Sunday, September 28, 2008

sans blabla inutile

I came across this phrase just a while ago on a French classical radio website I listen to, and I roared. What a wonderful phrase!! The problem is that most everything that surrounds us -- tv, radio - whatever - is full of blabla inutile. This is why I don't listen to commercial stations or watch tv...although I watched part of Friday's debate which did,indeed, have its share of blabla. Spent the afternoon getting ready for next Sunday's Open Studios at 66 Franklin St. I have a few textiles up on the wall but decided to hang some monotypes: oil on paper printed on a press. Tonight, I pulled more of my leaf series out and tomorrow I need to mat and frame them. Here are a few -- you can see them really well if you click on the pix to enlarge. Most will be $125 matted & framed and $95 unframed.
So much to do, so little time.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

random stuff

I went to lunch with my friend Trina on Wednesday and on the way home she announced that there was a storm coming sometime in the next 24 hours. The sun was shining, the weather was warm -- but she is weather psychic. She said she gets a headache when there will be a barometric pressure change - and sure enough, the next morning, we had a monster of a rainstorm. It has been off and on ever since. I seem to be obsessed with taking pictures on my deck when it is raining. This was Thursday's photo -- I love the reflection of the chair and the trees & sky on the wet planks. This is from either 2005 or 2007 and it is a better picture. Why do I keep taking the same thing over and over again? The reflection fascinates me. Thursday a.m. (in the rain) and the woods are actually more lush in September than they were in May (bottom picture). Ironic, since we are going into the autumn and it is Indian Summer. These are the woods at their least interesting. It is still hot and humid as we get closer to the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Monday night I am having my kids/grands and my mother for dinner. Yesterday, in a fit of insanity, I decided I should bake my own challah. So I got out all my cookbooks and ended up being so confused that I am not sure what I did. When I told my son Jeremy I intended to do this, he said I had better go buy a back-up - LOL. Smart kid. i was going to blog about this last night, while I was baking - but I was too tired. On the left (now in the freezer) the plain challah; on the right, the erstwhile raisin challah. Well, the erstwhile part only goes back as far as last night ; it is half gone because Marty volunteered to be the official taster this morning. We will go to the bakery for a raisin challah. Anyway, this recipe is too sweet for me - if they had called it coffee cake, I would have still thought it was too sweet. I made my brisket and my noodle pudding, so tomorrow I will go to the studio to get ready for the open studios next Sunday, 1-5. CLICK TO ENLARGE for directions. If you're in driving distance - we're not far off the Garden State Parkway. I know there were some other things, but it is beginning to rain again (we have already established that I love the sound) and I think it is time to turn in.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

making headway

I don't normally think in terms of goals and accomplishments, like Lisa Call, who has posted about her changing definition of success on tonight's blog. Her definition reads like a list of goals to me - and I think that's great - because I believe she'll accomplish them and reach her (current) definition of success. There was one time in my life where I actually made a list of where I wanted to be in a year: I wanted to make $X a year by working one day a week. But how to accomplish this? What I learned was that the best way was to start with assuming I had accomplished the goal and work backwards to determine what I had done to get there, till I got back to step 1. It worked! For one year, I made close to the amount I had wanted and only worked one day a week. Then I went to work for someone else and my life changed again. This morning, my goal was to attach the facing to a piece I want to have in my open studios on Oct. 5. Did it - but now have to get it sewn down and put on a sleeve. Tomorrow, ditto another piece. This afternoon I finally sat down to write the article I have due next week and I will probably have it done in the next day or two. I don't know about you, but I work better under a certain amount pressure than if I la-di-da things along. On the other hand, I would never think of waiting till the totally last minute to start a project. Only once in four years of college did I pull an all-nighter before an exam and I was so sure I had flunked that I waited for eons to go pick up my bluebook. I got a B minus - it was a philosophy exam. As I was waiting for the water to boil tonight (and watching the pot, of course) - I saw these beautiful pinhole-size bubbles on the bottom of the pot. I ran to get my camera but by the time I had it in hand, the water was boiling and I had lost the moment. But I did get a picture of these little nests, which weren't going anywhere till I threw them into the pot. Looking at this permutation makes me wish I had done this sketch instead of Photoshop. But sketching nests of pasta is not on my list of goals. However, a good night's sleep is...and if I work backwards, I know exactly how I am going to accomplish this. Back to one's definition of success: yes, I believe that it should change as we do. Career success is one thing, but there are all kinds of successes. Our definitions are personal, subjective, varied, and probably don't apply to anybody but ourselves. An interesting thing to ponder...as I chase my good night's sleep.

Monday, September 22, 2008

isn't this better?

I finally got rid of the pink! Overdyed it with golden yellow and am a lot happier with it. Sorry, pink-lovers! This week I have been at home - although I drove to the eye doc today. 20/20 in the left eye, 20/200 in the right - so I've arranged to have the right eye done Oct 1. I have open studios Oct 5, which means I had better go over there, clean the place up, and hang some work this week. I don't have a lot of small pieces, so unless I make a dozen postcards to frame or a half dozen 12x12's - it will just be a showcase, not a sale. Well, I will not worry about it. I spent this afternoon and evening deconstructing screens again and have some good backgrounds for SOMETHING. But it is time to stop and re-assess where, what, and how. That we all need to do this periodically is not news to any of us - but it is taking the time to sit things out and contemplate that is so daunting. At least, to this artist. Nevertheless, with another week of sitting around coming up after next Wed., I plan to actually THINK about where my work is going. It is the thinking that is so hard - I don't know about you, but I tend to run away from it - and DO stuff, instead. So, to begin the New Year coming up -- a little brain work!! How often do you take the time to just sit and do some self-assessment as far as your art - and answer the tough questions about where you've been and how you would like your work to evolve? And does it help?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

McVities and Marks & Spencer tea

When Marks&Spencer owned my local supermarket, we discovered St. Michael tea in the blue box and never thought we would not be able to get it. But after a decade or more, Marks sold Kings and not only is the tea gone, but so are the McVities digestives. They are both right up there on the comfort food list. When Marlene came to visit from London last spring, I asked for tea and biscuits. I am still rationing the tea but the digestives are gone. HOWEVER, on the Internet, I found a source for the biscuits and one day when I was feeling flush, ordered 6 packages of them. I just opened the 3rd. Uh oh. Marty gets his hands on them and they are gone in five minutes. Ok, a day.
On another subject - I printed tonight with the screens I made last night. Some interesting results, although it is premature because I have not washed them. I loved the screen but didn't love all that white I was printing on.So I mixed up a color it told me it needed and painted into it. Click to get a closer look. Tomorrow I will steam and wash it and see what else it needs. Or not. This one I will have to think about - but I can do that in the morning. I don't have tobe anywhere early tomorrow - only I have to drive to the eye doctor's in the afternoon. So I will have time to sleep late if I want to, and time to work. Right now, time for bed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

pink, restaurant review, Bernstein, etc.

My friend Marlene worries when I have not posted to my blog for a while. Sometimes she is right to worry, but other times I simply don't have anything to say that would interest anybody but my mother. Or I am so overwhelmed with things to say that I don't say any of them. Then, of course, there are the times I think of something brilliant I want to talk about and by the time I sit down to write, I have forgotten what. I'm sure nobody else can identify with THAT. Pink This is the color I dislike most in the world. I just made a piece with a large amount of pink in it. Granted, it is sort of a medium-dark, put it is still PINK. I had a piece of pink fabric I tried to overprint and disguise - but no-o, it is still pink under all that paint. The only solution is to overdye it. Perhaps I will do that when I finish blogging. Tonight, I just dyed a piece that I meant to be red, but it came out PINK. Is it a conspiracy of the dye gods? Or is something else at work here? NY Times Restaurant Review Sunday's Times, NJ section. See if you recognize anybody you know. The less said about that meal, the better. Trust me, the review was overly generous. Leonard Bernstein I adored him; adored his music. I wept when he died, I wept when I read his biography, and I was so moved by Michael Tilson Thomas' beautifully written article in the NY Times (an edited version of the one on his website) that I wanted to write to thank him. So, if you grew up with Leonard Bernstein's music, his Young People's Concerts, (I used to take my kids to Lincoln Center on Saturday mornings), his conducting, his writing, and his TV appearances - if you are still riveted by his magnetism 18 years after his death, you might want to read this insightful article, Being Leonard Bernstein. Yes, he was influenced by/ borrowed/stole from other composers. Sometimes I hear a phrase that sounds like Stravinsky or Copland or Gershwin and I have to wait a little bit to be sure I can identify whose work it is: frequently it is Bernstein. You know what? In the end it didn't matter because his work was his own. Special treats for me Yesterday I signed up for a 3 day workshop at the Newark Museum with Jan Myers-Newbury on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The mysteries of shibori elude me and I suspect it is jsut the ticket for all those ugly pink (and other color) fabrics I have dyed. If you are within driving distance of the Newark Museum, hot-foot it over to their website, click on the PDF brochure and sign up! She is listed under Special Events on the left hand side of the brochure page. There is room for only 12 students and I know several who have already signed up. My check goes in the mail on Monday. On top of that, I've signed up for a collagraph class on Monday nights. I love collagraphs and have always wanted to take a workshop - so I figure now is the time. I want to get back to printmaking on paper and use my press, which is sitting mostly unused in my studio. A change of pace is always good. eyes, etc Diane asked whether my color perception has changed. Not one bit. My cataract wasn't bad, it was just in a bad place, so it hadn't gotten to the point of making everything look gray. When Marty had his first eye done, he came home and announced that while he was out they had painted his office walls and they were now blue instead of gray. Uh - nope, they had done no such thing. One more round of eyedrops and then I'm outa here. Blurry vision sent me to the eye doc this morning and instructions for steroid drops every hour instead of thrice a day. Between eye drops, sewing didn't seem like a good idea, so I dyed (hence the ugly pink) and printed. Probably not a good idea, either. My attempt to rescue this fabric with dye and discharge was not entirely successful, but I consider it a work-in-progress (of course). Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

this week's adventures, so far

It's really depressing when my blog readership plummets - but what can I expect when my last post was Sunday and this is Wednesday night? Sigh... MONDAY It was a bit difficult to type after I cut my finger while preparing dinner, so no blogging for a few days. No, it was not a knife: it was the serrated edge of the waxed paper box. Lethal...no gory details, but trust me. The bandage is much smaller today, so I am back. TUESDAY The bandage came off as I was attempting to install new memory cards in this almost 4 year old laptop. It has been s-l-o-g-g-i-n-g its way through everything and had some problem that kept me on the phone with Dell for 2 hours. It was an easy fix, after the tech finally found the problem -- and of course, i renewed my Dell on Call contract for another year (they help with software issues) but was still not happy with the s-l-o-w performance. No viruses - but aha! I had only 256K of memory in this little fella. Laughable today, although 4 years ago it was plenty. So I ordered 2 gig and what a difference it makes! WEDNESDAY Markets are in a free-fall and my husband is in the business. Can you spell STRESS? Even worse, he was out of the office today because he accompanied me to my cataract surgery, left eye. It was a long day. I had a fight with the anaesthesiologist but after that, the surgery took about 30 seconds. It should be fine in a day or three. Tonight's vegetarian dinner was Indian: channa chat (cold spiced chick peas & potatoes with toppings) banjan bharta (eggplant), lemon rice, cauliflower & Potatoes w/ black onion seeds, paratha, mint chutney, raita (yogurt, mint, roasted cumin seeds) I made everything yesterday because I knew I wouldn't be up for cooking tonight- although I did fry the papadums (bought) & paratha (made) & made the raita tonight. I also keep jars of tamarind chutney on hand, which is a total necessity in this house. Tomorrow night, probably leftovers. If I remember, I'll take pictures. Yum. Meantime, I am going to put my eye patch on and attempt to go to sleep. Tomorrow is an early day and after the morning's appointments I will be home, working.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

what I did today

Can you tell I went grocery shopping? I decided, after paying the food bill for last month, that something has to be done! But what? I know - I'll get creative and be vegetarian for a while and see if the grocery bills go down for the next couple of weeks. I actually went to Whole Foods with a list: bought basmati rice, polenta, tofu, fake chopped meat, yogurt, whole wheat lavash...you get the picture. Came home, put the stuff away, and then out again to the farm stand. Bought beautiful eggplants for $1@, red peppers for $2.50 a basket, tomatoes, local potatoes -- all local NJ produce (except for the NY State Paula Red apples). Came home and spent the afternoon sautéing onions and garlic and roasting/grinding cumin seeds. Then, hit the Internet for interesting ethnic veggie recipes. Tonight, we feasted on grilled summer squash, tomatoes, and fresh local mozzarella followed by eggplant stuffed with eggplant, tomato paste, capers, calamata olives, breadcrumbs (well, matzoh meal, but who's counting?), grated cheese, fresh tomatoes and basil. We'll see how long this keeps up. Tomorrow, Indian - or maybe Mexican. I will have to see if I can find some good tofu recipes. Anybody have some? Here's what it looks like after I cleaned up. Isn't it picturesque? Then I came into my ROOM to put the facing on the 12 x 12 I had made a couple of weeks ago. Can't find it. It has vanished. Am I losing my mind? Did it fall off the wall into the trash? Did I take it to my studio to photograph it? (I don't think so because I don't sew there, I print). I HATE when that happens. In the meantime, I have another piece to sew down the facing on. Maybe the handwork will help.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I should have blogged

But the week got away from me for a variety of reasons you don't want to hear about, including my brand new refrigerator which was freezing the eggs and avocados (it's fine now) and my laptop, which is losing its memory along with the rest of us in this household. Its new memory modules should be here next week; would that it were so easy to do the same for ourselves. Today, as on all weekends, we've been playing catch-up with errands, paperwork, and other tedium. Also, keeping tabs on friends in hurricane country and have been glad to hear that they are safe. Weather here has been somewhat rainy but not disastrous - and today was so hot and humid that tonight we put on the A/C after a month of not needing it. I suspect it is summer's last hurrah. In the meantime, some good things happened this week. 1. My piece Solstice sold and I sent it off to its new owner near Paris. Bon voyage - I hope it gets there safely. 2. Kristen Sell, one of the students in my QSDS class, sent me pictures of four quilts she had made from fabric she had printed in class. I am always thrilled when people actually USE what they have printed. With her permission, here are two of them. 3. My eye infection cleared up so I can have my cataract surgery next week. 4. I finished an article before deadline and can now start another one that is due at the same time. 5. Rachel Cochran got home from vacation and paid me a visit, where we played catch-up after not having seen each other for 2 months. She has some wonderful new work in progress, and you can see the first one in the series on her blog, Notes from the Basement. That's all for now.

Monday, September 08, 2008

button, button, who's got the button?

First, for those of you who asked, the first place we stopped at and bought from was Metro Textiles 265 W. 37th St. between 7th & 8th Aves -take elevator to 9th fl. After we burned out on fabric, we headed East and uptown to Julie Artisan's Gallery on Madison Ave. She carries wearable art and jewelry - Carter Smith and Tim Harding were well represented. But either we are jaded or they have gone totally commercial: Tim Harding's jackets, at $1680, looked like production items. The shop had some interesting things, but - uh - not for us. By then, we had taken the subway too far uptown and were hot and tired from walking. However, Julie had said that no matter how we felt, we absolutely had to go to Tender Buttons. Ok. We walked another 5 blocks and found this tiny gem of a shop, where we spent the next hour. You cannot believe the array of vintage buttons lining the walls of this shop! You want it/they have it - especially if it is no longer made. Horn, ivory, mother-of-pearl, coral, bone, metal: plain or fancy. Every color, size, shape, motif.
Buttons and more buttons.
This tiny store was jumping! Some brought their coats with missing buttons to try and match them; others were looking for the perfect buttons for that gorgeous jacket they were about to make or for the handmade sweater they had just finished. Dinner at a lovely Italian bistro (is there such a thing?) - subway to Penn Station and the train back to New Brunswick. When we got there it was late and we needed a taxi. The taxi stand office looked like a set from a 1940's gangster movie. Can you believe this relic??? We did get a taxi quickly and spent what was left of the evening hanging out in the lobby, drinking wine and shooting the breeze with friends. The big R is for Rutgers and this was not only a hotel, it was an overflow dorm. Don't we look like we belong? This afternoon I was back in my studio cleaning up and printing.

the ten-minute post

Off to two doctors' appointments in 10 min, but at least wanted to get started on the garment district in NY. It ain't what it used to be. We used Paula Nadelstern's list and while it was a big help, it was sadly out of date because many of the places are no longer there. The shops are being forced out by high rents and many have had to close or move to who-knows-where. That being said, we had a fabulous time and wore ourselves (and our budgets) to a frazzle. After our first stop where we all made purchases, we went to Mood Fabrics of Project Runway fame: three floors of almost everything you can imagine in textiles. Lots of activity going on there - students from FIT and Parsons, and a camera crew busy filming - WHAT? They didn't say, but we are pretty sure it had to be a Project Runway segment. See the guy in the black t-shirt on the left? He's standing behind a camera & mike on wheels. We couldn't see what was back there, but they were pretty busy. We looked at silks, linens, and cottons -- almost all were out of range for our stretched budgets, esp. since we had already shopped. But we oogled and fondled all the gorgeous goods, anyway. Here are Mary-Ellen, Joy, and Wrenn checking out the goods. Russ Little bought some suiting fabrics he would never find in Maryland and was happy with his purchases. He did not buy this fabric in the over-the-top department. I did get a Mood Fabrics shopping bag in which to put all my other purchases. New York is always colorful. This guy, who was sunbathing on a busy corner, was not happy when I took the photo, which needed to include my friends. Reminded me of the guys who are under arrest and cover their faces so you can't see who the are. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? Got to leave now. I'll finish up tonight.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

the five-minute post

I didn't have much Internet access since Thursday - so this is a catch-up on the Art Cloth Network conference, coming in stages. We stayed at the Rutgers University conference center on the Douglass College campus in New Brunswick, NJ. and started with a wine and cheese reception. L-R - Katherine Sylvan, Mary-Ellen Latino, Lisa Kerpoe and Maggie Weiss.
Judy Langille with Joy Lavrencik.Judy and I had co-chaired the conference , which came together amazingly well. Our business meetings went smoothly and we all loved sharing our art cloth and seeing what our peers had printed during the past year. We are already planning next year's conference and exhibit. In the past, we've always had our business meetings first and then taken time for recreation. This time, due to the horrible rainstorm predicted for Saturday, we flipped the schedule and took our recreation day first - LOL. So, Friday we all took the train into NY and split into groups according to what we felt like doing. Some people museum-hopped -- saw the Louise Bourgeois exhibit at the Guggenheim and went to the Met; others went to SOHO and Zabar's on the Upper West Side. I was with the group who went to the garment district. While I live here and love the garment district, I don't give myself the luxury of time to just hop on a bus and shop for fabric. As a result, this was a no brainer - and a simply delicious day for all of us! The best deals were at the first place we stopped into - a shop on the 9th floor of a building that merits a return visit. I left with 4 yards of white linen and 4 yds of a silk-rayon blend. I've already washed them both in Synthrapol and look forward to working with them. Best of all, I walked away with two yards of this fabric that I simply could not resist. What I will do with it is another question. It is silk and wool. Tomorrow, more on the garment district!

Monday, September 01, 2008

a gorgeous Labor Day

The glorious weather held, which was a real bonus. Of course, my son-in-law noted that Labor Day is early this year, so that probably accounts for it. My friend Claire is out of harm's way and I am greatly relieved. I hope that everybody who has left N.O. is also safe and sound. My thoughts are with all of you affected by the hurricane(s). We had a parade coming and going today: Hilary, Mike, Josh & Ben were here for a while. They brought Jessica and Tommy, who came for a party and stayed overnight. Hilary, Mike, etc. left and Ross & Nancy Gillman and the kids stopped in for a while. And as they were leaving, my ex-husband, his S.O. and her sister arrived to visit with Jess & Tommy. Grand Central. We took the kids to the train and I made spareribs on the grill tonight. I have been cleaning up my famously chaotic *room* for two days. I am having company on Wednesday night and it is just too mortifying not to be able to walk in here. It is looking neater and I am feeling better. Something always comes out of the cleaning-up process. These two small pieces of fabric will be a small piece of work. Good, I need new work for the open studios on October 5.While I am not tired, I do have some sort of eye infection brewing, so time to close up shop and call the doctor in the morning. Never dull.