Tuesday, April 21, 2009

West Virginia

I guess someone made a joke about leaving him behind? 

The barn studio isn't quite done. They just got the keys and will be adding some stone to the bottom & landscaping this summer. 

We had the pleasure of a brief trip to West Virginia recently. Peter and Tom have a handsome cabin up there and they have just added a studio barn to the compound. Trees leaves are still not out yet but the gray bark and moss covered grounds made a soft backdrop for the white service berry blossoms and yellow narcissus. We spent down time rocking on the front porch and a later around a bonfire in a rusty kettle under a moon lit  sky watching stars and the passing clouds. It was fun chatting with the hosts and the next door neighbors who are building their cabin house themselves who dropped by to visit.  
We heard stories and earlier in the day inspected  the site where neighboring French kids with matches set fire to a hollow tree and the leaves on the lee side of the hill the day before we arrived. There was lots of excitement about fire and the crew come miles up into the back country for a children's' forest fire. Their old hollow tree had to be cut down and divided into sections to extinguish all the embers burning inside of the natural made chimney. Someone's daddy is going to get a bill for that handy service, so we hear. Rain came the third day of our visit and brought some much needed wet to the mossy forest floor. 
The flowering service berry trees are lower story tree and remain short and kind of delicate in the shade of the taller hardwood trees much like dogwoods and redbuds in the wild which bloom later. The white blooms are named to mark the return of the traveling ministers that long ago visited once a month during  fair traveling weather to small mountain communities cut off by winter storms and snow. Visiting West Virginia always reminds me of my family's Appalachian mountain roots and my visits there as a child. WETA one of our Public Television stations  in Washington, DC has been showing a four part series of programs on Monday evenings at 10:30 PM which I have enjoyed the past two weeks. Keith and I are both learning things we didn't know and refreshing some we did know. Cherokee Indians are featured a lot in the stories about Indian peoples who inhabited the forest before and after white men came. They say everyone up in the hills is related to the Indians including my father's family so whites didn't get rid of them entirely but they sure misused them and their environment.
I took a 30 second 360º view video from the driveway while I was there. 
Click this link to see it play on the weblog. 

You will be notice lots of rusty metal stuff around the artist's retreat because my friend and host Peter Wood is a metal sculptor who specializes in making his art works rusty! Visit his website  http://www.rustymetal.com/
to learn more about his work. We are discussing a two day event this October to show and sell our work together again called Light In October. More about that to come as time draws nearer. 
We all visited charming Berkley Springs on the last day we were in West VA where I really enjoyed a rare Book and Paper exhibition at the Ice House. The last time I visited the Ice House they had a show of quilts. Peter has large and small works available there year round. Then we went to the bird seed store and got our very own House Wren House which can be reused year after year. It has a trap door in the bottom to remove the small twigs every season so the male will be happy to come back and show off his skills to the discerning females who judge him on his song and nest building skills. It now hangs in our short lilac tree where the gourds have been for the past few years. 
Finally a fireside video... "dueling cameras" are me and Keith both shooting pictures of the fire at the same time. It is such a rare treat for us to see one, we both had the same reaction, "take a picture!"

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