Sunday, August 13, 2017

What I Did With My Summer Vacation


In late June I was lucky enough to attend Dorothy Caldwell's Mark Making class at Shakerag Workshops in Sewanee, Tennessee.  I met three of my sewing buddies, Sharon, Sarah and Holly for a time of pure bliss.
Shakerag is a summer arts program at a private high school on the campus of the University of the South.  Attendees live in the dorms, eat in the dining hall and take classes all day for an entire week.  
Just being in Tennessee was magical.  The folks there are friendly...with a capital "F".  So warm and welcoming.  The campus is gorgeous, the meals were insanely wonderful.  In fact, I am bringing their two head chefs to my bakery/restaurant in July of next year to cook for our customers, they will love their southern food.  Every meal was better than the last.  Hush puppies, stewed greens, lots of vegetables right from local gardens, meats from local pastures, we couldn't have asked for better food.
And Dorothy's class was a meaningful experience.  Her term Mark Making refers to the shapes we make with our hands, whether using a brush, a pen/pencil or a needle and thread.




Dorothy explaining one of the many techniques we used to create pages for books we assembled later in the week. 

One of our assignments hanging to dry.  Each of our assignments, after completed, was hung together with the other classmate's and together they were very powerful.  This one used our fingertips.

This assignment used brushes on bamboo poles with the paper on the ground.  Using our whole bodies we made shapes with India Ink.  So fun and surprising.

Our brush-poles and tootsies.

We burned holes in paper with incense and smudged paper with soot from candles.

The inimitable Claire Reisham, the founder of Shakerag Workshops giving us instructions for the day to come.  She is one powerful woman.  Her energy and spirit sets the tone for the week.

The gorgeous dining hall.  A pleasure to dine in.

Our first finished assignment,  little bound books made from scraps of paper.

After our week (and believe me we didn't want to leave! Were all signed up for next year already!) the four of us piled in the car and headed to Alabama for a day in Florence to visit the Alabama Chanin Factory.  On the way we needed to find somewhere to have breakfast.  We were traveling the Nachez Trace.  Holly found us a true southern breakfast in a little town along the way.  
It was Father's Day Sunday.  It was a traditional southern cafeteria-style buffet with every imaginable thing on the groaning table.  So good!!

And finally we got to the Factory.  First ,we sat down for another meal.  It's lucky for me I travel with women who like to eat as much as I do.   Everything was delicious, but the biscuits that Natalie Chanin's son created were out of this world.  We asked her if we could come back for one of her sewing classes and learn how to make the biscuits, too.  She said yes!
Above is a shirt that I fell in love with.  We really enjoyed our day there.  Bought lots of fabric and had patterns made for us that would be shipped.  I've got three scarves in the works.

I wasn't home for a week when Joe and I took off for three weeks in Montreal and Nova Scotia.  While in Montreal we caught the Gaultier wedding dress retrospective, 'Love Is Love", at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Much like the show I saw twice in San Francisco, it had talking mannequins.  Loved the whole experience.

One thing I didn't find in Montreal was a clothing shop.  No inspiring clothing anywhere...maybe I just missed it.  Can't imagine they don't have style there.  But I did see this cool vintage sewing machine that had been sprayed silver.  It was in the window of a clothing designer upstairs.

We fell in love with Nova Scotia.  We put 2,100 miles on the Jeep.  NS is worth visiting.  The people are super friendly, the shellfish is everywhere and utterly fresh and delicious.  The landscape is fascinating with little fishing villages tucked into deep coves everywhere.  We really had fun. 
Here you see the cottage of the famous Nova Scotia artist, Maude Lewis.  The whole cottage has been transported to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia museum in Halifax.
I'd visited once before and wanted to show Joe.  Little did I know that Maude has had a comeback and is very popular right now.  There's a wonderful movie out right now called Maudie.  If you haven't seen it I recommend you do.  She was extraordinary, very inspiring.
We also visited two other replicas of her home in various parts of NS.  And the museum has a large show right now with dozens of her works loaned by a collector.

Ok, enough of where I've been.  I've not been sewing much, as you can imagine, but did manage to make this shirt.  Designed by Katherine Tilton, B6459 is a fun shirt to make.  Here I used three scrap fabrics to see how the pattern fit.  I really didn't expect I'd like the mix of fabrics but I do.  The body is fabric leftover from another garment I made, the light blue is some quilting cotton I got at the Expo in Puyallup cuz I loved the octopi, and the sleeves/collar are Indian hand blocked cotton I got at MAIWA while there for a class.

This pattern has lots of details that are fun to put together and looks really good on.  I recommend this pattern!!

That's all folks, more when I can get back to the workroom.  Enjoy the halcyon days of late summer.  I sure am!

12 comments:

  1. You go to the most interesting workshops! Love the mix of fabrics in your Marcy T top. Karen

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    1. Yep, I'm a lucky gal. It's a Butterick Katherine top, just in case you start looking for it!

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  2. fun to follow your travels. and the mix of fabricsmin your top is dazzling and just fun.

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  3. Thanks Martha. I've been missing you at DOL's. We seem to go to different ones. I hope we'll hit the same one some day!

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  4. Eating, sewing (and I'm guessing wine) what else do you need! What an amazing summer you have been having! thanks for sharing it.
    becky

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    1. How did you know there was wine involved? I think they all thought we were the weird California contingency when we brought our bottle into the dining room every night! Thanks for dropping by!

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  5. Wish I'd been on that workshop with you. Looks amazing.
    Your Katharine Tilton shirt is stunning. A great choice of fabrics. Your pattern matching on the front is fearless. Well done. Brava.

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    1. It always gives pause to try those pattern matches. Sometimes they actually work out. Thanks!

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  6. I took an indigo workshop with Dorothy in Halifax (Nova Scotia School of Art and Design) 20 years ago. She is wonderful! What a wonderful summer.

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  7. She's not only a wonderful human being, she's one terrific teacher!

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  8. As an art teacher I still use the language of "mark making" that she introduced me to.

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    1. You'r so wise. At first it sounds confusing but once you understand it's meaning and start using the term it makes all the sense in the world!

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