Saturday, March 18, 2017

Empty Spools at Last

Empty Spools began over thirty years ago and I've been hoping to attend almost that long. With young children, tight budget and half a continent of distance it was a pipe dream. Secretly I promised to attend when the children were grown. Not only have they been grown {for quite a while} but we now live in California part of the year. And I still didn't attend.

Gayle mentioned that Valerie Goodwin's class, The Complex Composition, still had openings. Valerie visited our guild two years ago and neither of us could believe her class wasn't full. It was a sign to sign up immediately. We packed machines and fabric and off we went.

Julia Morgan designed the first buildings in the California Arts and Crafts style using local wood and stone. Fireplaces are the centerpiece of almost every structure. We checked in at reception in the Phoebe Hearst Center (Julia was Phoebe's protege)

Phoebe Hearst Social Hall, Asilomar
and found our rooms at The Lodge.

The Lodge (photo by Asilomar Conference Center)
This building was constructed after important visitors from New York found the tent buildings too primitive for their tastes. My room was simply furnished: single bed, small bathroom with shower, desk and dresser but faced the ocean. I left the windows open nightly to enjoy the sounds of the waves.

Simply furnished single room at The Lodge
Empty Spools centered on Merrill Hall and our class was held in an anteroom. From there we could see the ocean through the trees.

View of the Pacific Ocean from our classroom
Late one afternoon, we took a walk along the shore for a closer look.

Monterey Peninsula shoreline
Caterpillars covered the grounds. We had to step carefully to avoid crushing them. I'm not sure their species but another site suggests they might be tiger moths.

One of the many caterpillars on the grounds
Valerie led us through individual samples and a group project before we started on our own maps. Since she had a tremendous amount of detailed information to impart, they were important precursors.

Technique sample from Valerie Goodwin's class
Here's my initial draft, overlaying topographic maps and photographs of San Francisco.

Initial draft combining topographic maps and photographs

Enjoy the day, Ann

"If silence seems to give approval, then remaining silent is cowardly." Eleanor Roosevelt

19 comments:

  1. With your Geology background, it seems like this would be right up your alley, Ann. What an interesting gallery Valerie has! Did you resonate with her method?

    And gosh, that photo of the shore makes me miss it! But, the caterpillar sure is cute. :D

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    1. That is part of what attracts me to her work, Monica. I can't believe I'd never thought of using topo maps for quilting. She is a very organized, excellent teacher who breaks concepts into small, sequential steps. Of course, all the teachers at Empty Spools are great.

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    1. I'm very glad I finally attended. Several people there went to multiple sessions and most attended previous years. What is the quilt retreat in your area?

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  3. I want to go too one day. It isn't too far from where I am. The Valerie Goodwin class looks very interesting. A couple of women from Pointless Sisters were there, and I'm anxious to hear about it from them at our next meeting. Thanks for posting this!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the last to attend, Sue. It certainly was a treat to attend a multi-day session. So much more depth.
      What class did your PS friends take? Send details.

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  4. The Lodge room looks really inviting and the ocean even more so.
    And what an interesting class.

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    1. Julia Morgan made an indelible mark across California. All her buildings are attractive to me. This is certainly a beautiful spot.

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  5. Well done for seizing the moment! You are lucky to have this sort of opportunity. The class you took sounds fascinating - maps would be such a rich source of inspiration and perfect for you! I'l look forward to seeing where this experience takes you.

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    1. That's exactly how it felt - seizing the moment. It was a very special treat to see this historic center and spend so much time in class with one teacher. Since seeing your Build a Wall, I've been wondering why I haven't incorporated more geologic information into my quilts. Hopefully this will give me a push. It was interesting to see what other quilters chose to map and how they combined their sources. As soon as I finish the quilts for our show I'll be back on this.

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  6. Such an amazing place for a quilting getaway. I think I need to start making a hit list for those places that I'd like to go when I retire because I'm a continent away from this... I love the idea of listening to the ocean as you fall asleep.

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    1. This is a beautiful location and they certainly have a wide variety of teachers - something for everyone. It was my first retreat ever. I'm very glad I took the time for an in-depth course and would do it again. It was relaxing to be away from a city and to have a room you could work in all hours. The walk-about on the last evening was a great way to see what all the teachers were doing and good PR for next year.

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  7. Your room may have been simple, but it looks very inviting. Being far across the country, Empty Spools has always been something I read about . . .

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    1. It was a perfect room: very relaxing and quiet. Like you, attending Empty Spools was a bit of a pipe dream. I'm glad this dream finally came true.

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  8. Who couldn't enjoy spending quilting time with the ocean just outside the window and quilting friends.

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  9. What a beautiful and relaxing place to learn! I look forward to see more of what you accomplished in your workshop.

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  10. how wonderful that you were able to go!! My hubby and I were in the area this last Friday, driving home from one of his jobs, and decided to take highway 1 part of the way home. Looks like we all got to enjoy the wonderful day at the coast! :-) Those buildings are beautiful!! Can't wait to see more of the products of your class! Hugs, H in Healdsburg

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    1. Too bad we didn't cross paths along that gorgeous coastline. So glad we all had a wonderful time though.

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  11. I'm so happy you got to attend the retreat and especially at Asilomar. I was there in the late 70's for a retreat and loved the place. I do miss the ocean now in Wisconsin. My hubby and I met at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz and lived for 15 years in Palo Alto,and Redwood City. So I still love the Bay Area and I would move to Santa Cruz in a heartbeat.

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I enjoy reading your comments and usually reply here where everyone can read and join in. We have some great conversations.