Sunday, February 27, 2011

Never a dull moment

I will skip the vicissitudes of the week and tell you that Friday night's opening at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at UConn Avery Point was wonderful.  The exhibit was really about things previously considered to be utilitarian that are art/fine craft.  The work was diverse and ran the gamut from art glass to art quilts.

Below, three small pieces beautifully done and mounted by Jude Larzelere.

I must admit that as usual, I was too busy chatting with the other artists and forgot to take many pictures and didn't get any of Barb McKie's pieces.  But here are some of my favorite other pieces in the exhibit:
Hand-made one-of-a-kind string instruments.  Imagine! They were gorgeous.

I loved this little left-handed tea pot.

And this was Nancy's favorite piece in the whole show.

One of the five pieces I was invited to exhibit was this one: 

I started chatting randomly with a charming and handsome (not to mention talented - more about him later) man who had come with his wife to the opening.  When he found out I was the artist of this piece, he immediately told me that it was very African and tribal and reminded him of the various languages and ways of communicating - oral and written - among diverse peoples. (I'm paraphrasing).  It was not the first time I had had this response to the piece I call "Babel" but his depth of observation led to a whole interesting conversation that was the highlight of my evening.

Turns out that the man is a talented playwright named Michael Bradford who is a professor at UConn Storrs and a founding member of the Bated Breath Theatre Company (scroll down on the linked page for a very interesting bit).  His plays have been performed off Broadway in NY and I gave him my card and asked him to keep me posted on when something opens here.  So cool! You never know who you will meet at an art opening!
After the opening, Nancy and I headed for Olio and had a fabulous dinner - worth a ride from anywhere.
Well, not ANYwhere but you know what I mean. An hour's drive, anyway.   We grabbed lunch in Greenwich on Saturday's ride home and here I am.

I'm excited about teaching at Illinois Quilters Inc. in Northbrook because we'll be Reinventing the UFO - which is always a fun experience.
And I'll be meeting in person some people I've been on an e-mail list with -- something I just love doing.  As a bonus, I'm having dinner with Sharon Rexroad, a C&T author I have e-mailed with and whom I just rediscovered on Facebook. Yay!

Finally, I am juggling teaching dates for 2012 and have been invited to teach in Wisconsin with the hope that another guild or two would like to share my travel expenses. Let me know if you belong to a WI guild that would like to piggyback and I'll see what I can do about putting them in touch with the program chair who has invited me to teach.

Dinner time at my house and then I really have to finish facing that quilt.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

another opening...another show!

Sorry this reminder is so last-minute.  I wasn't sure I was even going to make the opening, but I will.
I was delighted to see one of my pieces on the postcard for this show.  I'm on my way to Connecticut
since I have five pieces in the exhibit.  If you live within an hour or so of the gallery, come say hello to me from 6-8 pm. 
The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art, Branford House Mansion, UConn Avery Point
Proudly presents our Premiere Exhibition for 2011
Objects d’Art: form and function
Featuring 16 artists creating functional fine art

Opening Reception:Friday, Feb 25th, 6-8pm featuring the Walkingwood Mandolin Quartet

Runs through Sunday April 10th 2011
Gallery hours: wed. – Sun. 12-4 pm

Off to pack a bag...

Friday, February 18, 2011

happiness is...

1.  being in the studio
2.  printing scarves
3.  the fragrance of steamed newspaper

For the first time in months, I spent a day in the studio.  In fact, I didn't come home till after dark and I don't know where the evening went.  It's after 2:am and I am just getting tired -- that's how energized I felt today.  I made a few screens for deconstructing, mixed up a bunch of print paste in my el cheapo blender, mixed a few colors, and got busy.

I had a bunch of leftover dyed but unprinted scarves, as well as a few losers that have been sitting around and need more work.  Here is the deconstructed screen and there is a scarf that needed something more to make it happy.

Since I hadn't been there for so long I spent some time getting organized.  But tomorrow, I should be able to move quickly in the morning (if I get up after this late night - LOL) to print some more.  Here are the scarves that came out of the steam pot tonight.
scarf on table above with another layer of text and images

You can tell that this was printed with the screen on the table, above. 

this might need more work.

 That's all, folks,  It is ungodly late and I am off to get my beauty sleep. 


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

from the sublime to the ridiculous

I am really too tired to blog but I finally have something worth blogging about.

I had pre-ordered this book from Amazon and it shipped early!
Grabbed it yesterday as I was leaving for the doctor's office and while I was waiting I got through the Chocolate chapter. I told Gerrie that I had to buy a couple of dark chocolate covered chocolate Haagen Dazs bars after I read that chapter.

The book is beautiful, makes interesting reading, and is rich both visually and in the artists' stories about their pieces. It is a MUST-READ. Sublime.

I expected to pick it up again today but alas, the carpet guys arrived and I had other things to do.  Done now.  The room was totally empty and I've just put back a couple of things because the painter is next.  I hope he comes soon because the amount of STUFF in the living room and kitchen is beyond comprehension.  How did I accumulate so much in the last 15 years? (ha ha).  This little room - 12 x 14 - had all this stuff (and more, off camera) squeezed into nooks and crannies in this small space.  Here is some of it, spread out in the great room.  There is more, plus every horizontal surface in my kitchen is covered!

At the moment, I am sitting in the chair on the right of the picture below.  The art has to come down for the painter. 

The blue-covered table is where my cabinets and the sewing machine were.  Gone. Out to the garbage.  Inefficient storage cabinets with stuff jammed into them that I never used.  OUT!

So here is what the room looks like now, picture taken from the chair looking out. That big black spot is duct tape, which helped the design wall stay in place. My friend Rachel told me I had better frame this picture because the room will never look like this again.
I am going to replace the furniture, get some decent storage: IKEA? Any good suggestions? And a table for the sewing machine, maybe.  Right now, I am enjoying the emptiness.  I have been in the kitchen all evening filling trash bags and am going to bed.  More tomorrow.  Maybe.

Monday, February 14, 2011

taking a break

Mundane things not worth blogging about. The carpet guys, the handyman. The shredding. The laundry. The taxes.
See what I mean?  I could take a picture of the gray carpeting or of the door-less washer & dryer closet.
But I won't. 

What I will do is take a blogging break till I have something to write about.  I'll be back when I come up for air.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

checking in

Just so certain people won't worry if I'm not posting. Was awake at 5:30 this morning and finally got up at 6:00.  The upside of this is that I got quite a bit done before my critique group got here at 11:00.  The down side is that I am bleary eyed.  Of course, that may have more to do with my having spent several hours scratching the surface of getting numbers in Quicken for my accountant.  Lots more to do - such a joyful activity.

This is a somewhat dorky picture of me but since my one commenter from last night complained about not seeing my work, here are 3 of the 7 pieces selected for the show.
That's all she wrote, folks.  See you anon.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

various and sundry

Ha - a good catchall for this post which was delayed by circumstances beyond my control. Sunday's art opening was a big success -- a number of sales (not mine, alas) and a great turnout that was a steady stream all afternoon.
  It is really a very strong show and while our work is all different from one another's, it showed together beautifully. Hanging a show is such an art and can make all the difference.  This was a beautiful job.

Here are two of Susan Lisbin's paintings.  She is one of my favorite artists and some day I'd love to own another piece of her work.

I have a small work on paper of hers on my studio wall and it makes me happy every time I look at it.  This picture doesn't do it justice because it is under glass - but it is so typical of her wonderful gestural work. She works in clay and she also makes the most wonderful and quirky sculptures out of found objects.  A few of them are on her website.  I wish I could figure out how to be more minimalist and still  convey a narrative or an emotion.  Shall have to work on that.

Susanna Baker is a printmaker who combines her work with encaustic and is doing some interesting things. This diptich is very strong, with an organic feel that leaves it open to a lot of interpretation. 

Yvette Lucas does some of the most beautiful,serene, contemplative photography and solar plate etchings I have ever seen.  I particularly love her tree portraits.  I didn't get pictures of the whole exhibit, since I had to use my iPhone and many didn't really come out well, so this is just a tiny taste.

Today started out rainy and became sunny but very cold and windy later on.  I left the house to go to the mailbox and that was It.  Paid bills and got started on tax stuff, so at least I feel I have made a dent in the must-do list. A small dent, but better than none at all. Another early night for me - brain dead after all that boring inputting into Quicken. Do not ask me why I don't do it as I go along, each month.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

a little bit of sunshine

arrived in a box yesterday.  The last of the Honeybells from Florida, available only in January.
When my parents spent the winters there and we used to visit, my father made orange juice every morning from them.  They make the best juice on earth.  Every year, my parents used to send a giant box of honeybells and grapefruits every January...more than we needed. After my father died in 1987, my mother continued to send them every year. Then she stopped going to Florida.

They are expensive, so I never treated myself to a box of them.  This year, the last chance to order was a bargain, so I decided to do something nice for myself.

What on earth will I do with a couple of dozen honeybells?  What was I thinking?  Maybe I was just looking for a taste of the past, or some sweetness without calories. I ate one over the sink yesterday (that's what you have to do becasue they are so juicy.  Today I took the vintage juicer I grew up with in New Jersey, down from the shelf of collectibles. It is cast aluminum, made in New Britain, CT, probably around 1950. Imagine.
I don't remember my mother ever using it -- she opened cans of Snow Crop Frozen Orange juice and added water.  Daddy squeezed oranges.  Maybe tomorrow morning I will make some juice for myself.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

coming along

I  have finally finished (I think) putting the pieces of one side of this quilt up on the wall, making blocks as I went along and moving a few around here and there so they fit.  It is finally a size that works and now the hard part begins.

Once I start sewing them together they will all get smaller, and what looks like it fits right now will  need some adjustments.  I know this from experience.  When you work like this, there are always spaces that need to be filled in; pieces that must be trimmed, and elements that don't fit together the way you visualized them.
No matter what I am making, this is the way I work and nothing, but NOTHING ever ends up exactly the same as it looks when it is in pieces on the wall.  It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and finding it is not the same size or shape as the picture on the box.  There are pieces missing and then pieces that were not in the picture that end up making the puzzle work.  It can be smaller or larger than the illustrators visualized it being -- but almost always, it is as good or better as the picture you are looking at.  

To me, it is always a surprise (usually good) to see how it turns out.  Fortunately, Emma will not be the art critic on this piece!

So, I am leaving the "before" here while I go take time for myself this rainy, slightly icy, afternoon. I am off to get some long overdue beauty treatments - first and foremost, a trim to this overgrown foliage on my head.  If I can, I will start sewing this thing together tonight.

Tomorrow, I hope the weather is better than this because my Studio Group has an art opening in the afternoon. If the sun is out and you're in driving distance of Watchung, New Jersey - come and share it with us.  I understand it is the best show they have ever had at this major arts center. Fiber (me), sculpture, encaustic, paintings, prints, glass & ceramics, collage, mixed media.

Friday, February 04, 2011

a nice cup of tea and a good read?

The other night, after I finished Notes from the Underwire, I thought it would be nice to have something else to read.  I think I've read every book in the house, but then I thought of the Kindle, permanently plugged in and lonely.  "Aha!," I thought. "I'll borrow a book on Kindle."

I don't remember how I found out about the Kindle Lending Club but I figured I'd pass along the information. In theory, a good idea, but it does have its limitations.  First of all, you can only lend a book once.  That isn't a terrible problem.  However, nobody is looking to borrow any of the books I have on my Kindle. Even if they were, every book I have put up to lend is not lendable, because they are too good or too recent and Amazon has not released them for lending.

The big problem for me is finding a book that I actually want to read.  Here are a few of the books people have to lend.

So if you have nothing else to do, go browse the selections and amuse yourself.  I am going to attack some items on my "to-do" list and for the moment,  joining this Kindle club is not one of them.  Let me know if you have any better luck than I did - LOL.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper had their official book launch party last night in NY City and I was sorry to miss it. They had a HUGE turnout - friends, professional contacts, and the press -- and everybody had a great time. They also sold a lot of autographed copies of Be Your Own Best Publicist.

Here are the two authors, looking beautiful and very proud of their success, which they should be - considering that they both have full-time careers as PR executives. I don't know how they did it!

 The handsome and talented Tommy (better known as Emma's clone) looks justifiably proud, too.

Speakng of books, Jessica lent me a book she said was hilarious - and she was right.  I was laughing out loud from almost the first page.  Notes from the Underwire, by Quinn Cummings is just a hoot - and I highly recommend it if you need a laugh. I finished the book today.  Thanks, Jess.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for all your comments on last night's post.  I hope you'll forgive me if I don't get to thank all ofyou personally but trust me, coming home after a very long and quiet day (except for my giggling at the book) to find your lovely notes brought sunshine into the house.  I wouldn't be here without you.

Sunshine is a mirage; it is freezing rain outside and there is an ice storm warning on the NJ map. I took well-traveled roads home tonight at 5:30 and it was ok -- but parkng lots and driveways were ice-covered.  Everybody I know is planning to stay in tomorrow, including yrs truly.

I don't think I have to get up early but I probably will, anyway.  It is already tomorrow in this part of the world, so goodnight.

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 ...