Sunday, July 08, 2007


Where to begin... how to convey all the special moments spent in rural Wisconsin visiting a magical place during the day called The Valley Ridge Art Studio.

And at night, spending joyful evenings filled with stories and much laughter among friends old and new.

So many details to share, I don't want to forget anything...but I digress.

I was one of 14 individuals, fortunate to participate in a class hosted at Valley Ridge by the lovely Kathy Malkasian. She is the proprietress of this wondrous haven nestled amidst lush, rolling green hills, surrounded by farmland as far as the eye can see. A scene which is not unlike the familiar landscape of home, here in Kansas.

Kathy and her husband, Bill, provided a weekend of inspiring scenery, opportunities to commune with nature, sunny days, cool breezes, and delectable gourmet lunches served on an outdoor veranda.

The class, I attended, was taught by one of the dearest souls I know, Ms. Nina Bagley.

She, so unselfishly, shared her expert knowledge of jewelry making, provided the most wonderful hints and tips to make our work beautiful, and forever entertained us with her wit and graceful southern charm.

These are two of the pieces I made in class. They are so precious to me.... for I have dreamed about how I had hoped to transcribe bits or verses of my poetry along with images from nature onto lovely charms that could be spun into treasures.

Small tokens that I could give as gifts to beloved friends and family. My days here with Nina have made this wish a reality.

Now I must introduce you to a couple of the most endearing women, I have ever met. Little did I know, when I spied them seated across a crowded restaurant on the evening before our first class that both my husband and I would have the pleasure of their company throughout the rest of our days in Wisconsin.

I was immediately at ease and instantly felt such a strong bond of friendship with Kim and Julie. We spent hours at dinner with the two of them along with my dear friend, Shari, reminiscing about the days in class, sharing our lives, and being quite entertained by Julie's habit of using sugar packets as visual props for all her tales.

It has been a long time since I have laughed so hard. Even my very shy husband was chiming in on the conversations and laughing right along with us.

I miss these girls so much and can hardly wait until we seeing each other again this fall!

This beautiful lady that is smiling back at me is none other than my darling friend, Shari, whom I was thrilled to discover in late December of last year that she too was planning to attend this very same class. Our discovery lead me to book reservations at the very same bed and breakfast in the quaint town of Mineral Point.

It was wonderful seeing her again and having the chance to really talk with each other on our daily commute across the 28 miles of rural roads. We had the best discussions about our exciting opportunites and challenges as budding new workshop instructors.

And last, but certainly not least, I had the incredible honor of meeting an artist that I have long admired her work from afar. Geraldine Newfry was a completely charming and beautiful person. So humble about her talents. She is such a true craftsman. Her artistry is breathtaking. I loved getting to know Gerri and also look forward to seeing her again in October.

As you can see this was quite a journey, and one I will not soon forget. These memories like precious jewels are safely tucked away in the abiding of my heart.. forever.


dogfaeriex5 said...

oh tracie~
my eyes are welled up with tears have such a beautiful way with words...the memories come flooding back....trying to get earl to go to starbucks,sugar packets, strange diners/upscale steakhouse?, chainsaw art, strange murals...laughing so hard i cried...i so love you and miss you tremondously!! xoxox~kim

Mary lin said...

Looks like so much fun. Sorry I missed sharing that with you and see all our friends. Maybe next time.


Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Lara Berch. I have just launched a new website with step by step art tutorials. I was wondering if it's possible to exchange links with you.
Thank you very much for your time.

deb said...

Wow...sounds like a very special trip indeed. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure.

There really isn't anything better than laughing with friends until you have tears and your sides hurt, is there?


teresa said...

Oh how cute you are in these photos! Looks like you had a super time- how could you not?! Lucky you!

Maija said...

Tracie! What an amazing experience you had! I just ADORE Kim....She is a crazy animal lover. I've wanted to take a class there so bad. Perhaps we can meet up at one next year?