Monday, May 30, 2011

A Studio in the Woods

A work of art greets visitors to A Studio in the Woods.
I'll admit it, I'm a map junkie. Everyone nowadays has GPS in their cars or on their iphone, but I love the feel of an actual map in my hands. Sometimes when I'm bored, I'll just pick up a map and start looking it over, searching for something I've never seen before. That's how I first came across A Studio in the Woods, a tiny dot on a road I never knew existed.

Inside the Main House
A quick Google search and I discovered an artist retreat hidden in 7.6 acres of forest. I quickly joined their mailing list and waited for an invitation to visit. The chance came with their 2nd Annual FORESTival in mid-May, when the front gates and doors to their homes were opened wide to visitors. The mini-festival, complete with music, fish tacos and children's activities, was secondary to the real reason we visited -- to see the house and studios and take a hike through one of the forest trails.

The main house, mostly built of reclaimed wood, was beautiful and eclectic at the same time. The cozy cabin feel of its initial core took on a disheveled look as assorted rooms were added in later years. Our time spent inside was cut short by two squirming kids, though, who we later occupied with lunch on a pier overlooking the pond.

Exploring the wooded trails
We explored it all, touring the gallery of art work and trying our hand at making clay roots for a communal tree sculpture. For Charles, the highlight of his "adventure" was the cicada shell we found during our walk in the woods. He had brought along his bug catcher and was begging me to snag him a spider, but fortunately Paul satisfied him by finding the unoccupied shell clinging to a nearby tree.

August, on the other hand, simply took it all in, enjoying the day as much as any other. It was a nice, small outing, offering an enclosed space large enough to explore, but small enough to not worry about keeping tabs on your kid every second. On our way out, we admired the steel gates gracing the entrance before crossing the street and scaling the levee to take in the record-high waters of the Mississippi River.

Steel gates guarding the entrance
 

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