rocket tracking


Monday, April 30, 2012

A Trilling Scene in my Garden

About three weeks ago, maybe a little more, I was ecstatic to find these eggs in my goldfish pond, although my husband is of a different opinion.  I had heard a high pitched trilling day and night, but hadn't thought too much about it.

See the long thread-like strands in the waterlilies? This are  the egg strands of the American toad.  Toads, while they live most of their lives on land, lay their eggs in the water and have  unusual, long egg strands while most of the amphibians here, such as the bull, green and leopard frogs--all of whom have taken up residence in my garden, lay gelatinous masses.

When I first moved here, you couldn't find a toad.  Last summer, I found a couple.  This spring, there was a little one in my vegetable garden.  Now, I'm going to be a fairy toad-mother.  It does present some problems however.....I didn't get the goldfish pond cleaned before they hatched....and as I want to encourage them and make sure as many survive as possible....I won't clean it until they get big enough to easily catch.  Which I hope is soon.  They hatched this weekend and are now about 1/4" long.

I remember as a child going to the pond and catching tons of tadpoles....I'm not looking forward to catching these.  Carlos has an aversion to toads and frogs, I suspect as a result of opening some wooden shutters in Cuba and having what he says were hundreds of frogs fall out (I suspect they were the coqui common to the Caribbean).  I am the one who catches the frogs from my goldfish pond and takes them away to another pond nearby.

My only aversion to frogs is to bullfrogs, and that's because they will eat my fish....and anything else they can get their mouths around.  I'm still not sure if the present frog in the pond is a green frog, or a bull frog....but at any rate I'm pleased that the fact that I don't use pesticides in my garden has made so many of the amphibians a happy home.

I meant to include this last you'll understand what I mean about "trilling." Also, notice the amount of vibrations he sets up in the water with his call. Really cool.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

12 x 12 at International Quilt Festival, Cincinnati

Yesterday, Gerrie Congdon asked me about what I thought of the 12 x 12 exhibition at the International Quilt Festival (IQF) Cincinnati.  I'm glad she did because in my nuttiness lately, I completely forgot about commenting on it!

As I reported in an earlier post, Del Thomas graciously sponsored the exhibition of the theme series and the color play series at IQF Houston, Cincinnati and Long Beach.  I was anxious to see them as I "cyber-know" several of the twelves, have been following them since they started putting up information on the web and I own "Twelve by Twelve" the book....  I have to admit, 288 quilts was A WHOLE LOT!  You could sit and look at them for a long time...Here's a taste of the show....I don't much like this part of the show sort of got a little choppy, I suppose because there were so many quilts.  I am also not fond of the break int he hangings, but I suspect it was for emergency equipment or egress.

The lighting could have been a little better over in this corner, but they did have to work within the confines of the building, available space, electricity, etc.

I did like that the information on the quilts, with a photo of the quilt was right there in front of the quilts. In some of the other exhibitions, you had to struggle to find the right stand holding the information on the quilt in front of you.

I'm happy to report that it was very well received.  While I worked at the SAQA desk, which wasn't far from the 12 x 12 exhibition, a couple of people came over and asked if we had the book. We didn't, but I was able to point them in the right direction.  You can too!  Just go here for a full list of where you can obtain it, and I recommend that you do because they are so rich and I love the extended commentary and the lighting is a heck of a lot better in my home.... Of course, the color play series isn't included in the book as that series post dated the submissions for it.

It was wonderful, however to get a close up view and to be able to see all the stitches.

The exhibition of the 12s literally ran all along one wall from the back to the front of the show floor.  You can see the Artist Village which was nearer the front  with the 12s still running behind it.

Of all of the series....I'm afraid that Terry Grant's challenge of orange was my favorite. I am seduced by orange and I found this particular selection joyous.  How can you look at these quilts and not smile?

Top row, L-R: Hibiscus, Deborah Boschert; Endless Summer, Gerrie Congdon; Drought, Helen Conway; 2nd row: Central Park, Kirsten Duncan; Orange Lilies, Terry Grant; John Lennin's Glasses, Diane Perin Hock; row 3: Focus, Francoise Jamart; Enjoy the Delicious Twelve Brand, Kristen LaFlamme); Orange, Karen Rips; Row 4: Suits, Brenda Gael Smith; Bouquet by Terri Stegmiller; Short Summer by the Inch, Nikki Wheeler.  (sorry the bottom row is obstructed....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mad Deadline Dash to the End of May....

 I need to have my head examined. all probably knew that before.  At the end of March, I went to the SAQA conference, then there was Easter, then 5 days spent with the International Quilt Festival (I went down on Wednesday), doctors visits (a lot of them, with spraining my foot at IQF and with starting the new Chemotherapy, and the failure of the previous drugs and the P.E.T. scan)...and the opening of the SAQA Ohio regional show in Zanesville (2 1/2 hours away).

I usually try to enter the Marianist Environmental Education Center's art show.  Every spring, they have a show which is themed...this year's theme was "Living Green."  I prefer to put in new pieces rather than use pieces I've already done.  I especially make sure that my pieces fit the theme.

This little piece is called "The Stream" after my friends vetoed "The Waste Stream."  The base for it was made from a pair of shorts which were consigned to the rag bag because I had mended them so many times and the fabric was thin enough that I put my fingers through the leg one day.

I free-motion quilted the stream with some rocks, and added rocks made from a used Tyvek mailing envelope which I had painted with acrylic paints and "tortured" with my heat gun.  The fish were made from a pop (soda) can that I cut then filed the edges so they weren't so sharp, and then used Adirondak alcohol inks to give them color.

The white water is made from an old produce bag, and I also used the gold and green mesh bags that apples and Vidalia onions are purchased in.  The netting, sheers, and various greens were all scrap.  The backing is fabric that a friend had cut away from her borders (she's a long arm quilter and thus had quite a bit which was scrap), and the batting was Quilter's Green....which I don't as a general rule like as it is very thin...but it is made from recycled plastic bottles.

I am now madly trying to finish quilting and binding two quilts, one of which is very traditional, These need to be done by Wednesday as the Miami Valley Quilters Guild (Dayton Area) show is going up on Thursday with the the show being held on Friday and Saturday (Green County Fairgrounds, Xenia, Ohio).  Saturday, I'm demonstrating some art quilt techniques for the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild of Troy (my really local guild which is very small).

The end of the month is the due date for Art and Old Lace (which I have started) as well as the due date for the Aullwood Nature Center Show.

Not to mention the other show's I'd like to put stuff in....

And to top things off....I decided to buy an old Ken Quilts 622 machine and quilting table because I'm having trouble with my hands free-motioning on my domestic sewing machine....and I'm also spoiled because I used a friends long arm and decided I far prefer moving the pencil over the paper rather than moving the paper under the pencil (free-motion quilting on a domestic means you're moving the quilt (the paper) under the needle (the pen) whereas on a long arm or a machine mounted on a track, you're moving the machine over the quilt (paper). Which means, I have to clean out the area to put it because I have to pick it up from my friend as she bought a new really cool, up to the minute long arm set up. make things really interesting, my daughter has developed TMJ and we had to retrieve her from college (3 hours away, so a total of 6 hours down and back, to be repeated tomorrow) to get that taken care of and I started new chemotherapy....hopefully, I don't have any side effects and it works.

I really shouldn't be doing little silly quilts like "The Stream" as they aren't really helping me progress...but maybe they least it is giving me practice, but it is a venue that I believe in and want to support.  But I really have to get back to the nitty gritty.....I must admit, finishing these two quilts for the traditional show feels I started in 2001; the other is an art quilt done in the style of the button blankets of the Northwest tribes....and I started that one about 3 or 4 years ago.

Meanwhile, my garden is thumbing its nose at me while growing copious numbers of weeds.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Taking the Long View

Y-Bridge, Zanesville, OH from park
A great benefit of belonging to Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is the opportunity to sit and discuss art with other members.   I especially like how quite often such discussions can change the way I look at things.  When working at the SAQA booth in Cincinnati, I had the pleasure to sit and discuss some of the work we saw at Fiber Philadelphia with Sue King and Nysha Nelson.  Both Sue and I had had similar reactions to a piece on display.  We were struck by it, but for all the wrong reasons.

I didn't see any design merit in it, and saw it as merely a gimmicky piece which stayed in your mind for negative reasons (reaction, not statement).  Nysha disagreed.  He said that he first saw it from across the room, a long view of it.  What he saw was a tree-shaped piece with an interesting play of light and darks.  It was only when he got up close to it that he realized what it was made of and some of the other details which served to put me off.

I, on the other hand, had come upon it from close quarters, and I didn't see the positive elements that Nysha did.  Well worth considering.  Certainly enlightening and I came away from that discussion with the thought that I needed to see it again, through Nysha's eyes.

Later, when I was walking through the quilts on exhibition at IQF Cincinnati, I came upon an older woman who was using her reducing glass, otherwise known as a peep-hole from a door.  I exclaimed how brilliant she was to bring it along, especially in areas where you couldn't really stand back.  She grinned and said that she really can't come to appreciate the whole quilt until she views it from far and from near.  She pointed to one quilt and told me I had to look through to see the play of light and dark.  She was so right...I wouldn't have realized how superb the quilter was at giving the piece depth without borrowing her glass because I simply couldn't get far enough away from it.

One amusing thing....the white glove lady hurried over to us and said "I'm sorry, but I have to ask this...with all the new equipment, that's not a camera is it???" We laughed and said no, and the lady explained what it was used for....and the woman had a blank face...I don't think she understood.

I, however, had my dear husband buy me one on his next visit to Lowe's....and now, for all of $3.95, I too can take the long view.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Wisteria, Zanesville Museum of Art.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Creative Statements: SAQA OH at Zanesville Museum of Art

Sue King and "Farhrenheit"

Susan Shie, Sue King, Carole Staples, and unknown.

Quilts at Zanesville,.  From left, Kathleen Loomis: Postage 6: Epidemic; Debra Bentley June's Dementia; Frauke Palmer  "Thin Green Line", Carole Gary Staples "Chillin'"

I'm afraid that I didn't get a lot of photos, I intend to take some more when I go back later.

One thing which you can see on the above photograph is that the lighting is a bit odd...I think the cans need to be re-directed. 
 This is going to be short and suddenly dawned on me on Thursday, that I was running out of time....2 small pieces to be done by Wednesday (I'd prefer them done and delivered tomorrow); two large works to be done by May 3, and a whole host of other things.....What happened to April? Oh, right...SAQA conference, Easter, and IQF, and Saturday's opening of the Studio Art Quilt Associates Ohio Regional Show at the Zanesville Museum of Art.

It's hard to believe that just two years ago, Sue King asked us to brainstorm as to what we wanted.  Number one priority was a regional show.  Sue, and Shelly Brenner Baird, Terry Ann Hartzell and Kris Worthington managed a herculean task and got Kathleen Loomis to jury our first show.  The Zanesville Museum of Art hosted this show which showcases the works of 27 artists.

My husband, my neighbor and I ventured over to Zanesville for the opening on Saturday which was really fun.  At left you can see Susan Shie, Carole Gary Staples taking a picture of Sue King.  Just in the far left, you can see my little piece.

Dee Dadik and Molly Butler in front of Jancy McClellan-Ryan's "Battles" 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

More on Understanding and Labels: Brooke Atherton's "I Feel Free"

Brooke Atherton "Twenty Feet Deep"

In my last post, I wrote about how artist statements/labels can bring us to a deeper meaning, and that sometimes having someone "interpret" the piece brings greater understanding.  At the same time, sometimes the message which the viewer receives is just as valid, although different, than the artist's intent.

At the Art Quilt Elements opening at the Wayne Art Center, I over heard two women puzzling over Brooke Atherton's "I Feel Free."  I am familiar with Brooke's manner of working and, in true Lisa form, felt I had to share that Brooke's works often spill off the walls.

The artists statements (which to my mind is sort of a I usually think of the artist statement as explaining in general why they do what they do, whereas a label is the explanation or statement about the individual piece) were limited to 100 words, basically the length of the first two paragraphs I have written here.  Brooke wrote about her piece as showing resilience in the face of destruction and references fires, and tornados.  The yellow dress which gives  you the feeling of blowing away in a tornado is the matron of honor dress Brooke wore at her sister's wedding, and she told you about that in her statement....but that was about all.

Brooke Atherton, "I Feel Free"

I asked Brooke to share with me the details of "I feel Free", and was moved by her eloquence and the deep meaning which it held.  Her response was 1,450 words....I struggle with this as I know that many people wouldn't bother to read this much, in fact, you might not, but I encourage you to do so as it is a wonderful story.  I also understand that it is expensive to produce hard copy catalogs and labels on the wall.

Perhaps Susan Lenz really has the right idea when she spoke of having a link to a webpage identified by a QR (quick-read) code.  I have pondered this as I don't like the idea of excluding people who don't have the tablets or smart phones to read them.  I've puzzled over how galleries could provide "loaners" to be able to read the QR codes...but maybe a few hard copies would solve that problem. Certainly, linking it to a webpage would be quick and inexpensive as Susan pointed out to me.

So, here's Brooke's story about this piece, "I feel Free" and the "long red one" at the top of this post which is "Twenty Feet Under."

"I Feel Free" Detail

“I Feel Free” is a companion piece to  “Twenty Feet”, which was a device constructed to measure the depth of floodwaters in New Orleans after the Katrina fiasco.  It quickly evolved into a commentary on news coverage (repetitive, meaningless, and obscene—those reporters were getting off on being in the middle of total destruction), the rapid breakdown of the social order, and a measure of grief and despair.  To the base layers of that quilt, I started adding measurements.   I walked through my house measuring the heights of things I care about, things I would miss if they floated out of my life.  When I added in my own 5’6 ½”, I was barely a fourth of the way to the twenty feet deep that the flood waters reached in places. (We duck taped it to the apex of our house roof to get a full length photo when it was finished—about 1 ½ feet of it still laid on the grass.  I would have lost everything I have carefully surrounded myself with. The piece actually measures 16 inches W x 21 ½ feet tall)   At that point it quit being a game, and the enormity of the destruction began to sink in.  At the time I was working on this, two of my friends were diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (colon and lung), one in Ohio and one here.  They never met, but emailed a bit about treatments, etc, building a relationship that made me feel left out at times.  The day I caught myself actually wishing I had cancer so I wouldn’t feel excluded made me realize I was measuring and cataloging things of Biblical proportions.  The age old lament “Why have you forsaken us?” was swirling around and around in my head, so I burned it into fabric, stitched it in, and eventually the words deconstructed into pure marks—stitches of different colors, different threads repeated over and over into a black cloud of total despair, anger, and terror, like a black cloud overhead.  At that point on the quilt, the stitching was so dense I made holes in my fingers from trying to push fat needles through the layers.  Using a thimble seemed like cheating—with so many in so much pain and despair, how could I not add a little of my own blood, tears, pain, literally. 

“Twenty Feet” was shown in a special exhibit about the Katrina flooding that Laura Cater-Woods put together for the quilt show in Lowell , Mass. It came home with three (3!) Judge’s Choice ribbons (from Martine House, Joe the Quilter, and Susan Carlson), even though it wasn’t in the judged portion of the show.  Over the years, it’s also gone to a handful of other venues, but the size made it impossible to enter into most shows.  So I NEVER thought I’d make another one ….

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Katrina, the show “Still We Rise Again” sent out a call for work related to it.  They were looking for things of a spiritually uplifting, positive nature.  I read about the show and knew I needed to be part of it.  I needed to honor those friends, who were my cheerleaders—the ones who’s faith in me and my work kept me working when I didn’t see the value in anything I had to say. ‘ Relevance’ was a big issue to me when I reentered the art world.  Who would be interested in anything a white, middle-class, middle-aged woman had to say?  ( Since then, there have been studies about the ‘Grandmother Factor’—the theory that civilization and human development were able to take a giant leap forward because we began living long enough for menopause to kick in, and that having non-childbearing women around to help nurture and teach enabled language, art, etc. to flourish.  I’m sure I’m misstating this, but the idea made me reevaluate this stage of my life.  We rule!)  So, with about 2 weeks to develop an idea and build the piece, I dove in.   
I had some of the fabric elements left from “Twenty Feet”, so dug them out and started there.  The next day we had our art quilt (WAV) meeting, and someone there brought a nasty-looking plastic baggie.  She lives on a ranch in WY, and said they had a trailer fire on their property years ago and every now and then goes over to check on what’s left of it.  She said it’s finally looking ‘Brooke-ish’!  So, she brought the bag full of broken pottery, metal…things, etc., all charred and dusty.  I thought—how cool, and wanted to work them into the bottom section of “I Feel Free”, the part that represents destruction.  We have learned through the years that it’s okay to keep to our regular schedule (we meet every third Sunday of each month) even if it falls on Father’s Day, because most of our husbands and sons really don’t mind.  So, that’s how I know it was in June.  After I got home from the meeting, I sorted through the bag to see what I could use (Parris was golfing, so I had it spread out on the dining room table).  And that’s about when the hail storm and tornado hit.  Our neighborhood was hit hard by the hail, but the tornado was at the bottom of the big hill, and followed Main St. up the hill, so I didn’t know about it til later.  Main st. is the busiest street in the entire state of Montana , supposedly, so that was a major event.  The tornado landed squarely on the Metra center, which is where all the big events are held, from rodeos to concerts.  If it had happened the night before, thousands of people would have been there, but on Sunday evening no one was inside.  Parris had to walk home from the golf course because they wouldn’t let cars through the flooding.  Men on foot were okay, though—go figure.  We spent a year rebuilding, re-roofing, etc.  I used a couple pieces in the quilt from my huge red ware bowl that now has 2 perfect half-moon holes from the baseball-sized hail.  So, I was able to include something of my own! 

The next day, my youngest sister called from Ohio , to say that she had kicked her boyfriend of many years out.  He is an alcoholic, as was her husband before him.  I asked her to please get counseling, for herself and her daughter, and find out why she’s drawn to guys who drink too much, and she has thank goodness.  The dress is the one I wore as her matron of honor, and never wore again because it’s a color that looks awful on me.  But it looks great on the blue-dye painted Lutradur I had laying around…  So, there were all the major elements, presented to me over a two-day period.  I asked my sister what she thought about me cutting up the dress and using it.  She laughed, and said “I would be honored for you to use my sucky life to make art.”  So this became a message to her daughter, my 13-yr old niece, about strength and resilience.  Even the choice of the word ‘resilience’ is part of the story now.  A little over a year ago, a friend’s house was pulverized when a several-ton boulder rolled down the hill and destroyed it.  I hate ‘pitying’ anyone—that’s so demeaning—so I was delighted to watch them rebound.  They will soon be moving into an old factory building in the trendy, artsy, downtown area, that has been re-designed as a house/studio/gallery!  How could I have had so little faith in them?  Anyway, ‘resilience’ is the word she uses a lot now, and I asked her if I could borrow it.  She graciously actually gave it to me.  (She’s the one who is instrumental in getting the Live Well grant for the new group she started here.  She’s been active in using the arts in hospitals for years. She’s my new hero.) 

One thing that both quilts share, other than size, is their structure.  The bamboo sticks aren’t just decorative.  They are the system for folding the fabric back and forth (then are tied together) so they can be displayed in different configurations and sizes.  Who has walls tall enough to stretch them out?  In my dreams, Oprah or Brangelina will buy these two pieces and permanently install them in a library or other public building in New Orleans , in giant plexi boxes.  They’re the only people I know of who care that much about NOLA, and can afford that much plexi. 

I love what Brooke had to say....a friend of mine was taken with her comment "How could I have so little faith in them?" saying that we often don't give our friends and relations the credit for the inner strength which we all have.

Certainly, Brooke has given us a lot to think about, and people who are able to see "I Feel Free" would benefit from reading this remarkable story, especially after they too have looked at it and listened to what it had to say to them individually.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Labels, Statements, Intent and Understanding

Perhaps the title to this post should be "How much or how little?"  Historically, art galleries have minimally used labels on the work they exhibit.  Usually, just the title and the name of the artist...perhaps the medium, but not always, perhaps the date.
"War Sucks" by Kristin LaFlamme

As I have mentioned before, in my previous life, I was a museum curator in historical museums.  I went the other way.  We identified the piece, we put it in its cultural context.  I viewed exhibition text/labels to be written like an outline.  The big headings, smaller parts, and once you got down the the label, the really fine bones of the work.  My viewpoint was, don't put a book on the wall, but provide the information if someone wants to take the time to read the individual object labels.  I thought that people would scan what they wanted and if they wanted to read more deeply, they'd go beyond the object name, date and materials.  If they didn't, they wouldn't.  Yes, in the case of the Artist Village at IQF, I would have welcomed something to identify each of the artist's works...instead of making me ferret, guess and deliberate....

I had been contemplating writing about labels and interpretation and had mentally been framing the discussion when Vivien Zepf wrote a really interesting blog post on understanding art included in Fiber Philadelphia as explained to her by Frank Hopson at the Snyderman Works Gallery.  If you haven't read the post, you may find it here.  Vivien was wondering why some of the pieces were included in a fiber show, even though they weren't made of fiber.  Frank ably led her to some new understandings and thoughtful considerations about art.

Which brings me to the above piece.   This is Kristin LaFlamme's work, "War Sucks" which is included in the Art Quilt Elements exhibition at the Wayne Art Center.  One of the people at the opening who was standing next to me took one look at the quilt and said "I don't like it."  Not being someone who easily keeps her mouth shut, I started talking to her about it, and what Kristin was communicating.  First, Kristin is an army wife married to a really neat guy, Art, who has seen I think 7 deployments as he is career Army.  This is part of a series that Kristin has been working on, or rather is related to a series called "The Army Wife" and reflects the observations of one who is up-close and personal with her subject matter.  I pointed out the chamoflage fabric taken from Art's old uniforms, the raw edges, because war is raw on every level.  The stuffed and unbound edges...the fact that the "batting" was an old army blanket.....and the choice of commercial fabrics, the patriotic ones contrasted with small floral prints...and the rawness of the slashing of the words across the "homey" aspect of a quilt.   Not all quilts are pretty.  Some quilts talk....loudly, but it is up to us to be able to listen and in this case, "knowing" Kristin and her work helped as there was little interpretation there (you had to be able to make it to the book which had the artists statements-- themselves  limited to 100 words-- in the opening crowd.

The quilt suddenly became something more...While it "spoke" it needed an interpreter who had some more information to make it understandable on more than a superficial level.  Kristin's blog goes more deeply into the piece and you may read it here.

"I Feel Free," Brooke Atherton, 
Across the room, hung Brooke Atherton's "I Feel Free".  While there was a brief explanation (again the 100 words or less) in the book, a couple of people were perplexed..."Where would this hang? Who would make such a long quilt, and why???  Too bad it had to be folded."  Well, I'm a little familiar with Brooke's work and explained that her work often came off the wall and flowed onto pillars.  I also explained a little of her method as you could see the wonderful "burned shibori" on this....which if you don't know Brooke's work again could be easily missed....Again, a docent or another interpreter brought (I hope) a deeper understanding of the piece....

But then again, recently on either the Quiltart or the SAQA Yahoo group someone shared her understanding of a piece which was on exhibition at the Crane Building for Fiber Philadelphia.  It was a large installation which the person saw as being Hijabs....and it spoke to her as to what she connected with.  She studied it for a long time...and the artist, who happened to be standing nearby came over and spoke to her about it since she had been looking at it for so long.  She explained what it meant to her....which wasn't the artist's intent at all....and then the artist explained what he was communicating, which she also understood.

In some cases with art, we don't have the knowledge of what the artist intended to communicate....we just have our own reaction and interpretation.  This understanding is valid and certainly a personal resonance is part of fully interacting with art....

Somehow, in the best of all possible worlds we would have the combination of the two...the opportunity to look at a piece and form our own opinions and understanding, then to go to a fuller explanation of the artist's intent.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

IQF 2012 Cincinnati: Artist Village Project

One of the fun things to get a chance to see "up close and personal" was the Artist Village Project organized by Kathy York.  Kathy's work is exhuberent and often has squares and three dimensional elements in bright colors.  After seeing Judy Coates Perez's work, she thought it would be fun to do an artists village and ask a number of people to join in...The village debut was at Houston last November....with a blog tour in May.

One thing which made me grumpy about this was that while the artists involved were listed, the houses weren't identified.  Although some were very easy for me to spot, others were artists with whom I wasn't familiar....therefore, I thought I was going to be able to put up this blog post easily...instead I was researching who did what houses for two hours tonight.... The house with the squares and the orange on the roof is Kathy's.  She describes the meaning of her house here. 

The little purple pointy house and the bluish traditionally sort of shaped house right in the center I think are Jane Davila's.  The rusty brown house on the left with the viney shapes is Judy Coates Perez's. The little rectangles in front of the roof line of Kathy's house are Lisa Call's "affordable housing", taking inspiration from some of the work being done to provide low cost housing.

The yellow and multicolored house in the front here covered in buttons is Frances Holliday Alford's.  The wild loopy house center right is Laura Wasilowski's. Just to the left of Frances' house is a corner of Barb Forester's which resembles a pueblo.

The black wavy roofed house on the left here is Jamie Fingals.  The butterfly roofed one is Connie Hudson's.  The pointy house right with the "granite" roof right in front of the butterfly house is Melani Testa's.

This was the first one I figured out...remember me saying a couple of posts ago how recognizeable Susan Else's work was?  Well this little person looking out the window and the palette is a dead giveaway for Susan's work.  Such a delight!

One of the fun things about Susan's is that the inside is full of trees and vines.  The tree is Naomi Adams' tree house and I could have looked far more closely at the trees if I had had more time.

I am pretty sure that the house on the left with the nuthatch is Vickie Hallmark's. On the right is Jamie Fingals again from a different angle.

I know I am missing some of these....this is where a few well placed small labels or number or something would have been a world of help!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Halla! International Quilt Festival Cincinnati

Sign at Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH
"Halla!!!" Yes, I know this isn't how you really spell it, but every time I look at this sign I smile and think of my daughter yelling "Holla!"  This is the sign for Hall A, at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  For the last two years, the International Quilt Festival has been held here, having moved from Rosemont (near Chicago).

Last year I went and worked for Iris Karp at Mistyfuse, and I did the same this year.  My intentions were good....I brought camera, iPad, laptop, cables, etc....but I found after working at the show all day, I was just too tired to blog afterwards!

Vendor set up, International Quilt Festival Cincinnati 2012
I stayed at the Millenium Hotel with a friend starting on Wed. night as she was taking a class Thursday morning.  On Thursday morning, I wend on the floor to Iris' booth to put down rubber pads I had brought from home and to bring in my stool....last year I had neither and between the pelvis fracture and the chemo drugs...I was in agony and I resolved NOT to do that this year.

If you've ever wondered what set up looked like, here it is.  I was on the upper gallery looking down onto the floor.  See the golf cart going by? It's rolling along on plastic covered carpet.  Other parts had yet to get the carpet down. In other areas, however, the carpet had been laid and the plastic partially removed.

International Quilt Festival Cincinnati 2012 vendor set up

Here's one of the vendors working as fast as possible to get out their wares.

International Quilt Festival Cincinnati, OH Vendor set up 2012

Quilt Display, prior to opening 4/12/12 International Quilt Festival 2012 Cinci
That plastic caused me no end of grief.  After setting up my part of the booth, I walked away and tripped on some of the plastic, because of the neuropathy in my foot, I couldn't tell where my foot was.  I thought I cleared it, but all too quickly found that I had injured my foot!  My own darn of the issues one gets with cancer treatment and I'm still learning to live with. Fortunately, it was only a sprain, but it meant that one more year I was hobbling around the place.  NOT a good thing if you want to see everything!

I love attending this show.  I worked in the SAQA booth and had some really enlightening conversations with Nysha Nelson.  There's nothing better than the opportunity to talk art with other interested people.  I always come away with new and better perspective.

Of course, the vendors are really cool too, but I try to limit myself there.  The quilts, now that's the thing!  Quilts from around the world....several of the SAQA exhibitions, Quilt National, the Twelve by Twelve show, the Soft Village, O Canada.....just absolutely wonderful!  So many ideas and so much to share!

I can't recommend going highly enough.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Random thoughts...

 It has been a really tough day.  My shoulder continues to be painful and I strongly suspect that it is more bone metastasis.  I've been trying to convince my oncologist, but he always brushes it off....and it feels very much like my pelvis did before it broke because of the cancer in it back in 2009.  This is one of the most maddening things about getting treatment in Ohio....My tumor markers have risen, and I'm going to get a P.E.T. scan on Tuesday and will start chemo again on the following Tuesday.  Not good, but it is the life of a stage IV cancer patient. I just keep on hoping that maybe somehow, I can kick it back like I did back in 1998 after finishing the treatment for my initial stage IV diagnosis.

At left is Adela Aker's Luminosity.  Adela had several pieces exhibited in Fiber Philadelphia, most with horse hair like this one. I was fascinated by the texture and reflective quality her pieces had.   This particular piece is exhibited at the Snyderman Gallery, which I felt was a magical place.

Just outside the Snyderman is this decrepit building which intregued me.  One can hope that someone sometime will be able to take and rehab it.   I loved it that Vivien Zepf photographed the same building and put it on her blog.  You can see it here.

I am extremely fatigued today, which may be because of the pain.  It was wonderful having my daughter home for Easter.  I had hoped to get back to work on finishing a couple of quilts for a local show and working on the piece I started in Philadelphia...but not tonight.

Here's hugs and wishes for your own personal miracles during this season in which two faiths recollect miracles, and the miracle of spring continues to amaze us.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Art Quilts Elements: Dianne Firth

One of my absolute favorite pieces at Art Quilts Elements at the Wayne Art Center is Dianne Firth's "Red Stones #2".

Dianne graciously sent me a photo as I didn't take one of her piece per se, because she wasn't there to get permission....and I DO follow that as much as possible.

Diane Firth's Red Stones #2, photo supplied by the artist.  All rights reserved.

Susan Else with "Forever Yours" and Dianne Firth's Red Stones in the background

I don't think that the photograph really shows it to its best effect, but I imagine it is really hard to get a good image of.  I was intrigued by the shadows that the red felt ovals left...of course as the light changes, the shadows would move.

You can see it a little better, or what I'm talking about in this picture I used yesterday of Susan can see Dianne's piece in the background and you can see how different it appears than in her own photograph.

When I asked Dianne to share something about her work with me, this is what she said:

"This diptych quilt continues a series of explorations I have made over the last decade where I have been attempting to capture the ephemeral qualities of air, water, wind, mist, clouds, rain, sunlight, etc through a combination of solid and sheer fabrics. In 'Red Stones #2' I am trying to capture the movement of water over river-worn stones. It is quite abstracted and ordered, but during the making I really had a sense of being in the elements. I have used felt for the stones and bedded them between two layers of nylon net. It is machine quilted and the 'stones' are painted to create a three dimensional effect. The size is 139cm in height by 122cm wide."

The painting on the stones is absolutely dead on.....and I loved looking at it.  I loved how the air moved through the pieces and the nuance in them, while still having a very graphic pull.

I guess it is no surprise that both Dianne and Susan Else shared in the Juror's Choice award...well done!

You can see more on Art Quilts Elements here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Art Quilts Elements: Susan Else

I was so pleased to be able to meet Susan Else at Art Quilt Elements....I first saw her work "in the bone" at Quilt National 2009 where she exhibited one of her quilted sculptures entitled "Nothing to Fear."  That piece, and this one called "Forever Yours" are both quilted material mounted on an armature.  These were done on the plastic skeletons you can find in the stores near Halloween.

I was in heaven's name does she do these? At quilt National I spent quite a bit of time looking at the little pieces with elaborate quilting...the feet and hands are just amazing.  Fortunately, there was a brief moment when I could ask her if I could take this picture and find out how she did it....She is most obliging.

Susan quilts the little pieces then hand sews the segments onto the armature.  Yes...I'm embarrassed to say that this it how my thinking went: "Wow! Day of the Dead Skeletons!  I love her colors....but HOW did she DO that?"  I do adore the bright colors she uses....they are my favorites, turquoises, lime greens, red, cobalt blue...all bringing you in to look closer.  It should have been all about the art...but here I was, hung up on the technicality of construction.  Susan says that she views the quilted cloth as skin, I think she infuses magic into her pieces because they live....You look at them and they are leaping and bounding....they are thinking little creatures...and all quite amazing.

"Forever Yours" has the wonderful ability to communicate a tenderness and loving feeling that one realizes can extend beyond death....No wonder she won a prize at Art Quilt Elements....and I regret to say, I am not sure which one because the room was so packed that I was left in the outer room and couldn't hear a thing what was going on in the other.....

Susan does a variety of  sculptures, some of them with flesh....actually, I think more of her pieces have flesh than not....they are amusing, thought provoking, and fun.  All of them have that same wonderfully bright palette.

Please go and check out her other work and her artists statement here.  You'll be very happy you did.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World

A couple of weeks ago, I got a surprise in the mail.  Lark Books had sent me a copy of Art Quilt Portfolio:  The Natural World:  Profiles of Major Artists Galleries of Inspiring Works by Martha Sielman to review.  (ISBN 978-1-60059-928-6).  192 pages.

Wow.  Just one word...WOW!  Martha did a wonderful job on this book.  The book is divided into 9 sections by topic:  Flowers, Birds, Water, Animals, Leaves, insects, Flowers II, Trees and Textures.  Each section begins with an in-depth introduction to two or three artists, then goes into a gallery where many artists works are shown, just as if it were in an exhibition with labels identifying artist, title, date, size and method.  The book is well indexed with the table of contents guiding you to the featured artists and the subject matter, as well as a featured artist index and gallery artist index at the back of the book.

Martha's introduction is a must read as it gives you insights into the book as well as includes some information on the artists not repeated elsewhere.

Each of the featured artists described their method of work and were asked questions.  Everyone was asked "Why fiber?"  and the responses were quite telling.  Asking ourselves this, I think is an important activity.  Why DO we work in fiber or textiles? Why don't we stop at taking a photograph, rendering a drawing, or whatever.   Reading  each of the featured artist's answers was illuminating as well as one which pleased me as I think it is important for us as artists to consider as well as enabling the general public to understand where fiber/textile artists are coming from.  In addition, Martha queried them on technique when she thought that that was important.

When I first came to Ohio from Connecticut in 2005, I hadn't been exposed to large doses of textile art.  I had been to a few shows which had some art quilts in them (The Odyssey show) and the Shoreline Quilter's Guild and Clamshell Quilters (one of which Barbara Barrick McKie belonged to), but I hadn't been exposed to work by many art quilters.   Moving to Ohio opened my eyes.  I will never forget visiting the Fitton Art Center in Hamilton, Ohio and seeing Katherine K. Allen's work.  I was enamored.  I haven't been able to see a lot of her pieces, but she was one of the featured artists, along with Dominie Nash....and to top it off, many artists whose work I had seen either at the Aullwood Nature Center show in Englewood, Ohio or online with the groups I belong to--such as Melani Kane Brewer, Ginny Eckley and Nancy Cook are also among the featured artists.

Martha once again laid out the book as if it were an exhibition.  The images flow nicely with each other and leave you inspired and wanting to return again and again to look more closely at the images.   I read the book from cover to cover in a matter of three hours, and will probably re-read it.  I did laugh at myself... Nancy Erickson's "Easter Cougar" made me wonder if there had been a typographical error...I enjoy Nancy's work which bears resemblance to cave art, and I suspected that this particular piece, one of a series of "cut out" works she's been doing was named as a joke ("Easter" rather than "Eastern") as the colors were bright and included some dashes of blue, aqua as well as yellow ochre and red.  Just to make sure, I contacted Nancy and she verified that she did indeed name "Easter Cougar" that because of the colors.  Nancy did say that the image came out much darker than the actual piece is.

In addition to the featured artists and the general gallery, Martha included the Fiber Artist's Coalition (FAC) themed exhibition "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."  I hadn't heard of this group, but was interested to see how they handled the common theme.

Lark included a list of the featured artists as well as links to their websites here.

I can see myself turning to this book again and again for insight, inspiration as well as to share with other quilters and explain the world of art quilts based on nature.  Definitely, this book is a keeper.

Publishers' suggested retail price:  $24.95 US/Can $29.95.

I've just not had the time to write this review earlier....and I know that Elizabeth Barton reviewed it as well....I've assiduously avoided reading her review because I think so highly of her writing and insight that I didn't want what she had written to influence I can go and read it! You can too, right here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fiber Philadelphia and SAQA Conference

Martha Sielman, executive director of SAQA  
 Last Wednesday, bright and early, I drove over to Lancaster, Ohio to meet up with Sue King to drive to the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference  in Philadelphia.  The conference was co-sponsored by the Surface Design Association and SAQA with the lectures and panel presentations, opening of Art Quilt Elements AND Outside/Inside the Box exhibitions as well as tours of Fiber Philadelphia preceding S.D.A. workshops which will run through April 4th.  Sue and I got there early for Sue to attend the SAQA Reps meeting, leaving on Sunday so that Sue could return to work today.

I intended to blog from the conference, and a number of people did, but I found that I was usually just too tired or too busy!

It was a lot of fun meeting people who I had "talked with" on the internet, admired their work, or just heard of.  I'm afraid that my head was spinning with new names, faces and ideas.  There's little wonder that one of the public art pieces showed three dragons, one with the pearl of great price....

One of the panel discussions on Friday was Elizabeth Barton, Sandra Sider and David Revere McFadden's presentation on the Jurying of Art Quilts Elements 2012.  It was especially interesting as we attended the show for the opening later that day.

One comment that Mr. McFadden made was that none of the quilts were particularly innovative.  He said he wanted to see quilts which used fiber optics...or other things...

One thing which I was mulling around after his statement was when does innovation become gimmick?  Why push to use new materials, if it doesn't SAY anything?

Perhaps it wasn't earth shattering, but it was a piece I liked very much and wouldn't have thought of doing on my own is this piece "Twisted", by Diane Nunez (please put a tilda over the "n" ).   Diane quilted the strips of fabric, put grommets in the top, twisted them and inserted metal rods.
  Diane is from Southfield, Michigan and I like how the space between the pieces of fabric is just as important as the pieces themselves....the negative space gives some balance.  It seems like the theme of many pieces in this show, as well as in Fiber Philadelphia, were exploring shadows within the pieces, something I have been thinking about recently as well.

I'm looking forward to seeing Diane again at the IQF show in Cincinnati in a couple of weeks...and you back here tomorrow....