ArtFest occurs every spring in Port Townsend WA. Located on the beautiful grounds of Fort Warden State Park (where the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed) hundreds of artsy-crafty folks descend. April 1-5 are this years dates. A total of 27 instructors teach individual classes each day. Last year was my first and what an incredible experience it was! The class line up included Nina Bagley’s “Wee Book”, Catherine Witherell’s “PMC Bird Pendant” and Melissa Manley’s “Starburst Book”. I really enjoyed Melissa Manley as an instructor (and I enjoyed the other two as well) and wanted to take another class from her. She changed her “Gut Instinct” class into creating wire bug forms covered in intestines. Yep, real pig guts. That will take care of Thursday. On Friday I delve into Mary Beth Shaw’s abstract painting class. Now I am not a painter, but she assures the class that all levels are welcome…. Her work so impressed me last year that I purchased one for our house. Now I get a chance to learn how it’s produced! Saturday is Fred Mullet’s fish printing course. I don’t think real fish will be involved or it might have been called gyotaku. Roberta mentioned Fred has a rubber stamp line. Makes sense we will be working with those. Humm, I should probably get going on my supply list for each class.
The best part of ArtFest is staying with all the incredible women of House 4E. What an amazing group of artists! It will be the unveiling of our year-long pass around projects. I’m currently working on Lauren Ohlgren’s “house” project and a page for baby Jai’s ABC book. I’ve heard that my project has grown to an enormous size. The vision was for a non-traditional wall quilt. Can’t wait to see what it has become.
The Nigel cat has caused our household much dismay from his culinary choices. It has enabled hands-on learning about our surrounding rodent population due to his plate du jour. The field mice and voles abound in our wild backyard. Cottontail rabbits also show up on rare occasion. Sometimes I only have half an animal to deduce what it might have been (the back half of the pack rat last summer had it’s challenges). He chooses his playmates and often brings them in for a home visit. Most find our home not to their liking. Some end up living with us for quite some time before getting caught (those being the field mice). We have become quite good at capturing furry critters as they “run for their lives” around the house. We employ some sort of basket or container to plop over the top of them and then slide a magazine or flat object under and take outside. Last summer we encountered a critter I never even dreamed was living in the neighborhood. The Northern Flying Squirrel.
A total of 8 were encountered with one known survivor. This morning we had another. Nigel brought in an adult. At 6:30 am I was headed to the front door to let Mocha out and there it was, clinging to wood dividers around the glass panes. The squirrel was much larger and had a tan/grey coat, different than the grey ones last summer. I carefully eased him/her off the door and into a basket, grabbed my boots and headed out back. As I approached the Douglas Fir trees the squirrel slipped out of the basket, climbed up my shoulder and jumped back towards the Ponderosa. Four bounds across the grass and it was sprinting up the tree. About 20 feet up it jumped and glided to the firs (about 40 feet away). It landed and vanished.
If I could have a perfect household, the cats would remain indoors. But that just isn’t possible right now. Nigel wears two bells on his collar and probably more to come. It won’t end until I keep him indoors. I never would have known about the squirrels without the cat. Damn cat!
The first of March was a busy day. My oldest brother called after the Satsuma press workshop wondering if I was feeling creative. He had a small project up his sleeve that required some matting skills. His goal was to recycle an Envision LCD monitor (our mother didn’t want) into an elegant digital photo frame. I figured “Why not! Come on over. Give me about 2hrs to get some space cleared in the studio.” Well, it took about 4 hrs to get things cleared, but that was just fine due to a music rehearsal he forgot about. As a side note, his group Milling About Smartly will be playing Block 15 on March 17 (Sea Shanties and the likes).
Once they arrived, beer & dinner consumed, we set to work. He had purchased a 12″x16″ black shadowbox, thinking the entire monitor would easily fit with matting. The entire case did fit. I examined it and said “Nope, not going to work due to the plastic framing.” The monitor has a 12″ screen length and 9″ height that could not be centered due to the external casing. So he and my husband Dave set about dismantling the plastic casing and found a very nice screen (and a few other parts) that could easily be mounted to a different surface. Dave found some cedar blocks that comfortably filled in the space after a few cuts on the table saw. Mike was then able to mount the naked screen to the blocks and drop the shadowbox over the unit. I took care of creating a double mat to accenting the screen. By the end Mike & Shannon took home the start of a very inexpensive digital photo frame. He still has a bit of work to do regarding how the wiring will be routed through the back of the frame and on/off button, but that won’t take him long. It ended up being a fun, hopefully functioning , project. Plus, I got my studio space cleaned up!
What a great way to start March! About a month ago I signed up to take a 2.5 hr workshop from artist Lynn Russell at her Satsuma Press studio. Lynn is a recent transplant to Corvallis from Portland. She has built up a nice business on Etsy and through shops prior to moving here. She works on a Vandercook press that is just sweet. Locally, her work is selling at the Arts Center gift shop.
The workshop was designed to give us a taste of basic letterpress printing techniques using some of her existing photopolymer plates (she orders through Boxcar Press). We agreed on three colors to use and away we went! Each participant produced 12 cards total and had lots of fun. At home, I’m set up for intaglio printing with a Takach press. A lot of similarities and differences between the two styles. I certainly enjoyed the self inking rollers and how clean everything remains. Her inks also dry very quickly! Hopefully she will continue offering a variety of workshops for our area. It’s always a treat to visit another artist’s studio. Thanks Lynn!!!
On February 28th, the Arts Center will be holding yet another Chocolate Fantasy & Art Auction. Joni and Bernie corralled me many months ago to create tastefully executed ballot boxes. Having worked for the Arts Center for several years, I couldn’t turn them down. The three boxes didn’t turn out too terrible. The one thing I didn’t inquire about was the ballot size. By chance, they fit!
Looks like I need to take clearer photos! Sorry about the blur factor.
All three boxes are resting on rubber feet & their dimensions are 8x8x8. The bottom is easy to open with a special latch. A reporter from the local paper happened to be there when I dropped them off and a couple of photos were taken. I might just end up a part of her story.
So, that was my Sunday afternoon plus Monday evening and Tuesday morning.Tickets are still on sale for the event. Always great chocolate, wine and other tasty treats. KC Cowan of Oregon Art Beat will be there as our special MC guest. I’ll be there collecting trash from participants.
The fog finally burned off and revealed a beautiful day. My mornings are spent gathering up the animal crew for feeding and medications (plus lots of cleaning up after the old dog). By 10am, both Mocha and George are wanting their daily exercise. At 16 1/3, Mocha (German Shorthaired Pointer) rules our household. George (Spaniel/Basset mix) is waiting his turn to rule, which will not be long. All the other critters (cats, cockatiels & cockatoo) vie for attention as well. Artwork gets squeezed in during those few hours of doggy nap time.
Today, our walk at the local park was beautiful. Grass still mucky (rubber boots a must) but the Osoberry was showing its first green leaves. It’s always the first shrub to show foliage. There are several Osoberrys along the creek-bed. A lone vulture circled overhead. This was the third sighting of the week. Last Sunday was my initial sighting for their anticipated return. Some people wait for the swallow’s return, I get excited with the carion eaters. The last squadron left our area on Oct 8. While the dogs and I rambled through the park that fall morning, 15-20 vultures silently passed overhead. Now they are returning home. Roadkill beware!
The vulture was not the only visible bird this morning. Geese also occupied the sky while robins hunted at ground level for worms and other edibles. Flickers were audibly present along with acorn woodpeckers in the oaks. The dogs pay little attention to these goings on. George enjoys searching for furry, four-legged critters like grey and pine squirrels. Mocha just concentrates on smells. It’s a great park to watch change over the seasons. Too bad it’s becoming engulfed in a sea of subdivisions.
Willows down the road have also started opening their grey furry buds. I might have to go trim a few for a table display. The cottonwood leaf buds are swelling. All of life springing up from dormancy pushes my creativity into “drive” mode. I have a new project started that involves weaving pages of old textbooks. Once something solid emerges, I’ll post an image. It might end up being my project of choice for the Community Open at The Art’s Center in March. Must be time to head outside into the sunshine!