Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jog

The drive back from Duluth was under much nicer weather conditions than the drive to Duluth. The first day of my outbound trip it rained all the way to Marquette, and the second day it snowed almost all the way to Duluth. On the way back, all was sunny and bright!

I stayed with Judy and Jim McL. I’ve known Judy for a number of years. Judy and Jim summer in Beulah, Michigan and winter in Duluth!

Judy is part of the Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild, and she was responsible for encouraging them to invite me to teach some workshops. I’d been there three years ago to teach, and I was delighted to be invited back. The workshops were held in one of the Duluth Art Institute locations.

In addition to the workshops, the Guild asked me to give a talk the night before the workshops, in conjunction with a potluck dinner. I prepared a presentation that I titled, “The Value of Process”. This presentation prompted me to put together some of my thoughts on learning, mindful practice, creativity, and the process-product dichotomy. I took the opportunity to draw from my experiences in dance and neuroscience, as well as my work as a fiber artist. I hope that these disparate disciplines came together for the audience as well as they come together for me.

Earlier that day, Judy took me on a stroll around the boardwalk area of Duluth. Here is a picture of Judy near the lighthouse there.

Saturday’s workshop was “Spinning With Commercial Yarns”. Here’s the metaphysical question of the day: When you take a commercial yarn that is Z-spun and S-plied, and you re-spin it in the Z direction, are you “adding twist” or are you “un-plying”?

Sunday morning’s workshop was “Plying for Texture”; the afternoon’s workshop was “Spinning With Silk Hankies”. Everyone enjoyed the “hand spa” at the beginning of the afternoon session; I had everyone use a scrub on their hands called “Silk Spinner”, a Dermalove product. Makes for the smoothest of hands!

Oh, on Sunday, it snowed. I’d like to point out that on my visit three years ago, it also snowed…at the beginning of May. Could this be the start of a tradition?

Monday, Judy and I did some more sightseeing. I picked up rocks along the shore of Lake Superior just north of Duluth. Here’s a view:

Then, we visited a charming yarn shop in Knife River and later ate lunch at the Lighthouse on Homestead. I had an excellent grilled cheese sandwich with tomato-basil soup. By the way, they make the Best Potato Chips Ever.

The day’s highlight was our visit to Church Road Farm, owned by Marie and Paul Glaesemann. Marie and Paul have a wonderful spinner’s flock of sheep. Here are a few of this year's lambies:

I’ve been buying fleeces from them for several years now. I am happy to report that I was able to snag Lucy’s fleece again this year. And I was able to snag a picture of Lucy on this visit. Well, I got a picture of her rear end as she enjoyed her lunch.

Here’s a picture of Marie with her 30-year old Morgan horse, Winston. They raised and showed Morgans for many years.

I also bought Lizzy’s fleece, and Judy and I are going to split Puff’s fleece. All three fleeces will be processed into roving at Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill.

Tuesday, I started the drive homeward. On Wednesday, I made a few stops at Scenic Outlooks along Lake Michigan. Here is a picture somewhere between Epoufette and Brevort, looking southeast onto the lake.

And here’s a picture of the Mackinaw Bridge from a couple miles away, still in the U.P.

All ‘round, a great trip! I do hope to travel Duluth-way again. Maybe next time without snow…

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