North to Alaska! A Working Vacation…
August 12, 2010
Half Moon Creek is an amazing glass gallery, Bullseye Resource Center and studio. The owner/partners treated me like a queen and lined up a full class of incredible students. Four days together without a hitch or a glitch. I adored each student and the tiles they produced were nothing short of inspirational. I can’t stop thinking about my experience, it was one of those adventures that I’ll remember the rest of my life. The land and the people.
I’ll try not to overload you with over 1000 photos that I took, but only a few to tantalize. I arrived a day early and took a quick trip south of Anchorage to find glaciers, whales, bear, moose, eagles, and everything wild that I’d read about Alaska.
I found a glacier just before going into the tunnel leading to Whittier. Or a piece of one, broken off, I later learned.
I found elk, bison, caribou, and moose at the wildlife refuge but never saw one in the wild. Didn’t see any bears either. I was really looking forward to seeing a bear.
It rained and clouds settled in during my entire week there, with rare exceptions. I didn’t care, I was THERE. In Alaska! I planned to experience every moment, in the moment from my class to the daily treks after class. The sun only sets for a couple of hours in August, so I had all day to teach and all night to explore.
We played tourist to the hilt, going to all the museums in Palmer & Wasilla before class began and generally exploring the area.
Hatcher Pass was so cloudy and rainy we couldn’t see Summit Lake just beyond the wildflowers! Can you see it? We didn’t see Independence Mine either!
Which river photo to show from our drive back to town…..how about this one!
View of Knik Glacier from our B & B….
And zoomed in. A spectacular view every day in spite of clouds or rain.
Day one in class saw a full slate of students working diligently, modeling glass paste and getting to know one another. Chris and Christian had the studio well stocked and our every wish was their command! Not to mention the catered lunch with truffles for dessert!
We had one kiln filled with beads, buttons & cabs; and another kiln filled with small sculptures.
Day two, I forgot to pick up my camera in class, we were so busy producing samples and discussing possibilities. That evening, still playing the role of tourist by night, we drove out to Talkeetna, the staging camp for Denali, hoping to see Mt. McKinley. No sun, no mountain view. But the clouds made for a dramatic view of the river!
Day three of class … yep, more clouds with a wink of the sun.
These are samples from day one of Powderology, our second day together. Two more kilns full of tests yet to view and discuss!
Excited students dove into their samples with gusto, curiosity, and risk-taking attitudes. I think I surprised them with how much could be done with powdered glass! I caught a couple of them talking about exhaustion!!
That evening we drove out to Matanuska Glacier.
I am so inspired by the colors I can’t wait to start my ‘Glacier Series’!
Still light at the B & B, I grabbed a few shots of surrounding color.
How many different ways can you visually say the same thing? Using wafers; full vs tack fuse; kiln-carved; and so much more.
Last day of class everyone worked long and hard to finish all the experiments they wanted to tackle. We filled three kilns plus a load of wafers earlier in the day.
Ten very happy students and one extremely happy instructor that last afternoon! Who looks more spent, me or students?!!
After class we headed out to the Reindeer Farm. Had high hopes of seeing Santa, but alas he was vacationing in a warm sunny part of the globe, we were told! Do you know how expensive it is to ship an antler home? A gift for my garden! OMG!
We woke to sunny skies on our last day. Yes, this is what the sun looked like. Did I say the landscape is incredible? Awe-inspiring? Beyond spectacular? The memory takes my breath away.
Our last drive into Palmer was gifted with a sun-filled sky….joy still welling in my heart to see this photo of it!
Back at Half Moon Creek unloading kilns, giving a final critique to everyone who could be there & packing up my tools & samples. Wish I had been more diligent with photography in class to show you how much our students accomplished!
Then we headed back to Hatcher Pass to see what we missed due to cloud cover the first part of the week. I could show you a hundred more pictures, but will try to refrain!
And a speed trip back to Whittier, where it was still cloudy, and raining; accompanied with the eerie news of Senator Steven’s plane crash.
It was the trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to go back. For the incredible people, the enormous landscapes, and next time I really, really hope to see wildlife in the wild. Oh, and Denali. And Valdez. And Seward. And Homer. And bears! Next summer I’ll bring Powderology Plus back to Half Moon Creek! Alaska is awesome, I can’t wait!! Thank you Christian and Chris for the invitation, you were wonderful to work with!