rocket tracking


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fiber Arts as a M.E.E.C. Precursor

Wetlands Sunsest by Erin Murphey

Peace in the Woods by Christine Raber
 Usually the Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) holds a series of programs to get people thinking about the theme of the yearly exhibition long before the entry deadline.  

I was tickled that that year Janet Olney Lasley, an art teacher at Dayton's Chaminade-Julienne High School used collages with fiber in her 90-minute workshop held during the Winter Wisdom Retreat (February, 2011).  In a world where fiber artists have to work hard to present and have their work accepted as "art" rather than "craft", I find this to be absolutely wonderful.

According to the information at M.E.E.C. (I didn't attend the retreat)  the "participants discussed the values of  restored natural  areas, places of personal and spiritual restoration and living in harmony with the land.  Prairie elements of fire, soil, water, tall grass and God's kingdom on earth were also discussed , and participants reflected on their personal experiences of the land and expressed them while constructing their collage.

Tree by Siobhan Finnen

The First by Pamela Dorsten
I'm afraid my shots of "The Tree" and "The First" don't really do them justice...they were over my head and hard to shoot! Ah, to be about 6" taller! 

I really love the textural qualities and the spontaneity of the pieces.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More MEEC part 3

Janet Olney Lasley made this lovely mixed media  work called "Purple Sky, Purple Pond."  She used fabric as well as paint in order to make it come alive. 
The portion at lower right is very dimensional and sticks out from the face of the canvas.

This is Chris Bohmer Stewart's "Winter Solstice."  While another piece of fiber art, she also composed a poem to go with it.

Winter Solstice

Candles processing through the snow
    up slopes of dark woods
    to the bonfire
    at the edge of the prairie

                                                                            A   pale solstice dawn
                                                                             Point of balance 
                                                                                  between the cold sleep of winter
                                                                                  and the colors of Light 
                                                                           Restore us, we pray.
                                                                           Renew and rejoice.

                                                                           (copyright Chris Bohmer Stewart, 2011 used by permission of the author).   

Restoration...not just of the pairies, but of ourselves.  What fullness of restoration comes when we work to restore what man has destroyed?  In all things.  Lisa. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More MEEC Exhibition

 The Marianist center in Dayton has a number of talented artists.  A. Joseph Barrish SM, or "Brother Joe" as he is known, is an internationally exhibited artist whose work just fills me with joy.  His colors are exuberant and I find myself wishing I could do similar works.  I could, of course, but I don't know if this is really the path I am meant to follow.

Some of Brother Joe's pieces reminds me of Elizabeth Barton's quilts.  Look at Brother Joe's pieces here and compare them with Elizabeth's here.  I am fascinated by the richness and texture both of these artist express so well.
 This offering really made me giggle. I loved it!  Vickie Fisher made these pieces from recycled grocery bags--a hat, at basket and my favorite? A grocery bag made from grocery bags!  This just tickled my funny bone.
 I love Bill Franz's photography.  I have seen some of his pieces before, but the tight color range in this humming bird shot "Feeding the Family" I thought was particularly good.  Bill is an amateur photographer from Oakwood, OH.  You can see some of his shots on flickr here.
 Winnie Fiedler usually tries to get something into the M.E.E.C. show to support this local endeavor.  I haven't seen Winnie in a while, but I was very pleased to see her "Color Song" here at the gallery.
This piece is called "Prairie Biodiversity" and is by Marilyn Bishop.  No surprise, this color pallet is one I adore and the movement of the shapes and general rhythm of the piece is very satisfying.  Obviously others thought so too as it was used s the postcard for the show information AND sold. 

Please check out Marilyn's blog.  In it she discusses a number of other pieces she did for the show but did not submit. I think it is useful and interesting to see how others determine what "works" and what doesn't for a show.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Marianist Environmental Education Center Exihibition

 Every year the Marianist Environmental Education Center at Mt. St. John hosts an exhibition on an ecological them to "help people connect with the world's beauty, deepen our understanding of the ecosystem and inspire actions for sustanability."  This year, in honor of the 25th anniversary of obtaining and restoring the prairie and surrounds the theme was "Restoration." 

Over 60 visual artists and writers submitted pieces for the exhibition.  I have a piece in it, but it is by no means one of the only fiber pieces.  This show usually has a lot of fiber art represented.  The  exhibition runs through the 25th, then some pieces will be shown at a downtown Dayton church.  For more information, you can visit here

 I think this year's show is a little smaller than others.  I know that I had another piece I intended to enter but I didn't finish it in time.  All types of artwork is on exhibition, as well as poetry and prose.

One of my favorite things about this show is that it includes not only recognized artists, but pieces from our youth as well.  This is "Riding in the Meadow" by Trinity Raber who is in the 2nd grade.

Many of the pieces are for sale and quite a number of them have sold.  I'll focus in on the fiber pieces in the upcoming posts. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SAQA OH and especially Sue King and Carole Staples ROCK!

Saturday,  the SAQA OH (Studio Art Quilters Association's OH branch) held a "parlor meeting" in West Chester, OH hosted by Carole Gary Staples at the West Chester public library north of Cincinnati.  Carole and OH Rep Sue King did a wonderful job. 16 art quilters gathered for a potluck lunch, show and tell, discussion of future plans, and to view "Stitched".

I must admit, I was a very rude person as Deb Bentley would make a comment about the movie and I'd say "Ohh! just wait what comes next."  Or, "get ready for this part, pay close attention."  I was  bad because this was the fourth time I had seen the I apologize to all others attending.

I had had the pleasure of meeting Carole Staples in January at the parlor meeting that Maria Elkins hosted.  Her works are joyous.  This particular piece she made for a breast cancer awareness exhibition.  The two smaller pieces she is holding in the shot above are ones which she has been making by improvisation.  She reaches into a basket of scraps and pulls out pieces to work with, not making patterns, but just composing as she goes.  I love them because they are so full of joy.

Sue King, seen here at left, has only been the Ohio representative since last year and she's been doing wonderful things.  It is really a pleasure to talk with her.  She's been working on a series of quilts done from photographs taken for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) documenting the Great Depression here in Ohio.  You can see her work here, and she is opening a solo show this week:  Re-Imagining Color and Tradition at the Southern Campus of Ohio University located in Ironton, Ohio. The exhibition takes place in the OU Art Gallery located in the Dingus Tech Building. The opening reception will be held at 6:00 PM on Thursday, June 23, 2011. The show runs through July 14, 2011.
My photos are sparse and of rather poor quality.  I'm afraid that the chemotherapy I'm on is heavily affecting my eyesight which is extremely blurry.  I had hoped to spend more time looking in depth at the rest of the works that people brought in.  Maria Elkins, another SAQA member who was there covered many of the pieces on her blog which you can see here.

I am really enjoying my membership in SAQA.  I only joined last year, which is a real pity.  When I lived in Connecticut I ran into Martha Sielman the executive director of SAQA.  It must have been in the last 1990s and she encouraged me to join.  I was greatly embarrassed..I didn't have a studio, for heaven's sakes I sewed on the dining room table...and artist???  Hmmm...while I did my own thing in quilting and rarely could follow anyone's directions (I wanted to do my own thing which was sort of a problem for some of my teachers who I took classes from)...I hardly considered myself an artist.  I was a mom...and a museum curator and a wife....and....I keep on wondering where I would be now if I HAD joined when Martha suggested it..

This last picture is of fellow Miami Valley Art Quilters Carroll Schleppi on the left who is a recent joiner, and Debra Bentley on the right who joined at about the same time I did.  They are holding one of the loon quilts Deb is doing in a current series.  I was very distracted at the end of the meeting.....All of a sudden I was getting really horrific floaters.   Deb asked me if I had had flashes of light as well, which I had when I came into the meeting at about ll am....based on her experience it could have been a detached or torn retina which scared me pretty well.  Carroll and Debra drove me to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton where we sat and continued to chat until the doctors pronounced that I only had a vitreous detachment which is the least damage which could be done.  I admit, the floaters (dark shapes caused by the leakage) are quite large and distracting until I get used to them, but at least it isn't more severe damage.  Quite frankly, I'm really tired of my health dramas and would rather just quilt!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Last year, I selected "discipline" as my word for the year.  I didn't do too well at incorporating it into my daily life.  However, I'm working on it.

This week has been frustrating.  Partly because I thought that since it was my week free of chemo that I would have energy.  That didn't prove to be the case.

The other point of frustration is that I have been trying to find the big box of beanie babies to send off to Afghanistan....only I can't find them. I have looked for hours and I'm hoping that perhaps they are in the attic.  I know WHAT the box looks like...I just can't lay my hands on it.

Then, I intended to finish up my quilt for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge...I have the greatest design and I'm really excited about it.....but I decided that it REALLY needed some bobbin work.  I have two extra bobbin cases for my sewing machine, one for monofiliment thread for the bobbin and one for doing bobbin work with larger threads such as the variagated perle cotton I intended to use for this project.  I can't find the bobbin work bobbin case.  I looked...and I looked....and I just can't find it.   I tried to use my little light weight Brother sewing machine which has a drop in bobbin....and I did, for about 1/4 of the way, then it started making horrendous sounds...I think there's something in the bobbin area but my eyesight isn't good enough at present to clean it out.  Heck, I can't even see the regular thread!  I looked for 8 hours for that bobbin case before giving up and going on to the month before's Fast Friday Challenge which I didn't finish either.

It is infuriating how much time I spent looking for things.  I could have been using that time to create instead.  Just a couple of days earlier, Lyric Kinard wrote about this in her newsletter.  I encourage you to not only read it, but to subscribe.  I'm enjoying it completely.  Take a look here.  Her article is something that Vivien Zepf and I have talked about in the some quilt artists such as Lyric and Natalya Aikens are able to quilt, teach, write, AND be mothers.  They have the same number of hours in the day.....

I determined back in March when I realized how bad my sewing room had become and how I hated my office that I would start following what I knew to be true.  Put things where they belong and clean up each'll save both time and money because you won't have to buy duplicates and you'll be able to get right to work.  Lyric asked in her newsletter how we're going to exercise discipline.  I have vowed to handle things once...putting them right where they belong not setting them down to get to them later...because later often comes when there is a mountain to deal with which then takes days....and just serves to frustrate.

I've also vowed to unpack bags from classes, etc.  This came after I discovered 6 pots of Stewart Gill paint int he bottom of the bag I took to Carol Taylor's class at NQA in Columbus last year.  I had been looking for those pots! 

I am also labeling boxes and containers so anyone can find what they are looking for in my sewing room.  That way, I won't be stuck going "now what did I do with that?  Which box holds that little wonder???? 

It will take time.  It is, however, markedly better than it was just a month ago.  Big thanks go to Chris Landis and Beth Ann Miller who came and helped by labeling putting things in while I directed.  What a great thing!, back to working on the very fabulous design. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let's Hear it for our Service People!

Ok. I admit it, I was tempted to talk about our living Service men and women on Memorial Day. Somehow that seemed...well, a little bit not right. I certainly don't want to MEMORIALIZE them, but to honor them.I also admit that I tried my darnedest to write to my congressmen and women so that we wouldn't be involved in Iraq.  Let's face it, I am the daughter of a WWII GI, the granddaughter of someone who served in both WWI and WWII as well as the Army of Occupation in Japan. I lost an uncle in WWII.  Maybe it is because of that that I don't particularly want ANYONE to serve in a war, particularly one in which you could argue about the "rightness" of it. 

That doesn't mean that I don't support our troops or that I don't respect the men and women who serve at great risk and sacrifice.  I do. I am particularly taken with those who not only overcome their hardships and trials during their service, but work hard to do good in addition to fighting and doing their jobs overseas.
Major Art La Flamme is one of the guys I really admire and would like to honor.  Art is a husband and a father who has to leave his family and serve overseas.  He has served multiple deployments to Iraq.  He has been affected by what he has seen and where he has been.  On his own, he created Iraqi Bundles of Love (IBOL).   He has encouraged quilters and knitters to share of their bounty by packing up boxes filled with fabric, notions, tools, all manner of things which are sent in large, Flat rate A.P.O. Priority mail boxes.  Once in Iraq, they are distributed to women who then make garments for themselves and their children, items to sell, and all manner of things.

 Major Art La Flamme and IBOL boxes.  Art and his loyal henchmen and women, on their own time when they could have been sleeping or relaxing, coordinated the collection and distribution of 3,445 boxes filled with approximately 30,000 pounds/13,500 kg/15 tons of stuff shipped to them from all over the world to be presented during Ramadan, 2009.   Then he did it again in 2010 and he's working on another right now as well as launching Afghani Bundles of Love (ABOL) and some "Super Secret Projects" which are smaller projects.

Some of the boxes arriving in Sulimaniyah just prior to distribution.

Because I can't say it any better than Art himself in his description, here's what he has in his "media packet" on the IBOL Wordpress Blog.

"A third iteration of IBOL, called IBOL3D, is underway for 2011.  It’s surging sewing, knitting and quilting supplies in Baghdad and Anbar provinces, in conjunction with the drawdown of US Forces.  IBOL3D is closing out the year by crossing the continent and working with the Cultural Advisory Teams and Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan, which is as strange as it sounds – folks in Iraq helping folks in Afghanistan.

The IBOL website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Please respect that. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available through Art La Flamme.

Details on building a bundle:
Details on what to send:
IBOL on Facebook:

As well as keeping  ABOL, IBOL and the Super Secret Projects (SSPandthecurrent number) going, Art plugs other opportunities to give and ways of honoring and helping both our own service men and women and in other humanitarian efforts around the world.  He also has shared a pretty darned good recipe for hot fudge Sundae sauce....which should win him a special medal right there.

I can't imagine where he gets the energy, but he does.

Here's one effort that Art highlighted:

So, here's to Art La Flamme and to his family who loves and misses him.  Here's to all his co-conspirators in humanitarian work.  Thanks guys.  You do it where we can't....

Oh yeah...I swiped these photos from Art's blog and Facebook albums...with the blessing of one of his favorite quilters--gotta be politically correct, many people in his family quilt!. :)  You can see her stuff here  and in the book, Twelve by Twelve.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Forgotten

I cannot let Memorial Day pass without commenting on it...even if I am late.  Memorial Day, formerly known as decoration day was originally designed to recognize those soldiers who had died in service to their country.  It has expanded to remember all our dead, but still focus on those who serve in all branches of the military, including the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine which are often left out of the American corporate conscience when listing the branches.

Sometimes I don't like the fact that it was switched from May 30 to the last Monday in May.  Why? Because it becomes a day for picnics, parties and family get togethers rather than a day of remembrance.

Now mind you, this year I didn't get to any parades or services.  I was just too worn out from my daughter's graduation party on Saturday.  Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, but there you are.

I often think of the "forgotten" on  Memorial day.  Those people who served in Korea which seems to have been overlooked.  When we think of the show "M.A.S.H." most people think of it as being Vietnam...but it wasn't.  It was the Korean Conflict...a war which killed, maimed and did everything else which happens in war but wasn't dignified with the label and was overshadowed by what came later.

Will Gulf I be the same? Overshadowed by our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I have also noticed that people are also taking Memorial day as a time to recognized or acknowledge our veterans.  Does that take away from those who gave the supreme sacrifice?

I also consider those who suffer from wounds which are not visible and to families who suffer from constant re-deployment of their loved ones. These two photos were taken in the old cemetery at the Ridges, a decommissioned state psychiatric facility in Athens, Ohio.  In the 19th century, many psych patients at the newly constructed facilities were Civil War Veterans.  Like our soldiers in Iraqi and Afghanistan, they were farm boys, students, regular folk who had never seen the horrors of war.  

Things were made more difficult during the Civil War because a lot of new armaments had been developed which wrecked havoc on the soldiers.  Gattling Guns and other new guns rained down terror and death.  Yet, much of the fighting was "old school"  up close and personal with bayonettes and muzzle loaders.  The war previous to the Civil War was the Mexican American War, 1846-1848, which, although it used volunteers, was heavily fought with our standing army and involved much smaller forces than in the Civil War. 

Many Civil War Soldiers came out of the war missing limbs, many more suffered from what we now call PTSD, but then had no diagnosis and no treatment, save being institutionalized.  Many others couldn't return home for whatever reason and continued to walk the roads going from one place to another.

Here, you see their graves, marked with a number and a flag.   In some cases, families claimed the bodies.  In others, they never knew what happened to their beloved soldier.  Sometimes, a stone with the persons name was erected later, but this was rare. 

So, lets not forget.  I'm glad that someone still takes the time to place American flags on the Civil War Soldiers (G,A.R. stands for the Grand Army of the Republic--the north's side).  But I still wonder about out current men and women who still "see the elephant" in places far away and come back broken in mind as well as body.  May we remember them and treat them with the care and consideration that so many have not been afforded in the past.