Summer Open House

After tangling with Milwaukee traffic on a Friday afternoon, I am safe at home after a whirlwind trip to Door County for the Summer Open House at Plum Bottom Gallery in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.

Lighthouse at The Ridges Sanctuary
Wednesday I drove up and booked a stay in a sleeper cabin with Frontier Wilderness Campground on Hillside Road in Egg Harbor. It was the first time I've been there. The sites are all deeply wooded. The cabins, washrooms and showers are impeccably clean and the staff is laid back, yet professional.
I don't know what this is. I preferred to call it a pink prickle-berry.
After I unpacked, I treated myself to a walk through The Ridges Sanctuary. Sometimes I wonder if I am stuck in a rut. I go to the same places over and over again ever since I was a child. There are more parks and secret places to be found, I am sure; but places like The Ridges call me back and I never tire of its voice.
 Every season there is something new to see. Every year it changes a bit. There is something in walking the same paths and noticing the differences: another tree fallen, new growth taking its place - it speaks to time and seasons - everything is a circle. It takes time and patience to notice the patterns of nature. Every once in awhile, a small creature greets me and welcomes me back.
My friend for a few minutes at the end of the trail.
There are quiet hours in place at the campground which I appreciated very much because I had to get to work making an edition of prints straight away if I was to make my self-imposed deadline of noon the following day.

I wanted to do something special for the Open House, so I created a limited edition of 12 prints to be sold only for that evening at a special price point. The print was based on Chad Luberger's latest ceramic pieces. Wednesday evening, I drew and carved the blocks. The washi was dampened in blotter paper over night and I awoke at 5:30 am to print. The edition was completed, dried and packaged by 11:30! Then I was off to the gallery to help set up at noon.

At first there wasn't much for me to do since I wasn't as familiar with the gallery's set up. So, I stayed out of the way and out-of-doors. It was so quiet and peaceful, contrasting with the flurry of activity inside. I sat and watched a ruby-throated hummingbird daintily sip from the pastel bloom of a hosta in the stone gardens.

Bright yellow finches, blue jays, and even a red-headed woodpecker took turns sipping from the ceramic waterfall. Periodically I could hear the calls of a cardinal or a hawk or the "cuh-cuh" of a crow in the distance. Meanwhile the waterfall bubbled a melody all its own.

"Hive Mind" was featured in the Peninsula Pulse Art Section
Eventually I set up my demonstration table beside the waterfall on a stone path. New work was given to Chad for the evening's display. He chose to coordinate color schemes between the 3-D and 2-D art. Ochres blended with umbers. Cobalt and celadon. Ultramarine violets and blues.

Cobalt and celadon are reminiscent of the colors of Lake Michigan.
I was gratefully put to work cleaning and  food presentation. During this part of set up, I learned that my print entitled 'Hive Mind" was featured on the cover of the art section of the Peninsula Pulse Newspaper! What an honor! I quietly beamed with pride over this. How cool!

Woven wire jewelry by Angela Lench. Open House print by Erin K. Nolan.
My self confidence was also boosted when Angela Lench allowed me to wear some her jewelry pieces. She weaves sterling or gold wire mixed with semi-precious stone beadwork.  (Click on her name above to read more about her!)

Ceramics by Chad Luberger. Flowers by Mother Nature.
As people began to arrive, I accepted a glass of red wine and started my demonstration. It is so much easier for me to speak with people when the focus is on the artwork. Even as an adult I am incredibly shy when speaking with people. Some people were very interested and had many questions, other people were not as interested, but listened politely as I spoke. I love showing everyone how I create my prints. I feel that education is half of an artist's work. Education leads to appreciation. It is interesting to showcase the "behind the scenes" of the artwork. In the end, though, people respond to the work on an emotional level.

As night-time fell the party moved indoors. I met so many wonderful people like fellow Plum Bottom artist Davide Toffolon. His work looks, at first glance, like an etching; but is actually pen and ink with salt processed watercolor. His work has a very distinct style. It is extremely precise and planned in areas and yet very loose in others. Stop by Plum Bottom if you get a chance to view them in person. It is worth the drive.

Artwork by Davide Toffolon. Ceramics by Chad Luberger.
After many years, I FINALLY was able to meet Nik Garvoille face to face. Nik is an artist and the creator of KNOCK: Door County's Literary Art Magazine. I came across the publication and periodically submitted artwork. Last year, he placed my print, "Blue Heron" on the cover. For his poetry reading and open house, I delivered a framed piece. The open house was a Plum Bottom Pottery. The piece sold and I arrived to accept the payment in person. Chad asked if I was interested in having work shown in his gallery. So, you could say that I owe Nik just about everything. It was wonderful to meet him. One thing about Nik: his deep eyes spark and shine like he is thinking a mile a minute - filled with creativity.

Mary and Lu-Lu's enthusiasm was contagious!
As the evening drew to a close–at least for me, as I am old and had a glass of wine and was up past my bedtime–I went to as many people as I could and thanked them for such a wonderful evening. It really was grand. Back at the cabin, my mind was racing: with visual overload. Colors were swirling in my mind from the art, conversations were played over, and I reminisced the taste of the delicious Cuban-inspired dishes. I fell asleep dazed and happy.

Tarts adorned with fresh raspberries & blueberries.
I was invited to breakfast the following morning at The Town Hall Bakery in Jacksonport. . It was the absolute best breakfast I've even had and the presentation was beautiful: edible nasturtium flowers, berries, melons, fruits and vegetables all artistically arranged, self-serve coffee, welcoming music and friendly, hometown service. Just awesome! Please, don't drive past this gem. I wish I had my camera with me in the restaurant, just so I could share with you how beautiful the plate was. I'll get a photo next time I'm in the area - oh, yeah - I'll be back!

Wild lily at The Ridges Sanctuary
Afterward… ugh…the long drive home. Milwaukee, as per usual, was my nemesis. *Shakes fist at Milwaukee interstates* I'll get the hang of it someday. Unfortunately "someday" was not today. I was brought to tears, yet again. Ah, well. As in life, it takes going through trials in order to appreciate the good times. I was so glad to arrive home, relive my plesant experiences from the past few days, and be able to share it with you.

Edge of the bog at The Ridges

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