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Art Camp

Group photo

Group photo

Meeting at Festival once a year was just not enough and so the Fantastically Frabjous Fractured Fairy-Tale Fabricators decided to meet in the summer. Our meeting place was a fishing cabin on Toledo Bend mostly because I’d never been there and I was making the arrangements. I never quite know what I’ll be in the mood to work on and so the back of my truck (and cab) were jam-packed full! I’d discovered the luxury of my own rolly chair versus folding chairs or straight back chairs, I was sure we would need an iron and ironing board and then there was THE PROJECT. (Note—each of us brought an iron and there was an ironing board in the cabin).


After discovering some vintage books at work with hand-sewn signatures and good quality paper, and useful only as paperweights (Current Therapy 1987 was the most recent), I appropriated them for THE PROJECT. I had sent out assignments for the previous two months to cut out various things from junk mail to use as collage elements but first we needed to prep the books by tearing out roughly every other page. Then I began applying gesso to pages. I had thought we would spend one day on this step, but it ended up taking me nearly three days and I stopped only because I ran out of gesso.


It was very hot and even I was wilting under the heat on the porch. The air conditioning in the cabin had difficulties but fortunately a repair man was located and some sort of wiring was set up to keep the cabin interior cool. Cissy kept an eye on the repair process while basting a quilt over the porch railing and reported each step. I won’t repeat them here as they involved electrical shocks, beer, personal hygiene issues, a lot of staring at the innards of the unit and discussions of green wires versus orange ones being grounds.


Meanwhile, each of us prepared one evening meal. I went first with hamburgers as I was most nervous about cooking for ladies and figured I would begin with a very low standard, Sherry did taco salad, Cissy made a wonderful shrimp and avocado pasta salad, and Suzanne made a full meal featuring tilapia. Since I am an early riser, I made coffee and biscuits or sweet rolls with the help of the Pilsbury DoughBoy. Lunch was cold cuts and leftover supper—and then there was a huge bowl of chocolate and other snacky items including individually wrapped dried plums. Bullwinkle presided over all the cooking but sometimes dipped into the prune stash.


We played guess the meaning of an oddball word in the dictionary, go fish with art paintings, and a really strange version of Scrabble. And then we sewed! Suzanne quilted a very large green quilt that had been just fabric two weeks earlier plus a baby shower panel quilt—they were completed and bound and slept under before she left. Cissy worked on a large T-shirt quilt which was also bound and slept under. Sherry finished a Homeless Quilt, a Boys Haven Turning Twenty quilt, a mystery quilt from Festival 2 years ago plus started and finished a fun top called Pointless Wonder. I bound my nephew’s wedding quilt and slept under it. According to my grandmother and father, to give a quilt good luck to its new owner, the maker must sleep under it but I think my grandmother just wanted an excuse for a nap.


Jeanelle joined us on Thursday and we presented her with some ‘gifts’ we had made. I had spent ten minutes making up ‘kits’ for this project; we allowed ourselves one hour to complete them and then I made an additional gift of a boa. This boa was composed of leftover pink and black scrap quilt trimmings and miles of peach colored underwear lace. The ‘gifts’ all had to be USEFUL and so she received a ‘prune cozy’, a necklace, a purse, and an idea holster—all made with underwear lace, pink and white gauzy fabric, and upholstery fabric. She received these items wearing a lovely $2 tiara discovered in the birthday candle section of the local grocery store while waiting for a pound of turkey ham to be sliced.


Our last afternoon was spent working on our books. First we put our names in the inside cover. Then we stood in a circle and passed our books to the left, worked on a spread using paint and glue and stamps, let them dry, and repeated the process until everyone had worked in everyone’s book. The last page was completed after dark and Cissy put plastic bags over her feet so she wouldn’t get mosquito bites.


Too soon it was time to go home. The cabin owners oohed and aahed over all our work, assured us that we were NOT too rowdy (there is a large sign stating Persons who are Rowdy will be asked to Leave and forfeit their Deposit and we did laugh quite a lot particularly when taking our group photo). We pored over the atlas and chose a new destination for next year.


 More photos are at smugmug at

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Estela #


    Suzanne is also a member of a group that I’m in–The Threadless Bobbins (formerly known as the Drunkard’s Path Darlin’s). She and Cissy are a lot of fun at our retreats–and great cooks, too. Suzanne has hosted our Christmas dinners several years in a row, and she feeds us well. I saw Suzanne at the Bobbins’ “Flag Day Bee” just a few days ago, and she mentioned how much fun she’d had at Toledo Bend.

    July 2, 2009

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