Old Pond Comics

Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2014(Seabeck, WA)








From October 16-19, 2014, I was cartoonist-in-residence at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway for the second year. I drew comics during the event (at night) and presented them on the last day of the conference. Some of my Old Pond Comics also appeared in the schedule (printed and online).

The theme of the conference was: Sound.

The highlight of the conference was a night ginko with paper lanterns.


Quick links:

The road to Seabeck | Seabeck Conference Centrecomic

Name tag | Greeting Haiku | Haiku Map |

Alan Pizzarelli | John Stevenson | Flagbook workshop | haiku quilts

| night ginko| nature walk | retreat | Roast of Michael Dylan Welch |

Weathergrams | Haiku Display |

Freebie | Book Table | No Longer Strangers |



The road to Seabeck

Seabeck is located about 80 minutes from Seattle and five hours from Vancouver, B.C.

google map

Map: Google map


Desolation Pass

On our way to Seabeck, our group stopped at Desolation Pass where we saw a beautiful arbutus tree (recognizable the the peeling orange bark).

photo photo


We also saw fields covered with pumpkins, an army base, and windmills.



Taking the Ferry

Going to Seabeck (located on a peninsula in washington state) usually requires taking one (or several) ferries. When it's windy, the ride gets a bit rocky.photo



I shift my weight

with the ferry

Aubrie Cox






Seabeck Conference Centre

You know you've arrived at your destination when you see the iconic chairs and maple leaves on the porch of the Seabeck Conference Centre.

photo photophoto photo


Bouncing Bridge

It's always fun to cross the Bouncing Bridge to get to the conference venue.





Name tagname tag

Attendees of the Seabeck haiku conference, must make and bring their own name tag.

My name tag featured Master Kawazu and his apprentice Kaeru.

The organizer Michael Dylan Welch took pictures of all the attendees' badges. You'll find them on the Seabeck Haiku Getaway website.



comic comic




Greeting Haiku (presented by Terry Ann Carter)

During this workshop, Terry Ann Carter, inspired by Chiyo-ni's greeting haiku, showed us how to write a greeting haiku on rice paper, taking inspiration on our environment, the occasion, how the person looked or made you feel.

Each participant wrote a haiku about the person next to them and then respectfully offered the haiku greeting to them, with both hands, thumbs up. The paper was folded at an angle so it was easy to open.

Lynn wrote a haiku for me. The haiku we received is a great keepsake from the conference!




Haiku map

John Stevenson lead this activity - a clever way for us know the other attendees. The 33 people present on Friday morning were divided by group according to their geographic location. Each attendees said

The words were: sharing company friendship warmth whatever! fun boating clarity energy joy laughter enlightenment walking autumn enlightenment inspiration originality friends passion rainbow handout simplicity vibrancy less away juxtaposition clear-sightedness haiku friendship novelty contact-high tastes momentum

John Stevenson said: "This is a portrait of us now."

I used Wordle to put the words in a cloud:


During my presentation, I showed the cloud, reminding attendees of the word they had chosen, and asked if they had achieved their goal.

Most of them did, especially Allan Pizzarelli who - opened to any new experience - had said: "Whatever!"

Aubrie Cox got to do some boating (even though it was just sitting on a rowboat tied to the dock, with 2 inches of water in the bottom)

And I got to share my comics.



Alan Pizzarelli (the feature speaker) and Donna Beaver presented their podcast Haiku Chronicles:




Alan Pizarelli - History of American Haiku

We learned that in the sixties, there was a group of poets who were working on a definition of "haiku" to put in the dictionary and encyclopedias.




Alan Pizarelli - Reading

Alan read from his upcoming book which will feature some of his best work such as:.




John Stevenson - Letter to a Young Poet (from the Editor)

John Stevenson held a workshop during which we pretended to be haiku journal editors drafting a letter in response to the submission of a poet new to haiku ("Pat Newby") who sent really terrible haiku. In the letter, we had to use tact, while providing information and support to the young poet.




Kathy Munroe introduced us to life in the Yukon where snow sometimes stays suspended in the air (and you feel like you're inside a snowglobe) and the first signs of summer are the first R.V. coming to park at the Wall-Mart.


I made this card summing up Kathy's presentation to insert in my flagbook:


Flagbook workshop

Susan Callahan lead a flagbook workshop. There were forty participants (which is about four time more than a regular bookbinding classes). We learnt to make a beautiful flagbook. During the class, Susan kept saying that in bookbinding "There are are mistakes, only opportunities for artistic embelishments."

P.S. If you haven't decorated your flagbook yet, you'll need to fill 12 cards (9.5cm X 5cm) with haiku, photos, collages, etc. I created some cards to get you started. Download the pdf: flagbook page 1 - flagbook page 2

photo photo photo photo




Download these cards to get started on your flagbook



Ranae Merrill, the author of two quilting books (she actually brought the original madala quilt - photo on the left - who was featured on the cover of one of her books), presented her beautiful haiku quilts.

photo photo






a tall white egret

among pigeons

the ugly duckling

- Ranae Merrill









I love the concept of haiku-quilts and I started to imagine what it would look like if we mixed other genres (haibun, renku) with other handcrafts (such as knitting and crochet).

comi comic




Night Ginkocomic

After making making paper lanterns, we walked in the woods, in a row, in complete silence, carrying a paper lantern (lit up with a tea light) and a flashlight.

The rain was falling gently and our lanterns were glowing softly in the dark.

Our group of 20-25 people walked to the pier (stepping on white shells), in the labyrinth, to the waterfront, and to the Cathedral in the Woods where we made a circle, listened to the rain, and shared chocolate truffles.


It was a magical evening. One of the best ginko (haiku-walk) I've ever experienced!




an umbrella

and a paper lantern

night ginko

- Johnny Baranski





Making the paper lanterns:


photo photo

photo photo




Night ginko with paper lanterns:


photo photo photo photo







Group photo

We took the group photo on the steps of the main building before heading for a nature walk.




Nature Walk

Ruth Yarrow lead a nature walk where we saw mushrooms and learned to identify many native plants. The walk was videotaped by Alan Pizzarelli and Donna Beaver.


photo photo



First we walked in the woods.

photo photo photo photo



Everybody was fascinated by the mushroom that looked like a melted face.

photo photo photo photo



Then we crossed the street to the waterfront.

photo photophoto photo



Time off

After the nature walk, Deborah Kolodji, Aubrie Cox and Bob Moyers took some time off at the waterfront. Aubrie played flute with her ginger ale bottle. Bob was glad to finally get reception for his cell phone. We saw a seal and a rainbow. Then, it was haiku writing time!


photo photophoto photo

photo photo



Haiku retreat or getaway?

It felt to take a break from the conference for a few minutes. The organizer Michael Dylan Welch said last year that attending a conference can feel a little bit like "drinking from a water hydrant". When I called Seabeck a haiku retreat, he was quick to correct me, "This is not a haiku retreat, it's a haiku getaway."

When a participant complained he was tired, Michael said to take it easy. To enjoy the conference, "It's not how you retreat, it's how you getaway" he said. Pull yourself from the conference, every once in a while, to recuperate.





Roast of Michael Dylan Welch

I participated in the roast of Michael Dylan Welch on Saturday evening. After watching all the roasts on Comedy Central, it was fun to give it a try and actually roast somebody. And there was lots to say on Michael Dylan Welch!

Other roasters were: Alan Pizzarelli (as Joey Clifton), Donna Beaver, Aubrie Cox, Bob Moyers, Vicki McCullough, Johnny Baranski, and (I think I'm forgetting somebody).




Margaret McGee and a group of volunteers set up a labyrinth on the conference lawn. Margaret lead a meditation workshop in the labyrinth every morning at 7:15am. The labyrinth was illuminated with tealights and decorated with leaves and other natural objects.




Seabeck 100th anniversary

Source: Map of the Seabeck Conference Centre (from their website)





Our conference package included a blank piece of kraft paper and instructions on how to make a weathergram. The concept is simple: you write a haiku on a piece of paper and hang it outside for people to enjoy until it biodegrades and returns to Earth.

photo photo

photo photo





Display of haiku by Michael Dylan Welch



Cherry blossom festival


Clever haiku design


More haiku museum pieces.





When you go to a haiku conference, there's usually a table where you can leave a free item to give attendees. The freebies at Seabeck 2014 were particularly beautiful.

My freebie was a booklet of Seabeck Conference Tips.






Book table

The book table was located on the first floor.

There's no white belt in haiku (the first collection of Old Pond Comics) and three mini-comics (The Snail, Four Seasons, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival) were available for purchase.

photo photo



Talent Show:

Many people blew us away with their talents. Among the higlights, Terry Ann Carter presented a haiku and a dance featuring her wonderful flagbook used like fan. Richard Tice showed us a Japanese children song featuring a big taiko and small taiko drum. And there were many more.




No Longer Strangersphoto

Haiku Northwest group launched their anthology "No Longer Strangers: Haiku Northewest 25th anniversary anthology".

The cover of the book featured a beautiful cut-outs by Dejah Leger.

T-shirts with that beautiful design were also available to order.





Saying Goodbye

photo photo




Thank you to the Haiku Northwest group for their hospitality and a wonderful conference

Special thanks to Michael Dylan Welch, Angela Terry, Tanya MacDonald, and all conference volunteers.



Seabeck 2015

The next Seabeck Haiku Getaway will take place (Oct1-4, 2015). The guest speaker will be Randy Brooks and the theme of the conference will be: Touch.




You might also like: Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2013 comics>>



Next Chapter: Back to the Pond >>