Monday, May 30, 2011

RIP Marty Gillman

My sweet husband died this morning (Monday, May 30) after 13 years of living with Parkinson's Disease.
There is nothing else to say.

Monday, May 23, 2011

studio time

Today, I had an Idea but I couldn't make it work.  So I dug into my boxes and stuck some of the strips I had sitting around, onto the design wall.  They don't look like anything much but at least it made me feel productive.

I sewed these gray ones together when I was in West Palm Beach in January 2010, cooped up at night with bad lighting in the spare room in my mother's apartment.  Yep, they have been sitting around since then. They will continue to sit because I haven't got a use for them at the moment. And no, you can't have them -- you have to make your own.

These are the yellow therapy strips I was working on a couple of weeks ago. I like the way they look, but they are not soup yet.  They may sit around for a couple of years, too.  We'll see.

I came home from the studio around 4:00 and took a nap -- something I rarely do. But I needed it, and now I am going to bed at an ungodly early hour (10:30 pm), the sound of pouring rain on the skylights. And I just heard thunder. There is something comforting about the sound of rain when you are trying to go to sleep. G'night.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's still Sunday

It should not be getting dark at 6:45 Eastern Daylight Savings Time, but it is. RAIN again, after a mostly sunny day yesterday. I hope all the people who were in their gardens yesterday went to the quilt show today in the rain.  Good day for being inside.

I am back home after a lovely afternoon doing a lecture/demo at the Westfield (NJ) Art Association -- an eclectic group of printmakers, sculptors, painters, and appreciators (i.e. the spouses of the members).
Due to my scatterbrained-ness (is there such a word?) I left several items at home that I might have printed with. But I made it work and just narrated as I randomly printed. I always let the group know that I don't plan ahead and have no clue what I am doing - just to manage their expectations and cover my you-know-what. Frankly, I think they were not used to having a speaker/demonstrator who was so informal -- and they all enjoyed themselves, except for the three people who fell asleep during my talk. Ah, well, you can't please everybody.

I showed them my work printed with tape, glue, and paper resists and then showed process.  It is always amazing to me that I come away from a workshop or lecture or whatever, with a piece of demo fabric that I am happy with and could not have printed if I had planned it.  Someday I should have an exhibit of demo pieces.  Can't seem to get away from myself -- but then, I guess that is the case with most of us.  Right?

What happens when you try to get away from yourself?  Does it work?  It's like trying to change your handwriting.  The handwriting analysis detectives will find you out every time.

Tonight I am baking cookies. Ross Gillman was here for a visit but left before the cookies were done.
I still have another batch in the oven. You can ignore this recipe if you've seen it here before. I am not a sweet-eater (unless it is Haagen Dazs) but these are addictive because they are not too sweet. I prefer a very scant 1/2 c. sugar and a drop of vanilla.  Tonight I threw caution to the winds and added a pinch of salt, which was not in the recipt.  But neither is the vanilla.

Cookie Crescents
Into the food processor, throw:
3/4 c. unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks)
1 cup flour (I prefer white whole wheat)
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
As soon as dough comes together, stop. Take about 1 tsp of dough (or less), roll between your hands, make into crescent and flatten. ( I get about 6 doz).
Line cookie sheets with parchment (or not)
Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 min or till slightly brown at edges. Yum yum. 

Still packing supplies (or rather, looking at the half-filled box).  I have to say that I am happy with my new iPhone 4 (which, unfortunately, can't take a picture of itself - although it can do almost anything else).
The resolution is clear as a bell, it is fast, and it is white. What the big deal about the white iPhone is, I will never know.  But since I was offered both, I took the way cool, desirable one for the same price.  The only problem (which they never tell you) is that the glass is.02 milimeters thicker than the one on the black iPhone, so unless you buy your case from ATT or Apple (UGLY!!) it doesn't cover the edge of the glass.
So this way cool-ness is probably not worth it - and old people don't need to be way cool,anyway. They (I) can just BE.  

So I shall just BE for the next day or two.  Why don't you join me and just BE, too? Even if you are not old.

better than the dentist

I spent a pleasant half-hour with Richard, my dentist, while he fixed my chipped tooth again. I have never minded going to the dentist and don't understand why people have such a problem with the tooth doctor.

Even as a child, going to the dentist was always a good experience for me (and back in the dark ages, there were no pediatric dentists - just family dentists). My family dentist always explained what he was going to do and how it was going to feel (usually, "you'll feel a little pinch") or sound (you'll hear a high-pitched buzz from the drill) and by managing our expectations as kids, he took away all the mystery and all of the fear.  I can still hear Dr. Craig saying to his nurse, "big plugger" or "little plugger" when he was filling a cavity. 

Well, another post that wrote itself and got off track. Let's get back to the Garden State Quilt Show.

I divided my afternoon between greeting old friends, hanging out with Usha, and looking at the quilts.

It was a guild show with 300 quilts -- there were art quilts and interpretations of tradtional quilts. If the quilt was not original, the maker said "inspired by a class with..." or "inspired by a quilt by so-and-so". Lighting was splendid and the quilts were beautifully displayed.  The whole show was very professional and light years better than the shows run by some professional quilt show organizers that have shows around the country.

Friend and fellow teacher, Elizabeth Rosenberg, saw my blog post and drove quite a distance to see Usha and me.  What a great surprise!!   After the show closed we went out for an Indian dinner.  Here we are, snapped with my new iPhone 4. which I was holding at arm's length.  We had such a fun time together!
After I dropped Usha at her hotel, I stopped at Patel Brothers supermarket which was on the way home.
Stocked up on a bunch of spices I was out of (or almost); ginger, papadams, hot peppers, bindi (okra) and a box of Lipton tea from India that I am sure is better than the tea blended in the U.S.
I didn't bring home much fabric, but what I have makes me happy. Now, if I can only find time to sew.  This afternoon, I am doing a program --screenprinting demo - at an art association meeting.  I had better go get organized.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Usha is vending in New Jersey this weekend!!

LISTEN UP!!! -- All you Handloom Batik junkies in the CT-NY-NJ-PA metro area -- Usha is vending this weekend at the Garden State Quilt Guild show on Sat-Sun, May 21-22.  If you haven't bought enough of her gorgeous cloth, or haven't discovered it yet -- now's your chance!!

The show will be held at the Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ. and will have 300 quilts, according to what I have heard.   Driving directions here.

I missed Usha in March when she was at the NJ Mancuso show because I was traveling, and I didn't get to Paducah during the AQS show - so I am excited to have found out yesterday that she'll be  a half-hour away from me this weekend. NOT that I need any more of her fabric.  (But as my father used to say, "what does need have to do with it?")

This afternoon I was in the studio and wanted to see what I had sitting around.   I found some; many of them were leftover strips.  Yummy - but where was the rest of it?
The rest of it was at home. After some searching, I remembered that when I reorganized my sewing room neatly (past tense) I had shoved the plastic bag with all the pieces into a drawer. So now I had to take them out and see where I need to fill in.   After a while, I gave up; there was no more room on the table.
It's really embarrassing that I am even thinking about acquiring more.  (don't I look embarrassed?)
So if you see me there on Saturday afternoon (yes, I'll be there) DO NOT LET ME BUY ANYTHING!  After the show, Usha and I are going out for Indian food.  If you want to join us, just show up at the Handloom Batik booth a little before 5:00, when the show closes.

various and sundry

Don't you hate it when you walk into another room for something and by the time you get there, you can't remember what you were looking for?  Then you have to turn around and walk back to where you started, which is guaranteed to trigger the memory. Then you hope you don't forget again by the time you reach the other room.

Manila envelope.  I'm collecting paperwork for my trip in a couple of weeks to the North Carolina Quilt Symposium and the big envelopes are in the kitchen, under the junk pile on what was supposed to be the desk. I might not live long enough to clean it off.  I am also in the process of packing a box of supplies, but I forgot to check things off as I put them in and I am not going to unpack it now. I have to get the box out by Monday.  Do I send the quilts for my lecture or do I schlep them in the suitcase/ Or both?

The weather is so depressing and gloomy that I decided to go to the Short Hills Mall in a huge rainstorm. That had to be desperation.  I tried to trade in my iPhone 3 for a 4 but it is 2 days before the date I am allowed to do so, so that was the end of that. I wandered around, noticing the new stores and the old ones in new locations. Here I am, near Bloomingdale's, having just come from a store that purports to carry Birkenstocks. Two pair and boring, so I didn't bother.  But I thought the flowers in the case were lovely (yes, they are real) and I imagined sunshine.  Then I headed outside into the rain.

The dentist fixed my chipped tooth last week but it broke again. Maybe I should get a refund. If it is not pouring again tomorrow, maybe another visit.  We shall see.  In the meantime, I will read another chapter of The Happiness Project in preparation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

class act

Today was the spur-of-the-moment screenprinting studio workshop that I scheduled due to popular demand. Like all of my studio classes, this one was limited to five people because of space and of course, as usual, I was so busy teaching that I forgot to take pictures of all the cool stuff hanging on the design wall. A bunch of live wires, this group! 

Vivien Zepf and Sherryl Buchler were both in the class and printing up a storm.  Vivien had to leave early, so she printed nonstop. She's in the turquoise at the back of the picture between Ife and Sherryl, probably packing up. I hope she will put some pix of her fabric on her blog. 

Carol Esch, an experienced dyer, came to class with some hand-dyes that she thought needed some TLC and she printed some striking designs using masking tape on the screen.  This is one in process.

Linda took a similar screen printing class with me in November but wanted to learn more, so she came today.  The more she played, the more exciting her fabric became -- and becoming more familiar with the process enabled her to experiment without worrying about how it would turn out.  In fact, this fabric turned out to be her favorite -- and I understand why.  Later, she printed silk scarves with thickened dyes and a similar screen.  We steamed them and she took them home to wash; I hope she sends me pictures of how they turned out.
Ife (pronounced Eefay) had never screenprinted before, although she stamps and embellishes and made the most gorgeous piece out of one of her husband's shirts.  I wish you could see it.  Anyway, she didn't like anything she printed at first but by the end of the day,she was really happy with what she had done.
Here is one print she made

and here she is, admiring the ghost print.(Vivien in back, again)
It felt so good to get back into the classroom -- it has been a long winter and this was an energizing day.

They want to know when the next class is. Uh - we'll see. For the moment, I am staying put in this chair, watching a little video.

Monday, May 16, 2011

moving on

Yes, it is still raining in NJ. Grim, grey, drizzly and expected to be this way all week.  But the plants in my postage stamp garden are sprouting and I was able to get a photo or two this morning as I left for the dentist.

After more years than I care to count, my poor little midget Japanese Maple is the same size as when it was planted.  At least it fills in the spaces. The Rhodies are better this year than they have been and so are the azaleas.  But the garden needs yellow or orange. 

This has been a busier couple of weeks than I can remember in a while -- I am winding down on a big project I've been working on for some time. Not finished yet, but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tomorrow I'm teaching a screen printing class in the studio and am looking forward to it because it will give me a chance to print a little and have some fun with five other artists.  I hope to have more pictures and more to report about the goings-on.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

My mother's day gift

Want to know more about me??  Just in case you didn't see it on my Facebook page, I want to share this with you.

Hope you all had as good a weekend as I did!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Zowie! Time to blog

Ha! I started this post last night and was too tired to finish it.  Here it is, Friday morning and I am determined to post before life gets in the way again.

I've been working all week on something that I need to send out FedEx tomorrow and it is a miracle that I have finished it.  This has been a week of non-stop activity and concomitant stress, but I managed to get in a few hours at the studio and another few hours with some new friends at an old friend's house. Much time spent in my sewing room/office doing office things and no sewing. Oh, well.

The few hours in the studio gave me time to print four scarves, which I had dyed a long time ago and were waiting for the next step..  My scarves are a seemingly endless process, but here are a few pictures.  They had all been dyed a pale blue, but I had apparently added orange to this one and it ended up a murky sort of orange-blue-beige.

The alphabet was left over from a deconstructed screen I had made just before this and there was enough dye left to stamp with. Then I screen printed over it. Again and again and again.
This already has two layers on it, using 5 or 6 different screens, but wasn't there yet.
You can see the 3rd layer here, made with one last screen.  All the graffiti and 9 out of 10 images are from my own photos or marks on paper.Ditto the textures.  Occasionally, a copyright free image -- but those are rare and honestly, I prefer my own from start to finish.
I think I must be insane to put all this work into my scarves. But I must admit, I get sucked in by the process and the challenge of making each one different.  And I can't resist the graffiti look.
 This one has a different feel, despite working with whatever limited colors I had on hand.  I took this picture years ago of an elegant old woman with a cane, walkng her dog on Fifth Ave. in NY. The text is from a poem I wrote many years ago, and the trees and lines are from my own photos.  Too much work!
 And finally, this one.  I printed the first layer of squares and lines, now pale because I hated them and washed them out immediately. Hung the scarf up to dry, then went back in with the more vivid layers. The mesh image is the same one I used on the graffiti scarf, but a piece of paper had accidently stuck to the screen so I left it there and used it as a resist.  Serendipity; I couldn't have done it on purpose.
Five layers on this one, too. Now you know all my secrets.  The joy is in the process, but also in the unplanned results.  Unfortunately, there is no way to do them faster. And because of LIFE getting in the way of art, I did not have these available in time for Mother's Day gifts. But that's the way it goes.

 Now, back to the business of going to the bank, paying bills, and sending out supply lists.  OH - I almost forgot: Due to requests yesterday, I'm scheduling a spur of the moment one day screenprinting class (not Thermofax) on Monday, May 17th in my studio.  I have 3 spaces left.  Yes, it's last minute but if you are in driving distance of Northern NJ and want to take it, contact me. If it's filled, I will try to schedule another one or two over the summer.

Monday, May 02, 2011

new york beauty

First there was the 20 minute (which felt like 20 mile) detour on the way to the Holland Tunnel because they are rebuilding the road which is the most direct route.  Then there was the unending wait to get into and through the tunnel. I wondered if it was the aftermath of the car chase and shooting/capture of two criminals in the tunnel a day or two ago. But no: an announcement over the radio as I sat in the tunnel, said there were roads closed and would be delays because of the annual 5 boro bike tour.  So 5 million bicyclists were holding up the works!  Great.  Why didn't I know about this? I could have taken the train.

Fast forward to an hour and a half later and I arrived at Jessica's. We had to leave because there was an open house, so we put Emma in the stroller and went out to Beast, our favorite place for brunch and other meals.
Brunch means bloody marys - which we finally got.  I will not describe the hour and a half wait for our food, but I think this says it all.
Without going into details of WHY it was so delayed, suffice it to say the waitress brought us two more bloody marys, a comp French Toast (which miss E. ate while waiting for her scrambled eggs) and although the food was delicious when it FINALLY came, the waitress comped us the whole meal. Exactly right.
Brooklyn street scene

 It took me two hours to get home. After I got off the Manhattan Bridge I spotted this useful sign.

On Canal Street, there was so much traffic to the tunnel that there were traffic cops on every cross street.  So, not only did we stop at red lights, we stopped at green ones. What should have been a 20 minute ride took an hour.  As I sat at a red? green? light near the tunnel, I saw a strange sight.
Huh?  Lots of identical things that looked like cars.  But what were they?
Sculptures?  Whatever it was, New York Street Art at its weirdest.
  One more visual treat as I was going into the tunnel.  The truck! The sides were great, too - but I missed them.
All in all I spent twice us much time in the car as I did with my kids. But it was worth it. And before i left, Jessica gave me my mother's day gift. I opened it while I was with her.  Thanks, Jess!
Exactly what I need! I think I'll start reading it now.

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 ...