The greater Portland area is not only the largest metropolis in Maine (Pop: 500,000), the city is also where I hold some of my Maine Quilt Retreats. As home to more than a third of Mainers, the area is its culinary, artistic, and cultural center, which makes it nice to visit even if you aren’t coming to one of my retreats. Plus it’s home to one of the state’s two “major” airports—easy come, easy go. And easy to spot your luggage if you have any the color of my student, Bea Englert’s (above)!
These are a few of the reasons why I choose to hold retreats there, plus the Hyatt Place Portland–Old Port provides a great meeting room for us, very nice accommodations, a helpful staff, and yummy lunchtime food. All well appreciated as we’re hard working ladies, after all.
Then, when the work is done, you can step out the hotel door and enter Portland’s Old Port with its many restaurants, coffee houses, galleries, boutiques, bookstores, and good ol’ souvenir shops. Oh, and there’s the working fishing wharf two blocks away, with restaurants on the piers and even on a boat—completing Maine’s maritime ambiance that makes our state the vacationland that it is.
This was my first Maine quilt retreat of 2017, and the first “official” Portland retreat. The “unofficial” retreat was last October, open to past Maine retreat students as guinea pigs for this new location. It was successful last year, and did pretty darn well this year too, partly because of those outdoor reasons mentioned above, but mostly because of the abundant creative energy and camaraderie of the ladies working indoors.
At times the class became so quiet you could hear the proverbial pin drop—except for the carpeted floor. The concentration on this fabric collage technique is immense. Painter Terry Hartzell (above), learned how to transition to painting with fabric and was still smiling in the end. See her Cindy the Goat in-progress in the slide show below.
Little by little, as the five days progressed, the classroom and tables became more and more heaped with fabric as it was flung hither and yon. Rhoda Helmuth virtually disappears behind her table in the photo below left—as my Albie the rhino of Tickled Pink looks on.
Before you know it, the week is over and the “messy scary” stage of the projects has passed. My priority, in all my classes, is that my students know how to proceed with their projects beyond the classroom. Understanding the fabric collage process well enough to finish is my goal as a teacher.
Some students arrive with their own goals: Marilyn Wright (below left) was inspired by an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’s March Hare wall clock to create a “down the rabbit hole” design to showcase the clock—a first in one of my classes! Bea Englert (below right) was inspired, rightly so, by a trip to Florence and Michelangelo’s David, though her interpretation is a bit more colorful than the great master’s.
Ellen Stevens (above) needed to head out early to beat the weather for a small plane flight with her husband back to Texas. Who knows what we were talking about with the hand gestures, but in any case, she missed the class photo below.
Next week I will be announcing the dates for my 2018 Portland, Maine Quilt Retreats (held at the Hyatt Place Portland–Old Port). I’ll make the announcement in a special blog post and in my newsletter. If you aren’t already signed up to receive this blog via email or are not receiving my email newsletter, be sure to sign up through my website here: sign up for blog and newsletter.