In digesting the things that happened, I’m still amazed by this trip: I was able to get away so soon after moving (and the chaotic upheaval of all my life), to work with a rock star of BOOKS, to share food, tea, thoughts and words with a rock star of TAPESTRY, to meet a wonderful in every way group of students, rock stars, too, and to have a trip that was decidedly AWAY. I went to Tim Ely’s class of the above name. It was fantastic.
I love a good mystery…
But first, I almost missed my plane. I got to the gate after boarding had begun in Syracuse. Geesh! But Once in Spokane, WA, I rented a car (a nifty two day splurge) and drove through country that got more and more amazing, becoming Palouse. Undulating hills, farmed almost entirely into small grains, only some of which I initially identified. It was like stacks of handmade paper or nude bodies, all wedged together in a topography of grasslands, what was once a taller grassed prairie, but still is beautiful as farmland. I found my place and settled my things and went for a very hot, dry walk, meeting up with Tim and Ann. They sent me home with the remains of a delicious loaf of bread alchemically devised by my host, and which sustained me all week.
Sunday I drove to Moscow, Idaho, and had tea and lunch and talk and talk and talk with Sarah Swett. Ideas were shared. Not. One. Photo. But memories and treasure and the rest of lunch pizza for two more meals. And a delicious pickle made by Sarah’s husband. Mexican supper back in Colfax with my classmates, relinquishing the car and enjoying the weirdest wonderful ice cream performance (?) I’ve ever seen or overeaten.
We labored over our first books Monday through Wednesday lunch, and then met up for supper later. The group was fantastic, some people from the area, some from the west coast, and I think only me from NY, but one planning to move way downstate soon.
Thursday and Friday we worked on a second sketchbook. But Thursday there was a lovely birthday celebration. With perhaps the best. cake. ever.
There was a wonderful camaraderie in this class, deep respect, a quiet, workperson-like atmosphere, light humor, and kind helpfulness all around. How lucky I am that I was able to attend.
We made paste paper cover stock and made our own drummed covers. We learned, practiced, and practiced again (and were assigned 20 more) how to make a version or so of this book. We talked, or were quiet, or worked late, or left if necessary, all of us working our own way with images compelling or entertaining, or simple or new, leaving space for the new things to appear inside our fine sketchbooks. What a gift—the gift of open pages in self-made books with pages that already held marks or tip-ins waiting there to ignite other ideas.
I’m closing this post with a nod to teachers who structure what they teach with intention and understanding and who love teaching people, in our case all adults learners, varied in age, experience, and gender. Thank you Tim for this amazing experience, and thanks Ann for holding it all together AND feeding and orchestrating us, thanks to all: Judy, John, Jim, Marcia, Sue, Pat, Jennie, Cheryl, Ted, and Steve, the tool maker, for “being there”. This was exactly what I needed to help me turn, along with the changing weather, toward fall. I am deeply grateful.