Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Just before Santa had to pack up his sleigh for tonight's journey, we were able to visit briefly with him at the North Pole. It's not so far away as you might think—if, of course, you have the right ticket. We went by train.

Santa was waiting, as we pulled into the North Pole station.

He boarded for a quick visit, and left each child wth a souvenir—a bell from his sleigh...

Have you heard his bells on your roof yet? Are you tucked in your bed? Close your eyes. Sleep well. And have a beautiful day tomorrow.


Friday, December 19, 2014

You know how I love tiles...

I have become an infrequent blogger. It's not because I am less committed, but maybe I have exhausted my supply of material. Sometimes I think I should recycle some of my old posts. Sometimes I waste my best thoughts on a quick FaceBook post. Then it doesn't seem worthwhile to revisit it as a blog post. I like keeping track of my artwork here. Right now I am not working on much and nothing I can really show, but I do have a lot of photos that are inspiring me. Maybe some of them will inspire you.

The subject is tile. If you've been following me for awhile you know I love it. (My kitchen might remind you of a Mexican restaurant) Spain and Portugal are the motherload of glorious tile. I took hundreds of photos of tile. The photo above is part of a building exterior in Lisbon, a city so in love with the material that they cover entire buildings with it—inside and out.

The history of tile in Spain and Portugal goes back centuries, starting with the Roman occupation of the region, but it takes its greatest influence from the Islamic tradition, brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the North African Moors in the 8th century. This was the origin of the marvelous geometric and foliage designs that make this tile so distinctive.

Doesn't this remind you of an Amish quilt? And the tiles above the "quilt" demonstrate one of my favorite characteristics of the tiles that are designed to create interlocking, secondary patterns when they are set in a grid— also reminiscent of traditional quilts.

The tile tradition continues to this day. This a map is in a plaza overlooking the city of Lisbon.

I like how the bit of pavement, above, seems to be scraps and pieces, and how the pedestal below was so badly mended.

These tiles are old, but clearly post-Moorish Spain. Islam discouraged the use of human or animal imagery in their art, lest it be considered idolatry.

I can't imagine a more beautiful way to adorn a city.

And a checkerboard tiled dome is the perfect topper for a palace or a garden shelter.

I took so many tile photos. These are just a few. When we were planning our trip I was surprised when several people asked, "why Spain?" I was pretty sure everyone harbored a longing to see Spain... Why? Well, history and food and Flamenco, and wine and olives and grandeur and music and Gaudi and Velasquez and tile!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Angels and other things

Again, Christmas justs pops up out of nowhere! One day it is late summer and then before you know it Christmas is upon us. Why the surprise every year? You would think I could have figured this all out by now. Suffice it to say, I am not a plan-ahead kind of person. My friend Jeri usually has her Christmas shopping done by Halloween, when I am just about to give up on summer and bring the hammock into the house. December comes and it is the wake-up call.

Our STASH group gathered for our annual Christmas lunch this week. It was especially joyful because Gale, who just had surgery on her hip, was able to join us. We, including Gale, had all been sure she would still be laid up for awhile. Beth was missing, but will soon be back from her time in the sun. We had Thai Food and exchanged little gifts and had a lot of stories and laughs. Afterward, a couple of us decided to check out the big Thrift store across the street and I made an amazing, if not slightly miraculous, find there.

To back up, a number of years ago I bought a terra cotta angel at a local gallery, to go with my collection of terra cotta Christmas ornaments. The angel was made in Guatamala and I loved her on sight. I have shown photos of her, over the years, on this blog. Here are some examples. In the thrift shop on Thursday I found another one. She looks like her little sister.

My original angel is on the right, holding a dove. The "new" one is on the left, holding a small harp. Their faces and hair are nearly identical and each has a bare foot peeking out from under her robe. Perhaps there are thousands of these angels out there, but these are not cast from a mold and I have never seen another. Each is handcrafted from clay and so similar I truly believe they were made by the same hand in Guatamala. Perhaps the smaller one was purchased from the same Portland gallery as mine and just recently was sent off to the thrift store. I'll never know, but I am happy that I found her. Now, I am beginning to feel a little Christmas spirit!

Between shopping trips I have been working on my quilt for the neutral color show with the theme Making Our Mark. Here is a little detail. I am using elements of a kind of stitching that keeps showing up in my work. It is a pattern that sort of grew out of the ether. I don't know if I dreamed it or invented it or unwittingly copied the idea from something, but it feels like my mark.

I am off to a holiday gathering this afternoon and will see friends old and new. Unexpected as Christmas seems to be every year, I find my way, eventually, into the heart of it, which is, of course, cherished friends and family. I hope you are finding the season too. Cheers!

Monday, December 08, 2014


So, now I have a "to do" list and, after a minor meltdown yesterday, am making my way through it. A few things to report on.


Virginia Spiegel again asked me to participate in her fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. I am happy she asked and so grateful for all the money Virginia has raised for cancer research. Too much Cancer in this world. This year has been a bad one—both my sister and sister-in-law have undergone brutal cancer treatment this year, with mixed results. My sister is doing well, my sister-in-law, not well. Cancer is a monster and I hate it.

Virginia has asked 100 fiber artists to donate a piece of art. On February 4, the first 100 people to make a donation of $100 will receive an artwork. Simple, and everyone wins! See the details here.

Here is my donation piece, "Night Windows"


In other news, part of our High Fiber Diet exhibit, "What's Blue toYou" is currently hanging at the Portland International Airport in the B concourse. It will be there until May, so if you find yourself at PDX check it out! Last week the artists were invited to view the exhibit. We had to be escorted through a side door to avoid security. We were thrilled with how it was hung and the signage.


Mine is the first one after the sign.

And here's my final thing to share.


I got a new phone and needed a new case for it. I found this business online that will put any photo you want on their case. I really love the way it turned out with my Valentine Ritual quilt.