Outakes (Romping through the Vineyards)

Yesterday was the last full day off for the rest of our time here at the Camp. Considering we have only a few days left, we decided to make it a most worthwhile day. Thus Helena, BearGirl, the Thinker, and myself a piled into my Silver Steed/Prius of Adventure and set off for an afternoon of wine and wondrous fun We had decided to hit three wineries along M22. The first was Good Harbor Vineyards. We all picked 5 wines to sample from the extensive list and a souvenir glass came with the tasting. I sampled a most glorious Cherry Wine that made dark chocolate sing in my mouth (the gentleman gave us dark chocolate kisses with the instructions, “sip the wine, take a bite of chocolate, then sip.”). Twas so good a bottle may have followed me out of the place ;). Next, on to Gills Pier Winery. Handsome and I had visited this winery on our previous excursion on M22, I had gone back again on my own, and I simply had to bring my friends with me. I truly like this sweet little place.

Overlooking the vineyard

Overlooking the vineyard

The whole gang

The whole gang

From Gills, we went on to our best find of the day. BearGirl had recently been on a plane trip and she mentioned that she had sat next to a most interesting person. The woman spoke of an organic winery in Northport Michigan…which turned out to be right where we were headed. Thus, we found ourselves at Good Neighbor Organic. Not only does this place have wine, but they also make incredible ciders that absolutely blew the socks and shoes straight off my feet. Stan, the owner, also bid us go play in the vineyard/orchard and pick some lavender.  We happily complied 🙂

Wine fun 8 Wine fun 9 Wine fun 17 Wine fun 14 Wine fun 19

Twas a very good day indeed :).


Ten Things I Discovered/Learned Since I Last Wrote

It has truly been a ridiculously long time since I last wrote here, but life spiraled in a dizzying display of color and sudden collision of activity that did not inspire the proper energy for writing. I will eventually relate the adventures, but for now I feel inclined to give a taste of those adventures through newly acquired knowledge (be it of myself, or just knowledge of a general topic).

1. I really like wine. I used to consider myself strongly a beer person, but now I understand that I was just approaching the grape-based distant cousin all wrong. Turns out I am in some fabulous wine country and I am surrounded by local vineyards with a plethora of wineries attached. I have only sampled a few, but suffice it to say I am extremely impressed with my sampling. I still dearly enjoy beer, but wine has now subtly shifted into a similar placement on my enjoyment scale.

2. You can tint gloss sealer to be fun colors while still maintaining its transparency. I know, I know, try to contain your excitement. The reason this is fun will become apparent once I can post pictures of the show I am currently working on (and almost have completed hallelujah!!)

3. I learned to set in sleeves on a knitted sweater. May not sound like much, but it is a new technique that I was avoiding because I was afraid that I would:

a.) Make a terrible mess of the thing.

b.) Find it really boring and tedious, thus shoving the gorgeous garment even further into my bag in the hopes that the dark recesses would convince the garment to mutate to include the offending sleeve caps

Thankfully, neither scenario occurred thanks to this video. Knitpicks is a godsend I swear it’s true. I actually really enjoyed the process and I am now galloping off towards a complete cardigan that is so pretty I can barely wait to traipse about in all its turquoise glory.

4. If you are in a shop that sells various jams and jellies, be very careful grabbing what looks like a stuffed animal bear. It may actually be a covert jar cozy housing a 12 ounce jar of jam that may then, jostled by your careless bear -grabbing, go tumbling off the counter and shatter into a bajillion pieces.

5. When drinking tea, one should actually slurp it loudly and with abandon so that the drink hits every single portion of the tongue, thus releasing all the flavor that was intended to be experienced in the blend.

6. Night air shows are really freakin spectacular. Seriously.

7. The reason the water in Lake Michigan is so clear is because of an invasive species called the zebra mussel . Even though the clear water is super beautiful, apparently these boogers cause a great deal of grief.

8. I am still a capable swimmer even when slightly intoxicated. (Don’t worry, I did not learn this while swimming alone.)

9. The Seal of the President of the United States is a giraffe and a half of ridiculous to recreate from scratch.

10. Michigan wins the award for best summer weather ever. The hottest it ever gets is 90 and I can only count on one hand the number of times it has gotten that hot since I arrived in June. Last year this time I was a puddle of Florida goo. Now I still need a sweatshirt on some July mornings 🙂

Stick with me guys, I swear fun pictures and stories are on the horizon.

Outakes (Camp Tour)

The following are merely a collection of images that capture things that I find beautiful about my current location. I didn’t take any shots of the shop I work in, or the dining hall where I have been taking my meals. Still, I think you’ll get the idea.

Although I don't live in one, I do very much enjoy all the cabins scattered about the campus.

Although I don’t live in one, I do very much enjoy all the cabins scattered about the campus.

I have a thing for all the trees around here, sue me.

A shot of one of the auditoriums. I will not be painting anything that goes in here, but the space looked so stunning from this angle.

A shot of one of the auditoriums. I will not be painting anything that goes in here, but the space looked so stunning from this angle.

Yes, of course I found the geese (and their fluffy little adolescent goslings).

Yes, of course I found the geese (and their fluffy little adolescent goslings).

Felt like I was flying just by looking at this.

Felt like I was flying just by looking at this.

I could definitely get used to this :)

I could definitely get used to this 🙂

Wild Journeys to Good Places

I am now in Michigan, and what a wild ride to get here. I mean, I guess it wasn’t completely wild in the sense that I didn’t suffer any trouble with dragons or wild boars, but by the standards of my own normality I would say there was a slight funk of wildness about the trip. Handsome and I left on Saturday, driving 8 hours to Ohio to stay with my friend The Raven. The Raven is a friend of mine whom I met at WordBridge last year, and he is by far one of the most talented and intricately woven people that I know. His abode happened to be at a halfway point between my parents’ place and the Camp, so he was kind enough to offer us lodging for the night. I could not have imagined a more pleasant evening. The house that he and his wife share is a most beautiful structure that clearly has been loved and rendered to fit the energy of its inhabitants. They had a huge backyard that felt like a tiny woodland and an incredible dog named Scout who suffered my terrible throwing for the sake of chasing various objects into the greenery surrounding. The Raven regaled us with tales of folly, anxiety, beauty, and general wonder as well as taking us to a most excellent restaurant where we ate entirely too much food. The evening was spent in the company of him and his wife on the back porch as we discussed the state of modern theatre as we watched Scout stare down a pair of raccoons (safely up in a tree…the raccoons not the dog) and later a storm that was so heavy a downpour to look almost unreal. The next morning, we were sent off with a most delicious breakfast (a quiche consisting of egg, cheese, spinach, bacon, and mushrooms) and a warm farewell.

I left Handsome at an airport three hours shy of my destination. The goodbye was a little harder than usual for me because I have gotten a little spoiled seeing him so often of late. I know I should not be so wistful considering he and I will soon be living together, but welcome to the immediate desires of the human heart. Driving to the Camp was like nothing I have ever experienced. I have driven through wooded areas, but nothing like this forever place where trees actually have enough presence to remind you how insignificant you are in the midst of this landscape. I drove and drove, deeper into a world where I could feel my shoulders lose their tension while my heart beat itself into my throat. I finally arrived at the Camp, which is something of a cross between a miniature college campus and the old-fashioned-log-cabin camp. I thankfully managed to get my keys and into my room, but I was not long there. The gentleman who hired me, R-Dog, kindly drove me to meet with the rest of my co-workers for dinner. I am not going to list all of them right now, but I am sure they will all crop up sooner or later. Dinner was a raucous and relaxed affair that allowed me to only munch on my foot a few times, while also giving me the opportunity to say intelligent and witty things that made up for afore mentioned foot munching. After dinner, I lent a hand to a couple coworkers for move-in and was returned the help for my own belongings. We then sat up talking into the wee hours…which was not the wisest decision considering the early wake up. Still, I could not have begged for a better welcome and though there is more to tell, I think I will hold off until some of the more interesting paintwork begins. Suffice it to say, I think I made an excellent choice coming here.


Alright ladies and gentlefigs, this blogger now officially has a most splendid job to occupy her summer. Though it is only eight weeks of work, I cannot begin to express how excited I am to have work that is within my field and at an institution that has an excellent reputation. I am going to be acting as the Scenic Charge Artist for a summer arts camp out in Michigan. Basically, I could not have asked for a better fit. Not only do I get to be in a supervisory/management position that will further my experience within my field, but I also get the chance to work with passionate students who are spending their summer making awesome theatre. What exactly is a charge artist? Well, the title basically encompasses anything that has to do with any/all paintwork within a theatrical production/s.

In a theatrical production, there is usually a scenic designer (*please note that in a great number of situations, the designer can also act as charge artist, but we are going with an ideal template here), and the scenic designer imagines the physical world of the show (i.e. anything not costumes, lighting, or props. Again, people often cross-pollinate in the design world). They take their imaginings and create drawings based on a series of understood specifications so that the people responsible for actually making their ideas a reality (known as the production team) can firmly grasp the ideas of the designer in order to properly execute them onstage. For the charge artist, this means looking at a series of artworks called paint elevations, which are small paintings that are proportionate renderings of what the designer wishes the final paint treatments to look like onstage. From these elevations, along with extensive questioning of the designer, the charge artist must translate that small picture to full scale scenery for the stage. The charge artist must consider everything from ordering supplies, to mixing colors that perfectly match the elevation, to scheduling out when every piece will get painted based on the schedule of the carpenters actually building the scenery, to the actual techniques needed to accomplish the paint treatments. Mainly, a charge artist is an interpreter. An elevation is not just something that one can copy line for line and expect the desired result. One has to really listen to the designer, and determine how best to communicate that designers vision through the paintwork presented on stage.

My previous job was certainly not terrible, but part of the reason I did not return for another season was because my heart truly lies with painting and design for the theatre. Eventually, I want to be a full fledged scenic designer, and starting out working in charge artist positions is certainly an excellent way to begin laying the foundations for that castle. The Park allowed for painting opportunities, but not on a consistent enough basis to truly bring me joy. With this summer job, I get the chance to challenge myself within my work because it will be my first time acting as a titled supervisor within my desired job title. Such a chance is truly a gift, and on top of that the camp sounds like a really excellent atmosphere that encourages actually having fun in the process of making theatre. Not to say that the schedule won’t be rigorous, and the quality expectation is quite high. However, I am ready to meet that schedule and expectation, and I only pray that I can be a valuable asset to this team of wonderful artists. And plus I GET TO GO PLAY IN A GLORIOUSLY PRETTY PART OF MICHIGAN!!!