Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm at Panera, attempting to post quickly before we go on with the day. WiFi - aaaahhhh. Here I am in sunny south Fla. with my cousins Nancy (l) and Mimi(r). We are first cousins - their mothers and my father were siblings and now that generation is gone and we are that generation. Eeeek. Meantime, we are having a great time, lots of stories, laughter, and nonsense. Somebody who met me for the first time yesterday but knew both of my cousins said, "I'm glad to meet the other half of the trio." This is a quickie - I am off to join them at Chico's, where they have gone to browse while I download/answer my 40000 emails and talk to you. Last night, we went to a local Greek festival and had wonderful food that did not include this. Will try to post when I can. love, R.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

words, no music

Well, no pix, anyway. I left West Palm this afternoon and drove to Boca, where I am having a reunion with my two favorite cousins on my father's side of the family. It has been exactly 13 years since all 3 of us were together, stuck in Atlanta in a major blizzard (well, black ice in Atlanta and closed airports in NY/NJ). My cousin Mimi does not have wireless, so I am unable to post pictures. But it's okay, you'll have to make do with prose. Yesterday, during my 5 minutes on-line, I e-mailed the lovely and talented Sandy Donabed, who I knew snow-birded (?) somewhere around the Palm Beaches. Lo and behold, she generously invited me to dinner at her to-die-for house where I admired her to-die-for kitchen; pictures of which you can find on her blog if you look back. Dinner was delicious, husband was charming company, and it was an altogether lovely evening. Sandy and I had met briefly in 2000 and have had a number of e-mails over the years - so this was a treat on all fronts. Tomorrow, we head towards Miami to visit more family. The weather has warmed up and that is a GOOD thing. Again, apologies for no visuals (although the only pix I have are of the interior of my mother's apartment, and who cares?). xo

Thursday, January 22, 2009

can you hear me exhale?

This was the pattern on the catwalk outside my mother's apartment in West Palm Beach, where I arrived yesterday afternoon after driving across central Fla. from the west coast to the east. I have, by some miracle, found an Internet signal. It is iffy, but I'll take what I can get and hold my breath that I can post something before it goes out again. I cried when I got onto the Fla. turnpike...a mixture of emotions coupled with relief. I will skip the details of my arrival and a couple of unexpected big annoyances that greeted me. But all is well. Bought cleaning supplies this morning and spent most of the afternoon scrubbing the freezer & fridge after emptying them of food has been here for 2-1/2 years. Bleh. I don't do that much hard labor in my own house. My mother's dear friend Pauline kept me company most of the afternoon, till I took her home because I needed some time alone. The weather warmed up and the sun was delicious, but I unwound by dyeing fabric. I had spent time dyeing at Pam Morris' house and decided to bring my dyes and soda ash left over from teaching, along with some fabrics. Plastic containers sat on the counter and in the kitchen sink while I ate dinner at Pauline's. It did me a world of good. And as soon as I iron my fabric, which I just took out of the dryer, I will feel even better. My Ft. Myers class, Art Quilters Unlimited, loved using the fabrics they had printed (earlier post) along with others, in the creative exercises we did in Jump-Starting and wished they had another day to keep working. Here, some of the inventive small pieces they did in response to the phrases they had picked at random. They went home with lots of ideas to work with and several things that will be made into journal-sized quilts. Then it was off to Venice, to spend 4 days with the Sarasota Guild, where there were some experienced art quilters and others who were ready to move in that direction. They LOVED screenprinting and stamping and were thrilled with their fabrics; some of them printing for the first time. Sheri Cooper, who is a snowbird from MA, has taken classes from me at Friends Fabric Art in Lowell and I was so happy to see her again. She is a wonderful artist who discovered the syringe in my class and went to town with it. Because we had more than a day for Jump-Starting, we were able to spend more time on critique. This experience made a huge difference in Lori's piece. She asked the class for feedback on this work and we looked at it with "what if?"
Here is the piece after she went back to the drawing board, so to speak.
Most of the people in the class hurried to finish their small pieces for show & tell that night at the meeting and had quite a few terrific pieces to show off to the crowd. My last night in Sarasota, Pam and Geoff and I went to dinner and I ate Hogfish which has a terrible name but is a delicious local fish. When they brought a martini with an umbrella in it, we simply had to have a picture. So, here I am, alone in West Palm. Tomorrow, errands - FedEx (I am still dealing with UPS over the mess), the locksmith for some extra keys to the apartment, the gas station (argh - I have grief every time I try to put gas in my own tank) and who knows what else. I will post ASAP if my connection holds. I have missed you all.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

back on line for now

I finally sorted things out last night, wrote, and then was bumped again just as I was posting my whole song and dance to Blogger. It never got there. Sunday morning, trying to catch up. Well, I guess a small post is better than none. Pam Morris, who is hosting me, and her husband Geoff and I, are going out for breakfast. If I can throw some things in the dye pot before we leave I will be in heaven. This is the view from my room in the morning when I wake up. Paradise? I think so. Will catch up with you tonight, assuming all is well with my Internet connection. Classes are going great and I'll post some pix later.

internet woes

I've had some problems getting connected so have not been able to post. Stay tuned - I hope to fill you in tomorrow. It is the middle of the night and I couldn't sleep till I got connected. argh. Now I just got bumped again. Problems connecting to Blogger, too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

on the road again

Tomorrow, after class, I'll be on my way to Sarasota for the next group of workshops. I've had a lovely time here and my host and hostess could not have been more hospitable. The weather has been a bit iffy - what I would call Sept-Oct weather in NJ -- and I simply haven't had time to take advantage of what you see on the left. But it has been a pleasure anyway.
Today was another soy wax class for the Fort Myers group, Art Quilters Unlimited. Many of them had some dye experience, but not batik experience - so it was another soy wax adventure. It never fails to amaze me how different the fabrics are when people are working with the same process. Here are a few of the more exuberant ones from today's class.Tomorrow, we'll see how some of today's fabrics get used.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

deconstructing the second day

Day two - a quickie way to finish drying the screen after the thickened dye has been put into it. Fortunately, the sun did most of the work because too many hair dryers going at once were not a good thing. There were, again, lots of wonderful fabrics that came out of this workshop - but I was busier giving individual help and did not have time to take as many pictures. However, here is a piece of in-process fabric from Rita, another student who had never worked with thickened dyes before.These were a couple of her early pulls on the screen. Demonstrating whatever I was doing, with my typical mess on the right. Actually, this is not too bad.The Evening's Entertainment That's enough of THAT. We stayed till 5 because we had left early the day before, so by the time we cleaned up and did show-and-tell, it was getting on to dinner hour. More fun! They asked what my favorite food was and of course, I said Indian food! So Marlene Glickman, who had heard about a fabulous Indian restaurant nearby, led the way for our evening's activity. Much hilarity ensued! We sat down and our waitress came over and introduced herself with I'm Ewa. Food is terrific, service is so-so, and no bartender. Right away, we hooted with laughter. I had promised Linda Dawson that I would buy her a drink to unwind her after all the stress she had gone through putting together and overseeing the workshop. So, she and I ordered Tanqueray martinis (big surprise). Ewa found somebody in the kitchen who poured the drinks and she brought them over. When we tasted them, BATHTUB Gin. We don't know what it was, but it was rotgut. We walked over to the bar, informed the kitchen worker that it was not drinkable, and asked what else he had. Beefeater. Ok. That, at least, tasted like gin. Ewa told us the owner was not in yet but that we should let him know that someone had put god-knows-what in the Tanqueray bottle. When he came in, she sent him over and we told him. He said that somebody had done the same thing with a bottle of whiskey and he would now have to investigate to see who it was, since it had happened more than once. Ewa was right about the food - it was fabulous - and wrong about the service (she was too funny and the service was great). During the meal, the owner sent over two more martinis on the house and Ewa insisted on a picture, which I have since sent to her. Linda and I couldn't let this photo opp go by, so here we are on our second round with Pat Lamb looking on in amusement. Fortunately, Pat was the driver. Marlene, Linda, Pat, and Laura look more serious at the end of the meal, as they are engaged in conversation. You can see that we did a good job on the dinner as well as the drinks. Yesterday, on the way to Naples, we hit the Chico's and Michael Kors outlets. I had to have this bag at Michael Kors. Outlet price + 25% more off and I love the color, which is totally not me. I will need another suitcase for the way home. And today, my hostess and I are off to check out the Chico's outlet near here. Oh, joy. More, later.

Monday, January 12, 2009

catching up on Saturday's doings

I had no Internet connection yesterday so have just gone through multitudinous e-mails, uploaded many pictures, and am trying to remember where I left off. Ah, Saturday's workshop. We set up the soy wax workshop in the main room and in the other room, we had a gelatin printing station so people could go over and play when they wanted a break. First, I demo'd -- uh, what NOT to do. Do I need to tell you I hadn't planned this? Anyway, the group loved the gelatin and at the end of the two days the plates were still good, so 6 lucky people got to take them home to play with. All the soy wax pieces were amazing, but I have to show you this. Marcia, who claims to be a novice at surface design, printed the soy wax fabric first. Looks good, right? But NOW look at it. This self-proclaimed novice printed on top of the soy wax fabric with a gelatin plate and it is simply fabulous: layered, complex, and interesting. Her idea! This is what comes from asking yourself "what if?" and then trying it. There were a lot of beauties. Barbara's piece is one I wish I had done.
Here is Pat with her piece.
Too many to post, but here is Mei-Ling's piece.
Crash time. Tomorrow is a day for R&R. If I'm up early enough, I'll post more in the a.m.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

soy and gelatin

Oh - where are the pictures from the workshop? Guess they didn't come out. Well, there's always tomorrow. In the meantime, here I am recuperating (with most members of the class -- off camera) after a day that ended much better than it started. Feet up and a glass of good wine does wonders. UPS apparently thought I was smuggling drugs because they re-routed my package to the east coast, opened it, trashed everything inside, stole my syringes, two tjaps wrapped in bubble wrap(left the bubble wrap) and broke two legs off of my favorite $3 garage sale frying pan that is irreplaceable. They opened the plastic bags with the dye jars and thiox and took them out, dumped wax all over the place, and had probably tasted the soda ash and gelatin to see what they were. I am going to report them to -uh - to whom?? The FBI? The ICC? the DEA? I was going to post more but my Internet connection is iffy, so if I can get this to post it will be a miracle. More demain.

Friday, January 09, 2009

watch this space

Arrived in Fla. today - a balmy 60's (which they think is cold - LOL). Fast forward through the day - we set up the classroom for tomorrow's workshop and went out to dinner. I did take a few pix but have to get up before dawn so I will roll over the good stuff till tomorrow night when hopefully, I will have something to show besides the paintings hanging on the restaurant walls.
Enough said. They speak for themselves.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

changing the subject

I've decided to forget about the Walker hanging system for the time being - it isn't that interesting. I am sitting here trying to remember what it is I have not packed and in the end, I decide it doesn't matter. I am not going to Mars. Whatever I did not bring, I can buy - or make do. Nevertheless, I have packed a suitcase with 3 weeks worth of clothes - and more. How silly of me when I know I will wear the same things over and over again, anyway. But psychologically, to have a choice feels better. I am a terrible packer. Tonight, I discovered my past looking straight at me on Facebook. A picture I don't remember ever having seen. Who took it? The old friend on whose page it showed up? When was it taken? I estimate about 20 years ago. A lifetime. In my dining room at 28 Mt. Pleasant Parkway, Livingston, NJ 07039. It must have been a holiday, since we are dressed and my good china is on the table. What was in that wine glass? And good grief, did I cook and serve all dressed up like that? What was I thinking? My mother was not much older than I am now, and I was probably about 30 lbs thinner. If I lose 30 lbs will I look that young again? Back to art. Yesterday I was in the studio. Probably a year ago, I had printed this piece of fabric.
I didn't want to cut it, so yesterday I started playing around with it. I put it on a background and replaced the keyhole with another fabric. Then I added a couple of other pieces of the same fabric. It is still in the auditioning stage; I brought it home,thinking I would work on it - but I think I'll take it with me when I leave on Friday. It still needs something.
But what?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Blogger went to sleep

and refused to post this last night, so - a day late, here is is with another attempt. I hate that! Annabel Rainbow asked me about the Walker Hanging System and I started to explain it to her in an e-mail but realized that 1) I need to take some photos to illustrate what I am saying and 2) some other people might have questions about what it is and how it works - so that's for tomorrow (now today, of course). Don't let me forget!!! Yesterday, Kevin Womack sent me a couple of surprise package e-mails: pictures of some fabrics he has gelatin printed -- a process he just loves because it allows him to layer. Too many to post, I nevertheless asked him if I could show a few on my blog because they're so colorful! this one had some screened images on it and he went back in with gelatin, giving the piece color, texture, and transparency. This one looks as though he monoprinted first and screened afterwards. And this is just lovely and chaotic with all of its textural layers.I would like to see how Kevin uses these fabrics (Kevin - are you listening??). In fact, I would love to see what all of you do with the fabrics you print. Please send me some pictures of what you have done with your cloth - gelatin printed, or otherwise. I always feel a bit cheated when I see what you have done and then don't get to see how you have used it (or IF). I know about that. I have tons of fabrics that I have printed in one way or another and they are sitting here, waiting to be used. I have enough for ten lifetimes - but do I stop? Of course not, I print more and more. You have seen this piece before, no doubt - but because it is one piece of gelatin-printed fabric that I cut up and reorganized, I'm going to show it to you again. I am really happy with this little 12x12 piece. I was going to donate it to the SAQA auction but wasn't ready to part with it. However, I am rethinking that. Now I am going to re-post this and go read the pile of e-mails that have come into my box. That is usually my first order of the day but I wanted to get this posted. Let's hope that Blogger is up and about.

Monday, January 05, 2009

couch potato

Not a tv watching one -- I don't watch tv and wouldn't own one if I lived alone. But a lazy, feet-stretched-out, tea-drinking, blog-reading couch -- well, really -- chair potato. Moi. Tonight. I am bone weary. Today, my trusty team of exhibit-hangers joined me as we adorned the gallery space in a fairly elegant office building of white shoe law firms and the like, in Summit, NJ. They have turned some of their corridors into art space, which is admirable, and this is the second time in three years that I have been invited to exhibit. This time, I declined the solo opp and offered a group exhibit. Four of us spent the morning laying out, hanging, moving, re-hanging, raising, lowering, and straightening a total of 25 pieces in 3 areas of the building. Here is Diane, perched on a stepstool, while Susan gets the next piece ready to hang. It was quite a challenge - we worked with the Walker Hanging System, which we are used to, but it can be a pain if you have not prepared for it. More and more galleries and buildings are using it, though, because they don't have to put toothpaste in the nail holes every time they take down an exhibit. I just took a few pix because every time we thought we had it, we ended up moving stuff around. And because this one isn't fuzzy; you can get an idea of the space between the pieces (NOT to beat a dead horse or anything). I will try to have something more interesting to say tomorrow (like a post-mortem of our eye doctors appointments or something equally newsworthy). But now, I am giving in and will become a bed-potato. Ta ta for now.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

today's opening

Was fun, lively, and crowded. The show was beautifully hung, with lots of white space around each piece so you could actually have a dialogue with it as you looked at it. Every time I tried to take a picture, there were people in front of me so I couldn't really get a clean pic of the gallery. But here is Joan Dreyer's piece(with people in front, of course) and you can see all the white space. There were two smaller pieces on this wall, which also had plenty of air. Here is the opposite wall, which has four pieces -- also with lots of space around them.I am a lunatic when it comes to this (as are all of us in the group). Most people do not, IMO, know how to hang a show. Somehow, they are afraid of space - so most shows are much too crowded. Joan Dreyer, Diane Savona, and Lisa Basile, who hung it, should be proud of themselves. Here they are, with Diane's huge piece in the background on the left wall.Patricia Malarcher, Editor of Surface Design Journal, came to see the exhibit and it was a pleasure to see her and chat, as always. And then, look who else showed up!!! Looking especially beautiful with a classy new haircut, Kerr Grabowski, accompanied by John, the videographer who shot her fabulous DVD on Deconstructed Screen Printing. He did a wonderful job on the DVD and I had heard so much about it while it was being shot that it was good to meet him. I was really flattered that Kerr thought my chapter on deconstructed was excellent and that the photos were beautiful and it all complemented her video so well.(She is the guru, after all). I think everybody should have her DVD to watch the process in action and she thinks everybody should have my book so they can refer to the chapter while they work. LOL. Well, we each own both, so even if you have my book you need her DVD (and vice-versa, of course). All the artists had to pose for an official picture. I handed my camera to Marty, who took a rather fuzzy shot - but it's the only one I have at the moment. Cast of characters, below. back row: Kathy Grady, Rachel Cochran, Susan Brauner, Kristen Tyler, Judy Langille, Randy Keenan, Joan Dreyer front row: Lisa Basile, Joanie SanChirico, Yrs Truly, Hollie Heller Tomorrow, Diane, Susan, Lisa and I will hang another exhibit in corporate gallery space. Since it is an office building, there will not be an opening - but that's okay. We ate and drank enough wine today to make up for it!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

tonight it's the kew

No sooner did I dump the crumbs out from under the W than I started having trouble with the KEW/cue/_ueue. Very tempermental. Not sure if all of this is due to my switching my ISP from to or whether the computer is trying to tell me something. It was one of those days. At a late breakfast (about 11) Marty decided we needed to go to the movies to see Doubt. The movie started at noon and since I had to shower and dress, it was a bit of a rush. But worth it. If the movie is playing near you, GO! Philip Seymour Hoffman is arguably the best actor around: he is never the same twice - he truly becomes the character in whatever role he inhabits and is totally believable. Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep, but the movie is excellent. Greek lunch and then, after a brief visit to my ma, a _uick stop at Whole Foods, and another phone session with's robot and finally, a real person in the Phillipines, I couldn't tell you where the day went. Oh, I guess I just did. The stop at Whole Foods was for crackers and their famous artichoke spinach dip, preceded by a stop at Amanti Wine. Isn't this a gorgeous shop? It is owned by a woman and they have wines from $10 to $xxx.00+. I bought a lower priced wine for the opening - but it feels expensive because of the surroundings - LOL. The wine, etc. is for tomorrow's opening of new year= new yearnings, an exhibit by 12 NJ artists. Among them, Hollie Heller, Diane Savona, Judy Langille, and yrs truly (see one of the pieces below) artists' reception from 1-4 at the Watchung Arts Center 18 Stirling Rd. Watchung NJ On Monday, I am hanging another exhibit in NJ by the same 12 NJ artists in another venue. A busy month. Good thing we all have plenty of art to show. As usual, I am up past my bedtime. Pix of the exhibit tomorrow.

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...