I'm back from another trip to Squam Lake, this time for the Squam Art Workshops Taproot Gathering.
I promised myself I'd make more time for sketching during this visit. I wanted to just be present without obsessively documenting every moment with a camera. So I only took pictures now and then, with my iPad mini.
Twice at dawn I walked to Needle Point, far down at the bottom of the Rockywold side of the camps. There are big slabs of rock at the water's edge where you can sit comfortably gazing out at the lake and sky. It's usually quiet and serene, my Squam "secret place."
The lady slippers I saw at Needle Point last June were still there:
Here's how they looked when I last saw them:
We had rain on a couple of days, but I didn't let it stop my dawn walks and sketching; I just drew from covered porches. I am forever grateful to the kind soul in Greenwood Lodge whose steps I heard behind me on creaking wood floors while I drew early one morning. Whoever you were, thank you for not coming out on the porch to chat! You can always set down your knitting and pick it up again, but with drawing, when a moment is lost, it's gone forever.
This Squam, I learned about the history of knitting and practiced several ergonomically friendly ways of knitting in a "Tricks of the Trade" class with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. And I dyed yarn with natural materials in a class called "Forage and Ferment" with Rachel Bingham.
Of the skeins I dyed, my favorite is this Bluefaced Leicester fingering weight that I dipped in the Osage orange pot just until it was a pale gold, then moved to the cochineal pot.
Maybe I'll design a lace shawl or scarf for spring with it. What do you think?
Here's some more yarn—the green was dyed with red onion skins, the pinkish color with madder. (The lovely Squam Lake map necklace was made by my cabin mate Kristine Lingle, who sold her Squamscapes, handmade books, and necklaces at the art fair.)
I'm so glad I made it to Amy Lou Stein's indigo and eco dyeing demo on Saturday. Talk about magic!
I liked being at the Rockywold-Deephaven Camps at the very end of the season. There were echoes of summer all around, but also a slower tempo and quieter atmosphere, as if the woods were letting out a deep sigh as the humans took their leave.
When you leave Squam, you brush the pine needles off your car and brush a tear from your eye. You try to memorize forever the sound of calling loons. When you turn and look at your cabin one last time, you don't say "good-bye." You say "until next time."
Thank you, Elizabeth; thank you to the folks at Taproot; thank you, everybody at RDC; thank you to all the terrific teachers; and above all, thank you to my friendly and funny cabin mates in Summit (to whom I can only say, "Chips Ahoy!").