Saturday, November 19, 2016

Challenges, after about forty years

This is my most recent "art quilt" aside from the cow on the previous post.  I consider the cow fairly traditional as it's all squares. And I followed a photo I had. This (click on image to enlarge) is called "They Shall Inherit..." It's an exaggerated looked at a world where  there are no people. The buildings (these are all NYC landmarks - from a printed panel) remain but dinosaur-size insects of all colors have taken over. I think of it as the way an infestation of cockroaches suddenly appear and scuttle for cover when a kitchen light has been turned on. 

I like this idea but am not entirely happy with how it turned out. I have a poorly developed artistic sense. It's all in my head and very hard for me to realize in fabric.

I went to a meeting of the Uncommon Threads group this week and, once again, am deeply humbled by the creativity o the others. We are making a group quilt for the guild raffle next summer and each had a section to do. I did my section at the last minute -- a design and method that is deceptively simple using a wonderful fabric pallette that we chose as a group. I am okay with my contribution. I was told approximately what to do and did it. The challenge of the group is to be truly creative in design and execution - that's where I  stumble.

Three others had begun on the next challenge that I had only thought about: combine "art" quilt elements with traditional elements. Two had completed pieces that were stunning in color and fabric choice and delightful to look at. A third had begun sewing a brave hodgepodge of fabrics together to be the basis for a design she had on paper. I had nothing.  Not even an idea.  Happily that was a kick in the pants and, as so often happens, about 4:00 a.m. I was awake and an idea came to me. I am so curious about it, I hope to start on it later today.  Ideas come, carrying them out -- ah, that's the rub.

I had had these bugs in mind for a long time, had saved a page from some magazine with similar bugs in black and white so I knew I could give them antennae and the right number of legs and use interesting fabrics.  When I remembered the NYC fabric it was an easy step to cut it apart so the firey sky would surround and show through.  Now we will see what I can do with my new idea.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Look Carefully, you'll see, (I hope) a cow

Well, a little bit like the Pony-in-there-somewhere joke,  with all those squares, if you look long enough you'll see a cow in there somewhere.  What I need is someone to hold the quilt up so I can get a good straight-on photo and then I think the cow would be obviously. I like sublty but this is just too much and the poor dear Bossy seems to have mostly misplaced her legs. Live and learn -- although, as old as I am, you'd think I'd have learned a lot more by now.  Guess not.  It enticed me and I had to do it.

For almost mid-November the weather was surprisingly nice. One must take advantage of days like this, so I walked around Hathaway's pond (photo at the end) and took pictures of the many autumn colors. Autumn here isn't usually so grandly colored.  Everything seems to have changed all in sync so the woods are full of all the mellow colors-- not the really bright ones except for occasional "burning bushes" in lawns which really are ablaze. Whereas spring tends to have the excitement of anticipation, autumn suggests meditation, not necessarily gloomy. It's a time of fulfillment and satisfaction. Those golds and reds were hiding in the leaves all the time but only now are revealing their hidden beauty.  Think on it!  Think about older people, the ones who really come into their own in their 60s and 70s and 80s -- yes they do.  I know many of them, I'm one of them. It's wonderful glowing golden or rosy against the brown background of all the younger people who are trying to "fit in." And drying up as they do it. Many don't even know that a nice hard frost, a change in their life, will reveal new excitements.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Going through files, looking under the beds

A call for star quilts to be hung in our local Tumbleweeds Fabric store in January meant to inspire other Bayberry Quilters to make star quilts for next August's show had me pulling bags of quilt down from upper shelves of closets and out from under beds. I wanted to find this one which dates back to about 12 or 14 years. I don't think it's what is in mind really, as it's got 900 pieces and took a large part of a year. But I was challenged by the pattern in a magazine and set to work. I exhibited it in the Empire Quilt Guild (NYC) show in, I think 2004. 

I resurrected several other star quilts. Much as I love the log cabin pattern and have made quite a few, I believe I've made more stars than anything else.  I will send photos of  simpler quilts to the woman collecting them.  But, frankly, I'd love to see this on a wall again.  Quite a few others came to light -- oh, my!  I have more than I should. a great many are wall quilts, not bed size, so they are not candidates for charity needs.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Muted beauty

I'm mining older photos because I didn't get out and do the photography I thought I might today. Yesterday and today are spectacular. It seems all the trees that could change color waited for some signal so they could all synchronize their costume changes.  This photo isn't really appropriate but I was thinking all day of walking around this pond. I actually didn't do it because I was seaching for the right backing fabric for a quilt (as if I don't have many choices in my stash -- but a coupon was burning a hole in my pocketbook).

I don't remember ever seeing such unbroken aisles of color as I did yesterday and today driving the familiar roads I travel often.  The colors are not as brilliant as they sometimes are but they are blended expertly as only Mother Nature can. Only the evergreens are still green. We had a chilly couple of rainy days and apparently a night when the temperature dropped below freezing and that did it.  Every year is different.  This is a subtly wonderful one.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

In October orange is THE color -- here on Cape Cod we get more yellow and orange than red, except for the wonderful flame bushes (they probably have a more proper name but flame is just what they look like).  How can you not love looking at the trees in fall?  At the moment I'm planning a drive along lovely, two-lane, old stage coach road, Rte. 6A.  I love it all times of year, spring is a great joy. Autumn, like today will be wonderful even though the sky is gray and rain has fallen and more is expected. 

I'm on my way to see a Metropolitan Opera simulcast of Don Giovanni. A glorious feast of music  for a gray day.  Some think it's the greatest opera of all.  I don't think that although it is among the ones I've seen most often. We are tremendously lucky to have an idiosyncratic little movie theatre that shows these simulcasts as well as ones from the National Theatre of London and from the Bolshoi Ballet. The interior has a barrel ceiling painted by Rockwell Kent showing young, sexy Greek gods and goddess among stars.  And it has chairs with white slip covers instead of movie seats.  The pitch of the floor is not quite as good as one wishes. I'm going early enough to get a seat from which I can expect a good view.  Although it's not a sunny day as one might wish, it's a "my cup runneth over" kind of day. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trouble in "Paradise"

For some reason apparently known only to the evil genies that control blogspot, the activity choices I usually find at the top of my blog disappeared and I could not find a way to add posts until this morning. I finally had a  small brainstorm -- we older people who did not grow up with computers are truly babes lost in a dark and tangled forest when it comes to how computer programs work-- I speak for myelf.

I have been quite busy quilting and in the case of the two photos here, being grateful to the Uncommon Threads group for including me in a very nice, and sizable show, along with another group called Fiber Frenzy (not quilters but people who do a variety of other kinds of fiber art) ). The show will run all of October at what is called the Brewster Ladies' Library in the town of Brewster. I have four  small quilts in the show.  In the top photo the snow scene and the electric chair are mine and the big quilt is Robin Mcguire's.

In the lower photo my little Puddle Jumper quilt (with poem on the side)  and the autumn leaf self-portrait are mine. The other  pieces are other kinds of fiber art.  (Both these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)  I have exhibited quilts (larger ones in most cases) in big guild shows and been happy about that, but usually felt lost among more striking and often much more traditional works. This is a near perfect size venue -- a big meeting room in a sizable and very attractive library.  The variety of fiber pieces is truly a showcase of craft, abstract designs, pictorial ones and use of a wide variety of materials. The show was thoughtfully and artistically hung by a couple of member of my quite group.  The opening reception last Sunday was very well attended.  Some pieces are for sale,  perhaps not quite half.

I hope I can continue to find the method of posting because I have a number of other photos I want to share.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Annual International Quilt Show

This amazing thread painted quilt was BEST OF SHOW, at the Mancusco World Quilt New England  show at Manchester, New Hampshire which Rachel and I attended Thursday. The title is "Three Watchers. The quilter from South Africa is Kathryn Hamer Fox. The photo color is a little faded compared to the actual quilt.  It was about 4x6 foot.  We thought it was stunning.

We always go to that show because the  international quilts chosen are often wonderful. Most are not traditional, and most are art quilts of very, very high craftsmanship.

Ms. Fox also did a Rhino quilt  called "Once There Were" Click the photos to see it entirely.

As you can see in both, the backgrounds are various fabrics.  She underlay her thread painting with fabric also. I would love to have a photo catalog of the international entries in the show but no such exists and I've found that photographing more than the most memorable is pointless. Not that there weren't many excellent quilts by American quilters.

Mancuso is a large organization that mounts this international show in about a dozen venues around the USA each year.  In the Radison in Manchester there are two quite large exhibition rooms and they fill both,  (that includes a great many venders). Various area quilt guilds are invited to show special groups and there are always several special exhibitions on themes. We did not take time to look at venders and we missed some of the American exhibits because our time was limited.

Two especially noticable quilts, one from Israel and one from South Africa used a online program where a photo can be pixelated and printed out as a pattern for making a quilt. The result is a little like the paintings of Chuck Close. The one from Israel was of Leonardo's David (just his head). As we were watching it a woman showed us that if we look at it on the Iphone screen, we could see the  picture much more clearly than when standing 3 feet away. This was very true of the David (below) which was done in  one inch fabric squares and even more so with a Mandella portrait that was done inch and a half squares.  I photographed only David. Going through the program I cannot figure out what this was named and therefore can't list the artist's name.  If you click on any of these photos they will enlarge somewhat.  This was a magnificent quilt show and it was well attended. I wish more people understood that such shows are ART EXHIBITS to a very large extent. And quilting all around the world has moved from utility to self-expression on a very high level.