This past weekend I was invited to join the Portland Art Collective for their fall retreat. It was an honor, and the weekend was a hoot. It was a low key affair, in a beautiful setting at Menucha Retreat Center, with all our needs provided for (even vegetarian meals). And then I got to make art and make new friends. Geez, it was perfect.
Chapter 1: Getting There
I was invited to attend the retreat by Stephanie Brockway, an artist I met this summer at Oregon College of Art and Craft in Patricia Wheeler's class. We connected and have gotten together a couple of times since. On Friday afternoon, Howard dropped me off at Stephanie's house and I was lucky enough to get a glimpse into what Steph has been working on as one of the co-curators of the Dia de los Muertos Group Show (Day of the Dead) at Guardino Gallery in Portland. Here's Steph with the altar she built for the show and two of her pieces (in the box).
Since I was at her house, she let me peek into her studio, something I love doing.
For my belated birthday gift, Stephanie handed me her treasure box and let me pick out two little trinkets. Yikes Almighty! What a great little gift.
Chapter 2: Menucha
The PAC retreat was held at Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon, about 40 minutes east of downtown Portland. The idea of having a country retreat was first envisioned in 1914 by Julius Meier, a partner in the Meier and Frank department store chain (Julius was also the Governor of Oregon from 1930 to 1934). If you're interested in more about the history of Menucha, click here.
The main lodge was pretty cool. There was a bar in the basement hidden behind wooden panels as it was built during Prohibition. In the main bathroom, there was a secret window in the medicine cabinet - the Meiers could peek out into the main living area of the Lodge to see what people were doing. It was said that Mrs. Meier wanted to see what the ladies were wearing; it was also said that Mr. Meier wanted to keep an eye on his daughters and their suitors! Here's the little window.
The original phone is still hanging in the hallway, although it is no longer connected.
Tory (of Copper Crow Studios) organized the retreat and took us on an underground tour of Wright House, the main lodge at Menucha. Once in a lower hallway, she closed the door and had us sing a round of Row Row Row Your Boat before she would let us leave!
For our first meal at Menucha on Friday night, all of us wore hats to dinner. Here is Gloria before dinner and me after dinner - we both chose to wear tiaras. What doesn't go with a tiara?
Chapter 3: Morning Walk
On Saturday morning, I strolled the grounds. No words are really needed.
Chapter 4: Rose Garden Labyrinth
Chapter 5: Some Art
Diane is a newish member of the PAC. I have taken many classes from Diane, so it was a treat to get to sit across the table from her during the weekend. Diane was busy painting faces on aprons and post cards during much of the weekend . . .
. . . and before too long, she offered to art up my simple green hemp purse. She didn't get it finished by the end of the weekend, but she took it home and promised to surprise me with an arted up bag!
Stephanie was watching Diane paint faces and Steph wanted in on a little face action, so she painted herself a post card and painted me a face on one of my prepared journal pages!
Gloria, who was sitting next to me, wanted in on the face-painting action, too, so Gloria chose one of my prepared pages and painted me a face (her very first face ever!). My beautiful green-haired girl.
Here is a photo of some of my journal background pages:
And here is a shot of the women being busy busy busy.
One of the demos was drawing Zentangles and these women stuck with it for the rest of the afternoon. If you're a doodler, this technique is for you.
On Saturday afternoon, after a day of soldering and paper-cutting, Tory decided she would whip out a felted hat. Did I already mention that Tory is a very multi-talented woman?
Chapter 6: Felted wool soap
As everyone was in various stages of packing up on Sunday morning, Tory pulled out her box of wool roving and bars of Dove soap and asked if anyone wanted to learn how to felt wool on soap. Well, yeah.
The felted wool soap I MADE!
The ladies secretly passed around a card and took up a small collection to present to Tory as a thank you for all of her hard work (she was the one who also made the beautiful name tags!).