Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sanctuaries, Volcanoes, Crows, and Friends

Is your studio or creative space also your sanctuary?  Mine is to the degree that its a place to be with my one thoughts and feelings without judgements and comparisons.  Even when there are others in the space with me, most of the time, I am the most I ever am comfortable.  In a similar vein, I feel this way at the Crow Barn for all of the two times I've been there. 

On the 18th of last month I arose from bed to pack my clothes for a week at the Crow Barn to take a long-awaited workshop with Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn.  A quick check of my email that morning made the distant monstrous cloud of an erupting volcano I didn't even know existed personal.  Leslie and Claire couldn't get out of the UK!  Short of throwing myself off my balcony, I managed to pull myself together, holster up the tatas, and drive to Columbus for the week. 

Mezzie, who was there with me in '08, was appointed as point-woman and organizer in lieu.  She did a excellent job that kept us readily supplied and moving forward.  Claire sent instructions via email and called in twice a day to the group to check our progress and offer feedback for any questions we had.  A husband of another participant took photos of our progress on that Wednesday with his super duper camera and emailed the images to Claire in order for us to have a productive 1:1 telephone conference with Claire that Thursday. 

Overall, it was a situation beyond anyone's control and everyone that came in for the workshop had the best attitude to make the week flow as best as best could be.  I'm so glad I forged ahead and didn't go over the balcony.  I left there with with a new beginnings for the American Crow piece for the Audubon exhibit.  Its a piece that I feel is reflective of the idea I wanted to express.

Here are some photos taken on the last day.  I was packed up by then so photos of my own work are forthcoming.  Know that the pieces you see aren't anything close to finished pieces but all are in-process at one stage or another.

DSCN1068 DSCN1073 DSCN1072 DSCN1077 DSCN1076 DSCN1071  The last image is of Super Cordial Courteous Carol.  She was there in '08 also and we ended up as roommates this time.  It was a little scary to room with someone who didn't know me and love me as a friend prior to sharing a hotel room but we had a great balance going on and it turned out well.

What almost became my undoing while in Columbus was all the technical problems I experienced with my oxygen.  It was one thing after another which was the primary reason I left on Friday.  Claire managed to get a flight out of the UK that scheduled her to arrive Friday evening.  For those that were able to stay from week #1 she was holding a Saturday class at the Barn.  Leslie made it in on Sunday I think and week #2 went well from what my friend Valerie phoned to tell me.  I did get to say hello to them individually via Val's phone.  Leslie and Claire are two of the most dynamic women I have ever met in ANY arena!  If you love processes as much as you love the outcome and if you love learning HOW to self-evaluate your work by developing and sharpening your eyes, and if you love creative energy-giving banter, then I suggest you seriously consider enrolling in a workshop with the two of them!



  1. Oh, Karen!!!! I feel so badly for you. I know how much you wanted this. I cannot believe that they did not cancel and reschedule the class. I would not have had nearly the diplomacy that you and Carol seem to be showing. I hope you got some great work out of it.

  2. Way to turn lemons into lemonade Ms. Karen. I am having my own little crisis (nothing as big as a volcano). There are tornado warnings and watches along the entire trip from GA to Ohio. Severe thunderstorms are also predicted. I have decided to leave on Monday instead of Sunday so I will miss part of the first day. I figured I would rather do that than be blown off the road.
    Oh, and I just read your other post. I have discovered chenille needles as my favorites for embroidery. I use #'s 26 and 28. They are hard to find in the stores so in a pinch a #24 would work. The needles are sharp, slim and stronger than regular sharps. Think of it as a hybrid between a regular sharp and a tapestry needle. I love my stitches with this needle. OKay, back to packing for me.

  3. i hope you end up with some good work from this, Karen- what a huge disappointment this must have been. It also sounds like you made the best of a lousy situation (sounds like a social worker to me!)
    I'm looking forward to seeing photos of your work.

  4. Oh my gosh, I would have been so bummed. I hope you had good fellow students to feed off each other. I remember Carol from 2 previous crow barn classes, and I think you got a good roommate.

  5. As usual Karen you pulled serenity around you and flowed....hope you have some beautiful pieces from your trip at the Crow. Caught up on your previous post, loved the photo of Mo & the baby. Had a cookie flashback hmmmmmmmm with the kids. Is that an echo of you still howling or is that me? Loved the story, it's on my mental bookshelf.
    Sending a prayers and hugs for health to you and yours.

  6. you really are a terrific role model for rolling with it...

  7. did you get any money back?!! geez, I agree with Beverly that it sounds like you made the best of a disappointing situation. The first quilt class that I EVER signed up for the teacher was a no show due to a miscommunication with the shop, but luckily one person there had taken her class before and shared everything she knew with us... plus we got all our money back.