Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Incredible Quilter

This is one of many quilts I saw today as Sharon Schamber talked to the Bayberry Guild about her work.  She became fascinated by Crazy Horse and designed this quilt. She has several quilts with people but the majority of her quilts are "quilty" -- designed in the tradition we are used to seeing.  Lots of flowers and embellishments.

Sharon was a comfortable and fascinating speaker, she didn't hesitate to take questions and comments from the audience. She has won  Best of Show in Houston 3 times (more than anyone else) and has a host of other very important recognitions. She talked about her techniques for applique, piecing, embroidery and border finishing, and her "focused" (obsessive, one might say) work on her quilts, 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week unless traveling and teaching, I became convinced that she is probably the best, or certainly one of the very best, quilters in America ... as craftsperson.  Google blocks me from showing some of her more traditional quilts.  

She openly says she has a form of Aseprgers' diease which accounts for the "focus" and that she is badly dyslexic and, more amazing, she has an "essemtial tremor" which makes hand quilting and applique difficult. Her attitude is very positive and very certain but entirely without abrasiveness. I was extremely impressed. We do not often have speakers of this caliber ... but then there are very few quilters of her caliber either.  It was a pleasure to hear her.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Giant Fell

I have seen damage done to the beach where I like to walk but this morning my daughter and I took advantage of a lovely spring morning and walked in a conservation area we do not visit very often.  The area was once farms. There are a few paths in the woods with old stone fences along stretches of them.  In one area we saw strangling, uncared for rhododendrons in flower, some purple and some pink. We also honey suckle -- if you notice the header, that photo was taken this morning -- some tiny flowers, many large leafed skunk cabbages and ferns. Along the path were a few piles of brush that had clearly been cut down by people clearing the path. Then we came to this giant, a grand old tree well over 20 feet tall. It had a root ball higher than our heads. The roots seemed to have been snapped off not far below the earth, perhaps at a frost line. I've rarely seen such large trees down. When the tree fell in the forest, there must have been denned up animals and crouching birds that heard it fall.  Did Bishop Berkeley think only people care about the woods?

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Chair Challenge

The "Uncommon Threads" Group which recently invited me to join proposed a first challenge:  12x12 inch block on the subject of Chair.  Maybe it's a bit perverse of me but I immediatly thought of "The Chair" and created the block you see.  I also did a little bit of research and wrote the following poem which is on the back. I know no one is likely to see it but then I know that most people really don't want to think about the subject of The Chair. Likewise I added to the front some simple facts about The Chair, printed in size 10 font and added to the white strips. These are a bit hard to read, again on the assumption that, in fact people don't really want to know. 

Need I add that other people have more expected chairs on their blocks?  Only one was finished at our meeting. A couple were more traditional depictions of chairs and a couple were somewhat abstract or "artistic".  All five will be shown together as one exhibit at the Bayberry show in August.

Edison vs Westinghouse

“The French have their guillotines,”
said Tom. “So bloody. So ugly.”
“The English have their chopping blocks,”
said George, “So medieval, so evil.”
“Firing squads are not sure fire
And hangings are primitive and pioneer,”
Tom and George agreed.
“The world is changing, yes indeed,
in every way, we have electricity today.”

Both set to work, each designed a chair,
dependably fatal and bloodless anywhere.
 Tom patented his invention first in 1888.
“Well,” said George. “I’ll sell more bulbs,
appliances too, just you wait.”
From 1890 to today, twelve long decades
“The Chair,” was the nightmare of death row,
emptying prisons and murderers and traitors.
For twelve long decades, in US prisons,
“Old Sparky,” or “Smoky” held sway
but lethal injection is mostly used today.