I have a wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and spend 5 full days in class with quilt artist, Elizabeth Barton. Now I have known Elizabeth for over 20 years and knew her when she was piecing very traditional quilts and quilting them by hand. But times have changed and now she is known for art made with her gorgeous hand dyed fabrics. This week we are starting with plain white fabric, dyeing it and then using it in a fiber composition…..I AM SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED!!!!
My traveling companion ended up not being able to attend so I packed up the car and headed North. As I looked at all of the stuff I had thrown into the car for “just in case” it was obvious that she and her stuff would never have fit anyway!!!!
The drive North is beautiful especially as the trees are just beginning their dance of color as they turn from lush green to orange to brown.
The trip was fairly straightforward as you follow one road the entire way, but things got a bit more exciting as I entered the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The speed limit is 35 in most of the park so cars were moving at a fairly leisurely pace with everyone enjoying the views.
I rounded a corner and there were 20 or so cars lined up along both sides of the road with people walked around them. My first thought was “car wreck?”, but I wondered how a major crash could have happened with the lowered speed limit. I slowly realized that people weren’t upset, but were smiling and had cameras out. Then I saw the Elk!!! Two beautiful 10 point Elk were grazing along the side of the road, totally oblivious to the “two-legged” fauna that were following them.
I took a few photos out of the car window as I slowly drove past…
but, when I passed an easy parking spot, I pulled in to park and hopped out to enjoy with the rest of the crowd…..
When I came up to another group of people standing beside their cars I knew immediately what to do and grabbed the first parking place that I could find!! I crossed the road and found that they were all taking photos of a Black Bear that was ambling thru the gully beside the road. I watched him for a few minutes and took a few photos….
….but as he started heading back toward the road, I decided to return to the safety of the car and continue Northward. As I drove off, two park Rangers arrived to make sure that things didn’t get out of hand.
That was the end of the wildlife sighting and I drove out of the park and into Gatlinburg. So far the city looks like any tourist area with people strolling on both sides of the main road, looking in shops with evocative names like “Cherokee Trading Post” and “Totem Pole Crafts”!!!
I arrived at Arrowmont, checked in and started meeting others who are here for the week. After a delicious dinner we met for our orientation lecture and then on to meet with our individual classes.
There are five different classes going on here this week, including, jewelry making, wood turning, pottery, painting and fiber. We are encouraged to drop in to the studios and see what they are doing, so hopefully I will be able to show lots of pictures of things other than fiber.
I am very excited about this trip and am hoping that it will firstly, give me a bit more time to relax, but more importantly, I am hoping that I will be energized to get back into a creative frame of mind…..I guess time will tell!!!!