Sunday, March 27, 2016

Leni Wiener, textile artist

 These two pictures should be side by side, but it seems blogspot won't allow it.  The upperleft is called "Concerned" and the lower one is call "Hitting Bottom". They are from an amazing work of art by Leni Weiner, a textile artist from New York City who gave two wonderful talks at the Bayberry Guild this past week. 

Leni began as a traditional quilt artist and also a professional photographer. Then she honed her skills and  gradually cut away all the surroundings until she is, in this newest (I think) work showing only people sitting on a bench. They are in ones and twos and the whole secret is their body language -- you don't even see the bench except it is shownce without people siting on it. These are all real people although often devoid of distinguishing facial feature and often in clothing that is different colors than in the original photos Leni took (over a long periods of time. (There are about fifty individuals. As you can see, this is quilting, it is textile art. On her web site she has the set of people, which, on sides she showed when she gave a talk, was displayed in an art gallery in Taiwan. And will be shown elsewhere.

I was so fascinated by Leni's bio that I went to both the evening and day meeting of the guild (which I've never done before) and I'm glad I did. It's been a long time since a billiant art quilter, turned pure artist,has caught my attention. She gave an outline of her personal progression from traditional quilt, to portrait quilts (has written a book that I own) and along her journey to these very pure statements about people where one doesn't even need to see the bench to understand what they are doing and grasp the message from their body language alone. She spoke also of technique and of her understanding of using hue as the secret to good portraits. 

In short, I was blown away by this woman's brilliance. She hopes to publish a book of the bench sitters and if she does I certainly want a copy. I wish I could see the set "for real."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Black and White and Many Colors Too


I love making reversible quilts.  This is my boldest one so far.  The "front"is entirely made of black and white prints in a Greek key or squared spiral pattern. And the back has an accent print -- a print i bought as a remnant and, because it is so exuberant, I thought I'd never find a way to use it. But here it is. It's essentially black and white with bits of all those other colors among the elongated bubble black and white designs.  It was fun to make both sides. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter scene quilt



This winter scene was inspired by a cover of a New Yorker magazine from last winter.  The challenge from the Uncommon Threads group was to do something with the surface of the quilt. In this case it's quilted in wavy lines for snow -- nothing unusual. And then wisps of stretched out batting has been added for snow, in this photo it's most visible along the left side but there is more that didn't come out cearly in this photo.  And I used cotton for the snow on the trees. I'm still "playing" with the snow on the trees, pulling off overages and  considering where to stick on a bit more.   

For me the diminishing trees were a challenge. I had to make the most distant ones first and the continue overlapping the limbs and changing the color of the trunks and branches.  The people and dogs are a fairly straightforward copy. I actually fell in love with the dogs.  They all have their own personalities and purposes as they walk.  I take a little pride in adding the man's red jacket.  

I finished it yesterday and hung it in the dining area, taking down the autumn leaves quilt.  I'm thinking that now I have autumn and winter, I should do summer and spring.  I know what I will do for summer (a reprise of the yoga on the beach quilt but smaller) and I have a nebulous idea of what I'd like to do for spring.  .... But right now I've got a list of projects to work on and won't begin either in the near future. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quilts that are not quilts

Doesn't this have a quilty look?  This wooden structure wraps half way around the tree and has a bench on the inside.  It's an ideal place for a person to sit and meditate/contemplate, or for two or a few people to have a quiet conversation.  This is a fairly new addition at Heritage Plantation in Sandwish, Massachusetts. As you can tell from the green leaves in back the photo was taken before autumn came. Heritage is a large botanical garden, very beautiful all year long but spectacular in the spring.  It has a wonderful little museum with changing exhibits, a collectible car museum, a couple of very old buildings, and various sections, some almost hidden. A wonderful place to explore.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New quilt top done

I think this will go to the "wounded warrior" project the Bayberry Guild has ongoing.  Quilts are given to vets at Memorial Day.  The pattern is from Quilters Newsletter, a twist pattern that fascinated me. It turned out to be red white and blue because I bought -- for fifty cents -- a bag of precut fabrics with quite a lot of navy and red fabrics cut into 3 inch wide strips. These are not commerical "jelly roll" matched fabrics in rolls but were cut by the woman having the yard sale for some project she had decided she would never get around to. 

Of course now it needs to be quilted and that is always a road block to finishing as I don't enjoy quilting but eventually it will happen. Maybe even before time to turn the quilt in to the group for this year's give away ... or maybe it's a year down the road.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Little Quilt from Scraps

I've added a log cabin block on the header partly to remind me I want to make a log cabin quilt in the near future. It will be mostly dark and light blues as I have a LOT of smallish blue pieces I want to use up.

This quilt is small - it's draped over the sofa and one can't really tell the size from the photo. It's sbout 40x42, which is to say crib size.  I made it in the last two weeks. The half-square triangles were all scraps from a year of block swaps in which snowball blocks had bright colored corners. I saved the cut offs and sewed them into strings of two-inch block and saved them. So the difficulty of making the half-square pieces had been done.  I suppose this can be called a "Modern" quilt as it's bright with a lot white and a very simple design. I did quite a bit of machine quilting, especially the folded ribbon design in the white strips. It was a very satisfying little project. I'll give it to a child for a birthday present.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another warm Christmas

A strange Christmas  photo for a strange Christmas eve day  (yes, that's the way it was described on the morning news, odd as it sounds)

These lovely red fruits, from a market in Guanshu, China (if I remember correctly) are a fruit that has its devotees but the fruit is banned by the big international hotels. They are durans. When fully ripe and cut open for eating the smell is a great deal, I'm told, like a latrine. But their fans say the taste is sweet and delicious.  It's an experience  I did not seek out.

The only thing this has to do with Christmas is that they're a pretty red and the day is as unusual, as the fruit is.  It's over 60 degrees here today.  It rained hard, about an inch and a half, and I have just returned from the nearest supermarket which has a large paved parking lot known on days like this as Star Market Lake. Their drainage system has always been bad, today was the worst I've ever seen it. The  available parking spaces were reduced by about 80% and, conscientious as I am, I parked in a handicapped space because there was nothing else where I wouldn't get my feet wet.

I don't have to talk about global warming. Last year Christmas and early January were unusually warm also. Then we got hit with record breaking blizzards in February. It's going to be this way, that is to say unusual and unpredictable, far into the future. An article I read last week about the plight of Miami Beach and the rising sea level was dire.  A lot of people are going to lose a lot of money. Extrapolating, because all the seas are going to rise, not just in that southern most American penisula, but up here. This northern peninsula, not in my live time I assume, but in what is the foreseeable future for those who are willing to take a serious look, disappearance is inevitable. At least we don't have a  mile of tombstone-like high rises  that will become accessible only by motor boat -- or gondola.

What cheery thoughts for a happy holiday!  Well, it feels nothing like the stereotypical holiday so my thoughts are not at all stereotypical.  We will have a festive dinner tonight and tomorrow will be a quiet day ....possibly with a long walk on the beach as Iwill take within the next hour today.