What a treat to teach at a place that felt so much like home

sonoma coast

I recently taught acrylic inks to the Pacific Piecemakers guild in Gualala, CA. It was close to a 4 hour drive from Sacramento, through Napa, and Sonoma counties to the southern edge of Mendocino county (115 miles north of San Francisco). The actual mileage is not that far but the 48 mile drive along Highway 1 is both treacherous and breathtakingly beautiful.

tracy and meI broke up my drive by having lunch in Sonoma with Chicago transplant and art quilting friend Tracy Stewart who I knew from my years of living in Chicago. It was so nice to connect again and have the opportunity to catch up.

The drive from the town of Sonoma to Bodega Bay
backroads sonoma
on the coast, is through vineyards and orchards and over rolling hills through dairy country. This was the area I went through on a daily basis to get to school, in the town of Tomales, 25 miles away.

salmon creek

For old times sake, I stopped to stretch my legs and admire the view, near my old home at Salmon Creek (just north of Bodega Bay), before starting the last 48 miles up the coast.

After checking into my hotel in Gualala, I took a walk in the nearby park, with lovely views of the Gualala river and ocean beyond.Gualala park

Just south of here, there’s a nearby settlement called Fort Ross, that was settled by Russians in the early 1800’s, and in the park there’s a beautiful wood sculpture installation, carved by Siberians from Yakutsk, which is the area the settlers came from.
russian sculpture
carved pole
yakutsk info



The next morning, I grabbed an egg burrito and coffee and had an outdoor breakfast looking at this spectacular view. What a way to start the day. IMG_2965


The 2 day acrylic inks workshop was held at the beautiful Gualala Arts Center. Such a gorgeous facility, nestled amongst the redwoods.gualala arts center

I had great time painting with these women in such an inspiring location.
Gualala inks class


Check out all the lovely samples they made in the new slide show feature I’ve added to my site. [wds id=”2″]

Piecemakers group.

Such a fabulous group!

After our workshop was finished, I got a call from my ex to learn my father in law had passed away that morning. My father in law, Jesus Perez, was an amazing painter, who unfortunately hadn’t painted since he’d had a stroke a number of years ago, but I had learned a lot from watching him when I was fresh out of art school. He was a fearless painter, painting over imagery on a canvas multiple times. I was impressed how he would repeatedly sacrifice the work in progress and take it in a new direction, not letting the work ever be too precious. It seemed wasteful to me, that he could have had 3-5 separate paintings, but I know now that the early ones wouldn’t have satisfied him or adequately expressed what he was aiming for.

It was a valuable lesson in risk taking. Never be afraid to ruin something, you learn a lot that way. Sometimes you even discover something new.

The other thing is, when you do that process of layering,  you can leave interesting areas untouched and paint over other areas, which then creates a more interesting complex image. This is an integral part of the way I work now.


Before dinner, I went for a walk on the beach with a woman from my workshop named Iris. The fog had rolled in and the beach was misty and gray. It was perfect.Sea Ranch foggy beach
seaweed deer quail
As we walked back to the car, we noticed we were being watched by a deer and a flock of bobbing quail. It was a really wonderful trip to a really special place.


For the last two weeks, I’ve been madly preparing for International Quilt Festival in Houston; ordering supplies, cutting, dyeing and painting fabric for my classes, packing kits, shipping boxes… there’s so much to plan and organize, it can feel pretty overwhelming in the midst of it all.

tea stained fabric

For my Tea & Ephemera class, I make a special tea inspired painted fabric for my students to use for their mixed media collages. Often students have asked if they could buy extra pieces, so I decided when I was making the latest batch of fabric that I would make more in several different shades of browns and greens to sell in classes.Tea fabric
My bags are packed and weighing in just under 50 pounds each, yay! All week I’ve been on pins and needles wondering if my bags were going to be overweight and not have time left to ship things or start pulling out clothes to make room for supplies. I’m flying out Monday morning and am so looking forward to seeing all my friends at festival.

Now it’s time to go iron out some more fabric to pack!

One Response to “What a treat to teach at a place that felt so much like home”

  1. Tonnie Wolfe says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful area, especially the carvings. There is such visual richness if we slow down and look.

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