The weather has been beautiful all week and everyone is saying, "finally, summer has arrived!" Along with the good weather has come visits from friends and wonderful gatherings, great dinners, and deep laughter. It has been a week of great joy. It also brought birthdays on August 13th for two friends, Hisako Billings and Ken Gross. I was able to weave "birthday cards" for them, and further my attempts to create cloth as sublime as the Safavid and Ottoman textiles I have been looking at again. I am not there yet, but I feel I am getting closer.
Birthday weaving for Hisako Billings (note her name written in Japanese thanks to internet and Akemi Nakano Cohn sending me three versions to choose from)
Birthday weaving for Ken Gross
Gerhardt Knodel and Ken arrived in Vermont on Monday and we had a gathering at our house. Marianne, Liz and I all were students of Gerhardt's at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Marianne was pregnant with her son, Rex Horner, during our last semester. You can see Rex in the corner of the image on the porch, and second from left at the dinner table. He is going into his third year of college this fall. It is such a wonder to sit and hold interesting conversations with him and the Sacca/Billings teenagers, and to realize we have known them all their lives. It was also terrific to catch up with all that Gerhardt has been doing since he left Cranbrook (he was Director of the Academy for many years) and has returned to full-time studio work. His enthusiasm, optimism and celebration of life is contagious. Life is always more vivid in his presence.
Gathering at our house on Monday
On Thursday we celebrated Ken's birthday from morning to night, starting with pancakes and Vermont maple sugar, and ending with champagne and many toasts. Liz and I plotted with Katarina Weslien to surprise Gerhardt and Ken by having her "bump into them" at the Indonesian textile exhibition at the Hood Museum. It worked perfectly and we got the advantage of hearing the three of them, world travellers, discuss the textiles in the show (greatly admired) as well as the textiles in their collections. Then we went to Liz's home for the big birthday bash--drinks, a pinata, chile rellenos, an amazing cake baked by Marianne. The pinata wasn't the ordinary store-bought Mexican variety but homemade by the Sacca/Billings clan--and almost indestructible. I had forgotten to charge the batteries in my camera so I can't show you all, but I am not sure even if I had the batteries whether I would have been able to hold the camera. The champagne was that good!
Toasting and Pinata
Katarina had her dog Mason with her. The photos don't do him justice. He is a deep mahogany brown and full of good energy--and he is obedient too. He had us all laughing in amazement when he wanted to play catch with a tree sapling. He wasn't just bluffing, he really did run and fetch the pole.
Mason playing fetch the sapling
This morning I went over to Sunshine Berry Farm with Holly and Katarina, who have many friends in common through Watershed, to pick blueberries. In an hour, between the three of us, we picked almost 25 pounds of berries. As I was picking, listening to the birds, looking at the beauty of the berries and these bushes just laden with ripe and ripening fruit, I felt sure that the Garden of Eden must have had blueberry bushes.