Saturday, May 3, 2014

California Highlights

Tuesday night I got back from a ten day trip to California with my friend Janet.  Another one of those trips I wasn't going to take, but she pulled me along, and am I ever so glad she did!  There has been much unpacking and working since I got home - the studios are still a mess - but I need to at least get the highlights posted here, and hope to have more time over the next few days to do a bit more blogging about the trip.

Santa Barabara!  Despite growing up in So Cal, I'd never spent more than a few hours in beautiful Santa Barbara.  On this trip I got to be there for four gorgeous days with Janet, a former resident, as my guide.

Sunshine and breezes along the beach!
Real live pelicans!
The Courthouse
Just LOVE the southern Spanish architecture!

The giant fig tree - the largest of it's kind in the US!
In bloom!
 One of the greatest highlights was meeting Janet's friends, "The Sisters," Mette and Sissel.  Wonderful artists and delightful individuals!  I so enjoyed getting to know Mette and Sissel, and Sissel's husband Reinhardt.

Mette and Sissel and little Oliver
And of course, what could be better than traveling with a friend who likes to do the same goofy stuff that you do, like doing the art project in the kids' art room at the museum?

Janet exploring color in the kids' gallery at the Santa Barabara Museum of Art
 We were so sad to leave Santa Barbara, because really, who doesn't want to spend their whole life there?  But more adventure awaited us further south.

We made a stopover in Los Angeles, my old home town.  We got together with my longtime pals Paula and Candi, whom I've know since the fourth grade!  (Would you believe from this photo that I was the tall kid in 5th grade?!)

Lulu, Paula, and Candi in Thousand Oaks
Later that day we met up with my Emily and her boyfriend Michael, who are both currently living in LA.  Big adventures with them the next day in unexpected places!
Lulu and Janet in front of the mural at Wacko, in Hollywood
Have I not mentioned letterboxing yet?  Good grief!  We discovered it while in Santa Barbara via a link in Julie Fei Fan Balzer's art blog.  The gist of it is that letterboxing is a type of treasure hunt that involves hand carved stamps and clues online to find them.  (See Atlas  Janet and I, girl scouty geeks that we are, totally got into it!  While in LA, this took us to visit places I wouldn't ordinarily go see.  What a thrill to drive along Mulholland Drive on a beautiful smog-free day, and how fun to hike around Griffith Park and the Observatory!

Janet records her visit to a letterboxing location somewhere above Hollywood
Maman et fille, lulu and emily, at the Griffith Park Observatory
The Observatory was a sight to see from any angle!
 Janet and I had a blast in LA!  Thank you Emily and Michael for coming along!  We enjoyed a late, leisurely dinner that night - perfect for avoiding LA traffic!  Then it was on to San Diego, our final destination.

The Pacific, near the Cabrillo Monument.  
Eons of layers of sand, silt, and clay, plus tide pools!
Further down the coast, a famous beach shack.  Beach Blanket Bingo, anyone?
 Was there any letterboxing to do down in San Diego?  Uh, YES!

Janet and our letterboxing equipment
Filling up my book
And finally, the Main Event.  Our purpose for the trip was to take a four day workshop with artist Cas Holmes. 

To be honest, I didn't know of Cas Holmes prior to the trip, but I was intrigued by her mixture of papers and textiles as I had done a bit of playing with that back in my college days.  But Cas takes it to a much higher level than I ever did!
Small detail of one of Cas's pieces.
Here is Cas doing a demo with our dear Diane looking on
 Cas has developed methods for combining surface design with paper and textiles, then laminating and stitching on them to create intricate and delicate works of art.  She is a master teacher as well as a wonderful and thought-provoking artist.  I truly felt it was a privilege to be a part of this workshop.  I highly recommend taking a class from Cas or reading her book, The Found Object in Textile Art.

Cas does another demo
Our host for the workshop was artist Jane LaFazio.  She arranged for us to take the workshop in this gorgeous venue athe the NTC, aka Liberty Station.  Look at all this space and light!  (Jane will be teaching at Create in Seattle this fall, as well as other venues. See more of Jane HERE.  I can't wait to take a class from her, too!)

 One of Cas's ongoing projects is "Tea-Flora-Tales."  We were each invited to participate by making a "pouch" of mixed media tea using tea bags and other ephemera.

A sampling of Tea-Flora-Tales pieces from another of Cas's classes
The back of my Tea-Flora-Tales piece
I so loved Cas's methodology for the workshop, the way one activity led to the next, and then ultimately to the final project.  It was truly like taking a college art course in the span of four days.  In the end we had a critique to discuss and reflect upon our work.  Everyone's work was so delightfully different!

This is one of Diane's final pieces. It includes a tiny bit of collaboration from Janet and me.  Diane did all the surface design, printing, painting, and stitching.  Janet helped with the composition.  I added the beige and green embroidery.  I absolutely love how her piece turned out!

Janet during her critique
The BBGs pose for a final parting shot with Cas Holmes
 Truly a memorable and meaningful experience, filled with beauty, joy, and reflection.  Thank you!!!

xoxo  lulu


Jane LaFazio said...

wow! I didn't know you were on a 10 day adventure! wow, what a glorious adventure. great meeting you, Lulu and I know I'll see you again. xo

sally.wilson said...

Oh Lulu, I had such an amazing trip to California and getting to visit such beautiful places and participating in Cas Holmes class. It was as if I was really there with all of you because your story was really wonderful. Today I enjoyed Janet's pictures too - equally wonderful. I am so excited for you to have had this experience and hopefully this will be one of many to come.


Cas Holmes said...

Thankyou Lulu

It was great meeting with you all. I would like to create a link on my next blog... When I have a chance to breathe.
Loved your odyssey. Casx

Kathie Vezzani said...

Sounds like a great trip for you and Janet. Wonderful class, too.

Janet said...

You have a way with story telling! Loved reliving the trip and shared it with my boys too! What a grand adventure filled with new friends, old friends, new cities, family, and a grand learning adventure with Cas Holmes to finish it off!!!
Loved your photos - so beautiful - you've captured the essence!

Emily Moon said...

So glad to see that the rest of your trip went so perfectly! I love the photo of you, Paula, and Candi--you all look so beautiful! Also, your Tea-Flora-Tales project is awesome!