Saturday, July 30, 2011

'Who knew?

A couple of days ago, I went with daughter and son-in-law, a glass artisan, to Falmouth here on Cape Cod to see an exhibit of work my many mosaic artists. The show was a revelation to me because mosaic conjures floors as in St. Marks in Venice or in Roman ruins or else walls with pictorial subject. There were references and modern takes on both but mostly the pieces were wall hanging pieces, nothing larger than 3x4 feet, if that. Thus surprise and lesson #1: modern mosaic artists use their craft to express the same kind of artistic impulses as painters and textile artists.

Many pieces were not just pieces of ceramic tiles. Lots of other materials were incorporated from strips of bronze to semi-precious gem stones, to river rocks to glass and ceramic beads and even including broken tea cups and vases. As to be expected sometimes it worked better than other times. Lesson #2: mosaics can incorporate a wide variety of materials.
I only took a few photos and am sorry I did not take more [I'll include a couple more tomorrow] Also I only jotted down a few names of the pieces and none of the artists' names which I'm sorry I omitted. The final piece had a name I liked a lot, "What the Leaf Peepers Don't See" - I had been drawn to it because of it's autumnal brilliance and because it is entirely squares used as fabric might be used in a quilt. Of course the ceramic surface gave the piece a sheen not even silk can give in textile work. A bit more tomorrow or the next day. Lesson #3, more photography is needed and a notebook in which to jot names.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I see at my feet on my morning seaside walks

My 16x20" collage for the Bayberry Quilt Guild's challenge to make 16x20" quilts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Seashore, which includes a great part of the upper cape. I chose to gather shells and various bits of flotsam from the sands as I take my morning walks beside the sea -- about 25 miles further west but the same sea, same variety of stuff.

My basic fabric, which can be seen on the binding, was, for the body of the quilt quilted and lightly painted with a mixed acrylic paint to get approximately the color of the wet sand just at the line where the tide is receding and leaving behind the wrack -- mostly shells but a great deal of both fresh and old seaweed. The seaweed is various wool yarns, the rest are found materials. The general rules said there were no restrictions on method or materials so I didn't attempt to use fabric to represent the shells and other materials, they are real. All had natural holes in them, created by abrasion and other creatures, except of course the gull feather. Everything is sewn down. I did not use any kind of glue. It's hanging here at home and all seems very solidly attached.

One must see it in natural light to see the variations in the seashells which very much fascinate me when I'm walking. Nature is a very subtle colorist, very good artists can imitate nature but the real thing is best is endlessly varied. I love the shapes, also, of the battered shells, like the spiral inside of the welk shell, all worn away but the "spine" which I think is beautiful. It will be, along with possibly 50 others, shown at our guild's show a week from now, and then all the "National Seashore" quilts will go to the visitor's center for display until October.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quilt National 2011

Eye candy to savor again and again. I just received the catalog from this year's Quilt National which I quickly looked through, stopping now and then at especially arresting quilts.

Quilt National is the biannual show of art quilts from around the world held at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio. I have been lucky enough to go to some of the shows -=- thus I know that the catalog is a satisfactory substitute for actually getting there but ultimately a frustrating substitute because, just as no photograph can do justice to an oil painting, photographs are even less accurate representations of fiber art where the surface is extremely important. Photographs always distort the viewer's sense of an artwork in terms of size and volume.

I cannot get to Ohio this summer so I will, over the next several weeks take time to read what information is given in the book [not really enough to satisfy me] and it will lie on my coffee table to be picked up now and again and looked at until I have almost memorized the quilts. Seeing fine art quilts is, to me, not different from seeing fine art of any other genre. Many make indelible impressions adding to my knowledge of human creativity and to the concept of beauty.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And it's not even the "dog days" of August yet.

This picture of Elliot, an English bulldog, just arrived in my email from a friend who says the picture is unposed -- as it is impossible to get Elliot to pose for anything. It's hot over most of the country and even dogs have coping mechanisms. I hope you all have your own ways of keeping cool.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Camden, Maine

Taking friends' advice can be iffy, but for our recent trip to Maine friends proved as good as gold. One told me to stay overnight in Camden on the coast an hour and a half from Acadia National Park. What a lovely town it was! A seaside, harbor town nestled in hills, as can be seen from the state park nearby with it's Mount Camden from which this photo was taken. The main street was given over to touristy shops and restaurants -- where we had a good dinner and saw interesting work by many local artisans. It was also full of flowers. The picture below was just one of many flower boxes in front of shops.

The town had the most elegant -- and beautifully kept-- city park I've ever seen with perfectly placed benches for looking at the harbor or the flowers or for relative seclusion while reading a book. The library sat at the edge of the park. There was a lovely statue of home town girl, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. I was totally charmed. Another town a bit further down the road had a sign claiming, "most beautiful small town in Maine" and perhaps it was, but only a little more so than Camden. That town perhaps had more graceful old houses but that was about the only edge it had as far as I could see.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beautiful Maine

Somehow I never got to Maine in any of my travels. That omission has been corrected. Rachel and I spent a beautiful four days mostly in Maine. My stereotypical picture was a rocky shore and the shores ARE very rocky. Not all with sculptural formations like the one in the picture but the shore is very different from here on Cape Cod.

A friend recommended stopping in Camden on our way up to Acadia National Park. It was definitely one of the most charming towns I've seen. It has a large, fairly formal town garden with a statue of Edna St. Vincent Millay who grew up there. There's a charming harbor, the stores and inns have beautiful flowers. Our motel had a B&B type breakfast with popovers and blueberry muffins, a small stone beach and lots of lounges on the rolling lawn.

Acadia has the highest mountain on the East Coast, Cadillac Mountain [named for the explorer]. 360 degrees views, on a clear day, which it was, are forever. We climbed Acadia mountain, 100 feet shorter but quite a strenuous climb, brag worthy for someone my age. Spectacular too and nice areas in pine forests.

On another friend's advice we eschewed Bar Harbor and stayed in small and quiet Southwest Harbor which was having it's annual flamingo festival -- the kind of rather silly event only small towns can pull off with high spirits -- the streets, shops, houses were adored with all kinds of flamingos. [No, not a life one to be seen]. We skipped the half hour long parade for the view from the mountain and a long walk on the rocky ocean shore. We had wonderful food, wonderful weather and good driving. A great trip.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A home for the parrots

This quilt with fused parrots is one of my favorites because the colors are bright and I like that I repeated them on the back as well. I made it a couple of years ago and have not used it. Like many it's waiting for the right home to go to. I've found the home for it. And thus I have made a bit more space on a shelf for future quilts.

I'm going to visit a college friend over the weekend, actually someone I've seen only once since graduating from college a looooong, loooong time ago. The couple had careers and no children but they've had a parrot most of that time, a long-lived bird that seems to have aged less than his human housemates, or so I'm told. So I will give them this quilt and will feel it's found a compatible home.

Taking it out reminds me how much I like the particular quilt block and that I have a set of appropriate blocks for another almost all cut out and awaiting a few additions to their baggie of potential works. That will move up a notch in my mental queue of quilts to make.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Quiltie -- Quilter' Bookshelf

This is a small quiltie, about 6x7". The "books" are selvages and the border as well is a selvage although the part with the color dots is on the the back. It was made for a swap-bot partner and is now in the mail on its way. The idea was borrowed from a post last week on the Selvage Blog [see right sidebar].

Although the idea of miniaturizing things [like quilts] in this way seems a bit juvenile to me, I must admit it's fun to sit down and complete a project in a couple of hours, even doing a bit of hand quilting, which I enjoy doing but don't do with larger quilts because I am unwilling to spend precious time doing it I might if I were a TV watcher but I am not. So I'd rather be reading.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

One For the Family Album

An "Aww, so cute!" photo. I try not to do this king of post often but this is one for the family album. 14 month old Finn and 4 year old cousin Sophia. What more need a great-grandmother say.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Roses and Hydrangeas

My eagerness, around about February and March, for spring to come is because I am besotted with the summer flowers on Cape Cod. Starting with the forsythia which come first, and then the other spring flowers and now with summer at it's outset, the glory of roses almost everywhere. I don't believe I could ever grow tired of the changing spectacle of flowers in lawns wherever I drive on Cape Cod.
Now the hydrangeas are in full glory and they last quite some time, as you see there are lots of blue ones but there are also white ones [fairly rare actually] and pink ones and some plantings as you can see below where all the colors mix. Also I see lots of day lilies and tiger lilies, impatiens, petunias, geraniums -- I even have some hanging on my patio, and many other flowers, that I can't always name. To grow flowers must be a mark of the goodness in affluence, even minor affluence as small homes have flowers, perhaps not as showy and abundant but individually just as beautiful.

Friday, July 01, 2011

So What's the News?

Here are pictures from the "news" of Hillary Clinton arriving in Madrid in a nice navy suit, a frilly white blouse and a white Scrunchee holding her hair back. This is news? This is something we should be concerned about? What woman hasn't had a bad hair day when all she wanted to do was get it out of the way and look fairly neat? I think she lopked pretty good and really don't give a damn if she pulls her hair back with a Scrunchee or plain old rubber bands.

I am appalled at the things that AOL choose put out as "news" on their home page that I have to go through to get to my email. Yes, I"m glad to learn the weather and glad to hear about various political events, even glad to know that Prince Albert of Monaco has finally taken a very attractive wife. But they plaster so much idiotic junk on that page it leaves me wondering just what lame brain makes the decisions about what is important enough to send out to unp-jillion readers. These are mental junk food, like Cheese Doodles and Cracker Jacks.


This is one of two Works In Progress [WIPs], the other is the blue squares shown a few posts back. Both are at or nearly at the stage for quilting. This is a design by Deborah Konchinsky [I think that's misspelled].

Any time of year that is my least favorite step, and in the summer when it can be hot and humid, definitely not something I want to do for very long at a time. While quilts are almost by definition "warm and cozy", warm and cozy is the opposite of what I want to feel most summer days. So it will be some time before I show this when it's finished, or the other on either. But I have a head full of quilt tops I'm thinking of making. That's my favorite part anyway. I have two completed tops, one wall size, one bed size from last summer that I haven't convinced myself to quilt yet. So it goes.