Thursday, April 11, 2013

Glass Art Retreats

There are classes - at Bead and Button I take "classes".  At The Gathering Place Studio I have a lampworking retreat.  Yup, there IS a difference.  The difference is the hostess and setting for the event.  I say event because it is an event - a class - a retreat.  Portia and Lee Mandel open their home to us "artist types" and have the most wonderful instructors come to teach.  This time it was Jari Sheese.  But more on Jari in later post.

Jari Sheese adding stringer to a hollow bead
A pile of Jari's beautiful beads she had for sale.

Hollow silver glass rounds by Jari Sheese
Now lest you think there are just torches set up willy nilly at Portia's let me explain.  Within her beautiful home there is a complete studio.  The studio is set up is as fine as any I have attended classes in - we have expansive room to work in - overhead and window lighting - ventilation to remove fumes - a complete array of tools at our disposal - enough kilns to fill - and plenty of supplies and glass to purchase.   It is a great environment.   That being said, you should expect every studio situation to contain those things.  Correct?  They don't all have that, you know. 

If that were not enough - and less than that has unfortunately sufficed many a time - let me go on as to why this is a destination studio in which to take classes.  The studio is located in Portia's basement....LOL.  Uh, did I say this basement faces out to the backyard - with beautiful pool, patio, and shade trees?  A wall of windows so there is beautiful lighting.  Sounds nice, huh?  No, I am so not done telling you why you need to wish for a vacation there.

A basement is what I have in my home.  You know, sunken below the ground - tiny dryer type windows at the top of the walls.  It's dark and it has a tendency toward gloominess.  Portia's studio is located in the lower level of her home.  Us artists have the basic run of the lower level.  It is very much the size of a small home.  Outside the studio is the yard I have described.  Outside the doors to the studio is a beautifully appointed small kitchen.  Our water is kept in a wine cooler in the kitchen.  Beyond the kitchen is a table which seats 6-8 of us and beyond that a front room with lush seating, fireplace - large screen TV - a second table and chairs, bathroom, a hall full of glass and supplies to choose from if you would like to do a little expanse of windows and doors to outside. 

Now why would you need all of this?  For your breaks - of course.  Break you say?  Yes, of course a relaxing break.  Of course we eat.  Did I say eat?  We didn't eat - we feasted.  Portia is a hostess.  We are greeted in the morning with coffee, orange juice, bagels, fresh fruit.  Not fresh fruit thrown in a bowl.  I ate fresh mango, pears, grapes, watermelon, oranges.  I wanted for NOTHING.  At lunch - we were treated to homemade tomato basil soup and a chicken chili to die for.  This was served with a beautiful fresh salad and an enormous round of Montego (?) cheese to slice into soup or put on our salad.  A pasta salad too.  It was part of our class fee but not the normal fare you get when you attend a class.  Heck, usually we are buying a sandwich somewhere.  I'm not going to go on and on here but I could, easily.  Have I told you about the 7" tall carrot cake from the bakery?  How about the you could smell them cooking chocolate chip cookies filled with caramel?  Jari is Vegan and Portia make a vegan no-bake raspberry cake we all got to try.  Yummy.  I'm done - I'm eating an Oreo right now, it does not compare.

You take a class out of town and you go back to your hotel at the end of over.  Portia and Mary Kay (her studio assistant) arranged for us to have packed evenings if we so chose.  One evening we went to the local movie.  Not like my local movie theatre.  This one served dinner (Portia had paid for the movie tickets for us and supplied the first beverage).  I ate - I watched "Host" and felt pampered.  Another night we were going to play poker for BOC.  Since we had brought hands full of beads we decided to torch a little more, talk a lot, and make more BOC's.  On Sunday, many of us were leaving on Monday, Portia offered a trip to the theatre to see  "Catch Me if You Can".  The tickets were inexpensive but at this point I was pooped and opted for the hotel to put my feet up for the drive home.

Going to the Gathering Place Studio is an adventure - It's an art glass experience.  I've included photos of my time there.  I didn't get a bunch.  I was spending my time soaking it in - visiting with old and new friends, making beads.  Do you want a glass retreat?  You couldn't want for a better way to spend your time or hard earned money.

"Cook" - Portia and Lee's beautiful Labradoodle and studio lover.

No comments: