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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Land of Heat, Storms and Humidity

A wonderful view from my guest porch in San Antonio where I taught the Famous Airey Fairy Scarf and Felted Jewelry Forms to a fabulous group from the Fiber Artists of San Antonio, July 9-12. The land is flat and flatter, even though it is described as West Texas hill country.  I thought it would be cooler there than in my native Asheville (27,000 days in the 90's with 200% humidity) as the temps seemed (on line at least) to be a few degrees lower.  Arrgghh! It is a totally different heat/humidity.  It could be in the 70's in the morning as I stepped out unto the porch with my coffee in hand but when that sun hit me and started boiling the coffee in my cup I knew I had met my match and retreated into the air conditioned cottage.
How on earth did those cowboys (and girls) ride their horses around and gather cattle and shoot bad guys and stuff?  Roy Rodgers never seemed to sweat!
This might be part of the answer.  A big West Texas breakfast! Chicken fried steak, gravy, biscuits, eggs and potatoes.  Here's the wonderful husband of one of my hosts, Sandy, and he ate the whole thing!  I was soooo impressed.

I had a day off and so went to the city center of San Antonio which is built around the river.  My idea was to wander about in cool river breezes and find spots for drinking a cool glass of Pinot Blanc and sketch.
I loved the umbrellas and riverside tables (the river is just four feet deep so children can be hauled out without leaving one's table).  I saw the river boats and just had to take the watery tour of the area (and there was a very good senior discount!)
 "Look up!" The guide called out. And we all looked up.  Despite the head aerobics it was dreadfully hot.  And here we all were, no hats, no shade, no sunglasses, no cold beer and staring hard at local tall hotels and places where movies were filmed.  It was a fun historical tour but I think it would have been better had they tied inflatable tubes behind the boat and dragged us all around the place. Or maybe a hike in the water.

 I really did my artistic best to sit in a riverside cafe and sketch, but I was sooo hot with rivelets of sweat running down my back.  I tried to draw but drops of perspiration from my fevered brow kept dripping on the paper making everything runny and fuzzy (not unlike my brain which needed more than lukewarm wine to navigate the canal walkway). To add insult to sunstroke, the cafe napkins were made from a substance that would not absorb any sort of watery liquid (sweat, wine, tears...).  I paid my bill and quickly moved on to the Hilton where I was assured of AC, free WIFI and Lone Star beer.  No sketches but I watched the soccer final as the Lone Holland Supporter.  Love that beer!

Due to the storms that covered all of Georgia, North and South Carolina (according to the airlines) it took me 12 hours to get home, a journey that should have taken two and a half. After stumbling into my slightly cooler than body temperature bed at 2 AM and being covered with grateful (hot and furry) cats, I was home again. And the weather had not changed,  Autumn was not here.

And despite the urge to just take naps and sip iced sweet tea for the rest of my life I had to get back to work on books and the next upcoming class in Pittsburgh.  Leon also did his best to claim my bed on the screen porch!  How well these cats know me.

 The books called me, and since this blog is supposed to be about art, I should maybe write about what I am doing instead of me, me, me... This is the start of Book 28, a felt and leather wrapped journal.  Here I am measuring and poking holes for the edge stitching. (Don't you love that great Mexican oilcloth tablecloth I got in San Antonio?  And the fabulous seque from San Antonio to books?)

Me and my fat legs stitching a wonderful coptic endband stitch around the book cover.  I like this stitch as it is thick enough, using waxed linen, to cover the join of leather and felt.  Note fan working overtime.

And here is the almost finished book cover.  It takes about 4-5 hours to stitch around the entire edge. I just LOVE the colors of the book cover and the oil cloth.  Totally unplanned but the universe is generous today! Now I must finish this book, then copy the handouts for the Pittsburgh workshop (see sidebar) for which cousin Marien and I will drive to Pittsburgh tomorrow (no more airports for a while) - finish packing the car - answer emails and check my facebook account - eat lunch - check fb again - buy enough gin and diet tonic for the Pittsburgh time - check emails - iron clothes.....


  1. hey Chad
    i've just returned from the US and found your stories most amusing
    am still in awe of HOW ENORMOUS restaurant portions are in your country
    and how vile air travel is
    how utterly delightful it is to do road trips - amazing countryside, brilliant people
    and very fine frozen margaritas to cool a hot summer

  2. Very beautiful! And how much work...

  3. I so enjoyed your post and your work is beautiful!

  4. I've just discovered your blog. Your work is wonderful, I also love to work hours and hours on a piece until it is exactly how I want it. I'm looking forward to see your next treasures!
    Enjoy your day!

  5. The felted book covers are awesome!!!! I want to touch them!
    Yes, I do feel that you would be such a good fit with us in Saluda at Random Arts.

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