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Archive for the ‘Learning Vacations’ Category

We took our group to our friend Simona’s house for cooking. We went an hour early so they could sketch for the work they are doing with our teacher – Junelle Jacobsen

The country around Simona’s house is beautiful. A short rain brought is a stunning double rainbow.

We made a ricotta/pear/walnut/pancetta appetizer, pasta, a pumpkin/sausage/fennel flower ragu, and tiramisu.

Sweet dreams!!

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One of the alluring aspects of Italy is that there are so many layers. You peel away what you see and there is another layer, and another. This is evident on the street as you observe an arch within and arch within and arch speaking of years of change and transition. It’s beautiful.

Because we had a mosaic group in May we wanted them to see and be inspired by the mosaic floor of a Byzantine church underneath the “contemporary”church of St. Andrea. Here you see the layers. Byzantine underneath St Andrea and on top of Roman on top of Etruscan.

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Here is an Etruscan furnace underneath the floor of the Byzantine floor underneath the floor of St. Andrea. When the Romans defeated the Etruscans about 200 B.C. they banished them and shut the city down for nearly 700 years. Slowly, dirt piled up on top of the Etruscan ruins until the rock was finally reoccupied in the 4-500 A.D. period.

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The rough stone at the bottom is the base for the smooth stone on top – an Etruscan street. Above that is debris and then the base for the Byzantine church floor with the mosaics on the floor. The Etruscan streets ran northwest to southeast unlike the Christian orientation of due north-south/east-west.

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Here you see the mosaic floor, the “modern” foundation of  St. Andrea with the Byzantine column coming out of the foundation that had supported the Byzantine church ceiling above and still helping support the floor above.

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Pavers leading to an Etruscan well, once part of the street but then covered by the church 700 years later

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The rough block at the bottom is Etruscan. The smooth block, Byzantine. The concrete from St Andrea. The Etruscan foundation still at work 2500 years later.

Layers!!

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Orvieto is a city with incredible mosaics. The cathedral is particularly stunning and visible to all. But there are others, less visible, like the mosaics under St. Andrea church dating to the Byzantine period, and sitting on top of Roman and Etruscan ruins which are clearly visible. So we were excited to have Pam Goode back a second time to lead a mosaic workshop. She called it Postcards Home because she had her students do a postcard size piece.

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Mosaics are slow. That is one reason it appeals to Pam. And I love the notion in our fast paced world – an art form that requires you to think and be patient and go slow. And so the students started their piece but will finish them at home.

We learned a lot from Pam. She doesn’t like to use grout. Her work is meticulous, the pieces fitting incredibly tightly together – look in the image above. She is also a poet. At our closing she read a stunning piece she composed during the week about why she loves Orvieto and travel and what she will miss. I was in tears because it so beautifully captures what this wonderful town and the gorgeous people we know here do for us and give us. She is working on the poem to get it just right. But when it is done she will send it to us and I’ll post it here. I think it perfectly describes the incredible experience people get on our trips.

Pam is a beautiful soul and you can read a wonderful interview with her here: http://www.lunamosaics.com/pamela-goode.html Visit her website here.

So, pics of the group and it’s work.

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Thank you Pam, Susan, Sharon and Mary. What a wonderful week you gave us!

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Melissa Harris’s watercolor week just finished. I always stand in amazement of what is produced and the individuality of each artist. Wish I could do this!!

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After the dinner, next up for Simona and Nick on their American and Morganton adventure, was a cooking class at the Reihl’s house on beautiful Lake James. Dianne had set up two gorgeous tables on which to eat and her kitchen lent itself perfectly to the 12 in the class.

The menu was a fava bean/ricotta/mint crostino, a pear and Gorgonzola risotto with salad and roasted potatoes, chicken cacciatora, and panna cotta with coffee caramel and raisins steeped in wine.

Taste of Orvieto

One of Dianne’s 2 beautiful tables

Adventures in Italy

Ready for the cooking students

Cultural adventures

Assembled and ready to begin

Bill Steiner

Peeling pears to be cooked in wine and added to the risotto

Kristi Steiner

Watching Simona demonstrate

Art in Italy

It was fun with much laughter

Adventures in Italy

Some of the men prepare the crostini

Art classes in Orvieto

Look what a good job they did!

Food, wine, culture

Preparing the coffee caramel for dessert

Cooking classes in Italy

Dessert

olive picking in Italy

The Reihls and Simona

Cheese making in Italy

The class!

What fun it was. It was sad to see Nick and Simona leave, but they were off for more cooking in Boston. Such a treat for us to have them here. You can cook with Simona at her farmhouse in October via our Taste of Orvieto trip!

Nick and Simona may return for another round. We have encouraged Nick to teach some photography while he is here, if they come. To see his incredible work go here. And to learn more about Simona visit her website.

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For the third year Misty brought her magic to Orvieto this fall. She had new students and half who had been with her and us in Orvieto before. Such fun! Here is the group and a taste of their beautiful work.

Misty with her group

Misty with her group

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe also had a group doing Discover Orvieto during the week. We did many things, but one was to travel to Allerona to cook with our friend Simona. She is a wonderful teacher, and we had such a good meal!!

Simona got us all involved

Simona got us all involved

We went into her garden at her house in the countryside to pick fresh ingredients

We went into the garden at her house in the countryside to pick fresh ingredients

One of the dishes we cooked

One of the dishes we cooked

Could you guess we were in an Italian home?

Could you guess we were in an Italian home?

The Discover Orvieto group

The Discover Orvieto group

There were spouses and friends of Misty’s group in Discover Orvieto. We all shared in meals, wine tastings, vineyard tour and more.

Here we all are together

Here we all are together

Great memories, and future trips to look forward to!

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Sue is just a fabulous teacher. She creates magic. We got to see the beginning of the work from her class this week. Each reflects the artist’s views and experiences of the week. Each so individual and compelling. As these pieces are finished we have been promised pictures!

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Wonderful, simpatico group. Such a memorable week. Thank you all for a fabulous time.

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