Monday, June 30, 2008

Is this art??

Looks like an installation to ME. But of course, it is Philadelphia street art. Look how nicely they set up the display. My cousin Edmond, ever-vigilant, since I made him liberate some construction fence for me in Paris several years ago, pointed this out as we walked around Philly last week.

No sooner did I get home from QSDS than my French cousins, France & Edmond, sont arrivés et nous sommes partis pour Philadelphia en vacances. Marty and I were celebrating our 26th anniversary - and what better way?
The night of our anniv, I had made reservations at my favorite restaurant, Fork. The meal was fabulous and the manager of the Penns View Hotel where we stayed, bought us the bottle of wine we had ordered with dinner. What a lovely surprise!

We made the rounds of the historic sites, since Edmond wanted to see the Liberty Bell and the actual constitution, etc. But then, enough was enough and we couldn't resist gelato and espresso outside this place on Market St., near the hotel. I mean, what French people could resist a place with this name??
Since we spent only two days in Philadelphia, we didn't have time tp get to any of our favorite places, like Snyderman Works or South Street. But we did go to the Philadelphia Museum, where our cousins wanted to look at contemporary American art. They were extremely impressed by the museum's excellent collection of Degas, Cézanne, and other late 19th-early 20th c. French Artists. I, on the other hand, was more captivated by what was below (or adjacent to) my feet as we walked around the city.
I was so busy having fun that I didn't take many pix. But Edmond did get this shot of R&M in front of the wall outside Ben Franklin's final resting place.
Aren't we glamorous with our sunglasses? The next day, back to real life with a vengance.
But we're looking forward to seeing our cousins again soon - maybe next time in Paris!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

what a week!

I got home to still no Internet -- and no tv (which doesn't bother me). Comcast can't come till Thursday, so I am hijacking a neighbor's signal when I can. It is sporadic and frustrating beyond words.

The week at QSDS was wonderful! Print Original Cloth - Make Original Quilts was a 5-day journey that yielded amazing results.
As always, the diversity of results from random screenprinting was astonishing. Everybody who came into the room to see what was going on was bowled over at the cloth on the boards.

Chef Susan's work was playful and of course, had a theme dear to her heart. Here is only one of her many fun pieces.
Diane Abernathy created this with freezer paper resists.
Cécile's pieces included these.
One group of 3 sharing a table decided to share screens and do a round robin. They all used the same 3 screens and these were the results. What a great idea!

Later in the week, the assignment was to take the piece of fabric they liked the least and use it to make a piece of art. Big groans and lots of mumbling under the breath later, some spectacular pieces emerged. Here's Connie with the piece she thought was ugly.


And here, in process, is what she did with it. I wish I had a picture of the finished piece.
These are some of Dorothy's fabrics (her least favorites. Why??)
In any case, she used some in this piece.
Kevin cut up a piece he had printed with soy wax over the weekend and here is the in-process result.

And there were many others that I didn't get good pictures of. Believe me, cutting into fabric you have printed can be traumatic. But if you start with a piece you really don't like much, it's a lot easier.

Blogger is making faces at me and threatening to stop uploading my pix. Besides, my French cousins are arriving tomorrow and I have to get my beauty sleep. Next week, the studio.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

meanwhile...

This week has sped by so quickly that I can hardly believe we're almost at the end. I've been teaching since Saturday, almost nonstop. And by the time I'm back from the evening's activities, too tired to blog. Sorry 'bout that. The soy wax batik was a big hit, and the class did some very cool work. There were 25 people, so lots of variety -- and they just couldn't get enough. Once it stopped raining, it got hot and we were able to dry our pieces outside on the ground or on the line. I showed the class how to steam their fabric and we had the pot going for a couple of days. The steaming took out a lot of the wax and set the dye at the same time. Here's Connie opening her package!
Here are some other pieces, done and back on the wall.




Sue Kavanaugh batik'd her t-shirt and came to show it off the day after class was over. How cool is this?? She was delighted with the results and so were the rest of us.
Some of the students from the weekend class remained for the next class, which I will get to later. Off to breakfast!

Friday, June 13, 2008

hello from Columbus

No pix. I am happy to have Internet after 3 days of intermittent power and 3 nights of NONE. Horrendous storms, trees down, a fire in the transformers - bleh. Yesterday at 4 pm the electricity went again while I was in the middle of putting on the facing to the therapy quilt I was bringing with me. I would have used my treadle machine but there were no lights, either. No phone, no Internet, no air conditioning, and the smoke alarm kept screaming all night. Power was back at 4 this morning and by 6:am I was at the sewing machine. By the time I left for the airport, everything was back but the Internet. Raining in Columbus - and of course, i have no umbrella or raincoat. But tomorrow, classes start and all will be well. I'll take pix and check in tomorrow when I can.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

moving right along...

The tile guys were here today and my backsplash is up. Yay! Tomorrow, they are coming back to do the grout, and the electricians will be here so I will have more than one working outlet. Meantime, here is what we have been living with:
When the tile started to go up I had some trepidations because it was such an unconventional choice for a contemporary kitchen. But, surprise!! We love it. The picture doesn't do it justice.
We are getting there.

Monday, June 09, 2008

am I food-obsessed?

Where has the day gone? I'm still thinking about yesterday, which was nonstop and delightful. While I've been doing the kitchen renovation, some of the most helpful people have been on the Garden Web Kitchen Forum. Yesterday, a dozen of us gathered for brunch at Nice Matin on the upper west side of Manhattan and met in person for the first time.
What a lively group! It was fun to put faces to the screen names and on-line personalities. And we all had a great time.
Marty came with me (you can see him in the foreground while I am yakking in the back). We have always driven in, but he's not driving these days till his eye heals and I don't drive in the City unless it's Sunday morning - so we took the bus in and the subway up to 79th. When we got to the Port Authority, Marty couldn't resist getting in line with the rest of the commuters in George Segal's famous sculpture. After brunch, we caught the 3:30 bus back to NJ and had a brief respite before we left for Kerr's. She was having an opening for an artist who was her very first assistant and it seemed like a nice thing to do on a Sat. night. The gallery was packed and was about 100 degrees, which is probably why I was fixated on the ice sculpture. Kerr's in the background saying goodbye to some guests.
These yummies were the next best thing to the ice: pignoli tarts that were so good, I have to figure out how to make them myself. They were from an organic bakery run by friends of the artist.

thunderstorm that brought down the temperature just in time for us to leave for home. We had a late (for us) dinner of the delicious spanikopita and taramosalata we had bought on 9th Avenue earlier in th day, before we ran for the bus. Joyva halavah for dessert - marble nut (pistachio) that we are rationing because it is impossible to find anymore where we live. In the store on 9th Ave, I pointed to the huge piece and said "THAT." It was 2-1/2 lbs of THAT. This is half.
and this is the skinny piece I just cut for myself after I took the picture.
Heaven. If you are not acquainted with this confection, you can read about it here,
I have already located a source for it by mail and might have to buy it for Marty as a gift for his next birthday.

Worked all day today on the "therapy" sewing project but it is almost 2:AM, so I will leave it for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

color, color, everywhere

I couldn't resist sharing a photo with you of this colorful contents page from the (one) book in my possession.

Pam commented I never mentioned here that my book was a finalist in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Consider it mentioned. It was a big surprise (since I didn't know there even was such an award) and I am thrilled that it made the short list (6) out of the thousands of books that are published each year by independent publishers like C&T.

I am still waiting for the books to arrive so I can get them out to you if you ordered a signed copy. They should be in the bookstores soon.

This has been a good time for me to do what Helene Davis calls "therapy sewing." I imagine we all need the no-brainer stuff periodically while the REAL creativity germinates. Some people make ATCs, collages, or postcards. Some sew strips. I seem to return to my own version of square-in-(or on) square, working in brights and quirky color combinations. This time I am cutting up a few of the bazillion yards and scraps of my own printed fabrics and pairing them with the gorgeous Indian fabrics from Handloom Batik. Today's assignment is to finish what I have started. It is 94 degrees outside, so staying in is a good plan.
Usha will be at QSDS vending this year and I will be thrilled to see her there. I just CANNOT let myself buy any more of her fabrics - if you are there and see me even thinking about it, stop me!!!!!

For now, before the day gets away from me, I'm back to the above project. Later I will tell you about yesterday's activities.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

a printing day

This afternoon I spent a few hours in the studio. I seem to be at a creative impasse - you know the routine: nothing comes together. So I took the opportunity to go back into a couple of pieces of fabric to see if I could improve them. This one was easy. Dyed, then discharged, it looked like a big nothing.

I don't normally buy other people's screens but at market, I saw this one and could not leave it there. It was just right for this space.
By the time I took a picture of this next one, it had been dyed, discharged, and printed. I hated it.
So I got out black dye and covered it all up. After I wash it out, it will undoubtedly need another layer or two.

This raucous fuschia on pink was beyond help, so I got out the syringe and went to work. Can you interpret how I was feeling?
Ditto this one. If you look closely enough you will see my mantra for this week:
LEFT TO THEMSELVES, THINGS WILL GO FROM BAD TO WORSE.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

where was I? or where am I?

The week started with great promise: Monday I spent all day in the studio. I had brought most of my fabric home a couple of weeks ago because I knew I would have to be here playing nurse. Monday, I took it all back and spent most of the day putting fabric piles back into bins. I took some particularly egregious pieces and discharged them. This is my high tech drying system: the wet fabrics pinned to portable print boards are facing the open window and the fan is blowing. Very effective. Do you think I should patent it? I took this photo of an audition; in the category of "what was I thinking?" - but as long as I had the picture, I figured I should post it. The screen is a photo I took several years ago of some kind of grate or manhole cover or something similar, in Europe - I can't remember where.
I love the screen and will have to play some more with it. Today, I never got out of the house. My boxes are finally ready for UPS to pick up tomorrow -- well, one of them, anyway. The other one I'll finish in the morning and I intend to hit the studio again tomorrow afternoon.