Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fibre on the Forest Floor at Loon Lake

This is my unfinished project from the workshop! 
The highlight of April for me was the opportunity to attend a class at the Vancouver Guild of Fibre Arts. This was an anniversary retreat they planned and they had all sorts of classes planned. I registered in one with Barbara Shelley, called “The Forest Floor – Painting with Thread”. The retreat was incredibly well organized and had some delightful classes offered. I would have loved to take Akira Blount’s class in dolls, ( )but the class I did get into was just as good.

Barbara Shelley doesn’t have a web page, but her class was delightful and she was so encouraging and helpful to everyone in the class…..from the student who’s machine caught on fire, (honest) to the one who had an embellishing machine there and showed the teacher how to use it. The class was only five people and it was a wonderful mix of personalities. We had a wonderful time together. I’d do it again in a second.

Perhaps it was especially wonderful because my employer has brought in a new rule this year. We are not allowed to take any time off during instructional days….that means we can only be away if we are sick, or if it is a day when there are no classes. We have to go through a lot of red tape to get the “allowable” three days of personal leave that go through a committee before being decided on. And my three days got approved!!! There are lots that don’t so I felt special and appreciated, and once at the retreat, was so happy that I had gone through the trouble.

It took place at Loon Lake…. the photo to the right is the view from our room....a division of the University of Victoria’s Forestry department and was the most spectacular location with incredibly beautiful scenery (the photo at the top of my blog is one taken there). The buildings were in the “lodge style” from a western resort scene. All in all, a fabulous place to be. The food was incredible…..I gained four pounds in four days…..and…well, I just can’t say enough good things about my experiences there.

It started out with my friend meeting me at the ferry landing and setting up her extra GPS in my vehicle. We headed out to go to Loon Lake. It is out of Maple Ridge and a distance up an active logging road. Well, I have to say I am the only person I have heard of who can get lost WITH a GPS. It said “Turn Right” so I turned right. I’m in the construction under a new bridge when the next sentence comes up and adds “in 100 meters.” Oops. And then when it realizes I’m not where I’m supposed to be, it says “Recalculating”. I swear every time it had to say that the tone of voice got a little snippier and a little less patient. And then when I got to the gate on the logging road, it thought I was at the destination. I kept going and it kept telling me “You are at the destination. Stop now.” Over and over! I unplugged it and kept going. I was sure glad to see people and buildings after a fairly long and pot-holey drive up that mountain! I got better at listening to the full instructions on the way out. But we had to stop at a gas station and I gave it back to Judy because at that point we were headed in two different directions to go home!

This was my favorite thing....a little pull ferry which crossed the lake so we could hike on the other side....unfortunately I had to try this at lunch and then go back to class, but it was an absolute delight!

While at the retreat, I shared a room with my girlfriend Judy. We hadn’t seen each other since last summer (although we email almost every day), so it was great to be together again. We chatted and giggled late into the night the first night, and just reveled in being in the same room to share our stories once again. But the room was too warm. We had a ground floor room, looking right out onto the lake so we opened the door and propped it with Judy’s cooler. We continued talking and eventually drifted off to sleep with the door open. It was such wonderfully fresh air.

In the middle of the night, Judy heard the door banging against a lawn chair so she got up and closed it. We went back to sleep. In the morning she poked her head out the door to get her cooler, but it was nowhere to be seen. We wondered if it had been stolen. It was still dark so we went up to the mess hall for breakfast (served for loggers because there was so much variety and volume!). After breakfast, back to our room and get our things for the class. I looked outside again for the cooler. I walked to the edge of the cement patio and looked down over the bank towards the lakeshore. Way down there, lodged against a tree, was Judy’s cooler, torn to bits with its bottle of juice and a can of Coke bent and and squashed. There were bear paw prints in the soil. I thought she should make a piece of artwork out of her Coke Zero can with the claw marks in it! Everyone laughed at my suggestion! I meant it!
I thought we couldn’t leave that garbage down there so I climbed down to get the stuff. About half way I thought to myself “What if this bear is sleeping under one of these logs I’m climbing over?” But he wasn’t, and I got the cooler and the rubbish and brought it back up. We were the talk of the retreat! At lunch that day we explained what had happened and heard that this same bear had been in the dumpster and behind the other residence as well. So the new rule was “No food to be left outside at all….not even anything that smelled like food. “ Judy said she was just glad that the bear didn’t come into our room. One of the ladies there said “You don’t know that he didn’t!” There was a moment of silence and then….you should have seen Judy’s face! Believe me the door was closed and locked every night after that!

Picture the ripped up cooler right there at the base or the tree right about the middle of this picture! 

But the class was excellent, the surroundings unbeatable, and it was a fantastic experience. If I lived in Vancouver, I’d be part of that guild for sure. What a talented group! I’ve interspersed pictures throughout this post so that you can get the idea of where we were. The photo presently at the top of my blog is taken from the pull ferry, almost at the opposite shore. All in all, a delightful three days.