Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Guerrilla art

I have talked about the walk that my friend Beth and I take nearly every day. It is on a beautiful trail called the Fanno Creek Trail. The last time I posted about the trail I showed you this picture of the razer wire that the Portland Golf Club put on their fence where it backs up to the trail. Ugh! What an ugly addition to our beautiful walk.

It bothers me. Whatever their problem has been, it seems like an extreme reaction to make that section of trail look like a war zone. It's unneighborly to say the least.

Beth and I decided it needed some attention called to it—some beauty to counter its ugliness. So I made a small piece of fabric art to hang on it. I did not expend a lot of time or material as I fully expect it to disappear, but it is a small statement. It will be interesting to see if there is any reaction. I will keep you posted.

And elsewhere on the trail . . .

This beautiful sight—plums!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Good Movie

This afternoon we went to see "Sketches of Frank Gehry" at a little old theater in NW Portland (Cinema 21). It is not the kind of movie you are likely to see at the multiplex, but oh, such a worthwhile afternoon if you can find it playing anywhere near you. It is a documentaray about the acclaimed, but controversial architect, Frank Gehry, and is a fascinating insight into the creative process. The scenes where he and a colleague were designing a building by cutting and taping pieces of paper were so wonderful that I really think I must own this movie so I can see it again and again. You can read more here and even see a little cut from the movie.

More little pieces

Here are two more very small (5") pieces. Landscapes are a new idea for me. Not sure I want to do a lot of these, but they were fun. They remind me of the vast rolling farmland, with mountains in the distance, of Idaho, where I grew up. That little house with a solitary tree is pretty typical.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Small, I mean really small, work

It is a lot of fun to experiment with small pieces. I had this idea that I wanted to try doing some work that uses partial images. How much of something do you have to see for it to be recognizable? Composition becomes more important than ever. Negative space is important. Representation becomes more like abstract composition.

These pieces are each about 5" square. The top one, which is my favorite of the two, by the way, is a little section of the drawing that I used for my piece called "Rice Bowl and Bird". The pear came out of my head. (Not that there is an actual pear in there, but the memory of a pear!)

Sometimes it is really nice to be able to work out an idea in just a few hours from start to finish. I'm looking forward to trying a few more of these.

I think these might be nice mounted on a larger square of mat board.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Three beautiful women, one special birthday

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Thirty years ago, today, my beautiful daughter Emily came into our lives. She is a joy—smart, funny, loving and hard-working. A year ago she married her handsome, Ecuadorean husband, Carlos Julio—we call him Cayo. After spending four years teaching in Quito, Ecuador, Emily and Cayo are moving to Portland this summer. We are very excited. The picture is of Emily and Cayo the day of their civil marriage ceremony. The formal wedding followed several weeks later, with us in attendance and we have many beautiful pictures, but I love this picture—don't they look happy?

On the day Emily was born I was exactly the age she is now. She has shared half of my life. She is my only daughter and my baby—and one of my favorite people in the world. We love you very much, Em, and wish you a great birthday.

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

The same day Emily was born, in Pocatello, Idaho, across the mountains in Jackson, Wyoming, her cousin Melissa was born. Melissa's dad is Ray's twin brother. We knew the babies were due within 10 days of each other, but were truly surprised (and thrilled) that they arrived on the same day.

Melissa is a beautiful redhead, the mother of a little girl and a baby boy and also a teacher.

Our family has loved watching the "twin cousins," Emily and Melissa, grow up and become amazing women. They were adorable at two, in matching T-shirts—Emily on the left, Melissa on the right.

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

On Emily's 8th birthday something very special happened. Another cousin, my brother's daughter, Jessica, joined the world.
Jessica is 22 years old today. She is a busy college student who also works at a decorating business, where I'm sure she charms everyone with her dazzling smile and her warmth and genuine interest in everything and everyone.

Who knew May 23rd would be such a remarkable day?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Who are all these people?

I'm slightly stunned. Yesterday 340 people looked at my blog. Cool. That's waaaaay more than my average of about 60 a day.

I think most were looking at my tutorial on my fusing method. After someone asked about it on the Quiltart list I posted a link again. But it is looking like some of those visitors are coming from Yahoo groups or other mail groups. Did someone repost the information elsewhere? Fine with me, but I am curious. Of those 340 people only about 4 left comments. I wish some of them would let me know how they found me.

And if you were wondering what I did with the crow I was fusing in the demo, here is the finished piece. It will be for sale at the Portland Japanese Garden sale in July.

Yesterday Gerrie and June and I went to see the Art Train. I was hoping to have some pictures to show, but they did not allow photos. The exhibit was called "Native Views - Influences of Modern Culture". It was all work by contemporary Native American artists and it was quite a well-done exhibit with some very nice work. We were all especially impressed with how well the accompanying statements were done. The train is a little claustrophopic, (this from a person who hates tunnels and enclosed spaces, but June agreed) but the exhibit is worth seeing. If the Art Train comes to your city, I recommend it. There's a schedule on the web site.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blogging about blogging

Despite the fact that thousands of new blogs are created each day, it feels to me like my own little universe of blogginess is diminishing. I have bookmarked my favorites to check in on periodically and I keep adding new ones, but I am noticing a trend toward fewer and fewer posts and, disconcertingly, sometimes blogs are just disappearing.

On a couple of occasions I have located the blogs of former colleagues and/or friends, by doing a Google search in a fit of wondering “whatever happened to good-old so and so?”
One night I was reading through the blog of a former co-worker who moved away and it suddenly vanished before my eyes. I clicked to the next archived entry and got that “not found” page. I clicked back to where I had been and it was gone, replaced by “not found”. Apparently at the very moment I was reading, she was making the decision to pull the plug on her blog. Or, creepily, I wondered if she, sitting at her computer thousands of miles away, had somehow divined that I was there reading her private thoughts and had quickly snatched them away. That is something to contemplate. I did feel like a voyeuer, and a little guilty. That same feeling compelled me to email another former colleague to tell him I had found his blog and read it. He replied that he was glad to have another reader and inquired about my life and family, but then he stopped posting, finally coming back with a short entry saying he was trying to decide whether to continue writing his blog or not. I hope it wasn't something I said!

A couple of the art quilt blogs I used to read have gone. I haven’t removed them from my list yet and check in occasionally in the vain hope that they have changed their minds and come back. Others now post so infrequently that it’s hard to maintain much interest in what they are doing.

I have been at this for 8 months now and my posts are not as frequent as they were early on, but I still feel like I have things to say. Maybe at some point I will burn out and fade away as well. Meanwhile, I have some favorites that I continue to read and enjoy. Gerrie and June are consistent and interesting and fun. Deborah and her young family and Deborah’s artwork are always great to read about. Sandy’s quirky links and clever commentary keep me coming back. Dad Gone Mad just cracks me up. And, of course, there are many more. I have to admit that there are a couple of blogs that I read just because they are so annoying—how perverse is that?

And now, just because I am fundamentally opposed to blog entries that have no photos, here is the scene outside my window that calls to me as I work away on my computer today. Ray hung the hammock last weekend. That is the official declaration of summer at our house. Now, if I can get up the gumption to make some iced tea—the hammock, a good book and a tall glass of said tea, all rattly with ice cubes, is just about the perfect combination for a lazy afternoon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Visit with an artist

These paintings were painted by an Ecuadorean artist named Cristóbal González Guzmán. We visited him in Quito in December when we were there. You can read more about our visit on our Ecuador blog, .

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers' Day

I tire of hearing people bash their mothers. I suppose some people had truly cruel, abusive mothers and that is tragic, but it's the whiny "my Mom is driving me craaazy" stuff that gets to me. There were probably times we both drove each other crazy, but I really miss my mother.

Once she was visiting me when my small quilt group met. One of the women showed a quilt with two sides that represented her parents. The "Dad" side was a bowtie pattern in somber tones. It represented her harsh, cold father. The "Mom" side was a crazy quilt that represented her mother who was disorganized and incompetent and unreliable and self-absorbed. After the group left my Mom sighed deeply and said, "Terry, promise me you'll never make a quilt about me!" I laughed and said, "don't worry, that's not my thing."

What I wish I had told her is that, in some way, all my quilts are about her. She shared her precious art supplies with me when I was very small. We painted pictures together. She taught me to sew and shared her love of art and color and design with me and bought me drawing lessons and painting classes and encouraged me to study art and never told me it was impractical or not important. She hung my paintings and my quilts with pride.
My cousin recently sent me this picture, found among my aunt's (her sister) belongings. I had never seen this picture of my mother before. She was 14 and you can see in this picture how confident and spunky (and how pretty) she was. She was smart and bold and brave. She established the first battered women's shelter in Idaho (which is still in operation and about which women have said their lives were saved because it was there for them) and she always stood up to injustice and prejudice of any kind. And she made the greatest pies—really—the greatest.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Outdoor vending in the land of mist and rain

The Garden Fair where we were selling our garden art was held on Saturday and Sunday at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, Oregon—about 30 miles from Portland. I have spent a lot time over the years sitting in a booth as a vendor, whether it be at quilt shows, trade shows, art shows—I even booth-sat at the American Academy of Dermatology when I worked for the National Psoriasis Foundation. It is always fun and you meet nice people and they are, for the most part, in a good mood and are complimentary. Being outdoors, surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers does that to people. It is a great people-watching opportunity as well.

Here's our booth. We were glad we had gotten the canopy—good for rain or sun, and we experienced both.

On Saturday the weather was great—cool but sunny. We watched people go by with their wagons and other conveyances filled with plants and flowers. At one point our friends showed up with their daughter and grandson. Baby Will was enjoying the sights and the people. Isn't that a sweet face? Awwwww.

People who have been to the sale before came prepared with wagons or carts to haul their purchases around. One woman had fashioned a cart by bungee-ing her recycling bin to a luggage wheelie.

Besides our stainless steel garden art, there was a variety of other art, ranging from whimsical to sublime. The woman in the space next to us had glass "spires" created by gluing together a variety of glass vases, platters, etc, gathered from estate sales and resale shops.

She also had concrete spheres and shapes. I wasn't tempted to buy, but I made a mental note of those concrete pieces. I might try my hand at some of those. The one on the iron stand is covered with pennies.

On Sunday I added the colored ribbons to some of our pieces. They seemed to need a little color. Our metal art seemed weensy compared to the giant metal critters in another booth.

Sunday dawned gray and cloudy, but that never keeps an event from happening in Oregon.

You just dress for the weather and carry on as usual. The glass and concrete woman in the next space bailed out. She did not have a canopy and didn't relish sitting in the rain all day. Despite a sweater and a jacket, I got really cold and had to go buy a sweatshirt partway through the afternoon.

I started noticing the range of footgear. You see it all. The red clogs at the lower right are my feet. They are waterproof Quarks—perfect for the day. I didn't get a picture of the odd Oregonian practice of wearing socks and sandals, but there were plenty of those around as well. Seems like the socks would get pretty soggy.

Sales were slower on Sunday, but we sold pretty well on Saturday and had a good time. I think we'll try it again next year. Next year I will dress warmer.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Today I am juggling jobs, futzing with photos, pondering pictures. I am hassled, harried and hurried.

Here is something for your entertainment until I get my act together. It is fabulous. Trust me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Setting up for the Plant Sale

This weekend Ray and I are going to sell our garden art at the Clackamas County Master Gardeners' Spring Garden Fair. Today we went out to the Clackmas County Fairgrounds where the fair is held and set up our booth. We are newbies. We have never participated in this sale before, but we are really looking forward to it.

We have gone to the sale in past years and it is really a great display of plants and flowers and art. We were pleased to find that our booth is located in a smaller, grassy area, rather than in the big, paved area where most of the booths will be. It's a good location that everyone has to walk past as they come into the show. That is our white canopy on the right. We don't know who will be next to us on either side. They hadn't set up yet, by the time we finished.

Today we set up the canopy, then we decided where things will be. We were a little nervous about leaving things overnight, so we didn't leave any of the art there, but did leave our tables and chairs, and we got everything ready to hang.

Our booth backs up to an orange, temporary fence. Nice and colorful, isn't it?

If you are in the vicinity, come out and see us!

On a separate note—I took this picture out in my yard this morning. Isn't this tulip wonderful? I love the symmetry of the design.

As you can see, it has been a beautiful day here, today.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fusing questions and comments

What nice comments and emails I got following the last post! Thank you. A few more comments and answers to some questions:

4 First, obviously this fusing method works well for some kinds of work and not at all for others. It is not, for example, practical if you like to spontaneously cut from large pre-fused fabrics. While I have done fairly good sized pieces using this method, I am always working from a drawing that I can trace.

4 Pat asked what brand of pastel pencils I use. I use mostly Conte brand. You can find them online at good old Dick Blick As Kathy, so eloquently said, "cha-ching". They are about $1.68 per pencil. You can start with a small set, then add the colors you need. I think I now have all 48 colors, but I have purchased them mostly several at a time. I have also bought some Faber-Castelli pastel pencils. They have some colors that Conte doesn't have. I especially like their Payne's gray. Also available from Dick Blick. They are a little less expensive ($1.29 each) than the Conte, but the pastel "lead" is not as thick. I buy both brands locally at Art Media or Columbia Art Supply.

4 Pat also questioned how permanent the workable fixative is. It is permanent. The "workable" part means you can add layers of pastel on top, but you can't get rid of what you've done once you've sprayed it. It also says it is acid free and archival. By the way, before you spray you can quite easily brush off pastel that you want to get rid of. You can probably see an old blue toothbrush in my tin of pastel pencils. That's what it is for.

4 Where to buy LiquiFuse online? I've never bought it online, but a quick Google should turn up some sources—hey, I'm not going to do everything for you!

4 You are certainly welcome to try this method out and use it if you like it. I posted the © at the bottom as I do not wish anyone to copy my photos and/or instructions and pass them off as their own. I worked pretty hard putting this together!

I'd love to hear from you if you try this method. Was it successful for you?

P.S. "Stone Lantern," 2003, above (13" x 28") was the first piece I made using this fusing technique.