Saturday, June 14, 2014

On the move again...

Next Stop:

 Feeling all better. All packed. I'll keep you posted!

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Curve Ball

The day begins slow. Getting out of bed was a chore  and I have a task at hand.

I need  to complete the text for a video I will be in, to be shot by my long-time pal, Alec Ross, for a company in Toronto...Alec shot my statement for my piece "Cleaning House" and I love his humour and approach so asking him was an easy decision! I think we are a good team.

I am battling a scratchy throat and looking at my planner grateful that Argentina (YAY! Argentina) is a few days away. It is now mid afternoon...clock ticking on that text deadline.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014


A tiny car packed full of wool and basil and we were on our way meet Ricarda...

Andrea Noeske-Porada and Ricarda Aßmann were my generous hosts in the charming and curious town of Königwinter. I know I keep saying how amazing all these places are and I am not one to dish out gratuitous compliments or gush about much...That said, I did fall in love with this little town and am putting things in the works to return for a spell. It is a town along the Rhine that buzzes at times with tourists and seems to be a town on the cusp of some exciting renewal. Only there a short time, I feel the need to find out more about the towns history and people.

Once through the tangled greenery and up the mossy back steps, we enter our accomodation for the next few days. It is a space owned by the city used for visiting artists.

A comfortable place to return to at the end of the day!

 Downstairs is a small studio space and a huge window to showcase the work of visiting artists.

I loved the view from the window down to the pedestrian street. I am a big people watcher!

 This is the out side of the space where I taught my workshops. It is another space subsidized by the city to provide studio space for artists. It is a really great space with a kitchen and studios. Our had big windows, and gorgeous paneled walls. A dream space to teach in with lots of room and light.

 The first morning sun was warm on the cool mornings and throwing open the windows to the street below and feeling the breeze was a great way to begin the day.

 My students came well prepared with materials and lots of enthusiasm. There was lots of laughter and conversation and a skilled group of makers which makes teaching a real joy for me. Everyone managed to understand me with a bit of translation assistance.

See this ingenious little shaping tool?! If you would like to buy some contact Andrea

My workshop sample was wild and colourful with an array of techniques and some tall legs. 

 I love the light in this stairway...

 ...and Ricarda's  collection of vintage cases.

 ...a nice place for the group shot.

 Andrea and Ricarda and I took the tram ride up (and up) the hill to see the view.

 Past the haunted castle (next time I am in Königswinter, I am going in!) and up some more.
 The Rhine...there is a convent on the island and a story of lost love!

 A perfect example of so much of the old meets new in Germany.

 My 2 lovely, talented and warm hosts...

 One evening we went to Cologne to see some sights, walk across the bridge and experience some beer at...that place people go have beer in tiny glasses that they fill up many of :o)

 The dome was really too much for words...

One of the most exciting things about being in Königswinter when I was, was that Andrea and Ricarda officially begin working together in a beautiful new studio/work space with their new fibre art company!!
I took pictures inside as well, but you will have to travel to see them and the line up of artists from many disciplines that will benefit the fiber artists privileged to attend. This will provide unique opportunities and challenges to creative students. For information on potential enrollment, contact Ricarda

  I headed back to Wiesbaden for a night and had an evening with some charming, smart young people,  great food (Spargle!!) It was a perfect send off and concluded over 2 weeks away leaving me with plans for my return. Perfect.

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Friday, June 6, 2014


 My transit from Amsterdam to Germany had a bumpy start..strange language, asking lots of questions of an annoyed attendant as to be certain I was boarding the correct train. Someone in my seat and nowhere to stow my massive suitcase. Finally I got situated and spoke with a nice young man from Spain...a computer programmer. He did not need to tell me. I could tell by his hands.
He said he was from a part of Spain that is like Italy, "...but the food is better". I know a few Italians that would contest that passionately!

 Empty stations leaving me wondering if I am in the right place.

 Miraculous scenery. I am stunned by the beauty of this country. I had no idea and feel a fool! Random castles. Old and new. Industrial and residential. light spilling over the hills and reflecting on the Rhine. Wow.

 My wonderful hosts, Andrea and Wolfgang treated me to a special trip to a vineyard as the sun set across the hills, hot air balloons in the distance. I opted for traditional German fare of Sauerbraten and red cabbage with my Pinot Noir (Wolfgang's selection for me :o). Lovely beyond words.


 After dinner we wandered down to the banks of the Rhine to the "wine barrel" for another glass of local wine.

 Warning: Confession time

Remember when I decided to quit drinking coffee?
I forgot too. This was too easy and too good.
(I am back to my green tea at home now!)

 Students settling in for a 2 day pods workshop. Smaller scale, working quickly all was achieved!
So grateful for those that traveled a long way to see me!

 Steaming soup, cheese (oh...cheese, I love you so) and lots of goodies to keep us fortified to continue our work.
 Had lots of this (yet, not enough!). Big white asparagus "Spargel" steamed with butter and sea salt. Need I say more? I think my blog should be titled "Food and Felt". I am shocked to return home the same weight I departed!

 ..okay more food (with cheese...see the cheese?)

 Ah, now we return to soap instead of soup. Equally delicious.

 Final finish!

 The line-up...can you identify the suspect?

 As the week progressed these beautiful blooms opened more each day growing more fragrant and beautiful. I enjoyed them over breakfast and conversation. Upon my return, prior to my journey home, they had begun to brown and the soft petals were dropping from the stems, but were just as beautiful in this state.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Netherlands.

 The trip to Schiphol begins with my usual tiny flight from Kingston. I love seeing the plane land through the front window :o)

 I arrive in Amsterdam to my charming comfortable room complete with felt and a view of the garden and lovely weather and light. Feeling so welcome at FiberFusing.

 ...a wonderful studio on the Amstel.

 A free day took me on a quick tour of Amsterdam. I saw the Anne Frank House from the outside and next time will see the inside. Seeing this was important to me.

 A quick hop off the bus to visit Shirdak. A fantastic felt shop that supports the development of contemporary fair trade felt for the market place.

 I AMsterdam.
 Food at the workshops was plentiful, delicious and food for the soul as much as for the body.

 Connie hard at work. Such a detailed maker with excellent technique.

Esther's treasures she brought for inspiration. So amazing. She speaks my language!
 samples after 2 days of surfaces and landscapes.

 Talented jewelry maker, Linda Ezerman, working on her pod. If you are unfamiliar with her work, you MUST check it out. I love her work so much and was so pleased to meet her as my "student". I am so fortunate to have talented makers in my classes that know there is always something to learn regardless of their skill.

 Ahhh, Italian wine with my lovely friend, Yulia. One more thing to miss about Italy!

 ...and working.
 My necklace sample. Such a great one day workshop.
 Happy students with Happy pods.
My beautiful (inside and out) student Aukje Bor-Stokroos is a multi-talented woman with many gifts. I just loved her pod. You can find her here (and please do!) talking (cause that's what I do!)

 Dorie and I had a day to visit Amsterdam and visited the plant dyer around. Seriously. In awe at the skill, precision and talent. Lunch, tram rides and thrift shopping made for a lovely day.
A visit to the magical space of Cristina Pacciani for conversation that could have gone on for days. Such a treat when you meet those people that feel like long lost friends and there is never enough time to catch up.

Oh, So many more images and memories of Dorie's space and her supportive "staff" that work for love and stroopwaffles (AKA: family!). Lovely adopted (by me) daughters that shared music, handmade jewelry, and selfies and a young man making art and making me smile (You know who you are ShowShawn)

Thanks is not enough! Look forward to my return. Next post...Germany, followed by Germany: the sequel.

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time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus