The second Colorado retreat went well. It was different from the first (details here) but also a great deal of fun with lots of adventuring and creativity. It is always fascinating to me to observe how a different mix of people changes the dynamic of a particular workshop. I've taught a lot of workshops in the last six years and every one is different. Even when the material I am teaching is very similar, the outcomes can be wildly different.
This group experienced a rainier week and we did spend more time inside weaving as we watched the fog drift down the valley. We saw a fawn wander by the window and watched the sun break through here and there. When the rain stopped there were expeditions to find moose, and find them we did. JD spotted two bull moose in a clearing just above campus and they hung around the rest of the weekend. One of them was dubbed Karl.
This was the only moose I saw the first day... The weathervane on one of the sheds in the museum. These buildings were built in the late 1800s and lived in year-round by a very resilient family.
Not everyone in the family survived. The Koenig family lost three children and their mother died while off the mountain. The family returned to Pingree Park with the 11-year-old daughter becoming the head of the household after her mother died. There were two more graves behind me--twins of another family who died there. Winters were (and still are) harsh. The campus is only open from mid-May through mid-October and this past May the students will tell you stories of the Snow-Apocalypse they experienced.
Here is evidence that we really did see moose. See him?
Carol really wanted to see a moose. JD had found this meadow with two moose the day before, so Monday morning I walked up to see if they were there again. I went back to the lodge to get Carol and a few of us watched Karl for a bit.
A further expedition later that day did not net any moose, but the group did get soaked in a downpour. They were in surprisingly good spirits about it considering how cold it was.
We also saw deer, including a fawn and his mother who walked right by the windows of the workshop room. Kevynne was working on a mountain scene with a mule deer "photobomb". JD has promised to weave Karl the moose next.
But you wanted to know about the tapestry retreat!
One of my focuses during this retreat was to encourage people to take inspiration from the surroundings and use it to create something quite simple in a small tapestry. Gunnel took this idea and ran with it quickly. Her first of many tapestries were an interpretation of the Indian paintbrush that were in full bloom and an aspen leaf. She also did some work with wedge weave and some naturally dyed wool she brought along.
Cynthie was working with an idea around this amazing root she found. We were trying to decide which way to put this background weaving. Her plan is to weave another panel where the tree-form is woven right in and mount them side by side. It was a wonderful project.
Paula did a little mushroom hunting (along with birding and we saw a snowshoe hare!) and then wove a first tapestry with some abstracted mushrooms.
Carol wove this beautiful striped tapestry using two strands of Weaver's Bazaar fine wool at 12 epi. And Jane's first sketch tapestry off the loom was a wonderful landscape interpretation using some beautifully blended yarns. I liked this tapestry next to her environmentally-themed mug.
Jane also wove this whimsical version of the cabins that are on stilts at one side of the campus.
Marilyn S. made a tapestry diary of this trip starting in her home state of Kansas and moving through various ideas about nature and her travel. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished images when she gets these off the loom. And Elisabeth wove a couple tapestries, this one an abstracted landscape in which she was working on angles.
Tables were moved near the windows. Rainy days mean less light... and windows mean you might see interesting things outside while working.
Beth is a spinner. She wanted to work with her handspun to figure out how to best make it for tapestry weaving. I wish I had taken a photo of her marvelous yarn. This piece turned out wonderfully and she got a lot of great information about how the yarn needs to be structured and used. She wove from the back and wasn't quite ready to take it off the loom at the end of the retreat.
Ute wove several small pieces. I really loved this piece on the left which was inspired by the wonderful boards on the sides of all the old buildings around campus. Some of the buildings are over 100 years old. The image to the right is my example of some of these boards.
Marilyn M wove a couple sketch tapestries and then designed this marvelous landscape and symbol-inspired piece. She finished it while there. And yes, you do see a lot of eccentric weaving which turned out beautifully and the piece was flat.
Marilyn also did some sketch tapestries the first day. Here they are with a drawing she made on campus.
On the last morning we shared what we had all made. I find this to be one of the most valuable times of the retreat when everyone gets a chance to hear the thoughts behind the weaving.