A Work of Art Brought Back to Life

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. May 2018

My father’s career as a biblical scholar and archaeologist often took him to Israel and Jerusalem. While he was on digs, teaching and researching, my mother, an inveterate shopper and extrovert, studied, visited and came to appreciate Arabic and Palestinian crafts and the Palestinian people. In 1970, she approached John Tabash, a renowned craftsman both in mother-of-pearl and olive wood. She wanted him to create an olive wood Advent Calendar modeled on the Gothic cathedral in Limbourg, Germany. Reluctant at first, he eventually embraced the idea and the two of them worked together for many months. The result was a stunning creation, over two feet high. Each of the 24 doors contains a nativity figure, and there is a large “rose window” in the center made of intricately carved mother-of-pearl. 

When I inherited the Advent Calendar a few years ago, it needed TLC. Several doors had fallen off, it had lost some of the original olive wood luster, and the wiring for the interior lights was not safe. I took it to several wood workers and none were able or willing to take on the project of restoring it. Then, after we moved to Panorama, I took it down to the wood shop. One of the regulars had assured me that someone would certainly be willing to take on this project. And sure enough, Maurie Laufer agreed, provided I wasn’t in a hurry. No, Christmas was almost a year away.     

Over the next few weeks and months, Maurie updated me on his progress. A missing door had to be replaced with a new piece of wood, stained to match the original exactly and complete with a tiny doorknob. Doors had to be glued back on. Lights had to be found and placed in exactly the right place. A major dusting and oiling was needed. 

Finally, in May, the great day arrived when Maurie called to say it was ready! We stopped by the wood shop, buzzing with activity, which stopped when we approached the work bench. What a thrill when he took off the protective covering! The olive wood almost glows in rich, deep, variegated hues. The LED lights (donated by the metal shop and originally acquired in Iceland) emit a soft glow. And the Nativity figures, all 27 of them, hidden behind their doors for now, serenely await their turn on the stage during the month of December. Thank you so much Maurie for taking on this project and bringing a family treasure back to life. 

Resident Spotlight – Harold Rorden

Written by Panorama resident, Gail Madden. Photos by April Works. May 2018

As Panorama renews and renovates, you can hear the sounds of construction and renewal across the campus.  But that’s not the only construction happening here and not the only place homes are being built.  When Portland native Harold Rorden retired from his career in air traffic control, he originally moved to Lake Cushman and built a home with a big garage and workshop.  When he sold that home and relocated to Panorama in 2005, he was looking for a hobby – and activity – to fill his time.  He discovered the woodshop and found a great spirit of camaraderie among the team working there.  He also caught sight of a half-finished doll-house and he says, “That got me hooked.”

Most mornings you can find Harold down in the woodshop on the lower level of the Quinault putting together some very precious and special homes.  Long before plastic Barbie and her cardboard world became popular, little girls were entertained for hours on end with their doll houses and the furniture and imaginary families they installed in them.  These miniature houses originated about 400 years ago in Germany where their purpose was to entertain the children of the wealthy and privileged. Even today, girls feel very special when they’re presented with handmade dollhouses they can furnish and decorate.  And now boys can enjoy these miniature structures too.  There are horse stables and general stores as well as the traditional homes.

Harold takes great care in the construction of his dollhouses and as he says, “They start as kits, but I like to improve on the recipe.”  Each house takes two to three months to complete and has custom touches for both the exterior and interior.  Some are free-standing and others can be made to be wall-mounted in a child’s bedroom or playroom.  They usually have a porch and sometimes a porch swing so the doll family can enjoy a restful afternoon outside their home.  Other custom touches include the wallpaper, tile floors and, of course, the color scheme.  His construction projects are a labor of love and while they are for sale, the cost is only for materials, not for the labor that goes into making these wonderful playthings.

Harold donates a number of his completed dollhouses to the Stiles-Beach Barn where they are on display and available for purchase with the proceeds going to the Panorama Benevolent Fund.  If you have a moment, check out the houses currently on display at the Barn. Perhaps you have a grand or a great-grand who would be thrilled to find a custom dollhouse under the tree this Christmas.

Because they take time to construct, it is never too early for a parent or grandparent to think about that special Christmas or birthday gift of a custom constructed dollhouse.  Contacting Harold Rorden, the architect of these fantastical structures, allows you to pre-order your custom touches to personalize the gift.  He’d love to help you make that special little girl or boy a present that will be treasured for years to come.

A Resident’s Perspective – Art Inside An Old Envelope?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. March 2018

After the unusual display of many Panorama residents’ recycled art projects, I found out that we were going to have another recycled display using only recycled envelopes. We had to fill out a form in order to participate in the first event’s display.

I started gathering old envelopes with and without security linings. I spent two solid weeks in my limited free time working, designing, doing and undoing. I was planning a wall hanging. I stayed up at night and rose early the next day to work in my extremely disheveled craft room, wading in sorted-by-design and sorted-by size envelopes. I needed at least 35 exactly 4” by 4” perfectly cut squares to make 7 paper flowers and other items on the wall hanging. Most security envelopes I had only provided enough paper for one 4-inch square.

After two weeks, I had used nothing but glue and envelopes. For a large 9” x 12” background, I used a Panorama envelope with return logo and electronic stamping, made sturdy with other envelopes inside the large one.

For the hanger, I cut three long, thin, brown envelope strips and braided them for strength.

But…I had not yet received the entry form for the project, and I wanted to have it ready ahead of time.

When I inquired from an art guild member when the forms/rules were to be available, I glared, stunned at her answer, “Oh, the class is on April 4. Just bring lots of envelopes to learn how to use them and how to make a fun project.”

What? A class to learn how? That would have saved me lots of time. My project was already DONE! READY! Now what was I going to do with my masterpiece?

“Lord, this seems mercenary, but what will I ever do with this beautiful project? You always answer my prayers…even when I don’t know you’ve answered them and sometimes not always the way I had thought best for me.”

Instantly, I was inspired. How simple. I filled out a consignment sheet and took it the next morning to sell in our Panorama Gifts Etc. shop.

Before it was hung for display to sell…a resident bought it!

Now I am working on a duplicate…no need for planning, deciding, doing/redoing…

Only at Panorama!

Panorama Artfully Recycles

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. February 2018

What would happen if the Panorama Arts Guild and the Panorama Green Team got together and asked residents to create art using recyclable/trash/salvaged items?  We found out the answer at the recent Panorama Artfully Recycled Show, which featured a fabulous collection of about 40 imaginative creations viewed by some 250 residents.

From necklaces made with bicycle tire tubes to a basket woven from old maps, used books turned into folded designs, articles woven from rags, quilts sewn from ties, decorative “chandeliers” fashioned from plastic bottles, and much, much more.

In fact, the show went beyond art to provide recycling information to residents.  The Thurston County Master Recycling Coordinator came to the show to answer questions about recycling and distribute helpful materials.  Books were available for browsing for those interested in transforming recyclables into useful or decorative objects.  Facts about recycling and environmental pollution were displayed on stacked cartons from the Stiles-Beach Barn.  A slide show and video were shown picturing the Washed Ashore Project, which collects objects on Oregon beaches and turns them into huge, colorful sculptures to demonstrate how much trash is thrown into our waterways and oceans.

The focus of attention, though, was clearly on the imagination and skill demonstrated by the contributing artists.  Residents were enchanted by what their neighbors and friends had produced from “junk.”  There was a serious message behind the show, but what a beautiful way to be informed!

 

Bursting Colors of Autumn

The colors of autumn are truly remarkable throughout our campus. This has created an irresistible muse for one resident photographer in particular. Neil Harris is one of many talented individuals who have chosen Panorama as their retirement playground. Like so many of his neighbors, Neil graciously shares his talents with our community and we couldn’t be more grateful. After all, that is precisely what makes Panorama thrive. Here’s a selection of his recent work – enjoy!

Panorama campus October 2017

Panorama campus October 2017

State Capitol in Olympia, WA – October 2017

Aquatic and Fitness Center at Panorama – October 2017

Chehalis Western Trail near Panorama – October 2017

Patrons Plaza at Panorama – October 2017

Lower Lewis Falls in southern Washington – October 2017

Lower Lewis Falls in southern Washington – October 2017

A buck enjoying a crisp morning at Panorama – October 2017.

A Resident’s Perspective – A Quiet Gem

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2017

There are so many wonderful happenings at Panorama, but if you’ve not discovered The Readers Theater, make a note of it for fall. They are a wonderful group of folks who read aloud for a lovely hour one Monday a month. I have been to all but two of these since moving to Panorama in 2013! This is an activity that is posted in the “Activities and Events” section of our monthly Panorama news publication. The Readers Theater is “dark” now until September, as they take the summer off.

I often think the productions are un-heralded. The auditorium is in the lower level of Quinault building and is usually the venue that produces these. This seems an under-publicized event and I have never been disappointed in the selections.

Themes vary and the directors of the readings change from month to month. The recent readings from the various tribes of NW Washington were particularly well done. My husband even went with me. Often, serious subjects are shared.

Sometimes they read poetry, sometimes vignettes, and sometimes short passages from known or unknown sources. The changing directors pick the topic and the readings. Many times, the choices are outright hilarious. The closing Readers Theater selections for this season were “Aging…It Beats the Alternative.” Much laughter followed the selections. We are all there, been there or are going there!

The readings are recorded and televised; the microphones make it easy for even some of us who are hearing-impaired to enjoy it. If you’d like to join them in presenting, they would love to have you. No, I am not recruiting, but it is a lovely way to meet folks and you don’t have to memorize a thing!!!

When September rolls around, and we KNOW how fast time flies, give a thought to joining folks enjoying Readers Theater. You won’t be disappointed.

Sandy Bio

Convent to Catwalk…My Experience Writing My Story

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2017

Why would I enter a religious convent, stay 13 years, leave, and become a high fashion model? (Catwalk: ramp for models to show fashions.)

Before we moved to Panorama in 2011, my family and friends knew most of the answers to those questions, coaxing me to write my stories. I always loved to write, and won the first prize award in two different poem contests…a whopping $15 for each. A lot of money in the 50s, especially to a child!

What opportunities to learn to write at Panorama?

Write Your Life…with Charlotte Wiseman as facilitator, met twice a month (still does) and was free! We’d each read about 10 minutes, but did not critique. We were eager to know the next episode in our class-buddies’ lives. My jaw dropped when I pictured my elderly friends in their missions as fighter pilots in WWII, Vietnam, or Korea. One had been a prisoner of war. Others were teachers, ministers’ wives, farm wives. I always had plenty to write. Encouragement again–to put words to print.

But I craved constructive edits and critiques.

Answer? PanWriter’s Class. World renown playwright, Bryan Willis, taught three writing classes on campus for a small fee. (Today he adds another: screenwriting.) We wrote from a prompt, read aloud from copies made for each student, and offered each other ideas for a better read—constructive critiques! Bryan passed out books to borrow or keep. We could read to learn still more. I claimed the books–with underlines and highlights!

After about a year, a published author Patricia moved into our neighborhood and joined Bryan Willis’ class. The story she read proved she had experience in writing. After walking home together from her first class, Patricia offered, “Mary Jo, would you lend me some of your stories to critique for you?”

“Oh, I’d be honored!” I dashed into my garden home, grabbed some pages from a 3-ring binder, and shoved them into Patricia’s opened chair-walker.

“I’ll call you over when I’ve finished. We’ll talk about the papers.” She putted home.

That began the first of weekly help with her challenges to read books on writing, to study, and to improve. Encouragement from Bryan Willis and substitutes when needed, I braved up to self-print Convent to Catwalk. Twenty years of my life with 60 pictures!

After 5 ½ years, hours of daily writing, I consigned my books in our Gifts, Etc. on April 1, 2017. Volunteers display and sell residents’ handmade items and books.

Picture 1

I am blessed with the explosion and constant excitement of Convent to Catwalk’s success. It has spread to six states in one month, with reorders for gift giving, and encouragement and help from my hubby, Chris.

This is just one exciting opportunity offered by Panorama and its volunteers. Write right!

A Resident’s Perspective – Feeling My Felting

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2017

At age 77, and 9 hours of labor, I smiled and bent down to his little whiskers…a few inches from my face. I had just given birth to my foot-tall, orange, smiling kitty cat standing on the white table.

“Oh, hi, sweetie!! You’re so-o-o precious! So cute. So cuddly. You’re ado-ra-ble. Yes..I see you smiling back at me. You’re just perfect! I can’t wait to take you home.” My cupped palms gave that baby face a gentle squeeze. I didn’t want to mash him out of shape. “Chris won’t believe I made you.”

I carried on and on with gushing expletives. I had just needled the last tiny corner of the large-curved, thin line of his ear-to-ear smile under his big, puffy, brown nose. It perched between two, scalloped, closed eyelids.

mjo_felting

Laugher brought me back to reality from the other eight residents in the room.

I caught myself. “Hope they didn’t hear me. Hope I’m not blushing.” I said nothing.

But they did, “Mary Jo, when you talk with your project with such tenderness and hug it with emotion, you know it has come alive and you’re done.” Teacher Gerda, with Alice and Sharon (her last year’s two helper-students), put down their projects.

I nodded, “Yes, that’s how I feel right now.”

“You’re on your way.”

We only had 45 minutes remaining in 18 hours divided between the past three consecutive days of needle-felting sculpture class.

My wrist tapped constantly on my 5-inch ladybug as I learned to use different felting needles on felting wools of various textures and colors. Despite repeated warnings to keep our eyes on our needles, someone would “ow!” as her finger jerked like a small fish on a hook. Gerda handed over a Charlie Brown and Snoopy bandage.

We graduated to sculpting a face and entire head…wrinkles and all…since it involves many techniques used in felting.

When Gerda demonstrated the options for curled hair, I shook my head. “I’m behind and need to catch up. I’ll make hubby Chris. He’s 84 with a bald head, and has just a few hairs between his ears on the back of his head!”

Gradually I felt my felting, and progressed much faster.

“I love that pixie Mary Ann’s forming. I’m going to make one for each of my grand-girls.”

I appreciated Gerda’s teaching and offering us to do our own thing while she guided with the techniques. Her helpers worked on their own masterpieces: Sharon’s 12-inch Mickey Mouse on a wire stand, and Alice’s full size, life-like owl. Being a crafter, when I see an unusual, exciting technique, perhaps I won’t pursue it, but I must experience how it is done.

A great discussion emerged when Sharon lit up, “Aren’t we blessed here at Panorama? Look at this state-of-the-art-room and the many resources we have.”

“The professional residents who teach us, and the selection of water color pencils, paints, papers, and tutorial books,” someone added.

“And that new TV on the wall with DVDs to teach more art while we work.”

“We have discovered hidden talents and many win art competitions with professional works.”

I never dreamed I would carry the heavy load of exciting opportunities at a retirement place like Panorama. I thank God daily.

Mary Jo Bio - Test

“A Dying Industry” TV Movie – An Artist’s Perspective

Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. November 2016

In the last blog, I wrote about the new adventure Bill Lange and Panorama are taking in doing TV movies to be shown on PCTV.  Here is an accompanying piece on the differences experienced by one of the actors in doing theatre and TV.

I have done a number of theatre plays over the years.  I thought this TV project would be something very new for me, something I never had the opportunity to try and I wanted to see what it was like and what I could learn.  Boy was it new and boy did I learn some new techniques needed to act for the camera.

First of all, I have the ability to what I call “get it to the back row” or projecting.  Projecting isn’t yelling or just talking loud.  It is more the force of voice so that everyone in the audience can not only hear you but hear the emotions of the character as well.  I quickly learned that I needed a new way of speaking and projecting for the camera.  As it was conveyed to me, “Mike, you don’t need to project for the theatre audience, there’s a microphone 3 feet above your head.  We can hear you.”  I needed to get the emotions conveyed not so much from only my voice but from facial reactions and more subtle tones.

Then there are close-ups.  No close-ups in the theatre.  Theatre acting is bigger, TV acting must be smaller, more intimate for the audience and more subtle.  Everyone has their own personal space, you know that space when “invaded” by another person starts feeling awkward.  Well when doing a two person close-up for TV, that space is definitely invaded.  This isn’t two people talking on a large theatre stage.  This has to be two people talking in very close quarters to fit the TV screen.  Amazingly you can get used to it.

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In theatre you rehearse the entire play in sequence for weeks and then comes the one opening night where it has to be perfect.  With TV, every scene you do has to be an opening night and perfect.  There is some rehearsal and blocking for a scene and then it is recorded….”the opening night”.  Each scene is recorded more than once and usually out of order.  We recorded the first scene of the play on one of the last days of production, while the first scenes filmed were the middle scenes of the play.  This made memorizing interesting and each scene needed to be filmed a number of times with the exact emotional and physical parts of the performance matching each other.  This was because for one scene it is recorded as a long shot showing the entirety of the location of the scene, then again closer to film the actors in the scene and then recorded again as a close-up for each actor individually in the scene.  In our case with three actors, each scene was recorded 6 times with each recording having to match perfectly with the previous camera set up.  That’s six opening nights just for one scene.  Not complaining, it was great fun and an interesting new skill.

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One last thing.  I found out quickly how important the crew and technicians are in the making of a movie.  In the theatre, lights, sound and stage are set on opening night and don’t change much, if at all.  For TV, all these things change every time you do a new shot.  They are the ones that make it happen and many thanks to these wonderful people.

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I hope this has given you the idea on what is new going on at Panorama for our residents.  I also hope you watch our play when it comes out, as well as coming out to volunteer for our next production.

Here are just some of the people who helped put this all together.   See any friends or neighbors?

Script Writer                         Martin Waldron

Producer                              Bill Lange

Director                                Bill Lange

Lighting                                Don Whiting

Sound                                  Don Whiting

Script Supervisor                 Nancy Luck

Sets                                     Ralph Dodds    Maurie Laufer

Props                                   Beth Dowsley

Camera                               Roger Roberts

Wardrobe Consultant          Karen Shanower

Make-up                              Claire MacPherson

Actors                                  Lu Hamacek    Helen Spalding    Mike Turner

Assistant Director                Mary Eberling

Technical Support               Ray Johnson

Mike_Edited copy

“A Dying Industry” TV Movie – In the Beginning

Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. November 2016

IN THE BEGINNING….of television that is, there were three networks and some local programming.  Not many choices at the start.  But some of the choices were very powerful and very well done.

Do you remember Playhouse 90, Colgate Theatre, Texaco Star Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Twilight Zone?  All of these shows were half hour or one hour narrative television or television plays.   These were original screenplays, sometimes written by famous writers of the day.  They told one complete story each week, not a series of related stories.

Well this type of narrative television is coming to Panorama!

Bill Lange, a Visual Storyteller here at Panorama, has taken up the project of producing and directing narrative television.  You might know Bill from his Artist’s Profile series on PCTV.

Bill has been involved in video and photography work for sometime, but has always had the dream of doing narrative television.  Bill has started to live that dream.

Bill contacted the Olympia Film Collective, a group of South Puget Sound directors, producers, lighting and sound people, camera operators and other technical positions.  It is a group of people who just have the love of making movies.  He asked for their mentoring and advice and was welcomed enthusiastically.  Bill also contacted Thurston County Media (TCM) or TCTV as it was called, for advice and help as well.  These are the same people who now mentor and aid the PCTV studio and crew.  They were also enthusiastic about the project.

The plan was to always have Panorama residents be the producers, directors, crew, technicians and actors for the project.  To that end Bill had a number of introductory meetings with residents to take the temperature of interest for this project.  Each meeting exceeded Bill’s expectations in attendance and interest.

The next step was the most important.  In real estate the saying is “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION”.  For a play, movie or in our case a TV play it’s “STORY, STORY, STORY”.  Everything starts with a story but it is almost impossible to obtain the rights to produce previously created material.  And we were working on a very small budget (read that as zero budget).  Luckily for us the Olympia Film Collective came to our rescue.  Part of their organization includes a group of writers.  They offered to write a TV play for us.  It actually ended up being three plays that were offered with minimal licensing costs, right in our budget.  Since this was our first foray into this type of movie making, Bill did ask facetiously that there be no car chases or explosions.  They obliged.

The biggest hurdle had been jumped, we have a story.  Then the call went out to Panorama residents for volunteers for the technical positions and actors.  All technical positions, lighting, sound, continuity, sets, camera, props were quickly filled by interested Panorama residents.  A call for actors went out and auditions were held and the cast was chosen.  The technical positions had great help in learning these new tasks they had volunteered for from both the Collective and TCM.  They were there to train and mentor our people and stayed with us in the studio or were on call when needed.  This could not have been done without their support and understanding.

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We now have a story and the people but where to record it?  Aren’t we lucky that Panorama has its own TV studio?  Bill, a member of the TV Team, met with the PCTV group and shared his idea.  Bill asked to share the limited PCTV studio space.  They were enthusiastic about its possibilities and their ability to include the finished tele-play in the scheduled broadcasts they show on PCTV.  Now we have the where.  With some help from the Barn, the home remodeling department and the woodshop volunteers, we were able to obtain props we needed to build a living room and kitchen set.  These were built in the PCTV studio in such a way that regular Panorama programming could continue as well as our filming.  It’s tight but worked like a charm.

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Now the recording is done and Bill and the post-production crew are in the process of editing our first Studio 370 Playhouse TV play “A Dying Industry”.  I won’t give away too much but it does involve a murder (or two).

As I mentioned “A Dying Industry” will be shown on PCTV but TCM was also interested in showing it on their station as well.

If all goes well and there is an ongoing interest in making more TV plays we still have two more waiting in the wings to be produced.  When the final editing is completed and we have a show date, look for the announcement of “A Dying Industry” on PCTV and the Bulletin.

Mike_Edited copy

A Resident’s Perspective – Arts Walk 2016

Written by Panorama resident, Charlie Keck. Photos also by Charlie Keck.  September 2016

If you think a resident art show at a retirement community offers only doilies by dollies and watercolor barns with red straight out of a box, you should have come for the Panorama Art Walk on September 8.

Bead Work at Panorama Arts WalkThirty artists, fresh from the smashing success of a Panorama exhibition at the Washington Performing Art Center in May and June, joined one hundred and fifty others participating in the Panorama Arts Walk – visual artists in various media, writers, dramatic performers and musicians to put on a really big show.

Some residents at Panorama are retired art professionals, others are established A-list amateurs, but of most interest for me were the B-list amateurs who, freed from the shackles of employment, grass cutting and progeny, can now hone their art skills with support from peers.

Pottery Wheel Art utilizing many different media were shown. Although all art starts with simple materials and an idea, those folks who start with a skein of yarn, fabric or a lump of clay seem like alchemists who transform base materials into pleasing art.  The range of art offerings included painters, drawers, metal and wood workers, as well as individuals working in fabric, felt, glass, jewelry, baskets and assemblages.  Musicians added to the salon-like ambience and thespians read vignettes by resident writers.

The art guild sometimes channels a visit by an artist from the past. This year we had Pablo Picasso.  He spoke Spanish, but I think he said, “Damn good work.”

Tapestry Work at Panorama Arts Walk 2016Mounting this show generated a beehive of activity. Kathy Houston and Grace Moore were co-queen bees; worker bees Gail Madden (theater and literary), Jane Barry (music) and April Works (visual art) were aided by dozens of anonymous drones.

Special kudos go to Jill Huentelman and Jeff Sprengel who produced the eye-catching show program.

Come to the art show next year and get your art juices flowing. You’ll see great art and eat good food.  Parking is a bit tight, but we have two ninety year old women who used to race stock cars provide valet services.  Fun to watch them squeeze almost all of someone else’s car into a tight spot.

Charlie Keck

B-list scribe

A Resident’s Perspective – Lunch in The Gallery

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2016

Enjoying lunch together, our conversation turned toward the walls of Panorama’s new, smaller restaurant called The Gallery. It accommodates about 60, and is next to our largest restaurant, Seventeen51.

“Granny, this is like eating in an art museum!” Our nine-year-old granddaughter Hope’s eyes focused on hand-woven tapestry and fabric hangings, pen and ink, fused glass, and color pencil displays. She laid her fork down. “I like the fat, brown and black, fuzzy caterpillar. I wonder how you make it. The little sign says the caterpillar is on two layers of handmade tapestry. But my other favorite is the fuzzy wolf head. I like how it sticks out from the wall.”

Gallery Wolf

“The caterpillar is cut yarn loops, and the wolf head is needle felting,” I said. “Look at the life-like graphite, oils, and textiles exhibits. They are incredible. Someone teaches those skills here at Panorama.”

Gallery Sea Creatures

Hope pointed to the framed assemblage. “I like how that one has lots of different things to make the fish and seaweed with metal, ceramics, and that string of red sequins. And those rusty metal chains make it look like real underwater stuff. Pawpaw, what’s your favorite?”

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“The photos amaze me, but I think it’s so clever how each of the twenty artists made a different interpretation of the theme.”

“Theme, Pawpaw? What is it?”

“For about six months, it’s been Living and Fantasy Creatures.”

Biting a long French fry, Hope studied the displays again. “Oh, I get it. That’s why so many are unrealistic. That’s a great idea.”

Chris continued, “The next theme will be Never Too Old. With our creative Panorama resident artists, we can expect some interesting and comical entries.”

I added, “Yes, past themes were Portraits, Photos, Textiles, and 3D. Artists came up with all sorts of original ideas.”

“Granny, I can’t wait to come eat here when the new stuff is up. Are they for sale?” Hope asked.

“Not all are. Some artists spend months on them. I imagine they want the piece for special reasons, maybe to leave for their family members, things like that.”

“I wonder if anything ever happens to them, since they are in a dining room,” Chris asked.

My eyebrows raised. “I asked that question just last week. The artists sign permission waivers, and nothing has ever happened to the pieces. They’re not in the way of any danger. We only tease with jokes and puns in the restaurant–don’t think we’d resort to a seniors’ old fashion tomato throw!”

Suddenly two couples taking a campus tour with a marketing counselor stepped inside the dining room to glance around. They were captivated. “How nice to sit, dine, and visit with plenty opportunities for conversations on the walls.”

Gallery Living & Fantastical Creatures

We enjoyed their remark. Hope reiterated, “It’s like eating in a fun and fancy museum.”

Chris joked truthfully, “And the famous artists are our friends!”

Mary Jo Bio - Test

A Report from the Blues Mothers – An Indigo Day

Story and photos by Panorama resident, Charlie Keck. August 2016

Indigo-Shibori

From cowpokes to sequined models on the catwalk, everyone loves the color blue. Levi Strauss certainly knew a great color when he saw it.

Fabric-dyed-with-indigoIndigo has a checkered past.  In some cultures only royalty was allowed to wear cloth dyed blue.  Later there was so much demand for the color from wealthy Europeans that indigo became a major American cash crop.  Slaves did the difficult work including stomping large vats of the plants.  Cakes of dried indigo were then shipped to Europe.  Indigo was a highly desired dye all around the world including Japan, China and Africa.

Fresh-Indigo-leavesAt Panorama five skilled fiber artists and a couple of groupies gave a try at indigo dyeing using two methods.  The indigo was grown in the pea patch and three members harvested when it was still blessed with the morning dew.  The dyers then met in an “art studio” garage and stripped the leaves from the stems.

The-Cold-Indigo-MethodThe “cold” method is a slam-dunk if you have expendable blenders (The Barn-$5). After blending packed leaves and ice cubes, the macerated leaves were strained out in cheese cloth and the resulting liquid poured into a dyeing container with the fabric to be dyed.  Silk, linen and wool worked best.  After an hour or two, the cloth was withdrawn and dried.  It tended to have a greenish or aqua color.

Cooking-the-indigo-leavesThe “hot” method is a bit trickier. A suspension of leaves and water was placed in a non-reactive double boiler and very slowly (one hour) headed to the magic 160 degrees.  Then the leaves were taken out and a mystery powder called Thiox was added and, finally, the cloth to be dyed was gently slid into the dye.  Some of the artists created designs using rubber bands or pre-stitching.

Clothesline-for-dyed-fabricIt was fun to watch the dye-soaked cloth merge from the pot and develop lovely shades of blue and blue-green when it was exposed to the air. Then, as the cloth dried in the sun, the color lightened a bit.  Re-dyeing to obtain a darker color was saved for another day.

Our leader Nancy has many indigo plants in the garden and might be willing to barter for zucchini.

Harvesting-Indigo-in-Pea-Patch

A Resident’s Perspective – Open Art Wednesdays

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2016

“I have a nice box of artist chalks, but the box says pastels, what do I do with them?” I asked resident sculptor, photographer, artist Neil.

“Oh, they’re chalks, but are called pastels,” he explained. “Come to the Panorama art studio on Wednesday mornings. Anyone can come, not for a class, but to do their own work. I’ll be there. We’ll help you get started.”

My eyes bulged. “Whoa! Nice! What do I bring? What kind of paper, and…”

Neil interrupted, “Just bring your pastels for the first time. Everything else is in the studio…paper, brushes, acrylics, reference photos, several OTTlites. Even a new overhead projector and light boxes.”

Wednesday came; so did I! I tiptoed into the room, not wanting to distract others. Four accomplished artists looked up and burst out, “Mary Jo, we’re so glad you came. Welcome!”

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I stood admiring the result of a completely gutted out room, now with state-of-the-art equipment and lights for more natural lighting.

My eye caught Sigree’s and Candy’s works. “The skin tones appear more rich and tan than the photo. You are way past good,” I affirmed.

I worked a while with my pastels on black and on white with Neil’s generous help and suggestions. I realized my cup of tea did not fill with chalks.

“How ‘bout watching a 10-minute DVD on dimension?” someone suggested. Neil got it running on the new large flat screen and tilted it toward our area. Even the seasoned artists picked up new angle ideas. April Works (treasurer of the arts studio) sat down and drew a wooden shed, practicing the tutorial, and amazed us with her shadings and dimensions.

For my visit the next Wednesday, I walked over with two trays of watercolor paints I bought for 50 cents each from Panorama’s Annual Patio sale and a box of 12 watercolor pencils. April popped in a 10-minute basic watercolor techniques DVD. We all learned how to shave the colored pencil with a finger nail file over the watered paper to get a tiny splattered effect.

The large box of watercolor pencils and the smaller brush I borrowed from the art room offered a better selection. I experimented and colored one of my own eight 4”x5”coloring cards from one of the sets I drew to sell in our Gift Shop. I was proud of and comfortable with my work.

Florence looked up from her flawless sketching and reminded me, “Mary Jo, we are allowed check out DVDs from the large selection of tutorials.

April opened new cabinets to introduce me to items available including props such as styrofoam balls, cones, and cubes. In addition, art books, matte cutter, batts and roving, needle felting cabinets donned neat labels.

art_room_booksI was curious, “Why do you come over here on Wednesdays? Is anyone in charge of all of this organization?”

I jerked when in unison they raised their pencils and spoke at one time.

“Interruptions at home and setting up to work on projects take time.”

“Joyce Jaime is chair of the 2D Arts Studio and teaches many of the classes. Besides resident instructors, we have off campus teachers for other classes.”

“Here, we visit, get more art done, share ideas, clean up quicker, and return home with enthusiasm.”

I experienced my question, “Why do you come?” Carrying enthusiasm of friends and ideas in my art bag, I bounced on my feet as I smiled from ear to ear, walking back home–with my pencils and paints.

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I had a story to share about one of the updated, specially equipped studios at Panorama: 2D art, ceramics, lapidary, metal work, weaving, and woodworking. We also have many formal and informal groups who gather in rooms to pursue basket-weaving, embroidery, fibers arts, fly-tying, knitting, Kumihimo braiding, and quilt-making. How blessed we are.

Mary Jo Bio - Test

PC Chorus Spring Concert – May 2016

Written by Panorama staff. May 2016

With ten minutes until the start of the concert, the Auditorium was already packed with people. Residents, friends and family members squeezed together in excitement for the start of the PC Chorus Spring Concert. The chorus eagerly sat on the stage, waiting to start performing the songs they had practiced repeatedly.

As the concert began, a theme was introduced: “A Grand Night of Singing.” Each member of the chorus was asked to pick their favorite song from 10 years of past spring concerts and the top favorites were compiled into the concert’s program. The selections were fantastic with famous songs like “Mr. Sandman,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” and “Amazing Grace.”

Panorama Chorus Spring ConcertThe audience could enjoy songs with the full impact of the entire chorus singing. Sometimes, songs were split within the chorus, between the altos and sopranos or the tenors and basses, allowing those groups to shine and standout. The chorus finished with a huge patriotic bang, singing “Stars & Stripes Forever” and “You’re a Grand Ole Flag.” The concert was a must-see event at Panorama this past weekend! Events like this are a wonderful opportunity to experience the diverse talents alive in this community.

PC Chorus Concert 2016