at Arrowmont

Whew! What a week. I will never again roll my eyes when I encounter hand-dyed and screened $300/roll wallpaper or fabric. It is worth every penny!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thursday at Arrowmont

"all systems go"for silk screening of fabric!

silkscreen pattern complete!

It is Thursday night and I am just now ready to screen my fabric! The prep and process has been beyond my imagination. I have great compassion for Colonial women. Class concludes tomorrow after lunch and then we clean the studio.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday at Arrowmont

I purchased a book today in the bookstore. The title is an understatement!

The clock reads 9:45 PM and I am back in the dorm so early tonight! Anytime prior to 11 PM seems like a half-day here. The routine of waking at 6 AM to walk, shower, and eat by 8 AM followed by 12 hours in the studio (we do leave for lunch and dinner in the dining hall each day) is wearing on me. As I worked in the studio tonight, I mixed the wrong chemicals for a particular process and didn't realize it until I had hand-painted several yards of fabric! I received this as a sign that I needed to retire to my room for a full-night's sleep and be ready to accurately mix the chemicals in the morning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday at Arrowmont

sketches for silkscreen design

/ˈpætərn; Brit. ˈpætn/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pat-ern; Brit. pat-n]
a decorative design, as for wallpaper, china, or textile fabrics, etc.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? WRONG! Today, I spent a good 10 hours working up a seamless repeat pattern that will fit on a 14" x 20" silkscreen and be printed on several yards of fabric. The screen frame had to be prepared in advance of the dye screening. This involved:

1. covering the unprimed wooden frame with duct tape to prevent warping;

2. caulking the seams where mesh meets frame;

3. scouring the mesh with Comet and then a special soap to eliminate all traces of bleach from the Comet;

4. drying the screen in the sun;

5. coating both sides of the screen with photo emulsion in the darkroom; and

6. leaving the screen in the darkroom to dry overnight.

Whew, I am tired and very satisfied. Off to bed for a few hours of sleep in our newly assigned room at the opposite end of the hall from where we were first assigned. The new room does not receive 36 hours of direct sun on all sides each day (as did our first room). With two window fans, Debbi, Cheryl, and I are happy art campers at night!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday at Arrowmont

pattern exercise

yards of dyed fabric using immersion and dip dye methods

Ever wonder about the process of transforming white fabric into a rainbow of colors and patterns that eventually drape your body or your windows or your dog's favorite chair? Me neither. Not until I enrolled in a surface design fiber class at Arrowmont, that is. Like many things, I assumed that the shoemaker's elves turned all white fabric into colored fabric, given their affinity for making shoes in the dead of night! But alas, there are no elves at Arrowmont, only us students who listen diligently to talented instructors explain and demonstrate various techniques. The process is complicated and time consuming and is much like cooking in many ways. There is a recipe for each dying technique which must be followed carefully. There is a GREAT deal of stirring of yards of fabric immersed in chemicals in giant buckets. There is LOTS of rinsing and rinsing and rinsing of fabric which is way more difficult than washing dishes! One who is involved in the process must wear a respirator and protective gloves (this is slightly different from cooking except when I am in the kitchen at home preparing something healthy that my daughters think is "disgusting, " at which time, they sometimes opt to wear respirators to the dinner table to avoid eating what is served...just kidding!). The BIG difference between preparing meals and dying fabric; however, is that I have yards of brightly-colored fabric to show for my efforts today. My children are also happy today, because since I am dying fabric this week and not cooking for them, they are enjoying LOTS of pizza! Everyone's a winner.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Yes, after a good 5 1/2 hour drive from Durham, I arrived at the beloved Arrowmont School late this afternoon. I reconnected with artists/friends whom I met last year and we TRIED to settle into our room in the Red Barn dormitory. Yes, our room was WARM, as was to be expected. But, we did not anticipate heat that keeps us up tonight at 11:30 PM. As one friend (who is to remain anonymous, but is not Debbi) accurately stated, "Red Barn must mean MOLTEN LAVA in Cherokee!" I hope that we get enough sleep to be able to function tomorrow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Light the Darkness

Datura! A beautiful, pristeen, nightblooming flower in my garden. I had the good fortune to be home tonight in time to photograph the initial bloom of the season. I am eager to draw and paint the blossom.