Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I cannot tell you how many hours of work it took to get this bookcase looking neat. Probably 6 hours. It will stay this way for a while because I am too tired to get up from the chair and take out a book. I will not show you the rest of the room. Every day, a little more goes into the trash: magazines, the preliminary printouts of the book, and untold amounts of other paper I do not need. What is it that makes some of us such packrats and others, such minimalists? Is it our Myers-Briggs type? Are we hard-wired? Nature or nurture? I tend to think nature, tempered by nurture...but who knows?
In the meantime, this is a lesson in letting go, and I am only on the first page. As I was sorting through the crapola and moving it from one bookcase to another, piling stuff on my table to deal with with tomorrow, I found these
and these.
I will probably never need either of them again. The labels were for the slides I no longer use, and the slide sleeves were purchased about five minutes before everyone went digital. The labels went in the trash and I should do something clever with the slide sleeves, but I probably won't. After lunch, I went to the studio to continue rearranging the fabrics on the wall to my satisfaction. I took countless photos: one for every time I changed out or moved something. By 4:00 I was toast. These are only a few of the dozen versions between yesterday and today, in no particular order. Just as I left the studio today, a thunderstorm broke and my car was pelted with hail as I was coming up Sullivan Drive. My daylilies survived just fine.Another long day tomorrow; I think I will skip my morning walk because I have shin splints. I thought you were only supposed to get those from running. Hmm...

on the wall and on the table

I spent this afternoon in the studio, ironing (of course) and throwing things at the wall to see if I could recreate the feeling of the never-mades posted last week. Nope. Some of the fabrics in the original attempt have been used in other pieces either and can't be replicated or there is only a small piece left. Others have been changed -- either overdyed or overprinted -- and don't work any more. Nevertheless, I played around to see if I could start again. Took pictures, revised, took more pictures, and finally packed up and came home to make dinner. Tonight, more ironing so I can take a pile of fabrics to the studio tomorrow. This is my feeble attempt to clear out this disaster area. Here's what I accomplished - but it doesn't really look like 3 or 4 hours worth of pressing and sorting.I did get some ideas while I was doing this tonight: I just hope I remember them tomorrow!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

various and sundry

Marty and I stopped at the farm today to buy fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, white peaches, and some lovely lettuce (2 heads/$1). As we completed our purchase, the young lady at the counter handed us a bouquet of these wildflowers and couldn't tell us what they were. It was only tonight, when I read Del's blog and spotted yesterday's post again that it occurred to me these might be wild mustard. Del? We had stopped for produce on our way home from Hilary's house, where we had gone to say goodbye to Josh before he leaves for camp on Tuesday morning. This is his first time at sleep-away camp and he's excited to be going for a month. Benjamin will go to day camp. We didn't stay long, but I insisted on interrupting their baseball practice so I could take a picture. They are 21 months apart: Ben was 8 in November and Josh turned 10 in March.When we got home, I got out the paint bucket and decided it was time to get rid of the rainbow of test colors. My first choice would have been to hire a painter to paint a buttery yellow, but I took the lazy/easy/cheap-o way out and repainted the ufinished parts that have been sitting for a year with daubs of grass green and butter yellow. This color is greener than it looks here - for some reason it has come out very gray-blue instead of blue-green. We are planning to downsize so I'm trying to get the house ready to put on the market at some point. I am dreading it because nothing is selling - although I probably have a nicer kitchen than anybody else in the development. I will be putting many quilts on sale, as well as other things (I haven't forgotten the tjaps - it will take a while to get act together). I will be getting rid of all those wonderful quilting books that I haven't looked at in years because I don't make those any more...etc. You know the drill if you have moved recently. This week, studio. Have to pay my mother's bills in the morning and then I'm gone. Back to ironing, no doubt. As my former studio-mate commented on Facebook, sorting and ironing are part of my creative process. A little creative spirit would be good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I am a camera

We met our friends Caroline and Robert for an elegant lunch at Fiorello's, across from Lincoln Center and had a great time catching up. I met Caroline on the Garden Web Kitchen site last year and when she and Robert come to NY every few months to soak up the culture, we see them if we can. No pictures of the wonderful food, but my camera was clicking everywhere else. The climb out of the subway at Columbus Circle was so steep that we sat down to rest at the first public space we came to, on a plaza in front of a glass building. Don't you love those round benches?I kept taking pictures of the reflections in the building's facade and finally decided I might as well be in one of them. Across the street, on the second floor of a beautiful building, several windows full of merchandise. But my favorite images are a different kind of beauty entirely -- the grit that never fails to move and captivate me. I'm not sure why, but maybe it doesn't matter. We took the PATH to 33rd St. and then the subway up. On the way down, we took the E train to the WTC and we took the PATH from there - a substantially shorter and easier trip because we didn't have to change trains. It isn't easy to take pictures on the subway because it's usually too crowded - but the E train was fairly empty on the way downtown because it was mid-afternoon. Notice how this guy paid attention to the signs.
When we got off the E train at the World Trade Center stop,we had to walk about a block to the WTC and the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson, which in my day was called the Hudson Tubes. Back then, we always took the ferry to and from NY. You drove your car onto the ferry, got out and walked around to where the windows or deck were, and drove off when the boat docked. They discontinued the ferry in the 1950's).
Anyway - construction on the tower or towers and museum or whatever they are doing, continues to slog along, nearly 8 years later. We took the escalator down and I noticed that the view through this wonderful grid is visible today, which is wasn't a year or two ago when I took this picture.
The escalator down to the PATH trains. I love the Welcome to the World Trade Center sign.
I never have a chance to shoot the beautiful landscape on the PATH route, but today I did. What can I say? I love these views. I was so tired when we got home that I took a 3 hour nap on the couch: unheard of for me. And now, off to bed. Tomorrow, I take my Apple to the genuises to see if they can fix my screwed-up Apple mail.

more on quilts I never made

The pieces in the previous post no longer exist-- in fact, I never put them together..and it had nothing to do with not wanting to quilt them. This is how I work: I put stuff up on the wall to see what works together, take pictures, and then move them around or add/delete and finally, either make the piece or take everything down and throw the fabrics back into the bins. I never put those pieces together because I did not think they worked. I may have used the fabrics in other pieces, printed over them, or they may be in my archeological dig - the rolling milk crates from Staples that I throw my bits into. (This is why I iron - I am trying to see what I have). Truthfully, in looking through my photos to see what I could delete from my computer, I found a load of these "audition" photos and and am sorry, in retrospect, that I was so hasty in taking them down (the one above doesn't count). While I can't recreate them -- the moment is gone for each of them -- I can take them as a lesson (in what??? -- sewing them together just in case they turn out not to be part of my crap quota?). It is Friday morning. Marty and I are going into NY today to meet our friends from Alabama for lunch. It is about to pour: we are taking the PATH and the subway. I'm bringing my camera but can't guarantee I can keep the raindrops off my lens. I will check back with you tonight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

playing the "what if?" game

When I started this blog in January '05, it was a visual sounding board for myself (an oxymoron? maybe - but you know what I mean). I wanted a way of evaluating work in process from a bit of a distance and the digital-to-screen seemed ideal. It was. It still is.
During the last few days of Print Original Fabric/Make Original Quilts, I took digital pictures of students' work in process and uploaded them to my computer. They could see immediately what worked and what didn't and I told them their digital cameras were their friends.
Some time ago I put this up on the wall in my studio.
I auditioned another fabric with it and wasn't sure it made any sense, so I went back to the original idea.Then I wondered what would happen if I made it bigger, since it was the approximate size of so many of my other pieces and I'd like to work larger. So I added these fabrics and brought it all home to put it together.The original idea was to see if I could work in essentially two colors, but I find this too coordinated and as a result, boring. So it sits, and will stay here till I go through a few more permutations tomorrow with my critique group. I find that the idea of consciously working in two colors is meaningless to me. What does this piece say? What is it about? For me, it has to speak and it's not talking yet. Maybe it doesn't want to be larger. We'll see.
As I was going through my photos "in process" tonight, I found some pieces that never got made. Perhaps I'll post them sometime soon.
Newspapers. Eleven days' worth, saved in case I wanted to read them. I didn't...but of course, had to go through the entire pile so I could retrieve Wednesday's NY Times food section, Thursday's Home and Styles sections, and the Sunday book reviews from the last two weekends. Oh, and the art. Took the whole morning.
Well, to be fair, it took only half the morning. I got home at 6:am and since my body was on Left Coast time, I went to sleep and slept through the first half of the morning. Then back to laundry and real life. Studio Six meets at my house on Wednesday and I had to bake for the occasion - so that was tonight's actvity. Lemon Sours

3/4 cup sifted flour (I didn't sift)
1/3 c. sweet butter
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar -pack a little, not too firm (I used 2/3 cup and it is plenty sweet!)
3/4 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 c. confectioner's sugar (approx)

Mix together flour and butter to a fine curmb. Sprinkle evenly in 11x7 pan (I used 8x8) Bake in 350 oven for 10 min.

Meanwhile, beat eggs, brown sugar, coconut, nuts, baking powder. spread on first mixture as you take it from the oven. Return to oven and bake 20 min longer (or till brown on top)

Mix lemon rind, lemon juice and add conf. sugar to make a creamy mixture. Spread over top as soon as pan is taken from the oven. Cool cut into squares. Makes 16-24 squares, depending on size of pan.

It has been countless years since I have made these so I'm not sure how they have turned out.
Will let you know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

feeling sad

Sitting in LAX, directly across from the President's Club (where the gate agent told me I could get free Wifi) and I have about two hours till boarding time. This has been such a wonderful teaching trip that I am sorry to be leaving Southern California. Karen and Ted Rips drove me to the airport - and we stopped on the way at the famous and wonderful Tito's Tacos! It is worth a trip to (or from) LAX just to stop there. Fancy it ain't - but the food is to die for. I kept forgetting to take pictures of all the delicious meals we had while I was here, but this was too good to miss! Really. Tito's is unforgettable.The class wound down today as people worked on the work they had started yesterday or cut into new fabric and reassembled it. Carolyn's piece began as a horizontal and after doing our crit and what if?s, it became more dynamic when she added a few elements, moved others, and turned it into a vertical. Pam's piece on the right started with the gelatin print and is evolving into something very special. (see her blog for lots of better pictures than I got, of the goings on in class)Sharon auditioned her rusted and printed fabrics to see where they would take her -- and she has a pretty clear idea that should be great when she finishes it.
And here's a before and after when the other Pam in the class decided to simplify and let her printed fabric get the attention it deserves.It is still a work in progress but promises to be a very good piece.
Here is Jan's piece from yesterday, cropped and ready to take to the next step.
And here we are at the end of today -a piece of Jan's beautiful screenprinted fabric on a background that seems made for it. Susan West brought in the show and tell she had not had with her yesterday and we enjoyed her sharing. Susan and her husband lost everything in the Santa Barbara fires. Her Fibervision group made her this quilt afterwards, to make her happy. It is delightful and hangs on the wall of her rented house. You simply must click on it to get a closer look!It was hard to say goodbye, but I hope someone will invite me to come again to this part of the world. Flight is boarding soon, so off I go. And I expect you will not hear from me till Tuesday night, after my crit group meeting. It is always harder going home with the time change - I land at 6:am Monday but it will be 3:am California/body time. Maybe I'll be lucky and sleep on this Red Eye.