2016 – In Review

Professionally, I continue to work as an arbitrator when called on by the American Arbitration Association or FINRA. Work has been light this year and it will likely be my last. 33 years is a long run. Will continues to work at VISA. They seem to like him and throw lots of projects and challenges his way. This year was a bit of an off year for him, as much time and energy was spent rehabbing from the left shoulder surgery last fall. The surgeon is pleased with his recovery and expects further progress over the next year.

This is the 2nd year we have served as the landed Baron and Baroness of the Westermark (San Mateo County and part of Alameda County). To this end, it is incumbent on us to help provide the infrastructure at events. This year was the 50th Anniversary of the first event – Beltane (May Day) 1966 so we had a 10 day long celebration event on a huge field. We brought our personal round pavilion and sunshade (kitchen and eating area), a 2nd wedge pavilion for guests, plus the Baronial sunshade. Nightly we had play readings and I taught 8 classes. For 10 days we hung around in the current middle ages; complete with onsite animals, bread kiln, and much more as people experimented with many different aspects.

Our big Baronial event is held in September and this year we were able to hold it on top of a mountain in Half Moon Bay. Awesome event – heavy fighting, rapier fighting, archery challenges (even Will and I got to shoot), arts and sciences, a feast, and court. We had around 70 people. Whew!

In June we drove to Eugene for my embroiderer's guild regional seminar. I took 2 classes – Salmon Run (partially done) and another very 3D class that played with layering and torturing fabrics. I also designed and taught a round robin class called – Stitching Nature – 8 techniques taught in 2 hours. It was lots of fun and people seemed to like the information. We also celebrated 20 years together – having met June 1996.

We are still ruled by 3 cats. Pickwick is the oldest at 11 and the brothers Pirate and Bandit are 6. Bandit is Pickwick's buddy whether he wants company or not.

In November, we traveled to Alexandria Virginia for my National Embroiderers' Guild Seminar. I took 2 classes on very 3D stuff – Soutache Braid, Shibori & Beads and then Felting. While I was in class, Will took in museums and walked around DC. Alexandria has some great shops and the Torpedo factory has been turned into a wonderful art/artist work space. We were, also, able to catch up with my friend Barbara Rosen for a dinner in Alexandria. She and I worked together at BofA in the early '80's.

Then on to Colonial Williamsburg for a few days. We stopped at Mt Vernon on the way down and managed to get to Yorktown as well. It was fun to spend time with Ron Carnegie who is the current George Washington at CW. We dined in the historic taverns, visited all the hands on shops, and enjoyed the changing of the seasons.

It has been a very "arty" year for me. It started off with a challenge from my embroidery guild chapter to use something from our 40th Anniversary project symbols. I created the poppy and quail scene. I still need to add a couple small touches to it.

I have been teaching encrusted crazy quilting at the local quilting shop. Each month I present a new quilt block (6 basic patterns – each repeated 2x) with a new technique. The blocks are only partially done to encourage the students to consider using the new techniques they are learning. We have 2 more classes to go. Next year there will be 4 – 3 month long projects. It is an interesting exercise to design to teach techniques versus copying – very different considerations and decisions.

I also entered a 5 competition challenge for my local Principality. The 2 not shown were a written piece with performance – a sestina (a poem with a pattern to the words) and 4 Roman dishes (3 cheese based and 1 walnut based). The pouch is cotton velvet silk lined with fingerloop braid technique silver decorations and cords. The (goose) bone tools are Viking – 3 different style needle cases and 2 different style needles. The rings and bracelets are 800-1000 c. style Viking copper and silver pieces. Even with all this I did not win, but it was fun to stretch a bit.

In the adventures of rehoming items ... My uncle had acquired a Korean Box in the '50's. I went to donate it to the Asian Museum in San Francisco. Turns out it was the outer seal box to recognize the birth mother of a famous Korean ruler - approximate date 1814. The ceremony of return took place on Monday, Dec. 5, at the Asian Museum with all due ceremony including representatives of the Korean Government and a Curator from the National Palace Museum. Who knew a dusty wood box with red wax traces on the inside and brass and ray skin on the outside would be so special.

Our yard has been affected by the drought, but we have managed to keep some of the special plants flourishing. Will repotted the 7 camellias that came from Grandpa Joe to Dad to me. They seem to be doing well for 60+ year old plants. The orchids are doing better now that we are getting some rain. We have pink, yellow, white and miniature green ones, with more on the way.

Lastly, but not least, we continue to enjoy living in a very lovely spot on earth – Half Moon Bay. We hope 2017 finds you all healthy and happy.

Robin & Will

Ps Robin can be found on Facebook frequently and Will reluctantly.


2016 All Rights Reserved by Robin L. Berry