Monday, October 17, 2011

third week at the bay

quilt top 

quilt back 

one of the inspirations for the Fairhaven quilt was the amazing colors of the sky over open water 

I spent a third week at the Chesapeake bay red house alone the beginning of October. Molly invited us back to finish our retreat that we interrupted by hurricane Irene. It was almost a month hence and things were a little different but much the same in the house this time adding heat over night as the night time temperatures were below a chill. Once I got all my food and artist and life materials packed and loaded up the drive was quick. The red house was just like we left it last August 27th after the power failed and we had to pack up and come home to the city a week early. Keith couldn't come with me this time so I was prepared for a different kind of experience. I packed up the quilt I began and took it back with new materials for a back design and added an ironing board and card table to expand my set up to be more user friendly. Before all I had was a side table for the sewing machine and a stack of twin beds for "table" space and ironing. This time I had a goal of finishing the top design sewing and making a back and getting them put together with a sandwich of cotton batting in between so I could begin quilting here at home. I also took my big sketch book for morning watercolors and my journal for morning pages. Food and water to drink.... casual clothes and flannel bed sheets.
I arrived to find Molly was in the city and Cappy was there alone. I got my things unloaded and got right to work making my dinner. Then I ate it and walked over to tell Cappy Ruppert that I was there and show him my sketch book. He hadn't seen any of the work I have done from the first visit. We enjoyed a nice visit over some decaf coffee. Molly arrived back from her big Wash. Project for the Arts (WPA) party excited to tell us all about the people and places she had seen. We stayed up late discussing everything we could think of about the time since our last meeting. I told her my plan to finish up the quilt top first.
I completed a daily watercolor sketch each day. I worked all day every day except one on the quilt parts and stopped to cook, eat and walk to enjoy my experience of the Fairhaven community and did a few artist visits with Molly and neighbors who were all very supportive of my work. On my walks I met a wood worker from Arizona named George. He is doing some extra fine finish work on his brother the architect's house at the top of the hill.  I also met a neighbor of his Farley who has a lovely garden I stopped to photograph and found her nestled in the steps next door on a walk the next day. She was kind of hidden from sight soaking up the afternoon sun.  It was fun walking in the late summer sunny days. It had been cloudy the first part of the week. I had a visit from three of the Ruppert grand children who helped me get a start on the quilt parts placement in my design. They are going to make a quilt with other grand children and Molly next summer! I was helping them get a feel for how to begin.
The Fairhaven Cliffs 

My quilt workroom

View of the bay on Sunday the first morning was cloudy

Monday was cloudy too 

Teddy wearing dad's long striped soccer socks, Christian and youngest brother Michael placing strips of fabric on the felt board helping me design the layout of my quilt top. 

cloudy day view of the bay from Foust's house

Clouds come and go thick and thin....

Foust's house garden native hibiscus is red. 

native flowers by the road

view from the bridge between the bay and the lake looking back at the cliffs up the bay side. 

Same place as above looking towards the lake near the bridge

a road up to the Fairhaven Flats 

container garden using drift wood container an idea that will be stolen for my own garden

Blue herons like this spot to fish on the bay we saw them daily

The cliffs from the end of the pier 

early morning view of the hill beside the red house

watercolor sketch of the same...
a white tailed deer with small antlers appeared twice on the hill to graze in the afternoons

On the road by Tacaro a brick baron's estate near by begged for a bicycle ride or a walk. I settled for a drive to save time to work on my projects. 

field of pumpkins and cattle seen on my trip out of Fairhaven on Tuesday to get groceries
close up of the cattle and pumpkins in the field

Last day this boat had been moored in front of my window all night and set sail as I was having lunch. 

dozens of these butterflies were feasting on local asters everywhere when the sun came out. 

numerous monarch butterflies were seen passing by my window and I caught this one on Foust's butterfly bush

actual view of the work station for sewing and ironing 

My drift wood brought home to make a hens and chicks container like the one at the bay. 
the drift wood has very cool inner recesses that will be covered with sand, pebbles and sempervivum and sedum this time next year. 
detail of quilting work with pearle threads 

hoop on quilt and some of the pearle threads I am using to quilt by hand
I am very grateful to Molly Ruppert for this generous gift of lodging in the red house at the edge of the bay. What a treat to be given and share with her the lovely Chesapeake bayside life. I dream of having a house of my own like this but even a short visit is a blissful experience. Now I have my work cut out to get the Fairhaven Summer Quilt completed. I began quilting as soon as I got home and settled in I know it isn't going to take as long as the yoyo quilt did because this quilt is well on the way towards completion. Special thanks also to Steven Stichter for his advice on working with pearle embroidery threads which he used in his amazing creations. I went to see him last weekend and got a fast review of his work and all the questions I needed answered in less than two hours.

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