Monday, June 26, 2017

ruthless pothering probang

"I do not explain, I explore,"  
Marshall McLuhan.

As I was showing a current piece under construction to my husband years ago, he said to me that all my quilts seem to be autobiographical because nobody can read my handwriting!  I am used to his snide remarks but as I thought about it I realized he was right.  I kept it in the back of my mind and looked at my slides (yeah back then we had slides!).  All my quilts are based on things from my own activities, my family, old stories, whatever.  I can look back and relive my experiences through them.  Sometimes they are a bit more universal than personal, sometimes the other way around.  So I stopped fighting it and gave in using my work as a diary, my way of journaling.  The trouble is that when I used to give a slide show (before Powerpoint) I would take all my time telling the stories that flashed on the screen.  Some of the hard times were met with private expressions of sympathy, but I most appreciated coaxing some laughs from experiences the audience recognized as theirs also.  Symbiotic stories.

So, point to any quilt, any time, and I will go on and on with it's story.  As I said already, I am missing maybe 20 of my old pieces, history over the dam.  Many more are hanging happily in private homes as offices across the country, and the third category is the few pieces I still have-  mostly things that were already out on exhibit and escaped my murderous scissor attacks.  Good thing because as they came home to the scene of the crimes, they were boxed up for our 30th Crit Group Retrospective at the New England Quilt Museum which ended last month.  Now I am waiting for those things to be returned minus the several pieces they kept for their permanent collection- another way of divesting myself I hadn't thought of!

But today I am going to walk through a couple of thought processes making my newest quilt called, 'WHAT I SHOULDA SAID'.  It is the result of the refolding project where I kept all my hand dyed and hand printed fabrics in one plastic bin but it was overflowing and I needed to reduce and reuse the amount so I started auditioning the fabrics together on the design wall.  Every day as I was working on other things I'd pin up a few more pieces-  all of things out of the special hand work box.  Pretty soon I had to start editing it all down, adding some of my Spoonflower yardage (counting it as hand prints just because I can), and lovingly contributing some very old yardages from all sots of places.  I found my head kept saying, 'I shoulda, I coulda, I shoulda, I woulda' with every addition as I remember why I hadn't used it before- basically because I liked it too much.  Not this time, I would use it or else.  Some fabric was big, some small scraps but I used it up as I went cutting away at things to make it all fit.  Pinned up, here's the skeleton of the plan as it runs off the design space in all directions-  that's 8 feet x 8 feet so it is in need of massive editing still:

The black and white striped linen on the two sides was a DKNY dress that never fit right, so with an addition of a diagonal strips it begins to look like a shadow box!  This week I sewed on the border pieces and now must work on sewing down all those bloody circles before I do another thing.  Drat.  I hate the fiddly parts, want to get at the big gestures! Thanksgod for Mistyfuse, guess that's what I do next.  Then I decide if it needs to be diptyched or triptyched or sliced and diced.  Decisions coming up, and you will be part of them but first lets just keep it one big piece.

And that dear folks is why I never worry about anybody copying my work.  I double dog dare 'em.  No watermarks, no copyright, nothing to stop them!

                                ARTY ARTY PARTY PARTY

pretty, eh?

The first blue pigment to have been created in over 200 years will serve as the newest Crayola crayon. “YlnMn blue” was not developed within an arts context, but rather accidentally discovered in in an Oregon State University (OSU) chemistry lab in 2009. Graduate student Andrew Smith made the discovery alongside Mas Subramanian after combining manganese oxide, yttrium, and indium, elements which also serve as the inspiration for the pigment’s name.
I would wager we are looking at Das Subramanian instead of Andrew Smith, maybe just my Armenian radar!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

oft steelworks undercapitalize

“Ars est celare artem — Art lies in concealing art.” 

Not a Rat, Squirrels still welcome here.
I do have to announce that today is National Rat Catcher's Day, and since I am finally thrilled to be RATLESS, I am celebrating with some cheese and peanut butter!  Cheers to Rodney, who was evicted and went willingly, not at all pleased with my hostessing.  I think he has been escorted back across the border.

This is a continuation of yesterday's post where I was responding to Anonymous' comment from the post before that.  Never known for the benefits of brevity, I ran out of room and inspiration answering so today I am finishing up with an answer to her most pithy part of her comment: asking about MY ART!!!  Oh geesh, that makes me have to think...  Anyway, there's the reason for today's post:
It would be nice if you talked more about your art, yes your art. What you are trying to envision, accomplish, produce, aspire to rather that the recounting of trips to the vet, how many hours were spent in your studio, and the minutia of your life.
First of all, I've been an artist all my life.  From the time I was a small kid I would seek out materials to make things from.  There were post-war homes going up all around us so I'd get bags full of clay out of the excavations.  I'd pick fat blades of grass to weave.  I'd grab the scraps from my mom's sewing and make doll clothes.  I'd play with my food, I'd decorate the inside of my drawers into doll houses.  This is of course between going through reams of paper and boxes of crayons.  I was a born 'maker' as they now call us, and loved to try everything I could get my hands on.

I went to art school, and the regret of my life is I didn't go to RISD.  I got in but when I visited I was so intimidated that I didn't think I could handle it.  (Insert several chapters of Introvert Self Esteem problems here!) Instead I majored in art at a junior college, then transferred to the art department at Syracuse  where I got a degree in Design.  I thought that was perhaps more usable to get a job than Weaving.  Turns out you don't need either to work at the phone company where I was incarcerated for years as I took classes and workshops whenever I could fit them in.  I finally decided I needed to teach so got into a combined certificate to teach program along with a Masters in Art Ed.  I got a job immediately teaching high school art and really loved it.  But I owe a great big thanks to the phone company letting me work part time while I finished my degree.

The really nice thing about teaching art is getting to see yourself growing up all over again!  There were kids in class I recognized as *me* so they got encouragement and praise and suggestions (on tracing paper!) and help choosing a college, things I never got.  There were kids I followed for years after they graduated, and it was so fun to read about their successes and attend their exhibits!

Meanwhile I had a couple of kids and made stuff for them, and came to quilting through a Newcomers class. It fit my needs perfectly-  I needed something that I could work on in short snatches of time, was nontoxic, and I already had the materials since I wasn't working and was stretching the dollars.  

I sold my loom and moved on.  I met some quilting women who told me about the contemporary work being done by a couple of women in a guild nearby-  they turned out to be Nancy Halpern, Rhoda Cohen, and Ruth McDowell.  When I first saw their work it was like lightening bolts went off-  I was already an artist, I was already a sewer (sewist?) and there they were doing their own work, not copies of old stuff. Love at first sight.  I joined their guild and found many more artists putting on the most amazing shows based on the old traditions of quilting.  Remember it was the late 70's so the big debate was whether it was OK to piece by machine (no.) or use fabrics other than reproductions (also no.), but these women didn't follow the rules and away I went.  My first quilt was a portrait of my son- done before computer pixilations, in 1982 or so.  I graphed up his kindergarten picture the old fashioned way-  sorry about this hideous snapshot, but this is the first piece I made that wasn't somebody else's design.  I know it doesn't rock many boats these days but back then it was a major step out of the box.

So, from then on I made it a point to always do what I had been told I couldn't do.  And I found that there was really only a limit placed on us by people I wasn't trying to impress anyway.  Using a machine became more and more popular.  Using big quilting stitches was OK, even later we could actually quilt on 
the machine too.  What rebels we were!  

I started teaching all around the country but what I was teaching was a basic seventh grade art class, not quilting.  I wanted to empower people who thought they weren't creative to just ignore the voices from someone long past, and forge on to present their own ideas.  They are too creative.  And so what if you 'can't draw a straight line'-  use a ruler- get over it.  And I would teach them some basic drawing tricks that they could be successful at immediately.  Same with color, same with value, and on and on.  I loved it.  I made people cry with their success!  But I wasn't getting much work of my own done.

So I pretty much retired my itinerant teaching gig which took so much time with things I didn't like- preparation, traveling, eating white food, staying with strangers, unpacking, and being away from home and focussed on my own work.  Back to the subject now:

envision, accomplish, produce, aspire to 

What do I envision-  I want to make a few more important quilts.  So far I've been in all the big shows, but I'd love to be in a second round of those and have started sending out entries again.  I haven't entered much in awhile, but I love attending openings-  hope there are a few more in my future!  

I think one of the reasons I haven't talked much about what the hell I am actually doing and instead talk about folding fabric is that I was genuinely taken up with destroying all the quilts I had on hand.  After one of our moves that involved a year of storage in two different places, I realized that I was missing quite a few quilts, fortunately all old ones, apparently 2 big plastic bins of them.  After all the time that had gone by, the moving companies were deaf to my pleas, 'Uhhh, lady, you're kidding, right?'
I realized I didn't really miss them and maybe could get rid of a whole lot more. That's what led to cutting them all into 24" squares and threading them onto a Sono tube.  So the cutting began.  About halfway into this project, which I really hadn't thought through, the possibility of the Crit Group retrospective came up and I had to explain that I didn't have anything to give them.  Except-  WHY NOT...  ALL my quilts!  So I saved back a few and went to work in time to finish for the show.  I wasn't at the opening but it apparently was worth the shipping 6 big boxes of quilt remnants to get the reactions.

The POINT, and there is one, is that all this work from 4 decades was not worth anything to me other than the emotional memory of making them.  And since the only thing I care about at all is MAKING them, why would cutting up these things not be appropriate?  After all, I was MAKING something else with stuff I had already made.  Full circle making.  I had a ball cutting and threading them. 

Autobiography 1975-2000 (in progress)

PROCESS, NOT PRODUCT.  The only thing I care about.

Next time, maybe tomorrow?, I'll talk about the current quilt I'm working on,

But for now, one more ARTY PARTY:
Cat Armor
You know Fluffy wants to wear armor., don't you?  Well she does.

A Japanese company called Samurai Age just created something the world desperately needed – samurai armor for cats and dogs. Pets are already like loyal samurais that go by our side and protect us (not sure about cats, tbh), so surely they deserve armor that would ignite their warrior spirits. Samurai Age offers standardized armor sized for cats and small dogs, but they also make custom designs that accommodate your little four-legged samurai’s individual needs. It looks like the company will also sell pet fashion sets made after armor worn by the legendary Japanese samurais. For instance, the red armor on a Shibu Inu in one of the pics above is actually modeled after the armor worn by Sengoku hero Sanada Yukimura – how cool is that?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

amphitheatric droll features

“To make ideas effective, we must be able to fire them off.” (Virginia Woolf)

But I have some 'splaining' to do, thanks to the comment from Anonymous yesterday!  So, if you want to hear it, hop on the squirrel with me and we'll talk while we ride!  First of all, here's the comment, and I have broken it down into a couple of different ideas:

             Well, don't stop blogging even though over half the time I read you I feel as though I am watching/reading an obsessive maniac about to self destruct.

After all these years blogging, I don't know if I could stop if I had to!  And OK, I will copt to the obsessive maniac part, but there is no self-destruct program in my life so don't worry about that!

Take a deep breath and slow down. 

Easy for you to say!  The deal is that I am running out of time (not fabric!) and there are so many things I need to do before my fingers or my eyes give out.  I do have a little head-rule that I must finish everything I start so I generally work until something is almost finished, then start letting my head wander to whatever possibility (New Shiny Thing!) might be next.  I don't consciously work in series though when I line up everything I have ever done, there are most certainly many series within it-  guess I have a very pervasive personal aesthetic that keeps showing it's ugly head.  I don't care, I just keep editing things until they look right, and there ya go, they all have the same DNA!  

I used to make about 6 major pieces a year-  by 'major' I mean size mostly.  I used to work on my dining room table so I had years of quilts that fit pretty closely to that.  When I started working in an unused bedroom (we are talking the early 80's now), sizes diverged but got somewhat smaller as they were easier to work on and easier to ship off to shows or new homes.  I am not able to work on 6 pieces a year any longer in spite of now having a giant studio and no family except a husband.  Funny how activities grow to fit the time available.  One would think I have nothing but time but I have taken that opportunity to try other things, explore other art, take some classes in encaustics and book arts and even returned to figure drawing last semester.  I hope to grab another drawing class this fall because it's been a long time since I have done drawing with any regularity.  And, as they say, 
                                 IT CAN'T HELP BUT HELP...

Why drawing?  Because it is an exercise in learning to see, to studying minute details, finding relationships, and developing a discipline of intent that I don't see in many fiber pieces.  I used to have a professor who would patrol the room with a roll of tracing paper to 'help' his students-  when he would catch an incorrect angle or a juxtaposition of items that doesn't work, plop would go the tracing paper and his big black mark would show us the way.   Rule #1 of teaching art is NEVER touch a student's work and this was his way of correcting without touching!  I still do this to my own drawings when it just ain't working!  I have four rolls of tracing paper in different widths that I rip off every day!

You are among four to five textile artists I read regularly, largely I think because of your arty pieces (where in the world do you find time to collect them?) and the opening aphorisms. 

Thanks for reading and being a regular.  I always enjoy your comments.  I'm glad you like the ARTY PARTY stuff too-  I don't go looking for it, it finds me.  And when I see something I like or that's intriguing I stick it in a folder and use it when I post.  Sometimes, like yesterday when I discovered I had three posts about wood, I stuck them up together, but usually they are something by themselves ranging from cake decorations to pretty bugs to planetary explorations, as long as it speaks to me.  I grab the quotations as I find them, again I have a folder of them.  Glad you like them.

And I suppose because I am intrigued with your East coast life --- how or why did you end up in Florida? 

My East Coast Life...  HA!  I grew up in Buffalo, that's the Lake Erie life!  As soon as I got out of college I grabbed one suitcase and a one way bus ticket to Boston.  I had friends there from my first 2 years of college and one of them was gracious enough to need knee surgery that summer, so I moved right in!  I love Boston, never planned to leave.  There were so many opportunities to see great art, classes to get involved with, shows to attend.  Within an hour we can be in the mountains of New Hampshire, the green valleys of Vermont, or the rocky coast of Maine.  Then there's the Cape and Island beaches where my friends all migrated in the summers.  Not being Irish we never did that, instead preferred to stay in the city when all the students moved out to take advantage of things without crowds.  My kids loved to ski so we would take ski weekends up north but never wanted to buy into that.  My husband is a golfer, loves his club in Boston and has been a member since the early 80's.  When he wanted a vacation he needed to play golf in the winter, all I wanted was to get out of the snow.  For years he would come to FL for weekends with friends until one time he found this place we are in now.  He brought me down for the weekend, admittedly kicking and screaming because only old people go to Florida.  But he insisted and I came along just to see...

We got lost coming from the airport, and didn't get into our little rental cottage until 1 AM where we fell into bed exhausted.  I hated it-  chrome furniture, black leather, pink and turquoise accents.  He had a golf game that day and left early with his friends, so I pulled the vertical (ICK) blinds on the slider and OMG, it was like watching Dorothy land in Oz!  Technicolor!  I watched an egret hopping along the top of a hibiscus hedge looking for breakfast, the sun was blinding and it was so beautiful it took my breath away.  Later I was driving around exploring the town and found a giant antiques mall next to a nice quilt shop right across the main street.  I decided right then that this was the place I would be happy vacationing.  We bought a little lot and built a cottage that year.  And we would come down for weekends, holidays, whenever we could in the miserable Boston winters.  By then the kids were gone.  My own stays generally grew to include 2 weekends, and my husband would come on the bookends.  So, every year I extended my stays, I explored the area, made some friends, found a guild and a group of art quilters that are still in my life so I had the commraderie that helps so much.  I became a resident maybe 5 years ago and am here full time now.  We visit Boston to see kids and grandkids frequently-  our new 'vacations'.

There was one more comment from Anonymous where she actually asks about my art, and that could be a very long answer so I'll wrestle with that tomorrow. Hope you come back.  Meanwhile here is the ARTY PARTY direct from the hot folder

Using a process that could be the new definition of meticulous, Korean sculptor Seung Mo Park creates giant ephemeral portraits by cutting layer after layer of wire mesh. Each work begins with a photograph which is superimposed over layers of wire with a projector, then using a subtractive technique Park slowly snips away areas of mesh. Each piece is several inches thick as each plane that forms the final image is spaced a few finger widths apart, giving the portraits a certain depth and dimensionality that’s hard to convey in a photograph, but this video on YouTube shows it pretty well.  Amazing.

Remember to come back tomorrow when I tell you about my art.  It too will probably be a very long post!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

nasturtium analyzed pneumatology

 I don't like making plans for the day. Because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in the courtroom.

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

 Meet George, 
                                                                  then meet George's top half 
                         Then meet 'Geneva'*, the Quilting Machine                                    
It took me 20 minutes but I managed to find the 'off' switch with the help of the guide book.  Now I know so tomorrow it will only take me 15 minutes.
The table leaves are stashed in the back so always handy-  I had visions of sticking them behind my shelves in spider-web land.  
Learning to thread this will be tomorrow's project-  I have all day.
AND this was attached, I will save it for Sylvia when I get to a crit group:

* 'Geneva' is in Switzerland, and 'Geneva' is the name of the lady- my mom- who taught me everything I know, but on a treadle machine from the 30's.

Oh my, that little squirrel back three needs a QUILT!  I'm ON IT!  

Today there will be no Arty Party, I have no time.  I am heading back to the studio to hunt for the 'on' switch and then to dust it, and pat it, and let it tell me some stories.  BTW, it came with a total of SIX full sized screwdrivers and a bunch of other stuff that needs investigating.  I had a set of those moving disks and George stuck them under the legs so I can slide it around when I need the leaves put in.  I imagine that I won't need those for a long time.  I'm afraid the studio clean-out may have missed the boat and I don't know when I'll get back to it, but today I finished the reds and red-oranges.  I also started on the pinks, red violets, and purples, so far just sorting the colors into piles-  this shelf was a mess!    

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

zeroed behaviorally supermarket

"Play is the work of the child." (Maria Montessori)

Here is what I'm thinking...  since I seem to have lost all my readers and can't figure out why, I am gonna keep posting for a bit longer out of spite.  I've been at this for so long that it shouldn't matter if anybody comes back or not.  I started out writing a blog as a combo journal, diary, and idea tank.  And I can end up that way any time since it doesn't matter if anybody else sees it or not.  So, above is today's squirrel, below is today's arty party all about wood.  Well, certainly not 'ALL ABOUT' but a couple of pushy ideas appear that I think are terminally cool.  See? Nothing changed and all of you en masse got bored to the bone and left to join your nearest Modern Quilting Guild.  

(Hmm, I could say something about those who don't know history are bound to repeat it but I won't.)

Tomorrow afternoon my new machine is being installed so that will be a great step forward, and truthfully I can't imagine blogging about anything less thrilling than that.  Whew, that will drive out the last quilter I am holding onto!   Like this:

"AND THEN I TRIED THE TENSION BUT THAT DIDN"T STOP THE PROBLEM SO I KEPT AT IT AND CLEANED AND OILED THE MACHINE,AND FIDDLED WITH THE..."  See what I mean?  I will not be blogging about my new fist fights with the quilting machine.  And I know you are already bored with the whole idea.  So, after tomorrow or possibly the next day I will take a picture of it in all its pristine beauty and that will be the last you hear for awhile.

And I did think of blogging about something even less interesting than the building of the quilt machine-  how about THE FOLDING OF ALL MY FABRIC?  You have been super patient with me as I chug along from one shelf to the next, gallantly not complaining as I toss willy nilly scraps into the trash.  And I have posted forteenthirty or so pictures of the neatly folded stacks which we all know by now are forming their own union against neatness and order.

I can't wait for tomorrow, but for now, it's WOOD!


 If you had to summarize an all-encompassing theme to describe Maskull Lasserre’s artistic practice, the word would probably be tension. From the balance of life and death to the opposing forces of war and peace, the Candian artist explores tension not only metaphorically but physically as well. Case in point, his latest piece titled Schrodinger’s Wood carved from the trunk of an Ash tree that relies on the tree’s inner core to serve as a tangled mass of rope in the process of fraying from the weight of itself.

Recently unveiled at the MadArt space in Seattle, Middle Fork is the lastest sculptural work by artist John Grade who worked with countless volunteers to realize this enormous scale mold of a 140-year-old tree.
The process began a year ago when Grade and a crew of assistants scaled a Western Hemlock tree in North Bend, Washington with help of a team of arborists. At nearly 90 feet in the air they created sectional plaster molds of the living tree which were carefully lowered and transported back to the MadArt space over a period of two weeks. Over the next 12 months, hundreds of volunteers (some who walked in right off the streets) helped to create a hollow sculpture of the tree using hundreds of thousands of small wood blocks. The final piece was carefully sanded down and is now suspended in the gallery. 

 Artist Michael Beitz designed two more of his amazing sculptural tables in the last year. The first is called Tree Picnic, a functional 50-foot-long picnic table that branches like a tree at the Michigan Riley Farm in Buffalo, NY. The other piece is a 18-foot-long tangle of looping wood titled Not Now, referring to the table’s anti-social design. The sculpture was on view last year as part of his solo show called Maybe Later at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. You can see more of his strange interpretations of everyday furniture in this online gallery.

WoodSwimmer is a new short film by engineer and stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell, who has built armatures for films such as Boxtrolls and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Created in collaboration with musician and animator bedtimes, the work follows a piece of raw wood through a milling machine, capturing its unique growth rings, knots, and weathered spots through a series of cross-sectional photographic scans. Due the speed at which the images are animated, the log’s grains begin to flow like granules of sand—shifting, mixing, and flowing in a vibrant dance that seems completely removed from its rigid material.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

ferrous algolagnia ribwort

 You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably very unhappy.

Waiting' for my squirrel.

I did manage a bit of studio time today, but I still don't like being there on weekends-  it's all deserted and scary.  I hate it when I feel like a girl.  But today I had to trim 20" off a wonderful linen sheet from RoughLinen.  I ordered the size of my bed but when I put them on, the top sheet hung down to the floor on 3 sides.  Actually both sheets are flat, no fitted sheets there, and they certainly allow enough material.  In Florida any elastic disintegrates in one season so I thought this was a good idea.  Not.  I can't sleep without sticking out a foot or two so I need to get rid of the extra fabric.  Easy, flattened it out and rotary sliced off the offending extra fabric.  But a new problem has raised it's ugly head-  I can't tell the difference between the two shets so need to take this sheet back to the studio to embroider "T-O-P" on one.  Hope that makes it clear.  Anyway, they were pretty expensive so hated to modify like I did!

I didn't do any more folding today but found a bunch of plastic shoeboxes for the pieces too small to fold-  some of the fabrics are just too good to dump.  I'm not keeping anything from any quilt shops, just the vintage stuff, the upholstery stuff, and the most favorite slices of this and that.  Meet The Linen shelf!

I also danced around the boxes of my new machine like it was a life sustaining camp fire, but no magic ensued like it would if this were a Disney film.  It isn't.  Will call tomorrow to find 'the Guy'who can get it up and running.  Also tomorrow the AC guy is returning, or a new one will show, who knows.  I need to pay him So I sure better get a better system up there in my ceiling!  Hope it doesn't drip on my head any more.  LOOK!  Up in the sky!!!  It's a bird, it's a plane, NOOOOooo, it's AIR-CONDITION MAN!!!
(don't be fooled by the cool fans, they don't work.)

In Other News, my Sous-Vide container and lid arrived today.  I didn't have a pot that was flat bottomed and big enough for more than a piece of salmon, and now I am ready for Racks o' Ribs or whole briskets, whatever I want to cook for 3 days!  I do love everything I've made with it so far. C'mon over for dinner!

'cause I didn't forget.  Let's explore more Pantone!

Italian graphic designer Andrea Antoni searches the world for Pantone colors, reminding us to embrace the colorful nature of our surroundings.
In each of his landscape studies, Antoni digitally inserts his hand with a swatch, containing complimentary Pantone shades that are represented in the background. From an orange tone, popping up in a melancholic sky, to playful collection of greens, flourishing in the freshly cut grass - these color decks illustrate how Andrea sees the world. For a more dramatic effect, Andre sometimes mirrors the image or manipulates it in other creative ways, making the compositions more appealing.