Sunday, November 21, 2010

Studio Touring

For the past three years, I have been a part of the Mountain Maryland Studio Tour in Cumberland. But this year, I opted out which gave me the opportunity to actually visit the studios. My friends, Meg & Dave Romero own one of the early 1900's brick buildings right downtown. The first floor is a retail antique emporium, the second floor is Meg's studio, Dave uses the third floor as his studio and they live on the fourth floor.

Dave is a photographer, printing very large pieces on canvas, paper and metal.

Macee, another fellow artist (jewelry maker) joined me for the tour. She's shown in quite a few shows lately too so we both enjoyed a day off.

Meg creates fanciful furniture, building it all from scratch.

She starts out with a miniature paper version...

then works her magic and a wonderful piece of whimsy appears.

Her studio is a bit like Alice in Wonderland meets...

Wizard of Oz.

I love looking at artist's supplies. They're colorful and meaningful, simple and earnest. They have such potential.

Tangram Woodworks is owned by another friend, Terry Bachman. Terry turns wood into masterful furniture and art pieces.

His studio is very organized, with the 12' lengths of wood neatly stacked and labeled.

Terry is informing us of the qualities of various woods.

He has two gallery spaces and a very large workshop. There is a place for everything and everything in its place!

In the other gallery space, Pat had her amazing and beautiful pastels. Her landscapes are bold and inviting.

Penny Knobel-Besa and her husband, Hilmar Gottesthal, have a sweet studio nestled in the woods.

Some of the artists host a party. Josh Brown served hot stew, brownies, cider, wine and good times. His pottery was quite good too.

Party on

After touring around the county, we wrapped it up with lunch at The Creamery in Cumberland.

It was nice being on the other side of the tour, as a customer. Our studio tour is just around the corner and I'd better get back to work! Cya

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Like I Won!

So last week I was a teacher at a knitting retreat held at the fan-tabulous Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania. I taught two nuno felting scarf classes and got to partake in the whole awesomeness of the retreat.

(not my pic) This is the grand entrance and when driving up in my packed-to-the-gills sportsvagen, (yarn, mannequins, five huge bags of supplies, crates of yarn, fiber and my luggage) I felt like I was in a fairy tale. The nice young men unloaded the entire contents of my car onto carts and hauled everything away and I carried my purse. La de da!

(not my pic) Here's where we we hung out to knit and play chess except we didn't play chess. Bedford Springs resort is steeped in history, with the first inn built in 1806. Many presidents and celebrities came to 'take the waters' and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The navy operated it a few years in the 40's and Japanese diplomats were housed there during WWII. The property closed in 1986 and fell into total disrepair. In 1998 it was purchased and after a $120 million restoration, it reopened in 2007.

I got to stay (free!) for 3 nights and 3 days and knit and play and knit and even bike a little.

Stupidly, I forgot my swimsuit (they require one!) so didn't get to sample the 'healing waters'. I felt pretty well without the waters though.

Our class rooms were at the top of these stairs so I think I burned off 20 calories going up and down them a hundred times...

(not my pic)... but then I ate thousands of calories at these feasts we had to have every 3 hours. By Saturday my stomach started growling for more food after just eating 2 and 1/2 hours earlier! Stop, I just fed you! I felt like a puppy or a baby having to eat so often. I finally had to just skip a couple lunches (how could I pass up sooooo much great food?!) I should have brought a cooler!

And when we would get done with one meal, we'd walk up those steps and here what was waiting for us in the hallway to our classroom....more sustenance in case we were starved from climbing up two flights of stairs! I loved all the food and it really was delicious. I got home Sunday night and I literally opened a can of beans and had that for dinner. Back to my hobo ways.

Even the water was fancy, with fresh flowers floating in the urn.

I don't know if this was the 'time out' chair, but it sorta looked like it, all alone in the corner.

There were cabinets of Victorian hats and apparel on display.

Ahhhhh, the room! Big down duvets, lots of fluffy pillows, plush white bathrobes, I felt like a queen!

I especially loved the bathroom, marble floors and counter tops, about 45 pure white towels and even a makeup table.

I shared a room with a new friend who the organizer paired me with. Pam is the owner of a yarn shop in North Carolina and we hit it off immediately, another kindred spirit. We both brought our Mac I- books and would just fluff up those pillows, snuggle in under the duvet and tap tap tap away on the computer. We'd surf the net and find fun knitterly things to share with each other. I had brought a couple bottles of wine so we were quite content to hole up in our luxurious rooms and tell each other we're never going home.

But back to business, the reason why I was allowed to have all this fun. I taught 2 classes to 24 wonderful women. Each woman picked out a hand dyed silk scarf in their favorite color, chose from an array of embellishments, laid it all out in a fanciful way...

and got down to the felting process by rolling the scarf in bubble wrap and a towel. Some chose to sit

and some chose to dance! I brought some fun ethnic music, sorta Mid Eastern (Balkan Beat Box) and we had all the women dancing and rolling. Barb (on right) was the organizer of the retreat and Sarah, her daughter got into the spirit of felting by belly dancing. We all had a great time and I got the best compliment. One woman said this was the first class that she didn't say, "Oh shit!" I got to take any of the other classes and I have to say the one I took was very technical and way over my head (lace knitting with yarn overs creating dragonflies with tiny beads between its wings, Yikes!) It was so quiet in that class it felt like knitting church. My class was the only no brainer, just let 'er rip and have fun!

The nearly finished scarves

I needed to step away from all that food for a bit and went for a little spin on my bike. It had been cloudy and really cold (in the 20's and low 30's) but when the sun came out for a peek, I took advantage. But the sky to the north was wicked black so I didn't know how much time I had until the skies opened up and drenched me.

But I was lucky and didn't get wet at all. The light was terrific and I was glad to get out and move my rather sedentary body.

In 1895 one of the first golf courses in the US was put in at Bedford Springs.

It really is a beautiful setting for a course, nestled in between two mountains.

But all good things must come to an end and I said good bye to my new friends and to my life as a pampered princess. I just hope I'm invited back next year!