Saturday, July 30, 2016

Why it matters to me


Here's me—1968, the year I graduated from college, ready to face the world in my beehive hairdo and unbounded optimism. When I was ready, a year later (I spent my first year out of college working for my sorority), to get out into the real world, after getting a job, my first adult decision was to buy a car, using the money I had saved for the down payment. My dad, of course, had to co-sign on the loan, because women could not borrow money or apply for credit before 1974. For the same reason, he co-signed the lease on my first apartment. If I hadn't had a Dad or husband, I'd have had to find some other agreeable man to sign for me. Really.

Over the next couple of years I had three different jobs. My first was in a fancy furniture store where I was training to be an interior designer. My pay, as a trainee, was very low, then when I moved from trainee to commission sales it dropped to practically nothing. The older men I worked with regularly managed to poach most of my customers and my commissions. When I complained I was told I had to understand that they had families to support. I didn't. And I was a terrible salesperson.

My next job was an utter disaster from the outset. I taught sewing at the local Singer Sewing Machine dealership. (I told the whole story here) During my training I learned that all Singer shop managers, throughout the world, were men. Women were deemed incapable of such a job— you know—managing people and "money stuff"! It seems laughable now, and felt outrageous even then. But, due to my shop's poor male management, business was so bad that my job was eliminated after only a few weeks, so I never had to ponder my lack of upward mobility within the Singer organization.

The third job was designing and creating window and store displays at the downtown Boise Bon Marche department store. In many ways I was born for this job and I loved so many things about it, but once again I had to swallow the knowledge that the men, who I actually supervised, made more money than I did, because—you guessed it—they "had families to support." There was also a small incident when one of those men asked to be given a different job because he could not deal with the idea of a woman supervisor. He was accommodated and my boss, apologetically told me it was because he was from a military family that the idea of taking directions from a woman was so abhorrent. We had to understand such things...

By now I had met and married Ray and, though I loved creating displays, it seemed my best option was to go back to school and become a teacher because that was one of the few professions where women enjoyed a measure of equity, though there were no female administrators and I was told, when I was hired that if I became pregnant I would have to quit. As it turned out, this policy was overturned that very year and I did get pregnant! But I had never wanted to be a teacher and I struggled.

I embraced the Women's movement that was coming into its own and little by little things changed. I worked and studied my way into other, better jobs over the years and life has been good. Change came, but only because women fought for it. I've never forgotten that. And I bless those women—Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, so many more... And now the movement is ancient history and most equal rights pretty much taken for granted, as they should be. Younger women didn't see the change happen, so I'm not surprised that they don't view the idea of the possibility of a woman president as anything any more unusual than the idea of a woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company (which didn't happen until 1972, by the way. Look it up. Katharine Graham) Our stories of how women were treated when we were young now sound antiquated and a little like the stories our parents told of walking 5 miles, through the snow, to school each day. Yeah, yeah, things were tough.....yawn.

So, now, for me, it all comes back as we nominate a woman—A WOMAN!—to run for president. A woman in the White House. A woman capable of the job. Not as a symbol, but as an affirmation of not just equal opportunity but equal ability, equal intellect, equal emotional strength. It could have been any number of such women over the years, but it wasn't, until now. We could actually have a woman president. It will happen, if not now, soon. Because now it can happen. And it still matters.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Taking Inventory

It has been a busy year or so and I've had a lot of good things happen with my art. It has been accepted into a nice variety of shows and I currently have more art "out there" than I ever remember. It has gotten to a point where I am beginning to lose track of what is where, so I needed to take stock. I know I have shown some of this work before, and I know I have not shown some of it, so I think I'll just tell you all where everything is and maybe you will have a chance to see it somewhere!

I have work in two SAQA shows right now. These are really great shows and they are hard to get into, so I feel especially lucky.

"The Cloth Remembers" is part of SAQA's  REDIRECTING THE ORDINARY and has been traveling for more than a year now, to Houston, Chicago, Portland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Its final dates are:  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Fredericksburg, Virginia, September 29 and 30 and October 1, 2016
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Schaumburg, Illinois, October 13-15, 2016
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN November 10 -12, 2016

"Camus Prairie, Idaho" is part of SAQA's CONCRETE AND GRASSLANDS  and just started its journey at the Grants Pass Museum of Art in Grants Pass, Oregon, where it will be through the end of July. Other venues will be announced later.

"Rhythm of Rain" and "A Sense of Summer" are part of the High Fiber Diet exhibit MAKING OUR MARK, currently at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon. It will also be seen at:

Keizer Community Center Gallery - November 1, 2016 - December 30
Chessman Gallery - Lincoln City, OR January 13 - February 6, 2017

"Patterns of Mesoamerica" has been accepted as part of the Dinner at 8 PATTERNS exhibit and will be seen at the International Quilt Market and Show in Houston in October.

"The Moon is a Mirror" will be part of the Columbia Fiberarts Guild FABRICATIONS August 3 - 29 at the ArtReach gallery in Portland. Details here.

"Iris" and "Lily", along with several other pieces, are currently at the Twigs Gallery in Sisters, Oregon through July. 

"Basilica of Quito" and "Pollen" were both recently selected for the next High Fiber Diet exhibit, IT ISN'T EASY BEING GREEN. Venues have not yet been announced.

I also had work accepted for a really fun local project, which I will write about when it happens! I have also submitted several pieces for a favorite local show, including the recently completed "Roses." I will know within a week or so if it was accepted, but I'll show show you its official photo and you can keep your fingers crossed with me!

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.