Monday, August 26, 2013

1. she's baaaaack

Didja miss me?

I'm slowly slipping back into what passes for the real world around here. I've not only been gone physically, I've been gone mentally. And off-line almost completely.

As much time as I spend on-line on FB or reading blogs or writing my own blog or researching images for artwork, I thought I would have withdrawal. But as it turned out, I liked being unplugged.

Not that they didn't have wifi at the retreat center or at the studio, though I could never get connected at the studio and after the first day, I didn't even try...too busy. I would check my mail once a day at night after everyone had settled down in their rooms. I even logged onto FB once or twice at first and realized almost immediately that I had absolutely no interest in any of the things I usually pay attention to.

My hot button issues had been getting oppressive lately. It's depressing to have to focus so constantly on the negative things you want to change but how do you stay informed and active for change otherwise?

I would sit on the steps and gaze at the night sky and try to release some of the energy that was being generated so I could get to sleep. We had a waxing moon when we all arrived, it came to full about the middle of the week and waned from there on rising an hour later each night so by the end of the week we had a pretty good star field.

There was a cartoon going around that went something like this: two people are walking and one says to the other...'my wish to stay informed is at odds with my wish to stay sane'.

You may remember that I signed up to participate in a week long residency/retreat to address The Familiar with an eye to trying to approach my work from an unfamiliar direction.

I might have easily let this unique opportunity pass me by but I was in a position to be able to take advantage of it and lucky enough to have two people who kept following up with me while I worked my way through my reluctance to travel.


We spent Saturday night in the city and got up at 4:45 AM to get me to the airport for my early morning flight. I arrived in Rochester early afternoon and Lance of Oatka School of Glass, one of the studio owners sponsoring the residency, picked me up at the airport. We fetched two other earlier arrivals from the grocery store and headed to the center to be greeted by Catharine Newell, our lovely and accomplished leader.

I did a post about Catharine's work here.

The residency/retreat (and I include the retreat because it was very much that as well) was being held at the Chapin Mill Retreat Center, which is a Zen Buddhist meditation center outside Batavia NY which is where Oatka School Of Glass is located. This turned out to be a stroke of genius, I think, as it allowed the participants to coalesce into a really wonderful group, all residing in this extraordinary facility for the week.

This was a group of 15 women artists who have an interest in glass as a material but not limited to that in their personal work, our facilitator, our hosts, and the volunteers in the kitchen and studio that really made it all possible.

Our first day was all about arrivals and getting our room assignments and linens and settling in and introducing ourselves to everyone as they arrived and assembled and exploring the grounds as time allowed and our first dinner together. The fare was vegetarian, no smoking or alcohol allowed inside.

As it turned out, no one shared a room so my diligence in securing earplugs for any and all was all for naught.

more next post


  1. so far, sounds peaceful and perfect setting!

  2. Heavenly. I was gone last week, and also admired the full moon mid-week. Funny that you were doing it at the same time:) And we simultaneously didn't miss the internet!

  3. I'm really looking forward to reading all about this - my father was a Buddhist and a couple of times he went away on retreat.

  4. Juicy!

    My interest in staying informed is at odds with my desire to remain sane. Wow!!

    I'm glad you didn't need the earplugs, but it's never a waste of time or effort to bring them anyway, and they don't take up much space.

    So glad you caught a break from the usual. It is so refreshing. Look forward to reading more.

    And - yes - I did miss you.

  5. I can completely understand the sentiments of that cartoon. Our lives can become completely subsumed by the minutia of life in the world. Stuff that we can't do a darn thing about but fret over.

  6. I've not missed the internet, either, when I've been gone. Then it ends

    Welcome back and we're looking forward to the story of your retreat in that lovely setting.

  7. It is wonderful how sometimes we are lead to where we need to be. I look forward to reading more. And yes you most certainly were missed. Oma Linda

  8. Sounds lovely Ellen.

    I know what you mean about unplugging. Sometimes it's just good for the soul to not have to know everything, all the time. Hard sometimes to keep up.

    But yes, we DO miss you when you are not here. As long as I know you are okay though, I can miss you for a while. :)

    Can't wait to hear more. [Oh and nice packing job btw. heehee]

  9. I did miss you - I had to keep reminding myself that you were gone. I think I would have to be in a setting like that before I could be really unplugged - otherwise I just take my addiction with me. I'm gonna try in a few weeks when I head to NC to meet up with friends. We'll see how I do :)

  10. Sounds like the perfect artistic getaway! Can't wait to read more!

  11. Sounds like a lovely place. But Ellen.. Rochester.. as in New York? You were right across the lake from me.


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