Getting to DOL in Taos is half the fun. I don't fly much these days, so maybe I'm just not remembering, but I think my early morning flight to Albuquerque was one of the most beautiful I've ever experienced. Sunrise over the Sierras (it is the Sierras, right?), amazing cloud formations over the desert. It mades the invasive airport scan (hello, there!)... worthwhile.
The primary reason I choose such an early flight is because I've never been to New Mexico and I wanted to allow as much time as possible to check out Santa Fe. Landing in Albuquerque and driving to Taos is a 3-hour trip, and Santa Fe is just about in the middle of that drive, so I had to take advantage of the opportunity.
I squeezed my Santa Fe experience in about 4 hours. First I checked out the mother of high end RTW boutiques, Santa Fe Dry Goods. This is the place where you can grope a petrified Great White shark tooth necklace (by Monies) for over $1k. (Seriously, about the size of the palm of my hand - I had no idea a Great White shark tooth could be that huge.) Among other things, this store carries a very nice selection of Trippens and, yes, Trippens were tried on, drooled over and petted, but not purchased.
I also enjoyed a (more affordable) boutique I stumbled into that does not have an online presence, Zephyr. In there I found a scarf that needed to come live in San Francisco. I had a quick, but delicious lunch at The Shed, a historic restaurant recommended by the very nice people at Zephyr, and famous for its chili. So of course I had to have some and, burn it did. The meal was delicious.
After a quick tour of downtown Santa Fe, it was off to the fabric store, Santa Fe Fabrics. What a great fabric store! From current novelty knits, to gorgeous Pendleton wools, from Japanese brocades, to African hand dyed pretties, I was very impressed. It was a bit overwhelming, so all I purchased was a very nice organic cotton canvas in four colors - they had quite a color selection. I thought I might use some of these at the retreat for stenciling, screen painting, or the like.
Finally, I wanted to quickly check out Canyon Road, which Marcy recommended on her Facebook page. Canyon Road, about a mile from historic downtown Santa Fe, reminds me of Carmel, but southwest style. A street packed with side-by-side art galleries, it is a visual feast for the eyes - loaded with wonderful sculptures in front of most every gallery.
Having experienced "The Condensed Visit to Santa Fe", I rushed to Taos. It begins as a long drive through flattish desert, then you ascend into the mountains. This is when the drive becomes quite scenic. My GSP lost it's mind for a bit, so I arrived late for dinner, but not too late. We had a wonderful group meal and then moved to our "classroom" for our first gathering to learn what's what and who is who. I can already tell that this is a group of impressively creative folks.
And maybe this is the time to mention what I packed for DOL. In the end, I brought very little. After meeting with Diane Ericson in Ashland, I decided to go minimalist. The best advice she gave me was to "bring what excites you." That made a lot of sense to me. I brought a few pieces of basic, unadorned fabric, some interesting findings, and beads. I brought a few pieces of FabMo samples that are part of a collage project I want to make. I brought the beginning of an Alabama Chanin project. I brought 4 or 5 TnT patterns. But I have no definite plans on what I want to work on.
After our gathering, we retired to our rooms and I enjoyed talking with my completely delightful roomie, Gwen, who had some very impressive projects to show me. I'm hoping she'll let me post a picture or two.
I'm not sure I can post much during the retreat, especially as my room does not have wifi, but my insomnia kicked in tonight. And I am very happy to report that Gwen is not a light sleeper. ;)