Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy 5th 2 me & a giveaway!

Tonight is my 5th blogiversary -- goodness, I have been at this too long!  Maybe it's time to stop before I am past my sell-by date. But that would just mean I'd have to go private because this is my think-out-loud journal and I can't NOT write it. So, there's always the opt-out button for those of you who don't like recipes or hearing that I have the sniffles, or seeing an annual picture or two of the relatives who still speak to me.

Judging by the numbers, I figure that person # 200,000 should be on by sometime late Wed. or early Thursday.  Unless, of course, there is a mob scene between now and then, vying for the exciting prize that I haven't decided on. Scarf? Grab bag of my fabrics?  Book?  Dunno.

In the meantime, today was the blockbuster GALA Small Works for a Big Cause event at Brassworks Gallery.  If you've ever been to the San Gennaro festival in NY, you know what a mob scene it was. You could not MOVE in the corridors of the gallery - it was a zoo!  The doors opened at 2:00 - there were 250 works by  artists, many of whose work sells in the thousands, all for $50.  By 2:30, I would say that 75% of the work had been sold.  By 3:30, the mob was gone and so was most of the work.  This is what it looked like by the time I was able to get my camera out of my purse.
I never saw so many red dots go up so quickly.  And the work was outstanding.   Especially wonderful was an anonymous donor who pledged to match what the show made in sales! 100% of the revenue went to one of 3 charities working in Haiti right now.

I got a really lovely note from the person who bought my piece, which frankly moved me to tears.
 and I sent a nice e-mail to the artist whose work I bought (left). It is already hanging in my house. And I love it.
The question is this: did the work sell so well because people knew these were major bargains from many well-established artists? Or because they were $50? Or because they were donating to a good cause?  Or all of the above?  A couple of us half-jokingly discussed pricing everything at our next open studios at $50.  But I don't really think that is a good idea.

What is a good idea is turning in for the night so I have enough energy to clean up this disaster area tomorrow morning.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Donating your art

Small Works for a Big Cause: Artists Unite To Help Haiti
This Sunday, Jan 31., go to Brassworks Gallery (105 Grove, Montclair) from 2-5 p.m. and purchase any one of over 100 pieces of original art priced at $50! Many local artists and students have donated their work -- this is your chance to own a small piece of art from an artist you admire and help Haiti. All proceeds will go to the relief effort of your choice: Doctors Without Borders, The Red Cross or Partners in Health. Live music, small bites and beverages; checks only (no cash or credit cards).

Organized by two of my studio mates, this fund-raiser for Haiti had to turn away artists' donations because there was not enough room in the gallery. Good grief!
I am donating to two other fund raisers I support and then, I am done for the year.

Joanne Mattera writes about this very thing on her blog. Once you get there, follow the link under Art Auctions Officially Over and read what she has to say.
Makes absolute sense and is a topic that comes up routinely on some of the fiber lists. It is a pervasive problem for artists everywhere.

I'm feeling better, thanks to gallons of chicken soup and ginger tea.  I'd been slicing ginger into my tea but my friend Sujatha said it would work better if I boiled the ginger in the water before I added the tea.
What a difference! About 40 years ago my neighbor Rajni taught me to make masala tea by boiling ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardomom, tea, and milk together.  Over the years I started taking shortcuts - but today I went back to the real way and I am feeling much better. Jessica said her acupuncturist advised her to do the same when she had a cold and it worked!

Tonight,  I was throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks and have been amusing myself.  Better than a jigsaw puzzle and still in process.

If you are still awake, I have to share this post from the NY Times' Diner's Journal on-line with you.  As a person who freely admits I am high-maintenance in restaurants, it absolutely made my day.  Happy

Friday, January 29, 2010

signs of spring?

 No, it's my bevvy of ginger plants.  The first one is really getting tall! Time to transplant it into a bigger pot, I think.  It's leaning over because I left my plants near the sliding glass door while we were away. I've turned it in the opposite direction and hope it will straighten up. The leaves have a slight gingery fragrance, which I really like.

I cancelled 3 appointments today. Not only was it snowing when I awoke, the cold I've been fighting with chicken soup finally won and turned my head into a wad of cotton with a cough. I am laying low so I can feel semi-human on Sunday afternoon and show up at the gallery for the fundraising event.

Being forced to stay in for a couple of days will make me work on taxes, which is a good thing.  Except that I feel too lousy to concentrate, which is a bad thing.  I'll sew instead.

Two more things on this un-businesslike blog and then I'm off to bed.

Sunday will be my 5th blogiversary. I was hoping to reach 200,000 readers by then but it doesn't look promising.  However, I'll have a giveaway to the 200,000th reader whenever we reach that number.

Finally, Jessica's Facebook post made me laugh today. She went to the doctor and then out to lunch before she headed back to Brooklyn.

Two pregnant women at lunch and waiter tells us there's caffeine in the chocolate cake. And his point was?

Night, all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

another blog sans pix

Almost everybody who makes art quilts knows Helene Davis' gorgeous hand-dyed fabric. If you've been to QSDS, QBL, or Paducah, you probably have some. My bins have been overflowing with it for the past dozen years

Earlier this week, the man who writes The Textile Blog, profiled and reviewed Helene's art quilts.  Whether you are a long-time admirer of her award-winning work or aren't yet familiar with it, you need to  check out the article on her work!

On another front -- it is after 2:am. I did not spend the evening as I had planned and unless you want a picture of my new laser printer, there's nothing to see.

I have a perfectly good HP1100 from the year of the flood that works just fine. It is so old that its 25 pin serial cableonly connects to my antideluvian desktop. A problem with the computer sent me out to buy a USB converter cable, but neither Radio Shack, Staples, nor Best Buy had one that fit. Of course not, -- nobody has printers that are 13 years old! The Geek at Best Buy told me I could find one on the Internet, but 1) I couldn't connect to the Internet because of a Verizon problem and 2) I needed to print something TONIGHT!  Fortunately, they had a Brother Laser printer on sale for $69.99: a steal.  So I stole it and now it is connected to my MacBook.

 I now have the printer upstairs instead of having to run down to the basement every time I print something; I found a likely USB converter cable on the Internet and ordered it, and after it comes, I can take the HP to my studio and have a printer there.
I still don't have a color printer but I don't really care at the moment.  And after 2 hours on the phone with Verizon tonight, my computers are back on line. 

With that, I conclude my photo-less post for tonight.
Hopefully, I can sleep in a bit tomorrow morning.

Monday, January 25, 2010

where's my camera??

Not the one I took this picture with; the other one! It took me a while, but I finally extricated it from under a pile.  I knew it was here.
You might think this looks like I'm getting ready for a trip to the recycling center, but you'd be wrong.  I'm working on STUFF and brought a bag or two of scraps home from the studio today so I could work at home tomorrow. If this doesn't make sense to you, I understand.  But I'd rather drag these things back and forth than not have them if I want to work at night (which is what I am doing now). I had to make this piece a little bigger so I could stretch it around a gallery wrapped frame, so it is still in process.  Now I'm not sure I am going to donate it to the fund-raiser

because I did something else at the studio this afternoon that the exhibit organizer saw and loved.

Last week I printed a piece of fabric covered with graffiti I had photographed over the years. It's my dropcloth and the substrate was the remainder of some deconstructed screen printing I had done on fabric pinned to it.  It just cried out "urbanize me!"
so out came the screens and the paints.  When the fabric didn't work for the project I had in mind, I cut it to size and gallery-wrapped it on a 12x12 with a layer of batting -- no stitching.  It goes into the Haiti fund-raiser at the gallery as it is.

We'll see about the other one. It may be up for grabs.

Tomorrow, Hilary and Anne Marie are planning to shop for (but not purchase) some layette items for Jessica. I told them I would meet them there. I don't want to miss the fun and besides, it will give me a chance to spend time with the girls for an hour or two.  We don't buy till after the baby is born but this particular store will put away boy things and girl things and hold them till after the baby has landed safely.  So I brought all this fabric home but won't be spending all day tomorrow using it.  First things, first.

In the meantime, the NYCMetroModernQuilters has already got several new members as a result of my post the other night -- and I suspect it will continue to grow.  As I was scrolling through people's photos on the website, this quilt made by Jackie Reeve reminded me of the photo I took last year outside my mother's apartment.  The shadows of the wall made such a great pattern that I grabbed my camera. Wow! Art imitates life.  I meant to make a

screen of this but never got around to it.  I guess I will now, LOL.  Inspiration is everywhere.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

et ensuite...

So I went back to the wall and started again.  Most of my fabric is at the studio, so I am somewhat limited (well, that's not exactly true - it just feels that way).
Here's what I have, in color and black and white.

It is about 11" square, so it may do for the Haiti fundraiser if I am happy enough with it to complete it tomorrow.  Will sleep on it.

On another subject (or maybe the same one) I happened on this horrorscope a few minutes ago on Google and this one is so accurate that it is uncanny. Maybe I had better subscribe to this guy's pronouncements and pay attention.

You would prefer to set an even pace to your routine that will enable you to accomplish the things you must do in the days and weeks ahead, but it's not that simple. Intellectually, you know that you cannot make anyone else move any faster than they are going, even if it would make your life simpler. Instead of worrying about something that's beyond your control, do what you can in the immediate moment to continue your own progress. Your persistence will be rewarded.
Well, off I go to continue my own progress.  I won't hold my breath for the reward.

Art Quilts & blablabla

News Flash #1 Art Quilts in the NY Times!! I opened this morning's Metro Section and this was the first thing I saw. HUH? Then I realized it was a big art review of Jack Walsh's collection on exhibit now at the Morristown, NJ Museum. Hooray! If you're within a couple of hours driving distance of Morristown, go see the exhibit. And if you go, let me know and I'll meet you there. I was lucky enough to see Jack's collection a few years ago at his home but he has added to it and I was sorry to have been in Fla. when the opening took place last week. News Flash #2 The Modern Quilt Guild!! It started in L.A. (where else?) and Jamie Fingal posted briefly about it on Quiltart. Thirty-somethings have discovered non-traditional quilts and are the next generation of art quilters. Branches of The Modern Quilt Guild are sprouting all over the country and it is a movement taking hold with lots of excitement! The groups are blogging on line, posting pix, and even setting up sew-a-thons and meetings in their various locations. This is great! OTOH - it is too bad that so many quilt guilds are not welcoming to young quilters who don't want to make reproduction quilts and traditional patterns. I have also heard from several young people that nobody in their local guild was their age (as in - all old enough to be their mothers and grandmothers) and I absolutely understand this feeling (even though we oldies are 30 in our heads). Hey! I made my first quilt when I was in my early 30's and I was the only person I knew who did this. I didn't even know about the existence of guilds. I've signed onto the NY Metro Modern Quilt Guild and their excitement is a pleasure to see. Unfortunately, there is only one other person in NJ - but since it is mostly a virtual guild for now, I don't suppose that matters. Besides, I would hate to be the only old person at a meeting - LOL. Blablabla inutile Meanwhile, back in West Orange... After spending a couple of days at the design wall, mostly in frustration, I have finally taken a break to do some thinking out loud (which seems to be the only way I can think these days). I have two small pieces I'm really happy with. Then there were a few goes at using the pink deconstructed fabric I dislike. The one at the left wasn't right because the textures of the fabrics were too different. Then, I started again with the fabrics below - which worked together better for me. But something was not right. It was too much of the same thing. Boring. So I took a photo in black and white to check the values. The piece is now dismantled and off the wall. I don't do this nearly often enough but when I do, it is because something feels (not looks, but feels) wrong to me. My instincts almost always turn out to be correct. I may rework this or not. So here I am, at the end of the afternoon, realizing that it is almost 5:00 somewhere and that I also need to figure out what tonight's dinner will be. Eggs? Tuna fish? Cereal and yogurt? None of the above sounds very appealing. I made a ton of mussels for last night's dinner and may just make Thai mussel salad with the leftovers. P.S. - I mixed together some olive oil, a good dollop of moutarde de dijon, un peu de jus de citron, a little of the mussel liquid and some capers; poured it over the mussels and served it with some good bread. Divine. PPS. - back to the design wall, ready to go to work. Thanks!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

staring into space

That activity was pretty much all I could do this morning, after yesterday's trip home. After a while, I stirred myself and was in the studio before lunch. It's been almost a month since I have spent any time there and it took me a while to settle in. I had brought a bunch of fabric home and then to Florida with me; this morning, carried a lot of it back. By the time I left this afternoon, I had something in process on the wall. It has a long way to go, so no pictures. Tonight, with some of the fabric I had left at home, I played a bit to see if I could make something work and I am pleased to see that it is coming along. It has a family resemblance to this small piece I made a couple of months ago, so I guess I'm on a series track - LOL.Tomorrow I plan to spend the bulk of the day in the studio again; I have several deadlines looming and need to work!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


We are leaving tomorrow, so I am up early to clean and vacuum this morning, before the day gets away from us. Played around to see if I could expand this (which is less muted than it appeared in the previous photo- sorry to disappoint you).
And the answer was NO. at least, not this incarnation.
The first piece is small but happy. I will see what I can do when I get home. There is a local artists for Haiti event at a gallery near me so I may donate it to the cause. Or donate something else. In the meantime, this still look like a wannabe someone else, which I find upsetting because Dianne is right; I am trying to simplify and I was actually exploring pos/neg space and effect with these strips and other modules. I do not want my work to look like anybody else's--so this will take some effort. But here's the dilemma:the minute I start thinking,my work becomes self-conscious and no longer feels true. My problem? Or a universal reality?? Rayna - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A day in the guest room

It rained. All day,except for about an hour. So I took advantage of it and sewed, taking frequent breaks to read the beautiful book on Jun Kaneko's ceramic sculptures. Even without knowing clay, I am fascinated and in awe. He believes you need to become one with the material before yo can make art. And you need to communicate with it and listen to what it is saying. My sentiments exactly. He bemoans the fact that some people are so focused on technical perfection that they lose sight of the art. Agree again. We have all seen work that is technically fab bit has no soul. (which is not to say you should have NO skill at all). My design wall is a piece of batting taped to -- and constantly falling off of -- the wall.

Color leaves something to be desired, putting it mildly. Work in progress. Rayna - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Such culture!!

Today I met the newly glamourous SandyD,the lovely Bev Snow, and the delightful Beverly Fine (somehow i missed getting her picture) for an elegant lunch, a necessary stop at Anthropologie, and a couple of hours at Art Palm Beach.

Beverly Fine said this show was so far superior to Art Basel Miami that it was incredible. There was lots of stuff to look at --

Some quite good, and a fair amount of "WHY???" like this wall of suitcases for I forget how many $$$ thousands. As usual, very little fiber. Thank goodness, Brown Grotta had a booth. Bev and I managed to sneak a couple of shots when Grotta was talking to someone. The photo policy was up to each vendor and most couldn't have cared less. I can't recall who made this fiber installation

But it was lovely. Apart from the fiber, the best was a huge installation that was whimsical and a delight. Everything was cleverly made of recycled materials Like this horse of corks

Or flower made of rubber

Flip flops.

Or another flower of plastic forks and wood sticks.

Or this one of toilet brushes &shoe laces.

All in all, a fun day! Rayna - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 15, 2010

I am in love

This afternoon, we met my cousin at the Morikami Museum in Del Ray Beach, FL and saw an exhibit which blew us away. The ceramic sculptures of Jun Kanenko were some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and I seriously considered art theft for a nanosecond. Unfortunately, many of his pieces are 12' tall. Words are pointless: on his website are a number of galleries that carry his work -- and lots of them are smaller. He is a ceramic master but also paints and works in glass. Go here and here to get an overview of his art...and if you are anywhere within driving distance of Del Ray or Boca Raton, where his work is being exhibited in a gallery, get in your car and GO. I bought a book of his work and am now on my way back to the apartment to sit down and spend a few hours looking through and getting inspired. Tomorrow, if Sandydee lets me know when and where we are meeting, I expect to see her. Full report tomorrow night.

72 and counting

Ahhh....finally a return to balmy...although it rained during the night and it was cloudy when we took our walk this morning. I'm in the clubhouse with wifi, catching up on Facebook friend, e-mails, and the blob. I'm posting whether or not I have anything to say, simply because it is such a pleasure on the computer. At night, I could come over here but we've been out to eat every night and by the time we get home, too tired to get back into the car. So, till I can report on whatever we do today, I'll post some pix that blogger wouldn't let me post the other day. (I must be wearing a magnetic sign that says "ASK ME TO CONNECT YOUR COMPUTER TO THE INTERNET" because some guy just approached me to do just that - and I did. I could hire myself out - LOL) West Palm Beach street near the museum. I couldn't resist this one! Nice way to advertise - with phone # included. Boabab tree (despite what you call it, this is what it is for me). From yesterday's walk - the leaning tower of Norfolk.Time to go to lunch - I think we'll head for Palm Beach and maybe Chuck & Harold's if it's still there. I will check back later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Still here

This afternoon we went to the movies. I don't remember the last time we went on a weekday when it wasn't Xmas. Maybe never. We were the only ones in the theatre till about four more people showed up. Utterly predictable and simply delightful, Leap Year was pure escape and just what we needed. I had spent the morning getting paperwork notarized and filing documents at the beautiful Palm Beach county courthouse, so I was glad to have an afternoon at Cityplace. Street art outside the courthouse...
This afternoon my iPhone battery died (big surprise) so no pix of downtown. But I did get a photo earlier today of this peculiar looking specimen outside the apartment.
There are lots of these around and they creep me out; remind me of those cell phone trees that look like aliens planted them. Does anyone know what they are? Tonight I kept sewing my therapy strips. The light in here is not photo friendly and I cannot improve them on the phone.
Time to put these aside for a while and work on something more cheerful.
Life is not a movie but we still hope for happy endings, don't we? Rayna

Monday, January 11, 2010

2bed 2bath corner apt

Leaving out the three weeks from hell I spent here after my mother broke her hip in 2006, this has always been a happy place for me. My parents bought this place 31 yrs ago and became snowbirds. Although my mother spent entire winters here, while my father came down for only a few weeks (at least until the last few years of his life) -- it is my father's spirit I feel here and his presence I miss most keenly. I see him in his chair where he always sat reading. I hear his voice and still laugh at his dry, often acerbic wit, hilarious understatements and authoritative comments ---made always with a straight face. To this day, I still do not know whether he loved strawberry jelly or hated it. But I digress... My mother's ccodinated outfits and shoes in every rainbow color are still here, although chances are slim to none that she will be here again. And today in the bottom drawer of the dresser I found my father's hats, a pile of his handkerchiefs,ironed and folded into squares; the keys to the Cadillac, long gone, his sunglasses...I closed the drawer without looking further. He died in 1987. So tonight, as I work in the guestroom which does not have any memory of my father in it, this is what I am working on.

Rayna - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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 ...