CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

CNCH 2015 at Asilomar: Walking the Walk

Sometimes a sure path to artistic inspiration is as easy as immersing yourself in your immediate surroundings — especially if they are as awe-inspiring as the Asilomar Conference Grounds and Beach! And, when you attend CNCH 2015 at Asilomar, on Monterey Bay, if you want to physically take a path to that inspiration, the folks at Asilomar have already laid out your route. In fact, the local environs are so diverse that they’ve published three distinctive self-guided walking tour booklets to guide you. Pick them up for free at the front desk.

Free walking guides

Free walking guides


Many weavers are inspired by the architecture of Julia Morgan, a champion of the Arts & Crafts movement, and Asilomar holds the largest single collection of her work. A class like Rosalie Neilson’s “Color and Design in Rep” would be a perfect companion to a close study of Morgan’s style.

Julia Morgan's

Rep Weave from Rosalie Neilson

The “Julia Morgan’s Architecture” tour booklet explains Morgan’s involvement in the development of Asilomar (which started as a YWCA Girl’s Camp in 1913).

There are some unexpected details in Morgan’s work which may change the way you design: watch for how she manipulates proportions by varying angles; also her surprising use of gentle curves to bracket more linear elements.

Julia Morgan

Design detail, Merrill Hall, Asilomar


Asilomar State Beach is world famous and the attraction of its beauty will surely call to you.

shore bird

Shore bird eying dinner

If you’re enrolled in Mary Finley’s “Wonders of Natural Dyeing” class, you’ll probably experience deja vu between dye pot and nature.


Kelp in the shallows

Grabbing the “Coast Trail” self-guided tour brochure on your way out will enhance your walk. Keep an eye out for the profiles of hunting and camping sites used by the Rumsien Indians before the Europeans arrived. If you timed your walk for a tidepool experience, the myriad colors will amaze you!

Turning inward, (maybe in more ways than one), the serene Forest of Asilomar holds still more inspiration.

Forest fungus

Fungus on the forest floor

The “Nature’s Forest” walking tour brochure moves you away from the coast for a closer look at meadow flowers, native Monterey pines, and if you’re lucky, colorful birds and wildlife.

Townsend's warbler

Townsend’s warbler

If you’re taking Shannon Weber’s “Random Weaving” class, you may see just what you need to make your artwork sing out!

These walking tours are designed to take about an hour of your time, and of course you can expand your experience by doing a bit of lollygagging, or bringing along some friends, or planting yourself at the end of the trail with your spindle, knitting, or if you’re like me, your well-worn copy of Sharon Alderman’s “Mastering Weave Structures”! One of the great things about the CNCH 2015 Asilomar experience is that it’s designed to be unstructured, relaxed, and most of all, deeply inspiring. So join us!


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