rocket tracking


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dear Friends and Followers of Lisa’s blog,

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there haven’t been any recent posts to Lisa’s blogs, Michigoose’s Gander at Quilts & Life and Long Time Living: Living with Breast Cancer.   Lisa spent a week in the hospital at the start of October and entered hospice on October 5th.  Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer the following day.  Lisa’s family and close friends were with her and her release from pain was peaceful. 

I had texted Lisa as soon as I learned she was in hospice.  Lisa’s husband, Carlos, found time to call me and let me speak with Lisa.  Though she was unresponsive at the time, I’m certain Lisa heard me, and understood me, as I told her she was widely respected, admired, and loved.   

Like many of you, I met Lisa over the internet.  I’m not sure how I came across her blog, or how she came across mine, but I’m so thankful we connected.  Our friendship started as simple blog comments on art and life.  We soon discovered we  both had daughters who seemed to be injury-prone and I understood what it meant to have a mother battle breast cancer while I looked on as a teen.  Soon our exchanges became more personal. Lisa and I talked on the phone at length, and even managed to meet up at a quilt art conference. 

Through our conversations, I got to know more about this incredible woman who shared so much with so many. She was a voice of reason and restraint when it came to debates and lively discussions on quilting group forums.  She was a tireless volunteer, pitching in to work at quilting booths and organizing local art groups.  She had an encyclopedic knowledge of plant life and a tremendous green thumb. Even when she couldn’t garden as much as she wanted to due to the painful side effects of her cancer treatment she still thought of others, dividing over-reaching plants and sending the extras to liven up new homes.   And Lisa never failed to share her knowledge and experience of living with cancer.  She offered endless advice on treatments, managing insurance red tape, and the emotional side effects of living with cancer.  She understood hope – and believed strongly in the will to survive.  Lisa believed strongly that late stage cancer victims needed as much help as those who benefitted from early detection.  Lisa didn’t believe in panic; she believed in gathering facts and facing a situation head-on, armed with as positive an attitude as possible and a strong spirit of personal advocacy.  Yes, she shared privately how her fingers numbed and wouldn’t cooperate, how her bones ached and her body was weary, but I don’t recall that Lisa ever let that stop her from doing what she set out to do; instead, I watched her implement creative solutions

I know Lisa hoped to be with us longer; there were many things she still wanted to do.  However, I also believe that she left us knowing that she fought the good fight longer than anyone ever expected she would.  I also know she was thankful for all her experiences and friends. I hope she can take a measure of satisfaction now in knowing how wide a net she cast with her words of wisdom and her friendships.

I miss Lisa terribly, as I’m sure you do as well.  I miss our talks, her little quips, her photos of her garden, and her incredible sincerity and empathy as she shared stories of her life.    I am eternally thankful to have met her and my life was enriched because of our friendship.  

Lisa’s ashes were spread in her beloved Michigan and I’m confident she’s happy to be at rest there.  For those who weren’t able to attend her service in Ohio, there will be a memorial on May 17, 2013 at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Wethersfield, Connecticut. The time and details have yet to be determined. It is our hope that we’ll be able to arrange a plant and/or bulb exchange among the attendees to celebrate Lisa’s spirit of sharing and giving.   Please offer your thoughts and ideas on Lisa’s Facebook page; Lisa’s family and friends will be checking her page periodically.

Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.  -- A. A. Milne – a quote that inspired Lisa during her last battle

This message provided by Vivien.  Thank you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Aullwood: Vita Marie Lovett

Vita Marie Lovett "South Window"  12 2/3" x 9 3/4
Vita Marie Lovett is another "regular" artist at Aullwood's art quilt show.  I wrote about her work in 2010 and in 2009.  I am drawn to her work for many reasons, her fondness for old architecture (especially barns), antiques, and detail.  I appreciate this piece for several reasons:  In the early spring, I can't wait to harvest some forsythia to bring in and have their luscious yellow chase the winter doldrums away.

 I also love the long rays of light which one finds in the early morning and late afternoon.  I imagine that this time is fleeting for her as she lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. One of the things I missed the most when I moved to Connecticut from Michigan was the long periods of this "long light" . Because the area of Michigan I lived in was fairly flat, just gentle hills, and the area of Ohio where I live now is flat as a pancake thanks to the hard work of the glaciers, I have longer periods of this light.  Connecticut was just too hilly!  But there are many things I do miss about living in New England.

Vita Marie Lovett "South Window", detail.
Vita Marie drew this image from the south window in her cabin. I appreciate her work because she does not print a photograph on fabric then stitch over it,  but paints a background the color reflected in what she sees, then draws with thread on top of it..often many, many layers to do the detail. Her work is rich and sparkles...and lays flat as a pancake, I think partly because she uses canvas as her back ground.  That strong fabric is less likely to be distorted from all the work she does.

Look at the really seems to be transparent.  Her complex thread work gives it depth and dimension while imparting the impression that it is clear.

Vita Marie Lovett,"South Window" detail.
If you haven't looked at Vita Marie's website, you owe it to yourself to take a visit.  You can see it here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Aullwood 2013: Bits and Pieces, the work of Barbara Bruser and Pam Geisel

Barbara Bruser, "Mandala " 26" x 26"

I'm back from Montana and a little worse for the wear.  I am finishing up the pieces which were exhibited at the Aullwood Nature Center's 2013 art Quilt show.  Tonight, you will get to see the work of two fellow Ohioans, Barbara Bruser and Pam Geisel.

Barbara's work entitled "Mandala" is  personal. A mandala is a spiritual symbol used in Hinduism and Budhism.  One of the purposes of a mandala is to set out spiritual space, another is to represent the universe, and to aid in meditation.

Barbara has been studying to obtain her masters in Socialwork.  In doing so, she studied Erikson's Psychological stages of life which describe elements from infancy to old age.  Barbara tells us  "I envisoned this as a mandala,expanding concentric circles for each stag,  all striving for the unity of one's total self."   Barbara used

fabric and beaded embellishment to illustrate her personal travel.  She intends to add to it as time goes on.
"Bruser, "Mandala"  detail

Pam Geisel, "Seasons" NFS.

You've seen Pam Geisel's work here before.  Pam is a fellow member of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network here in Ohio.  Pam  arranges little piecers of fabric together ona background cloth and  puts netting  over it and stitches it down.  Pam let borrow her photo  as these pieces are framed in 5" x 7" frames and the pieces themselves only measure 2.5" x 2.5"  Given the lighting at Aullwood, my photographs were less than to be desired.

Although this shot leaves a lot to be desired for many reasons, I think you can get the idea.  Each of the little mosaics shows a tree in each different season.You can see more of Pam's work on her website:

Once again, I am participating in Nina-Marie's Off-the-wall Fabric Fridays. For more art quilts make sure to go to her website.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Harvest once again

Once again, I am in Montana.  This time I didn't come out to help with harvest, but to see my mom and least I didn't THINK I was coming out to help.

A little more than a week ago my mom blacked out and fell, breaking three ribs.  In reality, I originally came out to see my dad whose heart is weakening.  I arranged it between chemo treatments....

While here,  have either been doing harvest meals n my own (twice) or acting as sous chef for my sister (lots of chopping).  This year has been a little nuts as we don't know if we are going to have seven to feed in the field or 12. ....and they eat lots.

Yesterday, I made Bott Boi (a.k.a. "Pot Pie") a German dish  which is made by the Pennsylvania Dutch, the Amish and the Germans around my area of Ohio.   It is wonderful home-made egg noodles traditionally cut in squares, with chicken....basically chicken and noodles....but least back home, the whole ooey gooey mixture (which is more like gravy from the noodles than broth) is served over mashed potatoes (or in some areas, but not mine, chunks of potatoes).   I love it...So.....I made the broth and stripped the chicken and yesterday made the egg noodles.  I used my sister-in-law's Atlas pasta machine as the last time I made it my noodles were tough....I couldn't get them thin enough and the dough is soft so I had to keep on adding flour to keep it off the rolling pin.

I was in a panic as I didn't know how much the recipe would actually make..the one I used said it would make 6 servings...but I remembered that the last time I made it I fed the ladies of my quilting group as well as saving some for home and freezing a lot since it feels good on my chemo ravaged tummy.  So.....I made a second batch of noodle dough to hold in reserve.

I sort of  cheated as I usually slip in veggies to make it more wholesome than just pure starch.  Celery, peas and carrots found their way into my pot.  It tasted heavenly....and made a huge stock pot full. I fed the field (that day 9 men), saved out half cup servings for my mom, dad, sister and me, and there was still enough left to put in containers for my brother to eat for breakfast.  I wondered if they guys in the field had ever had home-made egg noodles. Mom made them rarely, but I loved them.  As I worked on this she kept on saying "why bother? I just buy the dried egg noodles."  Nope.  Not good enough, and actually noodles aren't that hard to make. This website is basically the recipe I used, and the noodle recipe is the best.  I didn't put it over mashed potatoes as  I have always thought that was overkill...and we have from 2 - 4 diabetics working for us.

This lovely photo is wheat harvest in Spokane, in 1926.  Thank goodness I didn't have to feed horses too!

I'm leaving soon...I wish I could stay longer, but my ribs are saying "are you nuts??" from all the standing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aullwood: More Jean Liittschwager

Jean Liittschwager "Sand Castles", 35" x x 47" H.
As promised, tonight we are lookng at Jean Liitschwager's two remaining pieces in the Aullwood show.  These are much earlier than the Salmon Spawning, which was completed this year, but in one of the styles that she often uses....take a look at her gallery to see her geometric abstracts, but you can certainly see where she was headed in these two pieces.

"Sand Castles" captures a fleeting moment in the lives of her grandchildren.  At dusk, they are looking at the dream of the sand castle they planned in the smaller work which they have completed.  As Jean put it, "The incoming tide may wash their castles away, but the memories of this happy childhood time will last throughout their lives.

Jean Liittschwager, Sand Castles, detail.
Jean used both machine and handwork in this piece and employed sparkly thread once again to add some reality to her elements.

Jean Liittschwager, "Sand Castles" detail.
I particularly like the use of her fancy stitches  done free-motion here which gives more texture.
"Sand Castles" was completed in 2002.

Jean Liittschwager, "Gray May Day", 28" x 34.5" $500

Jean Liittschwager, "Gray May Day" detal.

This is "Gray May Day" and is far more abstract that the two previous pieces I have shown you.  I love how she uses commercial fabrics in her work.  Jean lives in Oregon and her house overlooks the McKenzie River. This is the view out her kitchen window,showing  her garden, the banks of the river and the mountain vistas beyond.  As she puts it "April showers bring May flowers but in Oregon it just keeps raining."  She noted that this year, the rains hardly ever came indicating that climate change has arrived in her corner of the world.

Here you can clearly see the variety of prints she used, and the streaks of metallic thread.  She also used dimensional paint I think on the little blips on the bottom of the rain.  Jean often uses bright colors such as these in her work.

"Gray May Day" was completed in 2003.

Please do go to her website and take a look at her scrollable gallery here .  I'm sure you will enjoy it and be impressed by some of her works. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Aullwood 2013: Jean Liittschwager

"Spawning Salmon" 29" x 36"  Jean Liittschwager $750.00
 One of the first quilts as you entered the Aullwood Nature Center's 2013 art quilt show is "Salmon Spawning" by Jean Liitschwager.  Jean is no newcomer to the Aullwood show, but often exhibits her work at this venue.

I laughed when I saw this piece.....Jean is a 5th generation a state full of transplants and relative newcomers.  Most of Jean's quilts do not follow this style, but one thing which is very much her style, Jean draws inspiration from her surroundings.  This particular piece is inspired by the Chilkat blankets (or robes) and dance aprons made by the Pacific North West tribes (Haida, Tlingit, Salishan, Tshimshian-Nishga, and Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka).  I think almost every quilter who is exposed to these pieces feels inspired to do pieces along the lines, I know I have succumbed to the pull after seeing them in Washington state.

Here, you see the stylized rendition of a salmon spawning, the eggs are the dots emerging from the bottom of the fish, and the sperm ( and bubbles from the stream) are around it to fertilize the eggs.  The pebbly bottom of the stream is there to receive the eggs.  The sole purpose of a salmon is to reproduce, and once it does so, it dies.  Thus, this is the perfect selection for the show's theme:  Season of life.  Jean combined elements from the Tlingit and Haida cultures.
 Originally, these pieces were made from "cloth" woven from cedar bark, cattail leaves and colored grasses.  Upper classes would have furs as well.  After contact with the Europeans,  wool was introduced and used heavily in the robes and aprons.

Jean took the palette from the cedar/cattail/grass combo for the background of her piece.  The dance aprons and robes often had fringe to add to the texture and movement and Jean's choice here in the fringe and the fabric are close to perfect.

She used suede cloth, cotton and wool with machine and hand stitching.  The pebbles here almost feel like you could reach to them and let them run through your fingers.
Here you can see some of her hand stitching.

Jean has a website where you can see more of her work here.

I was going to include her two other works...but  I realized this is getting a little, come back tomorrow to see two more of her pieces!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Aullwood 2013: Suzanne Mouton Riggio

Suzanne Mouton Riggio, "August Moon"
Suzanne Mouton Riggio is another of the "regulars" in the Aullwood Show.  You can see work from other years here,
here, and  here,.  Suzanne's submissions are often small, and these three little gems all measure 11" x 8.5".  I do think of them as little gems.  Several of Suzanne's pieces include telephone poles, partly because this is what she sees and she often is inspired by scenes she sees around her house and neighborhood.

This particular piece tickles my fancy as I have never seen bats do this, usually I see maybe 4 or 5 at a time, but I do like bats, or rather I like what they do....consume vast quantities of bugs which often cause harm to people. I feel that they are maligned little things.  I also enjoy this piece because of the mysterious quality she has captured, and it brings back days when I was  a child on the farm and would sit on the back stoop watching lightening bugs, bats, the sky, and stars. Since I live in suburbia or close enough, there is too much light pollution to enjoy the sights, and I often  escaped our un-air-conditioned home in the country at night by going outside.

Suzanne Mouton Riggio "August Moon", detail.
I also enjoy this piece because she included the glitter of lightening bugs...those are the little circles.
Suzanne highlighted the clouds in the sky, the moon and other areas with silver Sliver thread, which is notoriously difficult to work with.  The highlighting really give the effect of the moon's light on all that it hits.

Suzanne  Mouton Riggio "August Moon", detail

Suzanne often, or dare I say usually, uses commercially printed cottons.In the case of "July Family" she actually printed a little of her own.  Suzanne was aware that she had a hawk family nesting near her house, but she had never been able to see all of them, but hear them calling to each other .  One day her daughter happened to have her digital camera with her and saw them preening n the telephone pole...the same one as seen above.
Suzanne Mouton Riggio, "July Family"
She Photoshopped them and printed  out the hawks on fabric.  She made the rainbow by using oil-paint sticks on tulle, then pressing the arcs out between paper toweling to remove the excess pigment.  She used milkweed down to make the little blips in the sky.  Beads composed the bits and pieces of equipment on the pole.

I can really relate as there is a pair of red tailed hawks which nest near me, and I hear them calling, see them spiraling in the sky, but in the eight years I have lived here, I have yet to see their young.

Suzanne Riggio, "July Family" Detail

Suzanne  Mouton Riggio "June Flowers."

I can't help but think of the old song "June is Bustin' Out all over" from the old musical "Carousel" (if you aren't familiar with it, I will include it at the end).  This really shows Suzanne's penchant for using commercial cottons, and she often cuts out elements to combine to make her images.  The title of this piece is "June Flowers" (so she's covered June, July and August!).

Here's what Suzanne had to say about it in her description:

When June arrived, the whole place burst out in flowers.  Roses climbed trellises.  Flowering vines made it up the pole.  And butterflies arrived en masse.

To enhance that blossomy feeling, I used floral calicoes to fashion the house,  roof, and gutter.  The binding also has that floral feel.

Suzanne lives in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, she does not have a web page, but many of her quilts are on the web from other shows and it is worth a google image search.

Suzanne Mouton Riggio, "June Flowers"  detail  ©2013

Once again, I am also participating in Nina-Marie Sayre's "Off the wall Fiber Friday.......even if it is Saturday!

You can see other participants here:  

Have fun!

Oh yeah..the last day for the Aullwood show it Sunday, August other words TOMORROW! so if you haven't been and are from the area, tomorrow is the last day.....although I will be working my way through the rest of the quilts here for a couple of days.