Returned home last night from what is surely one of the most thrilling experiences you can imagine. It was three days of highlight after highlight.
But I will begin at the beginning. I showed up at the airport on Saturday morning, fearful I would have to pay $250 for my oversize checked baggage - my mounted quilt that was my donation to the ICF auction in Milwaukee.
But lo and behold, I lucked out and found a sympathetic ticket agent who charged me only a $25 fee as it was for a charity. Bless her! My flights were very positive experiences, with United Airlines, I had wrapped the artwork in three layers of different thicknesses of bubble wrap and built a special box so it would escape the fate of a certain Taylor guitar in the music video by Sons of Maxwell.
Upon arrival, after a few panicky moments of thinking the artwork hadn't made the connecting flight from Chicago, I joined my host at the elegant Pfister Hotel and we went together to Discovery World on the pier and unwrapped it so they could display it for the auction. That evening, we returned and the first person I was introduced to was my hero, Jane Goodall. I was absolutely gobsmacked and marvelled at her quiet dignity. I also had the good fortune to meet close friends of my hosts, a lovely couple who took me under their wing (how appropriate for a crane gala) and had me pose in front of the silent auction area where photo after photo was taken with admirers of my work, enthusiastic bidders, and ICF supporters. It was a heady experience!
The photos here tell the rest of the story - a successful auction, a trip to the beautiful countryside around Baraboo, a visit to the ICF headquarters with a tour of the sanctuary, and a relaxing stay at an idyllic farm where I learned about invasive species and looked at stunning galaxies in the night sky - I've included a photo of a small crane quilt I brought for my hosts there, small recompense for their gracious hospitality.