Studio Musings

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Visiting the Portland Bead Society

I love the views from the train between Seattle & Portland
Last month, a friend emailed to ask if I'd be interested in doing a talk for the Portland Bead Society.  Her email was a total surprise, as I've been pretty quiet in the beading world of late.   It seems she still remembered a talk I'd given for our local group, the ages ago.   Feeling like a bit of a fraud, I found myself saying I would, then went searching for my old slide deck.  There's nothing like a quick kick from the universe to get one going again!

view from the train platform, arriving in Portland
Which is how I found myself on the Cascades train Tuesday morning bright and early, headed for Portland.  Before the meeting, I had the chance to spend the day with Janis VanWyhe, the current president of PBS.  Janis met me at the station and whisked me away to grab some lunch.

Going for a quintessentially Portland experience, we stopped at a food-truck court.  It was a full city block, ringed on all four sides by food-trucks, literally.  Food truck after food truck, lined up along the sidewalk in the place of buildings.  I discovered that there are so many food-trucks in Portland, there's a website devoted to tracking them, and they even gives tours.  We skipped the tour, grabbed our food and headed for a nearby park for lunch.

Better yet, the park was only a block away from Powells Books, where I can easily get lost for hours (maybe days) in bibliophile heaven, wandering from room to room.   It's been year's since I had a chance to visit this amazing bookstore, which also fills an entire city block.  Our browsing was limited by our 90 minute metered parking, which was likely a good thing as anything I purchased had to fit into my already full suitcase for the return trip.

Crystal Springs Rhodendron Garden (photo from their website)
Since the weather was about as perfect as could possibly be, we decided to head for the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden next.  In all of my previous visits to Portland, I'd never ventured much beyond the core, so this was a real treat.  I found it interesting how wooded the city seems, even driving along some of its main corridors outside of the city.

The garden itself is so beautiful.  Though it's already a little past prime blooming season, a number of the rhodies were still in bloom.  Interestingly, it it was primarily the taller, tree-sized rhodies that were still blooming.  Even if none of the rhododendrons had been in bloom, the garden would still have been lovely.

The garden is perched on the side of a valley,  with winding paths through open, wood-like gardens that periodically open onto water views of ponds with a lively population of mallards, wood ducks and Canada geese, all with offspring.  We even spotted a bald eagle circling above one of the larger ponds.  The picture is from their website, because all of mine turned out too dark, though I did get a couple fun pictures of a dogwood in bloom.

Finally, it was about time to head to the meeting.  I can see why so many of the members of our local bead society also belong to the Portland group.  During the business portion of the meeting, they discussed an upcoming exhibit that will travel to all eight of the local libraries, several different community outreach possibilities, their upcoming annual potluck, and more.  I am definitely going to see if I can make it back down for their annual Bead Retreat, if not before. 

In case you happen to see this, many, many thanks to Jennifer Engstfeld who suggested my name, to Carol Perrenoud (Beadcats) who took care of all of the arrangements, to Janis for an absolutely wonderful day, and to all of the members of the Portland Bead Society.  You were all so wonderfully welcoming.  I was truly honored by your invitation to speak, and hope that you enjoyed my presentation.

1 comment:

  1. my first thought was 'Portland has a bead society?' and my second was 'I wonder if there is a local chapter here?' I need to check this out! I LOVE Powells, and have many times challenge that 90 min meter limit. But since I have to fly home, I try to keep my book buying to a bare minimum ... but then you should ask me what my minimum is - ha!