Frosted Belgium

Hi everyone,

First of all, for those of you who were afraid we might have frozen to death or were stuck sleeping in a snow-covered airport, we are still warm-blooded, pliable and breathing fairly freely in Spain. I (Era) did jump off a stone wall onto some stone pavers for some completely mad reason. I seemed to have forgotten that I was a woman of a certain age, and thought I was still a youngster. Luckily no permanent damage seems to have been suffered. My knee was very sore that evening, but I walked all over, up and down Toledo the next day (yesterday). I thought of my friend, Hung, who is recovering from knee surgery. Don said it's a sympathetic sore knee.

But I'm jumping the gun. One more picture of Paris before we go to Belgium. This is looking out one of the windows of the Louvre.

Took the fast train (or Thalys - they give names to all these fast trains) to Brussels from Paris Gare du Nord. The plan was to meet up with Chuck and Company in the Brussels Train Station, near the Hertz car rental. The Brussels Midi train station is so poorly signed and posted that it took about 15 minutes to find the toilets and about 20 minutes to find the Hertz car rental. Fortunately, Chuck's train (the ICE - travels from Stuttgart, Frankfurt to Brussels) was late, so we had time to spare, and were able to determine exactly what track they would arrive and when.

We had rented a smallish van - big for Europe - and were a little nervous about fitting 5 people, luggage, camera equipment and wheelchair into it. Fortunately, everybody packed light. Everybody is 6 ft 2 Don; 6 ft 4 Chuck; 6 ft 2 Sienna, video artist and former fashion model; normal-sized Carol, who is Chuck's nurse, and 5 ft 1 me. We had no room to spare.

Drove straight to our hotel, Hotel Oud Huis de Peellaert, in Bruges from Brussels. This is a beautiful hotel, comfortable, great service, very good breakfast, and not at all expensive. I am convinced that their quite odd name, for those who don't speak Flemish, keeps their prices down, as people can't pronounce or remember their name. Anyway, highly recommended. We met up with Tim Marlow of the White Cube Gallery in London. "You'll love him," said Chuck. "Everybody has a crush on Tim." I asked around, yes, everybody had a crush on him. Just because he's handsome, charming, smart and bought us all dinner? Which was very good by the way.

Surrounding Chuck (L to R) Sienna (with lobster bib), Carol, Tim, Don and Era.

Next day, bright and early, had a lovely, if a bit hurried, breakfast at the hotel, piled into the van (except for Tim, who had to get back to London) and we were on our way to the mill, Don driving. I don't know about the others, but Don and I are still jet-lagged, waking up in the middle of the night, and operating on 5 hours of sleep.

The mill had kindly cleared their schedule to work on our experiments. It was great as Chuck got to see in person what happens at Flanders Tapestries when his tapestries are woven. He got to look at the different thread colors and choose what he wanted, to some extent. Some of the threads can not be changed. Don and Chuck had already laboriously created the weave files for Loom 3. Then using new palettes, beautiful tests were made on Loom 1, a larger loom. Keep in mind that not all you see has been approved by the artist; it's all experimental.

Chuck decided to use a different gray scale palette and the change was made with a lot of help from Marcos and Flanders. Here shown L to R are Marcos, Roland and Christian (the brothers who own the mill), Don and Chuck.

Lucas is rewoven.

We dropped Chuck, Sienna and Carol off at the Brussels train station; they left a day earlier. We soon realized to our horror that we had dropped them off at the wrong train station, Central instead of Midi. We parked, rushed into the station and looked all around, but they were already on their way. We had heard of Brussels Midi and Brussels Central, and thought they were the same station (there are a number of other Brussels train stations also). Fortunately, being smart and resourceful people, they found their way to Brussels Midi. Meanwhile, we got hopelessly entangled in Brussels rush hour traffic. We were thinking of turning the van in, or trading it in, but couldn't begin to find our way to Midi through the traffic snarls. We did manage to drive back to relatively sleepy Bruges.

Happy Holidays!

It snowed the day we left Bruges.


Era and Don