Monday, July 18, 2016

Phone photos from a bad week

Wow, what a sad, tragic, discouraging week. From shootings to terrorists to hate and nastiness, it has been almost overwhelming. And yet life goes on. The photos on my phone this week show little that relates at all to the heavy sadness and horror I've been feeling. The sun continues to shine, flowers bloom and summer finally is taking hold.

The lilies are grand and my beloved hydrangeas better than ever. This is the first time I have seen pink hydrangeas in our bed. The very pink ones in the foreground are growing in just about the very spot where we discovered a stinky, rotting dead possum a couple months ago. Coincidence? I think not. I know that the PH of the soil affects the color of hydrangeas. I think the possum leaked something transformative into the soil. Ray thinks I'm crazy.

The new High Fiber Diet show, "Making Our Mark" (we've been calling it "Mom") opened at the Latimer Quilt & Textile Center last Sunday and t looks good. If you plan to be on the Oregon Coast this summer, it is there through August.

We have had color themes for several years now and this show is "neutral" as you might guess from these photos. A small amount of color allowed keeps it lively and interesting.

We got back to Portland in time to meet friends for dinner and then go see Judy Collins in concert. Beautiful music is such gift always. I have loved Judy Collins since my college days, and in my, now, old age the music I loved then and now has such deep associations with my past, people I've loved, places I've lived. It moves me in ways I never would have expected. Seeing her again, older, but still lovely and in good voice and good cheer made the world seem not so tragic after all. Leaving the theater, I snapped a photo of the marquee and realized later, they had changed it during the concert and her name was no longer there. Oh well. It's a photo of happy people leaving the theater.

I finished the rose bouquet quilt this week and I'm pleased with it.

Got lots of feedback from the in-progress photos and nearly everyone agreed with adding the extra leaves at the bottom. A couple people thought it needed another rose or red petals instead, but that didn't work for me. Too much. There is magic in the number three, and three red roses seemed exactly right to me.

STASH (Second Thursday At Somebody's House) met at my house on Thursday. We filled my dining room table with papers and stuff and made collages, which was very fun. Then I served lunch on the deck and we admired our work.

A lot to process this week. Gratitude for friends and beauty and art and music, but still so much ugliness out there in the world. I've heard friends say they have quit watching and reading the news—it is too disturbing. I understand, but being oblivious doesn't stop it all from happening. I find myself reading it all, looking for meaning, waiting for solutions. I find myself searching my own heart and hoping others are doing the same and trying to face up to and understand the poison that is bigotry and injustice all around us and within us.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”

Mahatma Gandhi


Saturday, July 02, 2016

Just Because...

Because, for the past year I have been making work to fit themes for specific shows, and it seemed like I had a window to do something just because I wanted to try some ideas that have been building. And because I pulled all the stripes out of my stash one day and got excited about stripes all over again. (I've always loved them.)

Because Ray brought in a bouquet of roses from the garden and I mostly loved the big leaves, even more than the blossoms, and I got to wondering if a bouquet of roses wasn't just the most trite and mindless subject for a piece of art and did it have to be just so darned "sweet"? Maybe roses can be bold and strong—right? In my online art group discussions people bemoan the idea that "everything has already been done" and I always think, "well there are endless ways of doing the same thing—maybe my way hasn't been done." So, why not a big, fat bouquet of roses?

And so because I have come to love designing with my iPad, and because I find photos a good starting place, I got right on it.

Outlined the basic shapes, and added another rose, because it needed one.

Took the photo away.

Roughed in some color to check balance and composition. Then started building parts from my striped fabrics.

Until I had this. All stripes. I think stripes have a lot of energy.

And because it seems like it still needs something, I went back to the iPad to try out some ideas. Isn't it cool that I can play with ideas on the screen without wasting fabric on things that might not be used? I think it is!

What do you think—add those leaves? Yes or no? (I'm leaning toward "yes")

So this is what I'm doing, just because. It's pretty big—about 40" high. And because I know someone will ask, I am using an app called Sketchclub and a new stylus—the Friendly Swede 3-in-1 Stylus, which I like a lot, but any drawing app with layers and any stylus will do.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time passing

Two years ago I made a little fabric hanging from some odds and ends of my fabrics and project by-products, to hang outside. I liked seeing it hanging on the tree next to the bridge and passed it daily.

It hung there through sun and rain, wind and weather. Last summer I noticed it had faded a bit.


Several weeks ago I found it in the mud at the foot of the tree, so I took it to the studio and washed it up, then hung it back on the tree.


It is aging even more noticeably than I am! But it still has life and seems even more at home and comfortable than when it was young and bright.

And so it goes...


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Portland Art Museum and more

The SAQA group often takes our meeting to the Portland Art Museum, especially when the current exhibit has some connection to fabric or fiber, as we did this last week. "Native Fashion Now" is a very exciting exhibit of fashion being created by contemporary Native American designers. The whole exhibit was such a wonderful combination of traditional motifs and ideas reimagined in very dramatic modern ways. Really a wonderful show! Don't miss it if you are in the area now through September 4.

I love the Portland Art Museum and count it as one of the best things about living here. Besides bringing in great work to show, they are masters at the Art of presentation. While I was there last week, my friends Suzy and Kristin and I headed over to the modern wing of the museum to see the museums recent acquisition by the Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui called called "Life Egg". It is spectacular, with a very fabric-like quality, though it is made from cast off materials, such as scrap aluminum and metal bottle caps and the seals from whiskey bottles. Inspiring and such shimmering beauty!

It was a great downtown day, capped with seeing the traveling roadshow of the Broadway production of "Motown, the Musical." Meanwhile back at the studio I spent a frenzied week of finishing and submitting work, followed by a week of finally getting to some clothing projects I've had on hold.

Last winter I bought a pattern for a summer dress, to use a length of pretty purple linen I've been sitting on, awaiting the right thing, for awhile.

I think it will be cool and nice for a hot day—barely touches the body!

Then I tackled a repurposing of a favorite shirt that got a bleach spot. (Don't you hate that?). I dug around in my stash and came up with a couple fabrics to add to the shirt after cutting off the ruined section. I also cut off the cuffs and added a new look to the sleeves. I wore it to my STASH meeting for their opinions on the result and was assured it it wasn't dumb and no, it doesn't look like a beautician's smock. I lose perspective on some of my clothing choices and feel very insecure. I count on my friends to not let me look stupid.

So, summer is here. I put in a long day in the studio today, before the summer activity begins! Travel, grandchildren, friends and days outdoors beckon.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rainy Day Entertainment


It was an on again, off again rain day today—sun, rain, clouds, big rain, more sun, little rain, repeat. All this left Ray frustrated in his yard work effort so he suggested we check out some estate sales. I was ready for a little break too, so after consulting Craig's List, we headed west through the countryside toward the little town of Cornelius, where we found the earthly possessions of probably a pretty serious hoarder of stuff, spread out over a large property in tents and under canopies and piled along the fences and in the trees. Tools. The guy had hundreds of old, rusty tools. This is only the beginning of the tools.


Did I need these? Oh sure, I did. The tin snips probably aren't proper scissors, but they looked just right to me. (Unlike the other 8 or 10 pairs of tin snips). Ray found a couple of good tape measures— one for himself and one for grandson Marco, who is fascinated with measuring things. I felt a little guilty about such small purchases. It's going to take another thousand customers like us to make a dent in that mess of stuff.

It was lunch time, so we drove into Hillsboro to Ochoas, which tastes and looks and feels and sounds just like being in Mexico.

I always get the same thing—posole. It is a big serving and incredibly delicious. I've never been able to finish an entire bowl.

We moved on, further west to a pretty farm near Forest Grove.


In contrast to the other sale, this one was tidy and domestic in nature and clearly mostly the belongings of an industrious, home-loving woman. Lots of dishes and books, fabric and yarn, all carefully kept in ziplock bags. Sewing supplies stored in baskets and a knitting machine with full documentation.

I was charmed by the old Maytag wringer washer, but little else, in spite of obvious similar interests. In the end I brought home a bag containing yarn and a half-knitted sweater. It is yarn I would have chosen myself— soft, nubby cotton in my favorite soft aqua color. It saddens me that she never finished her sweater. Perhaps I will knit a soft shawl or wrap from the yarn. I can imagine that. Ray, who used to enjoy playing cribbage with his mom, came away with a well-used cribbage board. A pretty good day. The rain was over and done by the time we got home.

I wonder what the "stuff" I leave behind when I'm gone will say about me. There is something uncomfortably intimate about estate sales, especially seeing strangers pawing through the linens and contents of bathroom cabinets, and yet I feel something about the connectedness of people when their things move on to new lives with new people—and a small hope that someday the things I now use and love, will do the same.

Anyone want first dibs on my scissor collection??


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

June arrived in a heatwave

Last week we took a short trip to Southern Oregon for the opening of "Concrete and Grasslands" at the Grants Pass Museum of Art. It is the newest exhibit from SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associares) and includes SAQA artists from around the world. I was lucky enough to have a piece juried into the show. We took the opportunity to spend a couple days in Medford, with our dear friend, Muriel, and spent a day in Ashland, our old hometown, including a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where I once worked.

Photo from The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The play was The River Bride and it was beautifully designed and very charming. We loved it.

The day we drove to Grants Pass was a sweltering 100 degrees for the opening. The show was beautiful, well-attended and a real high for me, but OH! the heat was overwhelming.

That's my piece, Camas Prairie Idaho, on the brick wall. Above, a favorite by K.Velis Turan.

The Grants Pass Museum is in a wonderful old downtown building and the show is worth seeing if you are in the area.

Home now, it has been so unusually hot that it's hard to be motivated, but I have deadlines and work to get ready for shows. I will have some small pieces in a gallery in Sisters, Oregon next month, and one of the other artists offered to deliver my work with hers, so I spent today doing little finishing touches. All the pieces are either framed or mounted on stretched canvas panels, so they needed hanging wires. Picture wire always has such vicious, poke-y bits, but I discovered a trick for dealing with the problem. There is a product made for electrical work that is plastic tubing that will seal up the sharp ends of twisted wire.

I cut a short piece and threaded the wire through it before twisting onto the screw eyes on the back of one of my little pieces.

Then, when the wire was completely attached, I slid the little tube to cover the raw ends.

The final step is to heat the tubing with a heat gun and it will shrink tight around the wire. No sharp bits!

Here's a larger piece with a twist on each side. I slip a little scrap of cardboard under the wire when I'm using the heat gun so I don't scorch the back of my work.

I also neatened backs with taped edges, added labels and wrapped each piece for delivery. Fiddly stuff that must be done. At the end of the day it was packed and ready to go. It all fit perfectly into this Eddie Bauer tote!

It is supposed to be cooler tomorrow. More like Oregon is supposed to be.