End of Summer

Even tho it’s going to be 90 degrees this week, it feels like fall has arrived. The sunflowers fields are brown and ready to harvest. I get asked a lot from the La Cascade workshops participants what the endless sunflower fields are harvested for. The best that I have found out is seeds, sunflower oil (used extensively here like we use canola) and then finally, animal feed.

The fields are glorious while they last- usually from mid July til the end of August.

Most of the summer people have left the village but there is still much fun to be had. And many workshops still to come this fall at La Cascade.

Last weekend was the first annual Country Western Days here in the village. Strange but true! The Red Riders dance club came for two days and danced ceaselessly from 4 PM Sat til 1 AM (with live music at night (great) and all day Sunday. This group specialized in line dancing and was so amazing it made me want to join them next year. It’s a little disconcerting at first to hear country music sung with a French accent and also to see the sea of cowboy hats and boots. But ya gotta admire their passion for the genre.

Just a few more days here so this will be my last post from France for this year. As soon as I get home I’m off to the John C. Campbell Folk School for a week long class- please come join the fun- it’s a week making Polymer Clay Books! And then to Boston to the New England Polymer Artist guild.

Third Annual Fete de L’eau (Water festival)

Setting up the drinks booth

One of the more interesting experiences to have in a small French village- is to offer to be on one the village  festival committees! My husband and I sit on two committees – and we basically understand nothing! The meetings are fun, full of laughter and opinions and disagreements- but the conversations are so fast and filled with French slang- that most of it goes by in a blur.

adding to the flower display in the river
storyteller in front of the new village mural

There is always, ALWAYS, delish food and drink so and we just keep saying (in French)- we are here to help!!




Our friends and fellow villagers seem to really appreciate our effort  and translate the important stuff eventually!

And we have had a great time the last three years on the Fete de L’eau committee.This year was no different.

making boats

There is a feeling of chaos and disorganization (partly because we don’t understand really what is going on) but then it all always pulls together the day of. We hung hundreds of bright colored flags thru the streets and around the village square. I sang in the Fete de l’eau choir in our small sweet church. The acoustics there make an average choir sound fantastic- we sang water songs in French and English (I’m singing in the rain was one.)

our water choir
waiting for the boat race to begin

All day long were wonderful activities for young and old. Building boats out of recycled materials for a boat race down the waterways in our village, a waiter relay race –holding a tray of glasses filled with water and running thru the streets of the village. Trout fishing, storytelling, the creating of a flower art in the river by each person attending.  An art show of Water art at our village gallery. Ending with an apero for all and a pot luck dinner in the street. Here’s some pics!!


A week ago we made a quick trip to meet a friend in Marseilles. The city is big and full of energy- it reminds me of NYC where I lived for 10 years. It’s the second or third  largest city in France (depending on who you talk to) and has the largest port in France. The location on the Mediterranean is truly unique and astounding.

The first night we walked around and had dinner in a neighborhood called La Plaine. It’s high up on one of the seven hills of Marseilles,  but  our friend told us that La Plaine translates as “the valley”!?!

There are many bars, restaurants and shops and it’s considered to be the cool and trendy part of Marseilles. I was entranced by the storefront and building art-any available space is covered with artistic paintings. Here’s a few of my favorites!


My workshop at La Cascade is over and what a week we had! Even tho it was brutally hot, everyone was a real trooper and everyday was a joy. Treasures were found at the markets and in Albi and many beautiful pieces of jewelry, bowls, figures and books were made in our studio time together.

I had such a great time with you all.  My thanks and love for your adventurous spirits and joy to Ray, Rae, Sara, Carla, Carolyn, Kathi, Sue and Camille. I hope our paths will cross many times!

Right after the workshop Dan and I took off for a short vacation which turned into automobile hell. We had a first great day in a small village east of Avignon. We attended a music festival and the Michel le Grand trio played. He is a legendary musician and composer who wrote songs such as Windmills of Your Mind, Summer of ’42 and the score and songs for Umbrellas of Cherboug. (One of my favorite films- see it!).

He is now 86 and tho quite frail as he walks, his playing is incomparable. The energy just pours out is fingers and soul. What an amazing night.

But starting the next day- car troubles. It was a real challenge to find mechanics in Avignon- a big city we don’t know well AND on the weekend AND in August (the month when most go on vacation) AND in some of the worst heat I have experienced. What should have been a relaxing vacation turned into a real test of remaining calm and positive.

Off to the next adventure.





In just a few days my last workshop will arrive at La Cascade. Really looking forward to sharing a week with wonderful friends- new and old. I thought I’d share a few of my fave pics of life at La Cascade.

the studio
the waterfall behind La Cascade
Welcome apero on the terrace
Nese, chef and owner, and me
ready for dinner
front of La Cascade- built in 1680- three stories tall
Terrace dining table for summer evenings
the salon-living room