It's been a busy couple of days. I finally made it down to Coos Bay, with my friends Beth and Mary, to see a pair of art quilt exhibits, Speaking in Cloth and Fine Focus '06, at the museum there. Mary's husband Farley drove, and we made a two-day art tour of it, taking in the Coos Bay art walk (such as it was) on Thursday night and some galleries in Eugene en route home on Friday, after breakfast at the excellent Zenon Cafe.
Speaking in Cloth was co-curated by two local textile artists, Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer (with whom I've studied) and Ann Johnston, and includes their work and that of four other artists. Fine Focus consists of small works (no more than a foot or so on a side) by 50 different artists. Both were inspirational in the very direct sense of making me want to get back into my studio and create.
Apart from the art, the Coos Art Museum has, in its lobby, the largest angelwing begonia plant I've ever seen. A typical leaf was six or seven inches long, about the size of an entire plant, in my experience. As I was oohing and aahing over it, the volunteer receptionist pressed a cutting on me, which of course I had to baby for the rest of the trip. I'll try to make a good home for Little Bertha.
Speaking of large plants, we called in a tree guy to prune some low and otherwise iffy limbs from the two sweetgums on our parking strip. Most of the work happened before I got home on Friday. It sure makes a big difference; lots more light in the living room, for one thing -- and, I hope, fewer of those hateful spiky seedpod balls to deal with during the fall and winter. We also gained some firewood, which Jer toted around back and I spent an hour or so stacking. Yes, I did ache the next day.
The city is still offering free aerial tram rides on Saturdays during February, so yesterday we decided to check it out. The new tram connects the South Waterfront area with the OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University) complex on Marquam Hill. It was a controversial project for all the obvious reasons -- cost, neighborhood impact, and so on -- but, from what I've read, it's quieter and less obtrusive than originally feared, and most of the neighbors seem to have made their peace with it. The line was long-ish, with lots of kids and a definite Disneyland vibe. It moved quickly, though, since the ride is just three minutes long and each of the two cars (cabins? capsules? gondolas?) holds more passengers than you might imagine.
The view en route is spectacular, and the structure itself a gorgeous piece of engineering. I took the equivalent of two rolls of film and posted a bunch on Flickr. At the top, we strolled along the observation deck, which is studded with sculpture. The adjacent corridor is hung with some interesting paintings and prints. Who knew? Obviously we'll have to add another stop to our standard tour-guide itinerary: "We'll take you to the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Classical Chinese Garden, Powell's Books, and then we'll go to the hospital."