Day Four – The Castles

First, let me tell you how big of a deal the rains and flooding were. They reported 50 year flooding on the Loire River, evacuated over 1,000 residents and put 600 motorists in shelters last night!  The rain stopped overnight and the river dropped 12″ by morning. 

Ok, now onto the rest of our story…

Today we took in three castles; Château de Chambord is the first we visited. The bus pulled up and the parking lot was closed to flooding. So we were dropped off and walked the forest path to the castle. 

The most in front of the castle had breached the walls but the tour director and group decided to do a group tight wire act to get to the other side. 

The castle was closed for tours, no surprise, but we were able to walk around the front and side to see more.

I found a couple of Slimeys on the way out. Cute, aren’t they?

…to be continued.


Oh Day Three – Loire Valley

I started a post for today on the bus while we were stuck due to flooded roads. But the hotel were staying at has lousy wifi and petiter that petite rooms, see for yourself – 

Two twin beds pushed together with a bathroom the size of a closet, a very small walk in closet!

Anyway, we had a wonderful time all morning traveling to Chartre to see the Cathedral – the villages have a very Swiss Chalet feel and are adorable. The first one I fell in love with is Beaver Village. Must look it up when I get free wifi –

Then a little more driving and we came across Linas. We didn’t go through, but look at this cool stone carved sculpture – 

Pictures are hard to snap through rain coated Windows. 

We went through a few more towns and arrived at Chartre. Amazing architecture, And relief work, not to mention stained glass and doors sized for hobbits-

We stayed for lunch and walked around the downtown touristy area. 

And then loaded on the bus and that’s when it all started…

Flood post probably won’t be until Thurs when we are in hopefully a better wifi zone 🙂

Day Two 

Rain rain go away!  

Today we started with a bus tour, after barely escaping the parking lot. 

We had a couple of photo spots, – l’Arc de Triumph and la Tour Eiffel. 

We did a lot of walking and went to Notre Dame. And had “lunch” at the Fete du Pain. 

In the afternoon we walked some more and took the metro to the Louvre. 
We had dinner and finished a very wet day where else? On a boat on the Seine River. 

Singing off til tomorrow. 

Motorcycles in Paris

This week Seattle has nothing on Paris when it comes to rain. Even in the rain, Parisien men and women take their bikes everywhere. The good news for them motorcycle parking is ample and no car seems to date attempt to park where the bikes do. 

France Day One

Exhausted!  We started out 11am on Saturday, arrived 9:30 am Sunday morning. I’ll write more but in the meantime, here are some photos. 

More tomorrow!

Dusk and Dawn

We experience day and night as part of a 24 hour cycle. Dawn and Dusk explores the yin and yang of our day – light and dark, warm and cold, soft and hard.


Dawn and Dusk is a collaborative piece between Elaine Jones and Dori Settles. Jones created two like semi-circles art quilts out of fabric, wood, beads and trims. Settles created a plaster mold using one of the semi-circles and cast the quilt in glass using the pate de verre method to highlight the embellishments. These two pieces are mounted on a cold-wax painted cradle board, painted by Settles.

This piece is traveling to the SAQA 2016 Benefit Auction, which starts Sept 16th.  Many artists have donated quilts already, you can check out the pieces here –

Ears, Noses, Wings and Wild Mating Rituals

What a beautiful day to visit the zoo!  This time of year it’s really important to go later in the day, there are so many school field trips.  Of course, sometimes there are benefits.  I was able to listen to one of the trainers who works with the elephants talk to a group of kindergartners.  Did you know elephants don’t run?  But they can WALK 30 MPH!  I also found out some top “secret” information – elephant training happens just before lunch (11-11:30ish) and dinner (4-4:30ish) – a great time to see these magnificent animals show off their brain power while the trainers evaluate their health (yes, that is why animals in captivity have training).

I found 3 different size elephants outside.  This one was the smallest.  And there were two inside playing.  I guess there are some males hanging out privately; they haven’t been introduced to the ladies yet.

Then I wandered back up the hill to visit these long-necked friends.  Most stand taller than the gutter on the building.  They were too quick for my thumb to catch them above the fence though.  Okay, so is it just me, or do giraffes have really small heads?


Next I wandered into the Butterfly Pavilion. I found this beautiful blue guy suntanning.  Hiding in the shrubbery was this green “chicken”.

Well, as the title of this blog post suggests, I found a couple engaged in what appeared to be unsafe sex!  See for yourself…

Who knew what I would see at the Zoo???

Four Minutes Thirty-Three Seconds

IMG_4099Monday morning, Judy Coates Perez introduced me to 4’33”.  Being the fantastic teacher she is, Judy told me about the history (Google John Cage 4’33”), the performance, and introduced me to the iPhone App!  She brought up a couple of the recordings she made while teaching in Australia, which my bird thought was great stuff.

It was a beautiful morning, we went out on the deck, and she put her phone down to record the sounds of beautiful Douglas County.  The birds were chirping away and we even witnessed a Bald Eagle and Hawk have a little show-down over territory.

Judy is incredibly inspiring.  In fact, I decided Tuesday morning that instead of walking around Newport Landing, to go to the smaller, Prairie View Lake and take in the sounds.  There were a few morning fishermen out and I caught a blue heron taking off.  Most of the usual suspects, robins, sparrows and blackbirds were hanging out.  As I made it around closer to the parking lot, the Geese and their families were getting in their breakfast and exercise.

In addition to catching these cuties on digital film, I took some time to walk very slowly so they would let me get closer shots.  I even found this one little guy who will be an artist someday  (maybe build a new kinda nest?) – clearly an outta the box kinda goose!

The Waiting is the Hardest Part


Thank You Tom Petty for the perfect blog post title!

Well after nearly 20 hours, of patiently asking Siri how much longer*, I was finally able to remove the cooled mold and glass quilt from the kiln.  The mold must be broken off of the glass (carefully), which is a lot like a being an archaeologist, although most of the time I wasn’t gently brushing away dirt.


Because the mold material expands in water, most of it must come off dry, or risk the expansion breaking the glass.


After about an hour, I unearthed the glass quilt!

Then I put it in a shallow water bath and scrubbed with a toothbrush to get the mold mix out of all the fine detail areas.IMG_3938

Although in most of these pictures it looks glassy, the quilt is still a little wet.  When it dries, it has a dull finish.  This has to do with the mold material.  I can’t sand it, or I’d take away all of the details.  So I asked a few other glass artists for tips.  I am going to try a RUBBER polishing tip on my Dremel.  Fingers crossed!

Oh, and isn’t this the most intriguing color – it’s not your eyes or my camera!  The main glass is called Rhubarb – it changes from green to that’s pinkish rhubarb color depending on what light it is in!

And this is the original piece of the quilt (6″ square roughly)


*Just for fun, here’s the Cookie Monster Outtake video:

Going Glass

This week I’m exploring turning art quilts into glass quilts.  I took a class a couple years ago, but have not had a chance to put into practice what I learned.

There’s quite a bit to the process – learning how to mix my own mold material (I get to use a power drill!!) making sure all the edges are secure to avoid weird bubbles, and decorating the mold with the colors needed to highlight the quilting.

IMG_3920Safety First!  No need to breath this stuff in or get it in my eyes.  So I’m donning a very fashionable mask and glasses today in the studio.

Yesterday I prepared the quilt surface (which was treated last week with Stiffy) by securing it with hot glue.  I forgot to take pictures of that process.  Needless to say, the quilt piece is useless as a piece of fabric, but potentially reusable.

Then I built walls around the piece to hold in the mold material.  Today after mixing the material, I poured and waited for it to settle and cure to a point where I could pull out the quilt.


Not terribly pretty, but at this stage that’s not what I’m going for.  I’m just hopeful I left enough room around the art quilt to make the mold strong enough for the casting stage.

After about 1/2 hour, the material was ready to monkey with.  I pulled off the sides, and carefully pulled the quilt off of the styro base it was glued to.  And VOILA!  A mold of an art quilt:


Interesting how the color from the red material leeched into the mold mix!  At this point I can add the glass and pop it into the kiln.  But the kiln has a plate in it, so I’m not in a big rush.  I’ll start filling in the glass this afternoon and maybe tomorrow I can cast it.

Stay tuned, cross your fingers!