I'm a visual person and don't fancy myself a writer in any way, so it feels strange and uncomfortable to have a blog at times. I'd be happy just posting photos on my instagram account, but the photos are so tiny and sometimes I want to share what's going on over here.. my process, my little business, a bit of my personal life.
Does anyone care? I dunno... Imma do it anyway.
So as I mentioned in my last post, the ever hospitable, bad-ass ladies over at the Sou'Wester
lodge in Seaview WA offered me an artist residency to work on some new designs when I was staying here in January celebrating the new year. I love this place and these rad women and am super excited to be here for an entire week!
Here are some of the highlights of my stay:Monday:
Got here around 4. I'm staying in room #2 in the Lodge which is freaking adorable and has photos on the wall of one of my favorite Portland performance artists: the inimitable Alicia McDaid
. The 3 story lodge was originally built as a vacation home by Oregon U.S. Senator Harry Corbett in 1892. The second floor, where my room is, was formerly a ballroom that was split up into 4 units in the 50′s. Each suite has a kitchen and bathroon and retains much of the original charm from that era. (You can see more photos from a post I did while staying here last summer here
)Unpacked, set a work schedule for the week, ate some homemade chicken soup that Anna made, drank some wine and passed out!
Tuesday: Woke up and meditated to morning sun which promptly disappeared and turned to heavy rain so I exercised in my room and made coffee and rice/kale/egg/sesame/avo breakfast bowl. Set up sewing room across the hall (it was empty until Sat, so they let me take over the extra room!) Did a bunch of sketches all day/night by the fire.
Album of the day: A Brief History of Ambient
Message for the day: Focus on opening yourself up to choices and possibilities. Detachment from preconceived outcomes and the need to be in control.
Wednesday: Woke up in the middle of the night from what turned out to be a hail storm. The next morning the ground was covered with a pretty blanket of white. Meditated, exercised... still pretty crappy out, but nice and cozy in the lodge! Abandoned said "schedule" and went to the grocery store which turned into an impromptu thrift store excursion. I scored some good stuff though so it was worth it. I also stopped in the "Thrify Trailer" which is parked next to the lodge (the one with the glowing jesus kneeling next to the door) and found a black wool St Johns dress and a double breasted wool sweater... nice!
Yeah, so I got a late start and ended up working from about 3-8. Finished a new soft leather and fabric clutch/purse prototype which I hope to have in production by the end of the month! Burger night at the Depot next door. Stayed up late drinking wine, shooting the shit and painting nails with Anna and Kathy. I definitely had a hangover the next day. whoops.
Album of the day: Funkadelic - Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
Message of the day: Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
Thursday: I've been to Longbeach Peninsula several times now and have somehow managed to miss "Marsh's Free Museum" down the street - home of the ever famous "Jake the Alligator Man". Anna insisted that we go before she head out of town. We stopped for a quick coffee and a maple bar at the adorable Cottage Bakery which is a bit of a time capsule, then headed over to the bizarre hodgepodge of old taxidermy, coin fed curiosities and contemporary kitch known as Marsh's. I think my favorite things were the old iron work and vintage tools juxtaposed against all of the taxidermy - both real and "mystical" creatures. Oh and let's not forget the the coin-fed gypsy who tells me my future looks reeeaal gooood.
Got back to the lodge around 11 to work. I'm using chintzy materials for prototyping since I end up wasting a lot of material redrafting patterns over and over (old vinyl instead of leather and light weight canvas) Not to mention I was not about to haul a 100 lb. industrial leather walking foot and industrial serger to the coast! I'm hesitant to post these not so great photos, but you get the idea - This will have a leather top, leather bottom and an adjustable leather strap with lined canvas or woven kilim body. Some sort of closure as well..
Measures about 11 x 12.5 x 3.75"
The intrepid Julia Barbee
(sculptor, designer, jeweler, perfumer, scavenger, all-around-renaissance-woman) decided to come hang with me for the night at the lodge (yay!) so I called it a quits around 4:00.
We cooked a delicious dinner with Kathy and talked about old and new friends, relationships, the things we have and the things we leave behind...
It was lovely.
This is what we ate: Olive Oil Roasted Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans (recipe below!) side: braised Kale / Salad / Baguette
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Julia makes a sourpuss. Kathy is nonplussed.
Olive Oil Roasted Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes
and Cannellini Beans:
2 large fennel bulbs with fronds attached
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
2 pints grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
4 large fresh oregano sprigs (or any fresh italian herbs will do)
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 15-ounce cans cannellini (or white beans), drained
Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1/2 cup. Trim fennel bulbs and cut in half vertically. Cut each bulb half ito 1/2-inch-wide wedges, leaving some core attached to each wedge.
Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add fennel wedges in single layer; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Cook until fennel begins to brown and soften, turning occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and crushed red pepper; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Fold together gently.
Transfer skillet to oven. Bake fennel and tomatoes until soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 or so minutes. Mix in beans and 6 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds. Bake 5 minutes longer to heat through. Transfer mixture to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining chopped fronds. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Album of the day: Dr. John - Gris Gris
Message for the day: Nothing is permanent. Live in the NOW. Opportunities are fleeting and so is life.
Woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. Julia and I made coffee then put on our galoshes and headed to the beach for a brisk walk. We walked quite a ways then headed back towards the lodge on the "Discovery Trail
" - a paved 8 mile walking/biking trail that runs through an expanse of golden grassy dunes and and young evergreen trees. This relatively new coastline was formed when a jetty was built in Astoria in the late 1800's pushing the beach farther out and creating new space. Thandi, one of the owners, told me that the Sou'Wester used to be beach front property at one time. Now the beach is a quick 3 minute walk away.
Hungry after all of that walking, we looked for a dive bar with breakfast. We tried 2 places that were closed and ended up at the Lamplighter which happens to be right next to the lodge. Probably one of the ugliest bars I've ever been in "Man, the things we could DO to this place!", but a really decent (and HUGE) breakfast. I highly recommend the eggs benny. NOT the coffee. Better off with a bloody mary or hot toddy I'd imagine.
Made it back around noon. Julia headed back to Portland and I worked on a simple zipper version of the shoulder bag above until late in the evening. I plan to make this out of woven kilim textiles and leather:
Album of the day: Arthur Russel - Calling out of Context
Message for the day: "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance"
Got up around 8 - did my morning meditation and some reading of this book
which is taking me forever to finish because I don't make time to read. That said, it's one of those books that I think everyone should read at some point. Seriously.
Worked on a little collaborative project with Thandi to make some quilted wool slippers for the lodge out of wool blankets from a pattern she'd found. I'll try to post a little "DIY wool slippers tutorial" at some point. They actually turned out pretty awesome! A band was playing that night in the Lodge, so we all whipped up a winter-summer style BBQ - I made the coleslaw, Anna made potato salad, one of the guests made frito pie, Kathy worked the grill and yo, did I mention Kathy's HOT BUNS?! It was a lot of fun. I ate toooo much.
Did some blogging and emailing after dinner and found out via the internet that an old friend had passed away on Thursday night which was the same night we were talking about friends lost and the things we leave behind and my cliché message of the day being "Nothing is permanent. Live in the NOW. Opportunities are fleeting and so is life." I stayed in my room most of the night reading a thread that was posted about our friend: the good, bad and ugly memories, the funny, tragic and heartbreaking stories that embodied this bigger than life, extraordinary person... pain and regret and sadness from people that had detached from him for one reason or another and were questioning themselves now. I just sat there, reflecting on my own personal relationships and the people that I love and the few that I've fallen out with or lost touch with. I felt this urgency to call or write each of those people and tell them how much I DID love and appreciate them and why, or how sorry I am for fucking up or that I'm no longer holding onto this or that resentment because it's just not worth it! Sometimes we do have to detach from unhealthy relationships. Sometimes we just need some time and space... what ever the case may be, we always have the choice to do it with love and kindness instead of anger and resentment. I will leave this place feeling fortunate to have the charmed life that I have and a deep sense of gratitude for the people and things in my life. I AM going to write those letters because guess what, life is just too damn chaotic and unpredictable NOT to.
Album of the day: Chrissy Zebbe Tembo - My Ancestors
Message of the day: Get out of your head and move your body. Take time for gratitude. Tell the people that you love what you love about them. Let go of resentments.
"You can't hold a man down with out staying down with him" -Booker T Washington