I was there all last week taking a workshop with Joan Baxter. If you don't know who Joan Baxter is, look her up
I was challenged. I pushed myself. I laughed. I cried a little. I wanted to dig deeper. I did.
I learned a lot. I filled a notebook with notes and design ideas.
When I left, my world was bigger than it was when I arrived. For that I have Joan to thank... and myself. I was ready for it. I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked to be, but it wouldn't have mattered. I would have thrown everything out in the first hour anyway. That was the scary part. That first day when I suddenly felt like I was standing there naked. Like I knew nothing. Like I had to start over and build my whole self again. Turns out that isn't the case, but it was a frightening place to be for awhile.
Joan brought this yarn. It was gorgeous; it is no longer made; and she let us use it anyway. She is working with the fantastic people at Weaver's Bazaar to make a similar yarn.
The mix of these two yarns was wonderful... and very different from the yarn I am used to using. These yarns are thinner than the singles I use now and that allows for more color blending. The combination of a thinner and thicker yarn does change the way the bundles reflect light and how the colors mix.
The light there changes all the time. Sunrise and sunset were particularly fascinating as the colors of the sandstone cliffs changed. The deep red glowing stone looks very different at sunset than it does in the fierce light at mid-day. I wandered around a lot at the beginning and ending of the days watching the light change on the rock and through the cottonwood trees along the bosque.
Joan is from Scotland and her home clearly informs all of her work. Water, boats, kilts, deep colors, and old places find themselves in her pieces. That sense of place and use of landscape was a strong message as we learned the simpler things of technique and color. I started to wonder where my own starting point was. What am I grounded in? Where is the story of the piece I am struggling to design? What does it mean? Once I started to find some questions and a few answers, I was able to take steps toward a piece of art that I want to make.
I knew many of the other workshop participants. They were a talented and committed bunch. We worked all day and then had a program each evening. We heard about Joan's work and shared some of our own. We heard about various projects Joan has completed and the people and stories she has worked with in her career. These images and conversations were fascinating and a vital piece of the experience.
P.S. If you read the last post and wondered about the dinosaurs, I would like to offer proof that there IS a coelophysis quarry at Ghost Ranch. But you must go find it for yourself. The search is half the fun.
*Part of the movie City Slickers was filmed at Ghost Ranch. The cabin they built for the scene at the end of the movie when they ride into the ranch is still there. I have always called it the Billy Crystal cabin.