Here the old year slips away beneath a gray and drizzling sky. Seasonal, not symbolic. I enjoyed the year; it was quietly satisfying. Another great-grandson joined the family, everyone else is healthy, we are weathering the stagnate political and economic system and are watching and wondering about all the changing happening in the world. What a dynamic time to live in, even for people quietly going about their own lives.
The new year promises more of the same -- but then surprises arise -- another presidential election is coming. There will be changed big and small, on a global level, on a personal level (where small changes are more desirable than large one). I hope we will live with care and concern for everything from those in our homes to those in countries all around the world. We cannot ignore that we seven billion people, if not really connected all to all by six degrees of separation, certainly all connected by the kind of world it is today. We need to care -- care deeply -- for each other and for our earth.
Wishing all a beautiful Christmas eve and wonderful Christmas day.
An announcer on the local classical music station does not say, as most people do, "have a good day. He says, "make it a good day." You don't have to wait for someone or something else to give you a wonderful Christmas day. You can make it wonderful -- I plan to listen to The Messiah at some point during the day. Since Thanksgiving I've heard many [mostly tasteful] versions of the familiar Christmas music [not a Chipmunk around!] but hearing the whole Christmas section of Handel's masterpiece is a joy. I sit with some hand sewing and let the magnificent choruses wash over me. May you find an experience that is similarly satisfying for you which will make it a wonderful day.
New great-grandson, Cole Asher Winslow was born Wednesday night. I don't quite have this quilt finished. It's not a "baby quilt"-y quilt. Cory, his mother chose an owl theme for his "totem" - which is my word, not hers. She chose elephant for Cole's big brother Phneas, aka Finn, shown in the photo with new baby brother. I felt lucky to find a flannel at the Black Friday sale at JoAnne's with an owl motif so that has become this quilt. I'm already feeling inspired to make him a quilt I think of as somewhat more serious that I'll attempt to make about the time the baby moves from bassinet to crib -- probably one without owls, more likely with farmyard animals or forest animals. But for now, I have to do a bit of hand finishing and the label and this quilt will be one of the little boy's first Christmas presents.
My quilt inspired by Charles Rennie MacIntosh, the Scottish architect, designer, is on the back of this publication from the Academy of Lifelong Learning [ALL] at The Cape Cod Community College. As sometimes happens, I actually think the photograph is more graphically pleasing than the actual quilt. Of the potential 450 purchasers of this anthology of writings and art work by members of ALL, the majority will not be aware of how modern quilting has branched out from traditional patterns. The photo and my article in the publication, "Warm and Fuzzy" will inform them and perhaps inspire some interest in local quilt shows. In the article I emphasize both how quilting has expanded in the last 40 or 50 years, that art quilting is an astonishing new development. I emphasize that, nevertheless, traditional quilting and the impulse of quilters to make bed coverings that bring comfort and warmth continues to be strong. I have often felt that I was born with a missionary's zeal for sharing the word about whatever I am enthusiastic about -- quilting is high on that list.
The flying leaves quilt which is in the header here, has led to spreading my reputation as a quilter to a group of people who are not quilters -- firstly to poets because the quilt illustrates the poem that is on it, but as of yesterday to a whole party of people, half of whom I did not know and many of whom know little about quilting. It's a pleasure for me to inform the uninformed that quilts are no longer just your grandmother's Dresden plates and the cheap reproduction quilts found in decorating catalogs.
I showed a number of my small pieces (in the series of which the small ones a couple posts ago were examples) and some larger quilty-quilts. The favorite was the one above, which is also one of my favorites but which I had put away and not looked at for many months. This is my Five Generations of First Daughters quilt, subtitled Mitochondrial DNA. The square old photo shows me as a barely visible newborn in my mother's lap, plus there's her mother and her grandmother. The color picture is my mother, myself and my first daughter. A double helix is embroidered in the print and, of course, the generations are tied together as you can see.
My modest attempts at art quilting opened the door to their awareness that we quilters have more facets and modes of expression than they knew previously. The host of the party would like one of my quilts to hang in a prominent space in the living room. There is no false modesty when I say I'm a quilter of modest gifts, but I am very happy to be a messenger about what is being accomplished by quilters throughout the world.
These paper pieced flying geese in a circle nearly stumped me. I had a very difficult time getting them to fly clockwise. As you see the ones on the purple background are being contrary and flying counterclockwise.
I persevered and finally got the geese on the dark navy to fly clockwise. Some deep psychological reaction to pattern prefers clockwise. I have circumambulated numerous cairns and chortens in Tibet and Mongolia clockwise -- ALWAYS clockwise. To walk counterclockwise is both insulting and bad luck. Think, too, of the arms of a swastika when canted clockwise are a blessing but when canted counterclockwise as did the Nazi's it became, for the rest of the world, a symbol of evil.
Of cousre, geese don't fly in circles, we all know about their familiar, noisy V shape flying pattern accompanied by loud honkings. I'm happy the local geese who fertilized our lawn much of late summer and fall have gone on to warmer climes further south.
Three pieced tops were waiting to be finished -- two of them I remembered and was simply straightening piles of stuff when I saw this one that I had forgotten. An all blue crazy quilt using Benatrex foundation fabric from a kit someone gave me. Somehow I found myself with lots and lots of blue scraps. Another blue slightly less crazy quilt also awaits quilting. I think I'll do it in the next couple of weeks, it's sandwiched and pinned. They're both cot size and will go to a charity when done ... maybe with another of the UFOs that's about the same size and which I really don't like very much.
Love red and have a lot in my living room. Love the graphic oomph of black and white. This quilt is new and hangs, as planned, over my piano giving the living room a big shock of graphics for the gray winter days ahead.
The central square, called Nelson's Victory, and the smaller atilt star in the right lower corner were sent to me in swaps. Four others are Carol Doak [my heroine!] designs for paper piecing and the "buzz saw" design is from another paper piecing book. The quilt isn't Christmas-y exactly but since I don't do Christmas decorating this will serve very well for cheeriness.
I will be talking about quilting and visual images, using my diary pieces to illustrated. I kept a daily quilt diary -- making 4x6 inch pieces nearly every day of my 65th year. Each was a visual metaphor for something memorable about that day, some were very obvious, some more subtle. Here are four. Above was a day beside the ocean.
The second, obviously Black eyed Susans -- a three dimensional little quilt, for one of those September days when it seemed everyone's front yard had at least one clump of these flowers. I think these are more literal than intellectually metaphoric.
This is called "the moon was a ghostly galleon -- no highway man" Obviously it's a night when the full moon was partly obscured by flying clouds and the reference, most people will recognize, is the Noyes poem The Highwayman that nearly everyone read in middle school.
The final one is entirely metaphoic, an abstract reaction to hearing "joyous chamber music". All together I made about 350 little quilts that year. I've put twenty together into a wall quilt which these are all part of. I will probably print another few in a few more days.
This quilt looks like a quiet block quilt. It is not. I showed it earlier with another woven quilt -- that one was in bright turquoise and magenta. This one was purposely woven of quiet colors, whites, grays, blacks [mostly prints or tone on tone]. The strips of which it is woven were mostly an inch wide, some [at the edges] were close to two inches. They were all raw edge strips so the center is "hairy" with bits of thread from the strips.
The piece is hand quilted with large stitches in the center, thus holding all the strips securely in place. The border is machine stitched. I like quiet colors and simple quilting occasionally in the way that I love coming upon Alice Martin's very quiet paintings in MoMA or other modern art venues and finding something more complex and careful than Robert Reiman's all white and/or black paintings. Martin's are very simple white paintings with meditative pencil markings. Not that I'm implying this very simple little quilt compares with Alice Martin's work, but that was my inspiration. I have more strips -- a large collection was sent to me by my friend, Lynn, many years ago and only this year have I begun to use them. This quilt now hangs near the dining table so I can contemplate it when I have meals.
Moved by an experience last Tuesday I wrote a poem, then made a quilt and added the poem to i
At the MFA
An overcast autumn day, warm and wet as spring -- from a window above the Japanese garden I mistook many-colored lilting leaves for a flock of fast flying birds. Only laggards fainted upon raked gravel writing a random calligraphy reminding me summer had flown.
The entire quilt has become the blog header. Above is the left half of the quilt, and here is the right half. I'm sorry I cannot get a clear photo [inadequate light, camera moving] but the white strips flying below the "birds" and drifting downward, are the lines of the poem.
The MFA of the title is the Museum of Fine Art in Boston where I was on Tuesday, Truly for a moment the mass of leaves flying on a gust of wind -- not falling but rushing past my sight -- seemed a flock of birds actually flying north.
Designer Carol Doak has come up with so many paper piecing patterns for stars that I don't think I'll ever run out of different ones to make and if I should I could, of course, always do them in different colors -- I usually don't use the colors of her illustrations. This one is for a swap and meant to be bright and festive for the holiday season. That's one down -- I'll be making another -- different but the same idea, some time in the next week. Making the Doak stars from her two major books of star patterns is, for me at least, almost as addictive as eating peanuts.
Two quilties I recently received in swaps. The flower above was painted with soy based paint. It will hang on my design wall as a reminder that very often less is more. The tulip [or whatever the flower] is artistically painted and nicely quilted. Although the quilter apologized for not yet being a proficient free motion quilter, the background quilting is fine, it adds to the piece and that should be it's only aim. This black bordered little quiltie, which is a bit larger than the one above, uses yo-yos as flowers very effectively, with the basic black and white scheme. Their various sizes keep it from being static and the flowers, commercial artificial flowers taken apart and held on with a bead in the center of each add the cheery color that make the quiltie fun to look at. This one will hang on the design wall to remind me not to be too serious, that especially small pieces, like quilties, are opportunities to have fun with design.
I made this block exactly the same way I made the block in the previous post -- except at the last step I rotated the pieces differently and came up with these pinwheels.
In this case there was not enough contract in the blue batik and the gray-green one, there are four pinwheels but only the two with high contrast show. I never stop experimenting and never stop learning.
The challenge was to improvise a block. I believe the idea was to do something modern with bright squares on white and I like some of those and eventually did one -- sort of -- but was not at all happy about it as a block. What I did first was this one which doesn't look improvised at all. But it was.
I started with four 5x5 charm squares, all batiks, two were blue with purple in them -- they were different batiks but the colors were the same intensity -- the other two were pink with purple and a pinky-apricot. I sewed them together and then I cut off half of each of two sides, switched them to the other side and sewed them together and then I did the same with the two sides I had not cut. So I then had a different block which I then cut diagonally corner to corner each way so I had four pieces. I switched them around and sewed them back together. Then I cut the four corners from middle seam to middle seam and switched them and sewed them back together. That produced the inner block. If I had done some different switching it would look a bit different.
By then the 9-1/2x9/12 inch block that resulted from sewing the original four charms together had shrunk to 7x7 and I needed a 10x10 inch block, so I added the border which is a third blue batik.
This was fun, a little bit labor intensive, but then isn't all quilting somewhere between a little and very, very labor intensive? Last spring I purchased several packages of batik charms about 120 total and all different. I have a stash of batiks collected for a few years so I could make a complete quilt as I made this block, it would be one of those multicolored creations that really fascinate me. I also like projects where I can do a block or two a sewing session over a longish period of time until I accumulate enough for a quilt. I think I have just talked myself into making a quilt constructed in this way using only those batiks. Check back in 12 of 18 months for a progress report.
This darling little quiltie was sent to me in a swap. It has a crazy quilt background in subdued matching colors and then the pumpkin nicely satin stitched to the whole. I really appreciate when people send me tasteful pieces that are well done. This is now hanging beside my door -- my only seasonal decoration. In the apartment building where I live some people get extremely enthusiastic about buying the seasonal junk that's all to available and decorating their entry ways. I'm happy to let them do the creative work, I like something low key near by door.
Walking on Main Street, which I haven't done for some weeks, maybe months, I stopped to enjoy these two birds which are on either end of a bit of a plaza in front of some stores. The pedestals are a couple of feet high. The birds themselves are about 3 feet from tip of beak to tip of tail. They are a collage of shiny metal, maybe aluminum. They have that sort of familiar, slightly scruffy feeling I see in the gulls that hang out on the beach I walk on often. So, in a very different medium from flesh and blood and feathers, these birds, nevertheleass, have an authenticity that I really enjoy.
The same fabric in green and in gold seemed to ask to become a falling leaf quiltie. Unsure what else to do I simply added a wide border. Our leaves are about at that stage -- turning brown, not yet off the trees, mostly.
This is a example of something that happens to me quite a bit: The fabrics were given to me, I remember by whom and that it was a very long time ago -- at least ten years. But I never forgot I had the fabrics and always knew a time would come when I would want to use them. I have more left, I might so something similar next fall ... who knows?
On this absolutely gorgeous Indian summer afternoon, Rachel and I went to the visitor's center at he National Seashore in Eastham to the 51 quilts made by the Bayberry Quilters to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the seashore being made a national park. I had seen the quilts at our August show but Rachel had not seen them. They are an impressive demonstration of pictorial quilting. All individual, using a variety of techniques. I think it's an impressive show.
I could resist taking a photo of this woman's wonderful jacket with a huge butterfly printed on the back and lightly embellished with black beading. I'd LOVE to own and wear that jacket.
A couple of pictures of what a gorgeous walk we had are on my Big 7-0 blog.
Sometimes I read one blog and it leads to another blog and it leads ... you know what I mean, I'm sure. Doesn't that happen to all of us?
I reached Sweet as Cinnamon, the blog by Dawn, an Australina quilter who asked how did you choose your blog name? Since my name is June Calender and that sounds fake enough -- but I've managed to get used to it in all my years of living with it -- I felt Calender Pages would be entirely appropriate for a blog that I intended to post on fairly regularly. So the name kind of came with the territory. Not very creative but comfortable for me.
Sometimes these surfing adventures lead to unexpected questions and unexpected delights. And often I wonder just how many quilt associated blogs are out there, seems to me it could be pushing the million mark. We quilters are all over the world and you only have to think of the popularity of show and tell at most gatherings of quilters to realize that we love to show what we're up to, tell others how we did it or why and look at see what others are doing. A chatty bunch, really. I love it.
Win Redmond is a fascinating art quilter who spoke at the Bayberry Quilt Guild on Wednesday. Her trunk show was historic, from her earliest traditional quilts in the late '70s through experiments of many kinds, often with 3D piecing, always with a wonderful sense of color and balance, to her current work, which has even been in Quilt National, which she calls "holographic". This is in quotes because it is not a true hologram such s appears on so many of our credit card logos. It is a different kind of 3D work done with digital photography, thermofax imagery and with layers of transparent organza with printed photographs over layers of the same or different prints in a collages manner, separated by a certain amount of space, so that the image is marvelously 3D and both distinct and mysteriously changed. They do not photograph well, even with the best professional cameras so my attempts were miserably inadequate. The one above is a bare hint of a fairly early piece she did using her constantly evolving technique.
Hearing about, in her own words, and seeing her evolution was fascinating. She has that impulse of a true artist, all of her work is personal, intuitive, spontaneous an at the same time extremely painstaking. Her early pieces were attractive and extremely well made with an innate sense of design and color; but her current pieces, which are relatively small -- which are perfect for framing and displaying in a gallery or a home wall, are brilliant. Like much modern art, they really must be seen to be appreciated. I was entirely delighted to have been able to see them and to hear her speak of her learning process.
This mini log cabin is only 9x9 and is made of rather narrow pieces of selvage. And I swear it is squarer than it looks in the picture. I am still a klutz with a camera. It will be sent as a swap in the next couple of weeks. The only thing I like about doing these small quilts and the only reason I do them is to try something I've never done before, in this case working with such narrow bits of fabric. I like doing it in a log cabin because I do not feel I must make every "log" exact the same width as others. As I've often written I like randomness -- I like it in quilts and I like it in life. That is to say randomness within order. Only within a context of randomness can we experience serendipity which is so pleasurable whether it is a parking space suddenly becoming available near the door of the mall or having a phone call from a friend just when you're thinking of the person.
This bed size "Pick-Up-Sticks" quilt has been in my mind for months, and in my sewing room for many of those months as well. The blocks are 5x5 and the "sticks" are selvages from my sizable collection. This photo was taken on a gray and misty day, but you get the idea. The detail below shows the selvages better. The batting which I find very easy to use of an 80/20 cotton/poly blend. The quilt is reversible to a pretty yellow background spring flowers print with stripping in a variety of colors that are in the floral print. It was a "quilt as you go" so each block was completed as I went along. There are 140 blocks altogether and the quilt has narrow borders, a pink print on the pink side and a yellow gingham on the other side. The method of putting the blocks together is from Sharon Pederson. It's a method I enjoy as I enjoy the quilt as you, so that, although the whole thing took quite a lot of time, when it was put together I did not have to think about quilting. During the making I relied on randomness -- a factor I love in quilting. The selvage pieces and their arrangement are random, the stripping colors on the yellow side are random and the arrangement of the blocks in the final quilt is random. Thus randomness invades the rigid grid of blocks and gives me much satisfaction as a relefection of an ideal life that is structured and yet free. I very much enjoy using the selvages with their special makes: names of the design, and the designer, and the manufacturer. I believe I saw the "Pick-up-sticks" pattern in a Quilter's Home magazine where is had a white background and was in an article about "modern quilts" However, I've had this old rose fabric for a long time, and managed to used almost all of it in this quilt. Sometimes using up something that's been in the stash since time immemorial gives one a very good feeling.
Many, many a moon ago I received a bag of fabric cuttings, left overs from projects of my friend Lynn who was doing a lot of quilting at the time. She has since moved on to making gorgeous jewelry. She was in the habit of not hoarding a stash but periodically cleared out her sewing area and sent me what she knew she wasn't going to use, lincluding some very generous cuts of nice fabrics. I thought I might eventually do some strip piecing but, in fact many of the srrips were only an inch wide. So the bag found a spot in a closet and was semi-forgotten. Once I sorted it by colors which went into individual bags within the big bag.
I have seen a few woven art quilts and thought maybe I would try that. In the last couple of weeks I've dipped into that bag, ironed the strips, made one 11x10 little quilt -- above -- in the jewel colors. Jewels needed some sparkle so I added small bugle bead to the junctures where the strips meet. It's a subtle effect -- my first impulse is often to be too subtle or reticent and that may be the case here. But actually I like this little quilt. It has been set to a swap partner.
I have also begun another in neutral colors which I think I will quilt with a fairly heavy embroidery thread and rather large stiths ... maybe in a muted color. I've got other projects in the works so this will wait a but. Meanwhile these two did not even use half the strips of fabric I have so I suspect it will become a series, probably with each one different in some essential way.
A second try at a painted quilt -- this only 6x8 -- quilted first, then given a thinned coat of white acrylic. When that was dry I lightly traced a photo with carbon paper and then went to work with Sharpie markers to "paint" the pepper, garlic and tomato. The tomato was my problem, getting depth was hard -- in fact, I had a bit of help from Rachel who used a bit of the acrylic and a bit of lead pencil for highlights and shadow. Still not very satisfying. I like this idea and will try again another time with different edibles This little quilt, about 8x10 was made with selvages on a background, it's called, as ou can see at the bottom "A Quilter's Bookshelf". Not an original idea but one gleaned from The Selvage Blog [see sidebar and click] which shows all sorts of wonderful ideas. This is my second attempt at this particular idea as well. I'm not entirely happy, will try it another time, perhaps, with a different background fabric.
I have another small quilt just finished but will save it for another day. I am very sensitive about words and dislike when things are given diminutives which sounds like baby talk and that they cannot be taken seriously. So I don't call these "quilties" except in the context of challenges issued by others.
In the picture the quilt is not finished -- should the sun find its way out from behind the clouds again, I will take a picture of the finished quilt and replace this photo of it unfinished. I am relieved to have it done. Quilting around the cats was a pain It's currently hanging on a wall here, partly hidden behind the piano because I wanted a change in that space even though it's about eight inches too long.
The cats were designed by Deborah Kochinsky whose animal drawings I like very much and whose quilt design kits -- just the animals, no fabric -- I have used now and then over quilt a few years. I probably will do others sometime but I think from now on they'll be quilt-as-you-go blocks. My patience for certain kinds of work seems to be waning.
Walking with Rachel yesterday afternoon we saw this butterfly looking like a lady in a very chic "little black dress" with touches of gold around the edges. She fluttered away before I could take a photo.
When we returned nearly an hour later, she was still in the same area and this time posed for me. I don't remember ever seeing one with this sort of marking. I'm an admirer [as the quilt in the header attests] but an ignorant admirer.
Seeing this butterfly reminds me that one of ny summer "maybe" projects was another butterfly quilt as the one above is the only one I've made and I gave it away to someone who truly loved it. That maybe didn't happen although it is still a "one of these days" possibility.
Jan, who lives not far away, mentioned that she is looking for a female figure to add to a small home shrine. I asked what she thought about Tara -- White Tara specifically. She is Yankee Protestant, of which denomination I do not know. She is open to the world of female figures but I didn't think a Tara would necessarily hold any interest. But she said yes.
I immediately thought of hte Tara because Ruth, with whom I was roommates in Tibet sent me a panel of various Tibetan figures, all seated in lotus position, mostly the male gods. Actually I have many questions about this panel, it is far from authentic looking to me. I wonder wher ethe designer got his/her impressions. I even wonder if the original inspiration for this Tara might have been a male god. She has no breasts although they could be hiding behind her arms. The Tibetan Taras are not portrayed in a meditation pose but dancing, and they have youthful melon-ike breasts
Anyway, I have this fabric and I love and respect fabrics even when the design is quetionable so I have made a few small pieces like this. The colors also set my teeth on edge a bit but some embroidery with gold colored thread helps and the jewels are real beads I added. And the border -- well, that may b as much a mistake as the colors in the panel, and although it is not the traditional Chinese brocade silk used for bordering thangkas, it is in the spirit thereof.
I will give it to her soon. I hope she will find a use for it. I must say I find much American adaptation of Buddhism in bad taste and irritatingly commercial ... so what else is new in "the American way"?
Martha Seilman has put together abother volume of magnificent art quilts. I love and often return to volume I of Masters, Art Quilts, and Volume II is another brilliant display of quilt artists' work -- about six pages per artist so that one can study variations and changes in the work of these artists. Seilman includes a brief but well written, very informative, statement about each artist. Very, very brief comments about intent, theme and method by the artists themselves are included. The materials, as well as the designs, are often new and interestingly used. Anyone interested in quilts as art will be as intrigued by these beautiful photos as I am and will wish, as I wish, that it were possible to see each quilt "for real" in order to know the textures which cannot be photographed and understand in an immediate way how size and shape add their importance to the works.
Unfortunately one cannot go to every show, see every piece of art, in lieu of that ability looking at pictures excellent photographs is an available substitute, especially when the book lie on the coffee table and can be paged through at random -- but a book will always be only a substitute.
This fascintint quilt with its crowd of staring people is called The Followers by Marelene Shea from the US.
I'm very partial to circles, which I find difficult to make. I love that this quilt is in four different pieces. This is called Dancing Circles by Lynn Gonzaga from South Africa. My two most favorite quilts from South Africa were hung in a place where I found it impossible to take a picture and I couldn't have done them justice.
Janette Rayment's quilt with more circles is called Muslin Masterpiece. And below this deceptively simple quilt by Bendette Mayr is called beaches.
AS I wrote before, these are not so much representative of this magnificent quilt show as they are pieces I wanted a photo of for reference because I found them inspiring, especially this beach scene and the first one in the previous post. It's a "hey, I can do that" sense that they gave me.
"Fall Evening" by Janette Kelly -- This is the first quilt I took a picture of having decided I couldn't photograph the most complex so I would photograph ones I might have a hope of learning from. I didn't note her country
The second quilt here is "Hot Town, New York in Summer" Janet McCollum. Again I didn't get her county but I did remark to my daughter "that was not a typically hot day because there is too much green. We were struck by a shade of green we don't like and a shocking pink we also don't like and that they looked perfect in this quilt in the quantity they were used and with the other colors in the main section of the quilt.
Several jackets and matching dresses were made by Linda Schmidt who also showed half a dozen quilt -- a mini one woman show. This, obviously is Van Gogh inspired, but was done brilliantly and not surprisingly is called Starry Starry Night" I was so full of quilt visions in my head by the time I got to bed last night, I couldn't sleep for some time and so wrote this poem.
Quilts from Israel to New Zealand
from Germany to Japan, and, of course, American
hundreds, literally, and all superbly made
by machine and some stitched by hand
old and new techniques, abstract,
traditional photographic and didactic,
funny and thoughtful
far more than eye candy
a display if creativity demanding
respect, awe and understanding.
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!