Wednesday, September 29, 2010

blogger & firefox at war

I can see my own (and other) blogs just fine in Safari or Chrome but there is something going on with Blogger and Firefox. The browser has stopped working with Blogger - or Blogger has changed something that doesn't work with Firefox. I have had to abandon Firefox when I'm blogging.

A minor problem compared with coming home yet again to NO INTERNET and NO PHONE.  Plus, the upstairs toilet tank and leaked downstairs into my sewing room, ruining many things that were in that corner and leaving a mildewy smell in the carpet.  DId my husband notice?  Did he call the plumber? 
I believe the universe is trying to warn me off going away, ever again.

Nonetheless, this was a worth-it trip. San Jose's weather was perfect.  Linda (from Sunny St. Petersburg) Dawson, Laura Beehler, Leslie Jenison and I spent quite a bit of time at one particular outdoor café and we did a fair amount of wandering around, taking inspiration photos. Here are a couple of mine.

And then there were the to-die-for ceramic pieces of public art by Jun Kaneko, whose work I posted about last year when I saw such a wonderful exhibition at the Morikami Museum in Florida. And he prints textiles, too!

So, back to real life and the humid New Jersey weather.  But soon enough we will be complaining about the cold, so I will enjoy the heat while I can.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

is it Blogger or is it the hotel?

I am seeing weird things on this blog - no picture in the header, missing links, and other things that are missing.  I think it's the hotel's network -- so I am dancing in the dark here.

The other day, we saw a mind-blowing fiber exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles: really cutting edge textiles -and mostly not quilts. Go to the website and click on the thumbnails on the left, next to " our current exhibit".   This was an art and technology exhibit (this is, after all, Silicon Valley) and if you are within driving distance of San Jose, go see it...and get a tour because the information is fascinating.  There were no photos allowed.  Pam Rubert had two pieces in the show, but there were also fiber optic pieces, things knitted with wire, totally amazing stuff that pushes the fiber envelope, so to speak.

Yesterday, a trip to Los Altos and Exotic/Thai Silks.  Yum yum yum. There were lots of gorgeous dress silks, since they really began as a supplier to people who make garments.  However, they now cater to artists with all kinds of dyeable silks, including garments and scarves.

Some of the group did serious damage (this is the Art Cloth Network, remember??).  I bought silk noil and  silk/linen, which should be interesting to work with. Both take color beautifully and because of the quantities, we got wholesale prices. The fabric is being shipped so I will just have to be patient.

Susan Ettl and I had lunch with our lovely and talented friend, Carol Larson. Carol drove about 2 hours to meet us there and we had fun catching up since the last time we saw her, a few years ago.

Out to dinner last night and when we got back to the hotel, we were greeted with this, parked outside.  Inside, a wedding reception and there was an altercation between the groom's father and the videographer,
who had been paid up front to stay till midnight and was leaving at 9:30.
We couldn't enter the hotel because the groom's father was holding the guy's lights hostage in the elevators and there was lots of carrying on. Since we needed to use the - ahem - facilities - a few of us went across the street to the Marriott to avail ourselves of their hospitality.  Gotta have a sense of humor around here.

Soon, we are off to continue our business meeting at the local diner for breakfast.  This afternoon, I hope to see two old friends who live out here - my h.s. friend Mary, whom I haven't seen in 53 years (we were 2 years old, of course) - and this evening, Ted Orland and his lovely wife Frances.
 See you anon.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Working backwards - first, the edible art from our post-meeting, late-night snack fest.  Half of a beet salad - a true work of art! Nice color and interesting composition.  Remind me to use it as inspiration. Susan and I had this last night and it was so good, we ordered it to share again.
Laura Beehler ordered the beef carpaccio.  Pretty!
Susan and I spent most of the day walking around San Jose.  We went to the Museum of Art and stopped at the Museum of Quilts and Textiles, where we will go for a tour tomorrow with the group.

We stopped into the glass gallery, where there were some very cool things.
And the downtown is full of spunky murals - what fun! This is part of one that was in a parking lot. 
Actually, these were in another parking lot. The sun was very bright so the pictures are not as good as I would have liked.There were more but these were my favorites.  One next to the other on this huge side of a building, all by different muralists.

  This is a work of art in its own way: reminded me of Paris in the 1960's.  They are all over downtown - isn't that wonderful?  I did not check out the interior, but this guy apparently did, after having read the instructions on how to open the door.

 This old theatre has been turned into the opera house. It is so beautiful and so architecturally delicious.
 I wouldn't call this a work of art - but some might.  It is rather strange, and there were a bunch of them in front of the courthouse.
Imagine having the job of giving them a trim each week!
Busy day tomorrow: meeting starts at 9:am and my body is still on east coast time. G'night!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

California, here I am

After a whole day of flying (I could have gone to Timbuktu) I arrived at San Jose airport and met Susan Ettl, who had come in an hour earlier.  We took a cab to the hotel (5 miles = $25 - worse by far than New York City cabs!!!) and here we are.

We're staying at the lovely and historic Sainte Claire Hotel, where we have not yet had breakfast. But I figured I had better post before the day gets away from us.

We're off to the Textile Museum and the Art Museum.  See you later.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sewing and reaping - or ripping

The High Holidays are over and the year 5771 is in full swing.  Happily, the weather is gorgeous and I did my early morning walk and came back energized to work.

I put these two pieces on the wall to get them out of the way of something else, but now I think they might be interesting together: a combination that would never have occurred to me otherwise. No time to do anything with them now, but worth exploring at some point.  I have had both of these sitting around forever, so it is probably time to do something with them. But when?

I have some challenges for the new year. One huge one that is taking over my life.  And a few small ones:

1) A 12x12 piece that's a nano-micro too small to be stitched to a 12x12 canvas unless I don't face the edges.  But I really don't want to raw-edge stitch the thing...ugh.

2) A large piece that is bugging me. I have to figure out how to fix it because it is supposed to be in a November exhibition. Particularly annoying because it is already stitched.

3) Finish everything I have to do before I leave for San Jose, California on Wednesday morning.

4) Write a description that will make a new workshop sound as terrific as it actually IS.  Considering that I am a wordsmith, I don't know why I am having so much trouble.  Well, maybe on the plane or between flights as I sit in Houston, my brain will kick in.

5) Survive without seeing Miss Emma for a couple of weeks. To make things worse, Jessica and Tommy have misplaced their camera and can't even post pictures of her. Waaaah - I'll have to make do with this one they took on Fire Island last month.

We are off to an art opening this afternoon and then to the movies and dinner with friends.  That should save the day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm baaaack

Not that I was literally away; I've been right here at the computer, doing paperwork. Answering teaching inquiries-- sending out my list of new workshops, 4-5 day master classes, and small group studio workshops.   I've also been bogged down with some other exciting things (oxymoron: "bogged down" sounds so negative and doesn't work with "exciting.")  So either I'm not bogged down or what I'm bogged down with is not exciting. Hmmm...

 Here's where I was this morning! Now this was exciting!  The sign says Rock, Paper, Scissors and it's a wonderful fabric (and paper and other things) shop. Yay.  I heard about it and since I needed pins, I went over there this morning.  It is in Montclair, NJ and if you are inclined to be a "modern quilter" you need to go there and take a look at the fabrics!
Beth, the owner, is a couture and home dec person who was tired of going into NY to buy great fabrics.  I didn't have a chance to look at her vintage kimono silks and other vintage fabrics, but I will be back.  She also carries something I'd never heard of: laminated cottons in gorgeous prints.

Granted, I do surface design and don't use a lot of commercial prints.  But I was sorely tempted.
I own the poppy fabrics on the upper right (below) but the purple prints on the lower left are beautiful, too.

Next time I hope to spend more time really looking at everything, but I had to run home for a meeting.  Also a cool way to spend time this afternoon.

I participated in an interactive video conference with C&T Publishing and a raft of their other authors - Margaret Miller, Alex Anderson, Carol Doak and more some new ones who will have their first books coming out.  It was FUN!

Tomorrow, back to the grindstone after today's change of pace.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ART takes a back seat

Between the High Holidays and Miss Emma, not much work done in either sewing room or studio.  Since Jessica  and Hilary both have birthdays next week (6 years and 1 day apart) we celebrated them, along with the Jewish New Year.  I don't know what all the hilarity was but it was a joy to see!

Weather turned a bit cool today and Jessica only left summer clothes for Emma because it's been so hot.  So, while she napped, I high-tailed it around the corner to K-Mart and picked up a sweatshirt jacket (and a few other couldn't-resist outfits)
  Silly, right?  But it was either that or BOY stripes. No contest.  Got my exercise today, pushing the stroller up and down the hills in the neighborhood.  So how come Emma is so exhausted that she is napping?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

now where was I?

Ah - the European sensibility vs the U.S.  Some great comments, the last two of which I need to respond to but am too tired tonight.  Thanks, everybody!  Will get back to this topic because honestly, there is more to think about here - and more to say. So hang in.

Summer is back after a lovely two-day break.  Hot, muggy, and the crickets are still at it outside my open window.  I just made myself a glass of delicious salted lassi - my favorite drink for a hot summer night.  If you google it, you'll find lots of variations on the recipe but the basic one I use is this (and I really don't measure)

1 cup non fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seed
throw in the blender with a few ice cubes, blend, and drink! Some people add mint, some add cilantro, some add cayenne.  Some people add more water because they like it thinner, but the crushed ice thins it. Try it - it's great!

I left my camera in the studio (that happens too often) so I couldn't post last night. But I did clean up the front half of the space (except for the fabric on the table, which is a whole other problem I don't have time for right now). Next week, I'll tackle the back half. Major project but has to be done so I can have my classes here.

This afternoon, my package of Aurifil threads arrived and I felt like a kid in a candy store!  I spent a good deal of time taking off the wrappers so I could take note of the numbers on the threads and cross-reference them with my chart.  This was more or less a grab-bag (you get what you get) and that was fine with me, since I love them all (well...there is that PINK) and can never make a decision.  This way, I'll see what I don't have and know what I want in the future.  But for now, this should do me, along with the spools I brought home from FoQ.
Gosh, I don't think I've ever had so many colors of thread at one time!

Tomorrow I'm cooking for Rosh Hashanah and after that, I have Miss Emma for a few days while her parents go away. Aw, gee. We were there Sunday, picking up her equipment (bottles, diapers, pack 'n play, etc). The rest of the family is taking turns with her - she is so much in demand - LOL.

 she likes grandpa's beard
Well, she'll have plenty of chance to play with it over the weekend.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

be careful what you wish for

As I mentioned the other day, they are redoing our driveways and replacing the rotten railroad ties with stone.  There is lovely orange construction fence all over the place and I asked the foreman who cut my phone line last week whether I could have some.  Next thing I knew, he rang my doorbell with a gift.  Good grief - I could fence in my own construction site with this amount of stuff.  I guess he was feeling guilty.
Here it is, all rolled neatly.  If I ever worried about running out of it, my worries are over.  But I really need to move it away from the front door.

The other thing near the front door is a 4x8 piece of Celotex. My sewing room is so crowded that I had to move part of the design wall out into the hallway.  That's where I have been working while my STUDIO sits idle.  Meantime, while I am supposed to be finishing three other pieces, I am auditioning fabrics instead for something I need to make - at some point -- for myself.
 Yes, it's part of a series; a series which rears its head,unbidden, every montik and donershtik. Translation: every time I turn around. It is something which informs my work and I can't get away from it or get finished with it.  I guess that is the nature of a series. Bah.  I'm putting together a lecture on "what is a series?"  What, indeed?

As of October, come hell or high water, I will be back in my studio.  In any case, I am teaching an advanced Thermofax class there on October 6 and it is already full.

I am seriously thinking about teaching a Deconstructing the Screen workshop sometime this fall, so if you would be interested, e-mail me. I have room for 4 people -- I want to leave plenty of room to print...and there is enough construction fence for everybody.
Last night I finally treated myself to looking through some of the catalogs I brought home from FoQ.  I seem to have all the volumes of the European Art Quilt catalogs, from I-VI.  Hit the link to see pix of the exhibit.  Not a lot of close-ups but it will give you a good idea of what was up. 

A number of people have asked me what I saw as the difference (if there is one) between European art quilts and American ones. My answer: yes, I see a difference.

Having looked at this year's FoQ exhibits and having compared all six EAC catalogs, I have some personal observations and opinions about this exhibit and about what I've seen of European quilts in general.

1. Each year the exhibit is fresh - you don't see the same artists with almost identical pieces, year after year. 

2.  European quilts are, for the most part, abstract and non-representational. Reproducing a photo in cloth appears non-existent...and if anyone is doing it, those pieces are not in major gallery exhibits.

3.  There is a lot of experimentation with materials and ways of using them-- not just for the sake of being cute or clever or piling on the glop because they think that makes it ART, but because they add richness and texture and are integral to the piece. Silk, wool, rayon, plastic, linen, cotton, polyester, taffeta, organza (not necessarily all in one piece).

The first time I saw this was in 1999 in Paris: Artifil: Quilt et textile français contemporains--an exhibition of French art quilts that blew me away. I bought the catalog and much of the work is still fresh. However, many of the artists have gone on to do other kinds of work: Agnès Bockel, whose piece, Tomate Verte, captivated and influenced me back then, is now painting on canvas.

4.  There is more individuality in the work; Europeans do not take class after class after class the way Americans seem to, so there is not the blatant cloning we so often see here with people who have taken a class and then make quilts that are knock-offs of the teachers' work.

5.  Some of the most interesting work is from the Netherlands and Germany -- unfortunately, most of these artists do not have websites. Here are two I particularly like.
Willy Doreleijers
Willie Groenewolt  
Dominique Arlot is a French fiber artists whose work I find refreshing
Sara Impey is also a treat -- as are a number of other artists from the U.K. -- but that's for another post. A couple of my personal favorites with distinct voices are Christine Restall and Marlene Cohen.
Go to the QuiltArt Europe site where you'll get a look at the work of the international members of this group. Just click on members on the sidebar.  By the way, their QuiltArt at 25 catalog is one I'm saving as a treat next time I have a break.

And finally, here is the blog of Swedish fiber artist Gunilla Sundstrom, which I just discovered and find very interesting.

So now that I have spent my entire morning researching and writing this post, I had better get down to my REAL work!  I am very interested in your reactions/responses/comments to this post. Would love to have a discussion and hear your own observations.

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 ...