Art Retreating on the Metolius River

The Salem Art Group makes an annual pilgrimage to Camp Sherman every summer thanks to the hospitality and generosity of Katy, who invites us to stay at her family cabin, which is located right on the Metolius River on Forest Service land. It is quiet, remote, and there is no cell service or WIFI, making for the perfect art venue.

This year, seven of our 10 members were able to attend, and after sorting out who would sleep where, unpacking our coolers of food, and setting up our art-making spaces, we all settled in for the business and fun of making art, chatting, and eating. Art making happened during the day, late into the night, and early in the morning, necessitating moving around to chase light, avoid heat, or to stay warm. It was all part of the art dance.

The food. We ate really well thanks to creative cooks and eating the bounty of summer. One evening, Susan prepared a beautiful dinner for everyone, one morning Jessica made pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup. I brought along a little container of cold brew.

The art. We all worked on individual projects throughout the week. A couple of people stitched, a few painted, all but two of us sketched pretty much all of the time. I didn’t sketch, but I did get sketched!

My art project for this year was to work on four Salvage Collage pieces for an upcoming show at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria. I lugged bins of book scraps, a box of book covers, and dozens of covers from pulp fiction novels. I set my space up on the deck, under cover, with a view of the Metolius River.

Every year, Bonnie makes little blank journals for us and during the time we are together, we each work on our individual journals, usually in the evening and after we have moved inside. From a blank book to crammed pages!

Some of us used bits and pieces from a central collage pile to create books. For me, I used pieces of discarded books I was working with during my week. Here are my pages:

Several of us went for a hike every day, with Katy leading us in all different directions.

It was a great week and I returned rested and reinvigorated, and already looking forward to next summer.

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