I have been back from Valley Ridge Art Studios for a few weeks now. The effect that place has on me, and I hope everyone, is long lasting.
The class was called “Eat, Paint, Love”. The idea was to cook our meals from local ingredients, paint our own papers to share, and love poetry, art, and the opportunity to just be there. Everyone submitted a recipe to me ahead of time and we set out to make collaged pages. We made what I called a Cookbook for the Good Life.
There are two organic farms near Valley Ridge, and Katherine and I went to both of them to gather produce left in their gardens to cook for class dinners. Thanks to Jean, Mike, Frank and Maureen, we had beauties like this chard to work with.
This class was inspired by the work of the farmer/poet Wendell Berry. Here is one of his poems.
What We Need Is Here/Wendell Berry
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
The first two days were spent with the poetry, and making collaborative papers to share. The big painted page we did flew off the line and Lisa had to romp through rushes to retrieve it.
We dyed Itajime shibori papers and hung them out in the October air.
Katherine, who owns the place, made everything perfect. She always does.
We painted one page with paint, and covered one page with writing. We tore them up and shared them.
Each night we met in Katherine’s kitchen to cook dinner together.
At the end of the evening, we did some exotic dancing. Many of us were feeling pretty exotic.
On Saturday we got a tour of Frank and Maureen’s farm. They built nearly everything there, the house, the furniture, and they make honey, soap, and nearly all of their own food.
On Sunday, we spent the day composing the pages. Each one was fabulous.
We laughed, a lot. We ate, a lot. And wine, well, there was plenty of that.
Thank you to Arlene, Lisa, Pam, Mary Ann, Jenny, Kitz, Cris, Kathy, Maureen, Kelley, Karen, and Sue.
Most gracious thanks to Katherine, who also sent me a lovely video of me dancing, which, since I run this place, I will keep to myself.
Today is Friday, the day my friend Rebecca asks us to write Haiku (Haiku My Heart).
We have everything
In these days together now
For the true good life