The season marches along predictably. The summer solstice is upon us and the spring flowers are gone. In the past two week roses have burst into bloom all over town. These are along a fence of a home -- one of many, many. They are fragrant! Which is somewhat remarkable today. But I literally "smelled the roses" as I stooped to get a nice close photo. The rhododendruns are still out but beginning to fade. The kousa dogwoods which are so abundant you'd think they were native to the area (they're Asian) are magnificent tall towers of white blooms. On the beaches the rosa rugosas are in full bloom, pink, red and white -- they too are fragrant, being wild and natural. Soon the hydrangeas will add blue and purple and fuschia to the mix. This is a very, very beautiful place!
I love log cabin quilts. I love blue. I have a big stash of blue scraps -- well, now I have a somewhat smaller stash of blue scraps. Sometimes I have an impulse to make a specific quilt and just do it. That's what happened here. It's throw size. I used up nearly all the lighter blues and did not want to purchase more because I wanted it to be entirely a scrap quilt. So it's not as large as I might have made. Both color and traditional pattern make me happy
Laura Wasilowski is a well known quilter whose bright compositions are mostly fused, not appliqued. She was today's speaker at the Bayberry Quilt Guild's final meeting of the season. Although most of her luggage didn't arrived in Providence, R.I., when she and her husband landed yesterday, and hasn't caught up with them yet, she had her computer with a well arranged slide show and she had her very funny stand-up comic routine.
Speakers usually tell us about their methods or their quilting history, show us some of their work (which she could have done had it arrived) but most speakers don't have the sense of humor and the prepared material to do a half hour or more of really very funny talking about her self and her quilting -- throwing in quite a few songs about everything from adopting her husband's Polish name to her mythological Chicago School of Fusing. She is a sponatneous artist, she dies all her own fabric and thread and simply gets an idea and begins cutting up fabric that has been fused. She keeps the trimmed scraps and incorporates them in future work.
It was a complete surprise to most of us that we would be so entertained and laugh so much -- we loved it. I wish all the speakers had her poise -- it's impossible to wish for her sense of humor because that is a totally personal trait. And her delivery was perfect. She will not fade in my memory as so many other speakers already have.
This is a detail of a small quilt of branches of a spring flowering tree. I had magnolias in mind but they're looking a bit more cherry blossom-y.
The method was : I layered four pieces of fabric. The top is the green hand dyed background of the design. Underneath is ivory, light pink and deeper pink. I added the branches which are zigzag stitched on. The I snipped into all three fabrics so I had six sections which I turned back and ironed -- that is tricky because they don't want to be ironed. Then I filled the empty middle space with a knot of a strip of one, and sometimes two, of the pinks. The knots seems to be a tightly furled bud with petals opening around it. I tacked the end of the knoted pieces in back so they would not slip around.
I used a picture from a book of Japanese arts for the placement of twigs and flowers, but I'm not very happy with my choice. Nevertheless, it's a few limbs. I will include the full picture of this little quilt, which I have finished with a pillow case style backing and a narrow band of hot pink piping at the edge. I think of this as mainly an experiment.
No, the hydrangias, as in the new header photo, are not out yet -- the rhododendrons and azeleas aren't either. Every season here has a different rhythm. It's definitely spring but the forsythia didn't open until near the end of April instead of early on as they usually do. A chill, sometimes very cold (even snowy) wind slowed their opening. That same kind of chill in the air has had them clinging, now a tired old gold instead of the original gay, sweet yellow, the leaves are timidly trying to emerge. The rhododendrons hesitate with tightly furled buds, not ready to open at all. Some azeleas, if they have been planted in reasonably sheltered spots where they get whatever sun the stingy sky has offered have opened but cling in a bewildered, slump-shouldered way. The daffodils and narcissus have opened and seem to stand around bewildered that time, for them is standing still.
Meanwhile rain has fallen every day for a week. The pundits say there's a "low pressure system" stuck above Cape Cod. I look out my window now at fog; it is soft and a bit romantic but I am terribly tired of it. Spring is late; we had only two days when people thought it had arrived. I watch people and see many have pulled out their flipflops. How cold their toes look. Here men of all ages seem to think wearing shorts is a delight, they look silly with their bony knees, hair legs above their socks and sneakers or other shoes. I remember my fashionable earlier days with short skirts and panty hosed legs and being very, very chilly in such weather. I don't do that any more. I haven't even pulled out the short sleeved tee shirts -- or the flip flops. Maybe sometime next week ... if the weather changes. In former years there have been wonderful April days when I walked on my favorite beach, bare foot, along the tide line enjoying the coolness of the water around my ankles. I have not even been to the beach -- the wind has been forbidding.
But "true" spring will come. The rosa rugosa will bloom, the plovers and terns will nest, and I will be able to go to the beach, find a quiet spot and do the tai chi easy which involves a period of deeply breathing that air off the water and contemplating the blue of the water and sky and perhaps some fluffy cumulus clouds drifting by, utterly peaceful, with no intent of spilling more rain.
A challenge to make a mini art quilt on a spring theme had me digging in the drawer with antique handkerchiefs. What's springier than all thost little bunches of flowers? So I affixed it to a quilted background with the border of sheer purple ribbon and the collection of mismatched tiny white buttons then added to the center a fancy-cut violet plant (or maybe it's a primrose) from a piece of decorator fabric, fused it on. Added a couple of butterflies and then a circle of narrow white lace to frame the plant. I was delighted that I'd recently been given the siver-tone buttons that are in the four corners of the ribbon. They are embossed with a lovely two flower design which can be seen if you click the image to enlarge it. This quilt is 12x12.
Now I am gathering ideas for a "tea party" mini art quilt for the same group. Plus I have another art quilt challenge to work on and three different ideas about how to go about it. Challenges are always fun for me.
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."
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!