Home from The Prairie

belIt’s hard to know where to start when you’ve just experienced an amazing four days in an unfamiliar but totally inspiring place. Teaching with the gifted instructors at Vivi Magoo in Round Top was an honor – and the students taught me as much I taught them! My friend Bonnie said that it was like going off to camp – how true. Except the camp cabins at The Prairie were furnished with lace and soft pillows and rose chintz.

I did miss my pal Michelle Belto – she was a huge help preparing botanical prints and papers for our demonstrations. And I couldn’t have done it without help from Lorri Scott, whose advice kept me focused and confident in a new environment – so glad she’s feeling better! Each of the three classes had its own personality – and I loved them all. Remarks heard during the three days, “I love your residue!” – “Those look like tie-dyed underpants” – “Ow, ow, that rebar’s hot!!” – “Look, it’s an alien!” – and especially, “I feel like I’ve know you guys all my life.”

I’ll let the video give you a taste of all the truly fun things we did and learned, but videos can’t show the welcoming warmth of the students and instructors at Vivi Magoo (by the way, I did find out where the name came from). Many thanks to Barb Solem and her family. And what a thrill it was to meet fellow Artful Gathering (yay!) instructors Diane Cook and Debby Anderson in person. So Viva, Vivi Magoo, and y’all in San Antonio stay tuned for workshops at my Studio sharing all of this good stuff!

The timeless art of The Prairie – a gentle retreat

viviUntil I was asked to teach at the Vivi Magoo art retreat, I had never heard of The Prairie, a meeting and event venue in Round Top, Texas. People from all over the country fly in to Austin or Houston to stay at The Prairie, but since it’s just a couple of hours away from San Antonio, we drove up on a quiet Monday to check it out. I knew it had been founded by Rachel Ashwell (the inventor of “Shabby Chic”) but I was curious to see how art classes would work there.

Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t wait for next week to get here! We saw no one when we first drove up to the collection of lovely old houses and barns – the only sound was the breeze, and the only signs of life were the white linen sheets blowing on the clothesline and a white horse in the pasture.

We explored a bit, and then found Sarah, a lovely young woman who was readying the main house for next week’s gathering. The whole place is otherworldly and serene – I really felt as if I had gone back in time. Here’s a collection of photos that I took while we were there – it’s truly a beautiful environment. If you want information on the upcoming Vivi Magoo retreat, click here. And if you want to visit The Prairie, you’ll discover it down a secluded gravel road about five miles out of Round Top, Texas – but be prepared to find yourself in another time zone!