rocket tracking


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chukar Cherries and Eating Mice Scary food???

I know...two posts in one day....catching up after being busy with guests.  I HAD to get this in today.  My niece Beth is a copy writer and recipe developer for Chukar Cherries, a specialty food company located in Prosser, Washington.  She developed these for a scary Halloween treat...I'm not sure what Chukar product she was using...or this may just be using a prototype of a Chukar product...I thought they were maraschino cherries...or cherries preserved in their entirety, but I can't find them on their website.  

I mean....can you imagine...eating a mouse?

We fed a couple to Drew....he was pretty happy with them.  I ate one...and they were yummy, but I liked Chukar's dried cherries best.  Or maybe the cherry raspberry sauce....or or...

Chukar Cherries is a pretty locally oriented, wholesome (that is, not with a lot of additives and trying to be as good to the earth as possible) company.

My favorite thing about Chukar, however, is their graphics.  This is Chukar Cherries Pike Market Gift box....I was sooo lucky, my cousin Lourdes brought me a box....and I ate all the chocolate cover cherries out of it, and saved the box...

So...what's that bird? A Chukar.  Chukars are gamebirds imported into North America and are related to pheasants and partridges.  They're pretty savvy birds, and pretty good looking.  An amusing thing....after Chukar Cherries got started, they discovered that the hunting enthusiast referred to the chukar's droppings as...chukar cherries....I assure you, though, Chukar Cherries items taste really, really good. Take a look at their website.  Many of the words are those of my wonderful niece Beth.
Pike Market gift box

Tripping with the Internet

Isn't this a gorgeous color combination?  It's a grapevine growing on a purple trellis next to Shibori Dragon in Lakewood, Washington.  When I travel, I often ask people I "know" on the internet about what to see or do.  Usually, it results in happy things...even if I am a bit sheepish to admit to my sister "Oh, I need to meet up with a friend."  I know my husband has gotten used to it....even if he did think there was a possibility we were meeting up with a murder when we went to a picnic and stayed the night with some friends I had only met through the internet.   Since we survived that time, and saw some pretty cool orchids and drank some wonderful home-brews, well....he's gotten more relaxed with the idea.

On my last trip to Montana via Washington state, I asked on the Quilt art message list what quilty things were happening in the Olympia area.  Since I was only going to be there a couple of days before heading out to Montana, I wasn't able to take in a show of antique quilts north of Seattle....which I would have adored doing, but it would be a three hour drive.

I did, however, take up Larkin Van Horn's suggestion to go to Shibori Dragon.  I was dumbfounded...such a  wonderful collection of yarns, specialty fibers, vintage and antique Japanese fabrics, a wide range of embellishments, hand-dyed fibers and threads, and lots of Shibori materials, stencils and templates.  My sister, who doesn't quilt, was pleased with the yarn selection....and I left quite a few of my hard earned shekels in the Dragon's maw.

I was bummed yesterday when I got an email from Shibori Dragon saying they were closing their shop....but at least they are keeping their on-line and show presence. So, check out the link  and if you are in the area. maybe you can pick up some great sale stuff.

Happily, I got to meet two "friends" this trip.  Roni, who I knew from ages past on Quilt Chat lives in Great
Falls and Kristin from Missoula.  My sister asked me about my friend in Great Falls.....and I was surprised to recall that I have "known" Roni for about 12 years.  Kristin is a follower of my blog, and surprisingly, she had worked on the Hoopa Valley Reservation near Eureka, California, as had my brother (a forester for the B.I.A.) although they were there several years apart.  I foolishly did not get pictures of me with either of them...but I am happy to report that neither Kristin nor Roni are ax murderers and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with each of them.  You never know just what the internet is going to bring you, and for me, it's just good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Last Slice on the Dayton Skyline

The Miami Valley Art Quilt Network's rendition of the Dayton Skyline as seen in May

You may recall me writing about the Dayton Landmarks project which the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network under took and exhibited earlier this year.  You can see what I wrote about it here. (There are a total of 4 posts, this is just the first, and they are consecutive commencing June 4, 2012)

Our project was to interpret various Dayton area landmarks in fiber.  To that end, Ronnie Doyal took photographs and we divided the photographs into "slices" then divvied them to all the participating members of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network.  This is Ronnie's shot of the Dayton Skyline.  Back in May, we were missing slice number 1.  Life had interfered with the person who originally had it, and wasn't able to do it.  So...we showed it without the slice.  I was adamant that we find someone else to take that slice. Some of our members said, just forget it....but then the photograph wouldn't match our renditions.  Not only that, I felt that the absence of that first slice made for a less dynamic and balanced composition. We needed that slice.

Suzanne Kirchner, Slice 1 Dayton Skyline

Suzanne Kirchner, a relatively new member of MVAQN stepped up to the plate and I am just ecstatic over her piece.  Here it is. I love the turquoise building.  I am also thrilled with her fabric choices.  Absolutely unexpected, but perfect touches.  The turquoise blocky print really reads like the windows in the building at the far left of the photograph.  But when we look more closely at the detail, you find even more happy surprises.

Don't you just love that shot of madras type plaid at the far left?  And I love that really "thready print" green just below the spruce tree.

And the pink is just the perfect touch for the building at the right.  Look at the wonderful texture she put in with the thread painting which also gives the shading on the spruce.

I think that Suzanne's piece fits wonderfully with the others which were done prior to hers, and is the absolute perfect completion of this image....and far better than leaving it as the truncated piece which originally showed up there.

I'm participating in Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Fabric Fridays" .  Please check out the other blog participants here.  I'm sure you'll find lots of fund, fiberlicious stuff.

The quilts will be on exhibition at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 East 3rd. Street, Dayton, OH  45402 until December 27, 2012 (Library tele.: 937-463-2665).  additional showings will be at the South Park United Methodist Church, 120 Stonemill (at Brown St.) Jan. 6, 2013 until Feb. 27, 2013 and additionally at the Southminster Presbyterian Church, 7001 Far Hills Ave., Dayton from March through April 2013.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Champaign Quilter's Guild Show-the Small but Mighty!

Part of the exhibition hall at the Champaign Quilter's Guild show

On Sunday, October 21, I wrote about the Towne Square Quilter's Guild show in Greenville, Ohio and mentioned that I took in a second show that day in Urbana, Ohio.  I usually don't take in two shows on the same weekend, but this day I took in two on the same day...separated by an hour and half's driving.

I went to the Urbana show in order to see the work of the guild and what they were interested in since one of their member's contacted me to give them a lecture next spring.  I try to tailor my lectures to the interests of each guild.  I have to say that I will put the Urbana show on my calendar from now on.  The work was exquisite and the show facilities were very pleasant. I also didn't mind my drive through rural Ohio on a gorgeous fall day...I didn't even mind getting caught in a Ohio Parade....driving slowly behind a seeder until it was safe to pass.

Outstanding applique work at Champaign show.
Here you can get a sense of the absolutely exquisite applique work.  The rows were filled with incredible applique and very fine piecing with a couple of antique quilts thrown in for fun.  The first applique quilt you see on the left is Marilyn Hiltibran's rendition of Edyta Sitar's pattern, "The Laundry Basket Chorus."  Sharon Vitt machine quilted it.  The second piece is Marcia Switzer's "Ginger People", excellently machine quilted by my friend Chris Landis.

I love Birds, by Emily Miller

This nicely done fussy cut pieced quilt was Emily Miller's first quilt.  I have to say, she did an excellent job for a first attempt.  My friend Joan Sterr machine quilted it on her HQ-16.   I included a detail so you could see how she matched all her points, and didn't cut off a single one!

"I Love Birds," detail

Marily Hiltibran's "Sunflower Hill."

Marilyn Hiltibran did this wonderful hand appliqued piece, "Sunflower Hill," designed by Julie Popa and machine quilted by Janet Amlin.

I am going to show a couple more pieces from Urbana over the next couple of days.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Post Cards to Benefit Friends for Life

 While I was in Montana, Pokey Bolton, Quilting Arts Diva, announced a project she thought up...her "IQF Pet Project Postcard Pledge."  Just before she left to do some show work, she found a pit bull mix stray.  Pokey scooped the dog up, deposited her at the vets, had her checked out, and tried to find the owner...then, when she returned looked hard to find a no-kill shelter to see if this abandoned animal could find a forever-home.

Pokey's got a soft heart like that.  She had already rescued her dog Clarence, and at least one cat.....She knew of Friend's For Life no kill shelter in Houston because that's where she found Clarence.  Pounds, Humane Society Shelters, and other rescue organizations have a lot of bills, and often not enough money to meet their needs.  No-kill shelters have even more pressure because they often take animals that have issues, some behavioral, some just because they happened to have a certain kind of ancestor....such as Pitt Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermann's etc.
"Longhorns have homes on the Range"

"Spot and Dash"
So, Pokey asked people to make 4" x 6" fabric postcards that she is going to sell at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

So...I started out by making the top one.  Blech. But it was a post card.  I decided I would whip out my Inktense pencils and make a Longhorn, using my hand painted sky fabric and some rust dyed fabric for the range....after all, Longhorns all have homes on the range, shouldn't other domestic animals have a shot for a home?'s Texas...longhorns should sell.

The last one is just because I love goldfish.   This is "Spot" and "Dash" portraits of two goldfish from my pond.  I used Inktense on these, then sheer crepe, which I stitched the fin lines through...and put them on a batik "pond."

The dumb thing was that with all the flooring, cleaning, cooking, etc. for kid coming home with friends last week, and the fact that we ripped up the carpeting in the dining room.....well....I forgot to mail them.

Ruth Powers graciously agreed to take them to Pokey at THE SHOW Ruth won an award...I wanted to to do more...especially a house bunny one because my niece Katie adopted a pet rabbit from her local shelter.  I think my crew here will forgive me...Lemmie was a dumped kitty, Acei was an abandoned cat from people who moved and left three litters of cats behind, Angel, and her predecessor Tassie were both from Protector's of the Animals in Connecticut.  Henry, my first cat when I was out on my own was one who if I didn't take him was going to be drowned.  Harrison, my roomie Nancy and my cat was one which had gone through three homes before I took him in in Williamsburg.  My other neice Beth's dog, Trucker, came from a English Shepherd rescue group, and Luna was a stray who I finally tracked down the owner and they gave her to me.  So...yes, it is about time I give back too.

If you are going to Houston, check out the sale.  They will be sold for $20 each and Pokey is also contemplating some on-line sales.  Maybe I'll get to do a bunny too, if she does!  Thank's Pokey, and a HUGE thanks to Ruth Powers.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Towne Squares Quilt Show Darke County, Ohio

Dragon Tatoo, Wyatt Marker, owner, G'mal Crowell and  Laurena  Marker. 
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to two quilt shows on the same day....two hours apart.  It was kind of a mad dash across my corner of Ohio.    The first show I went to was the Towne Squares Quilt Guild's show at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, Ohio.  The Towne Squares is a predominently traditional guild.  Each year they hold their show on Columbus Day weekend and they often ask the Batty Binder's of Troy to join in and show quilts, as well as other friends.

An interesting quilt was this one, called "Dragon Tattoo" which combines traditional blocks with appliques designed from tattoos.  I have to say, it was difficult to read the marker labels on the goldenrod colored paper...It appears that G'Mal Crowell and Laurena Marker designed and made this quilt for Laurena's son Wyatt Marker as a graduation present.   The applique was completed by Linda McGlothin.

Most of the quilts didn't mention that they were made from patterns from books or otherwise.  Some did mention it, but others didn't.  I did a quick search on all of these to see if I could find quilts by the same name mentioned in these patterns.  I didn't find any, and I am pretty sure that this one, at least, was designed by the makers.  It was quilted by "a friend."

Rhonda George, "In Full Bloom."
As I have been thinking a lot about texture lately, this interesting piece caught my eye.  Rhonda George took the "silk" flowers from commercially purchased flower bunches and attached them to a plain strip.  Each flower center was held by a gold bead.  Back in the early 1990s, using silk flowers on quilts was popular, but I haven't seen it in a long time, and I don't remember ever seeing one quite like this one.

This last one really interested me...and I wondered if it were computer generated.  The ability to get all four blocks to be the same seems highly unlikely if it were done only with the sewer guiding the machine, although I suppose it could have been marked out.

While I was at the show, many of the quilters, mostly traditional quilters, were commenting on how the various computer generated quilting programs were not really showing the ability of the quilter.  Several professional quilters commented that they simply couldn't quilt the quilts in the way the Statler Stitchers and other quilting programs did it...and that they didn't see the ability in setting  a program and walking away from the long arm or sewing machine letting it do all the work.

I sure wish I could have talked to Terry Thoreen about this piece she called "Points of View."  Which is seen above.  She did three  pieces in this style, at left is a detail from "String Art", and the third was called "Pretty Circles."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Fall Garden

This year, I haven't written much about my garden.  The reason being that I haven't been able to work much in it, and frankly, it is overwhelming me.  I cannot physically take care of all the beds I have in my .80 acre lot.  I look out and curse the fact that I was so gonzo when I put in the gardens here.....WHAT WAS I thinking....I was reveling in the fact that I had .80 acres instead of .28 acres like I had in Connecticut.

I am sure that my neighbors are cringing.  My garden style is more naturalistic and tends to be stuffed full of things...not like the neat, carefully manicured, and regular items that most of my neighbors have.  One visitor which I don't like much....although I do like the color is goldenrod, the bright yellow flowers which you see next to the fence in this picture. (Solidago canadiensis).

Goldenrod is a weed here....a perennial weed which reproduces madly through runners and the rather plentiful seed heads.  It is a glorious plant...and while I work madly at trying to eradicate it, the British and Germans are planting it in their gardens and making cultivars.  At this time of year, I remember one of th poems my second grade teacher Mrs. Zimmer had us memorize and recite..."The Goldenrod is yellow, the leaves are turning brown...the trees in apple orchard with fruit are bending down."  ("September", by Helen Hunt Jackson).  I know I have written about it before...but at this time of year, it always comes to mind.

I usually don't let this many days pass without posting....but I'm whacking away at the goldenrod and the foxtail grass, and any other weed I can lay my hands on.  I've been giving away iris rhizomes by the carload through freecycle, and have more to replant, and move.

In addition, darling daughter is coming home this weekend with some friends to go to a I am getting the house ready, and on top of that, we are re-flooring the living room and dining room with bamboo.

The sad part is that all I want to do is quilt.  :(  Soon.  Soon I shall be gloriously covered in thread.  At least that's what I promise myself. I laugh....most people think that spring is when  you have lots to do in the garden and fall is when everything comes to a halt...but fall is also when you put things to bed, try to prepare for that ellusive time in the spring when you THINK that you have time, but in Ohio, it slips from Winter into Summer with just a blink of the eye.  Cutting back, moving and dividing the spring bloomers, and for me, trying to get done the things which should have been done in the summer, but it was just too hot to do.

Friday, October 12, 2012

About Jurying and thoughts about Quilt National

Kennedy Museum of Art, Ohio University, Athens, OH
 Ever since the notifications came out about who was accepted into Quilt National, the Studio Art Quilt Associate's (SAQA) yahoo group and the Quilt Art message board has been flooded with who got in and who didn't...and why things might or might not have been chosen.  Quilt National, the Biennial show at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio is one of the shows that almost every art quilter wants to have a piece exhibited, and few get in.  The caliber of the pieces submitted and the "big names" who submit, is very high indeed.

I was interested in how many people who I consider very good and who are published stated that they were more often than not not selected.  Pamela Allen, whose work is widely published and shown was finally accepted for the first time this year, after 5 previous attempts.

This got me thinking that wouldn't it be fun to have a "shut out" exhibition just down the street at the Kennedy Museum of Art.  The Kennedy is housed in the old Lin Hall of the Ridges, formerly a state mental institution which has been decommissioned, and the buildings largely taken over by Ohio University.  The Ridges Campus is sprawling with many glorious examples of public institutional architecture, something which has always interested me.  

While several of the main halls have been rennovated and serve as galleries, not all the floors have been fixed up.  In fact, as you can see here, some of the windows have been broken out and not boarded over or replaced.  I thought it would be kind of cool to have the quilts hung in rooms which hadn't been fixed up....but of course, that presents lots of problems from environmental issues for the quilts as well as safety issues for people.  

I also started to think about the sheer numbers.....according to one person who contacted the Dairy Barn, this year there were 870 entries and 80 were chosen to show.  Hmm.  That's a lot of quilts.  Just to give you a comparison, I asked Pokey Bolton how many quilts were shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, she replied that she thought there were over 1,000....just a little more than were submitted for exhibition at Quilt National.  Obviously, this would be entirely unworkable.  

I don't feel badly about not getting in, for the reasons I pointed out on my previous posts on jurying.  Alison Schwab pointed out that jurying is not the same as judging and that the three jurors for this exhibition were faced with the daunting task of choosing a cohesive exhibition out of all these different pieces of art which were submitted.

Wen Redmond shared an exercise that she has done with her local group.  I thought it was so interesting and telling that I asked permission to include it here, and she agreed.   Here's what she wrote:

"I have applied to QN for many years- I think starting in the 80's. I have gotten in once.
While it was a disappointment not to be selected this year, I am encouraged to try again.
This simple exercise that can be done with any show n' tell group. I learned of this exercise from Margaret Sheehan when I was one of 3 regional rep's for SAQA of VT/ME/NH.

Count the number of folks who want to 'play' and divide by 1/4. This will be the number of folks selected for a 'exhibit'.
Title the exhibit.
Select 'judges'.
Each judge will independently select 1/4 of everyone participating to be in the 'exhibit'.
Have the 'winners's stand in front of the room, holding their work. 
Judges will arrange the 'show winners' in the order of how the show will be presented.
Judges will explain their criteria for their selections. 
Have the audience participate by agreeing or not or just simply rearranging the order of the 'winners'.

This exercise demonstrates the subjectiveness of the particular judge, how themes affect the show selections and how hard it is 
to select a coordinated and exciting show, and therefore, not to be discouraged when not selected!"

I thought this exercise was brilliant, and people who submit their work to shows and are not accepted should think about this each time they are disappointed.

So, go forth, and make even better art!  

And....take a look at Nina Marie's blog roll of quilty blogs on "Off the Wall Fridays"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Recent Work

One of my goals this year was to enter Quilt National, a biennial quilt show held in Athens, Ohio at the Quilt Barn.  I've been meaning to do this for a while, but never quite seemed to get around to it.  For those of you who don't quilt, or aren't into art quilts, Quilt National is one of the most prestigious shows.  This year, over 800 pieces were submitted, but only 80 were chosen by the panel of three judges.

Quilts had to:

  • possess the most basic structural characteristics of a quilt
  • be an original design of the entrant
  • have been completed after September, 2010
  • measure no more than 100” or 254 cm. in either direction.

This piece, "View from the Abyss" was the piece I entered. Although you could enter up to three pieces, and in fact are encouraged to in order to show that you have a cohesive body of work, I didn't .  If I could, I would have entered more, but the other part of the rules is that you can't have shown them anywhere.  Not on a blog, not in a where.  I admit, when I finish a piece, I want to put them up immediately. In addition, the other pieces which I would have entered were already shown at Aullwood and at the SAQA regional show in Zanesville.

Curating exhibitions like this is difficult.  Lots of people when they submit and don't get in begin to feel that they just aren't good enough. This is not always the case.  Pieces have to speak to the jurors.  It has to stick with them.  Sometimes it is color that grabs them (but in this case, Candice Phelan showed me her submission and it was really amazing), sometimes the design, sometimes the message.  The jurors make their own selections, discuss them, and ultimately pick.

That's a heck of a lot of quilts to go through.

So, I'll work even harder for 2015...and hopefully, my daughter will still be in Athens....and maybe, just maybe, I'll get in.  In the meantime, I'm going to rework this piece a little, and try again...somewhere else.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sometimes you find surprises

When I was poking around in my brother's "graveyard for farm machinery and trucks" behind the Quonset hut which serves as his shop looking for photographic fodder, I was startled to hear a noise off to my right. Just near this pile of wreckage was a young buck white-tailed deer, about three years old with his antlers tangled in some wire.  I cringed as I remembered another deer who had gotten caught in old fencing and died back when I was growing up in Michigan.  I knew that I couldn't approach him for fear of it struggling and hurting itself further, or worse yet, getting me with it's antlers or kicking me.

Just as I went towards it, it broke free and went bounding into the field.  I was grateful for that, but the whole thing startled me so I didn't get any pictures!

This weekend, I got a few pleasant surprises as well.  This weekend was the Batty Binder's October retreat in Palestine, Ohio.  I didn't plan on going, but one of the members was leaving early, so they asked if I wanted to come up for the night.  I also got a telephone call from my daughter.  One of her friends was coming home for the weekend and my daughter was craving home-cooked food....and wouldn't I be willing to send some food back with her?  I didn't really realize that my daughter liked my cooking so much.  Yes, there are some times which I know she really enjoyed my food, but I think she sort of took it for granted.  So...before I left for the retreat (hurredly throwing quilting stuff into a bag as well as getting some overnight stuff together) I whipped up  terriyaki chicken, herbed carrots, garlic green beans, and curried rice.  I also tucked in some frozen corn chowder I had made with the last of the market's sweet corn.

The most surprising thing?  She called today and told me how yummy it was.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise: Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erikson's works at Montan Art & Framing
I went to Montana Art and Framing just to see Heidi Zielinski's work....The gallery is quite small, but behind the featured artist's gallery as another show, and then off to the left were what I suppose is the gallery's "stable" of artists.  My jaw just about hit the floor when I turned and looked at this small wall.  I recognized the artist immediately as Nancy Erickson.

I have admired Nancy's work for ages.  Granted, I only knew it from seeing pieces in books, then at Quilt National.  Her style, like many top quilt artists, is a signature style.  The pieces which the quilt world are probably most familiar with is one reminiscent of pre-historic cave paintings...but with a more direct contact.  Her oil paintings and drawings with paintstick are also my favorites.

Nancy Erickson Golden Wolf #2 (Toklat Pack) ©2009  $450
You'll probably recognize it from this piece, "Golden Wolf #2 (Toklat Pack).  I love how she suggests things without making full marks.  I love how the eyes engage you and you the essence of the spirit of the beast she is capturing.  The Toklat Pack is one of the most famous American wolf backs, inhabiting Denali.  It is threatened, and you get a sense of the fierceness of the creature in this fabric portrait.

I was also very pleased to see some of her other work there...She, like so many other artists I like, works in a palette I adore: golds, turquoise, red orange, burnt sienna, yellow umber, raw ochre....She manages to tell so much in just the quickest of lines, line which isn't necessarily completed, but suggests movement and texture.

"Solitare", Nancy Erickson ©

Her pieces also show the strength and often the struggle if the animals she depicts. In "Solitaire" she captures the polar bear perfectly...for much of their lives, they do travel solo...and I have often seen pictures of them with the yellow/orangy cast on their fur.

"Where's the Ice"  26"H x 40W, 2008  ©Nancy N. Erickson    oil paintsticks on archival paper

In "Where's the Ice" you get an understanding of the bear's well as their predicament.  I love the floating on the ice patch, fiddling with his toes while a large seated bear looks on...reminding me ever so much of some weekend warrior sitting in front of the television drinking beer...

You can see Nancy's work and find more about her on her website,  I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do!

I have been participating (or trying to participate :) ) in Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday's creativity blog... You can see her work and other participants links here:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On the Outside Looking in- two Montana Quilt Shops and Avon, Montana

Birdseye Mercantile, Avon, Montana
My niece and her husband have moved to Deer Lodge, and on one of the days they had off, they graciously accompanied us on a little excursion.  They first took us (my sister Mary, me and Trucker the Wonder Dog) to Avon, Montana, a cute, if once less than it once was, town northeast of Deer Lodge.

Someone said to me the other day that in Montana, a Bar and a gas station constituted a some cases that could be said as true.  Montana does boast the population density of 6 people for every square mile. In reality, thats sort of a misleading fact, as 54% of the population is concentrated in the cities....with the largest being Billings (pop. 100,317), Great Falls (64,387) and Missoula (69.491).  Many little towns sprang up around mines, crossroads, logging areas, or fords across rivers and passes across mountains.  Many of them, like Avon, used to be much more prosperous than they are now.  I spotted a building which I suspected was a blacksmith/Livery in earlier days, a Church and a few other buildings.  This one is the most notable and houses an antique shop and quilting shop.  It's Birdseye Mercantile and is in a building which was built in 1887, back when Montana was still a territory (it entered into statehood in 1889).

Drew and Beth brought me here because of my former life as a museum curator and of course, my quilting habit.  Unfortunately, it is only open the later part of the week.  We did satisfy ourselves in peeking in the windows, and I toddled down the street shooting pictures of interesting buildings.

Quilter's Corner, Deer Lodge, Montana

Drew, Beth's husband, was kind enough to take me to Deer Lodge to see the Quilter's Corner which WAS open.  This too was in an historic building, an old bank which was converted to a lovely quilt shop.

The counter was the original bank counter, lots of marble, fancy woodwork, pressed tin ceilings and brass well as quilting supplies and fabrics to suit almost every interest in quilting. Lovely batiks almost found their way into my luggage, but since I am bound and determined to reduce my stash, I only bought a variety of Perle Cotton threads to work on the project I was completing out there and a length of clearance fabric which
Quilter's Corner, Deer Lodge, Montana

were in Beth's favorite colors as I thought I would try to make her a little something for her new house.
Little Blackfoot River at Avon, Montana

From Ridge just south of Avon, Montana

Trucker, the Wonder Dog.
After we stopped at the Mercantile in Avon, we headed across an old girder style bridge over the Little Blackfoot River....which was gorgeous in the late summer light.  We headed up into the ridges to have a picnic lunch while looking at the land.  The sad part was that so much smoke from the forest fires north and west of us meant that the sky wasn't as clear and crisp as Montana skies normally are.

As you can see below, it was still pretty.

Trucker, my niece's English Shepherd kept us grizzly free...or maybe cougar free...We didn't see any here (which I have seen both of at my brother's in Cut Bank), but we did see mule deer and antelope, and lots of Elk scat.

Trucker was content to just stand and look reality he snoozed while we munched our sandwiches.

 English Shepherds are pretty interesting dogs used as working dogs on farms in Northern England/Southern Scotland.  Although I had a collie in high school, Trucker has the hard stare-down of a real herder.  You can find out more about this working breed here.

It was great to be around a dog again...and it was amusing how he came into my room on the last morning I was there and laid his head next to mine on my pillow...However....I am NOT going to get another dog (she says repeatedly to herself).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Heidi Zielinski Stitch: Lines of Communication

 When I was in Montana, I was happy to be able to take in Heidi Zielinski's fiber art show at Montana Art & Framing, 709 Ronan St., Missoula, Montana. The exhibition ran from September 7th until September 28th, 2012.  I got there just a week before it closed, and intended to review it last week, but I was having computer issues as well as a couple of show deadlines for myself breathing down my neck.

First, for a non-Missoulan, Montana Art & Framing is a tad hard to is definitely a destination, not something that you would happen to pass by and decide to drop in. Ronan Street runs at an angle, and if you go during a particularly busy time of day when the traffic on the main street is backed up, you can easily miss it.  Like we did....and then, when we approached it from the other direction, there was an odd thing about the street sign that we weren't really sure that we were going where we were supposed to.

In addition, the gallery is in a large, warehouse like building which shares space with other small enterprises.  When we finally got there, the show was much smaller than I had anticipated, just over a dozen pieces.  The gallery space for this particular show was in front, with the side partition hiding the other artists that the gallery least I think that is what it was, although it may have been another separate show...or two...or three.

We were greeted by the shop pooch, and then the owner came out from the side where he was framing pieces.
Heidi lives in Stevensville, Montana, but grew up in Missoula, which is just about a half an hour northeast of Stevensville, so in essence, this was a hometown show for her.  My niece and my sister accompanied me, and since they don't quilt or really know much about fiber art, it was fun to get their feedback.

Of course, like most newcomer's to the fiberworld, they were taken by the colors Heidi used.  I often find that that is what pulls someone in at first, then the finer elements begin to intrigue, particularly the textural element. I admit, the palette that Heidi uses is one I tend to use as well, warm rusts, golds, blues, greens, particularly turquoise and warmer shades.

Heidi Zielinski, "Searching for Center", $210.00
 This was my favorite piece.  I enjoyed the simplicity of it, which was counteracted by the lovely changes in texture and the movement in the balls, as contrasted by the line of beads at the left of the piece.   I enjoyed the contrast of the static and dynamic....of course the fact that it uses red on a natural ground didn't hurt much in drawing me in.

I enjoy the addition of the hand stitching and the beading. The thin line of piping at the binding edge also adds to the piece.
"Searching for Center," detail.

Heidi Zielinski, "In a Cool Blue Forest," $400.
My companions liked this one the best.  It is really a pretty simple piece, I believe that the center portion is a commercial print, but when I just researched it I couldn't find it to save my soul... I think one of the things which appealed to them is the calming elements of the is balanced, even though the "center" panel is just a bit off center...the colors of course, also bring that feeling of calm.

Heidi chose to use a beaded dangle "trim" across the top of the piece.  This isn't too obtrusive, yet it gives just a little sparkle which is repeated by the gold printed commercial cotton behind it.

The detail shows the quilting in the upper portion of the piece, nicely machine quilted and I think it is a nice balance to the piece, and contains the leaf panel.  Without it, it would flow too much into the upper portion...and fly off the body of the work.
"In a Cool Blue Forest," detail.

Heidi Zielinski, "A Quiet Place," $280.00

We all enjoyed "A Quiet Place."  I am not sure if Heidi inked the trees, or printed them, but the simplicity of this piece and the monochromatic color scheme was a nice contrast to the other pieces in the show.  Of course, the fact that my brother-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law are all foresters, and my sister is a botanist....and we grew up in the hardwood forests of Michigan, and my niece grew up in western Washington makes us a little tree happy.  I also think I was drawn to it because I spent the ride from Deer Lodge to Missoula stitching...bare trees.
"A Quiet Place," detail.

You can see more of Heidi's work and read more about her on her website,