Monday, October 31, 2011

a slight digression...

More about Market, but first...
I will skip the usual shot of the snow-capped table on my deck; it's not that interesting.  The sun melted what was on the roads yesterday but couldn't melt the downed wires or big trees blocking everything in many places.  When i got home last night I could see the piles on my street left by the plows and I cleaned the heavy, icy stuff off my windshield this morning.  I am lucky. The high school has been turned into a shelter for those without power and school may be cancelled again tomorrow. Halloween was cancelled.
The last time NJ had snow in October was 1952, and then it was only a dusting.

On the other hand, look at my woods!!  If this were a painting, it would be trite.  But this is real.  Oh, my.

OK - back to Market. As I walked around with my camera looking for trends, I finally decided  there wasn't one that dominated.  There were still plenty of brown, beige, muted repro fabrics for that segment of the market.  Otherwise, I just saw more of what was fresh two years ago.   Here are my highly skewed and unscientific observations...


I really thought this was a gorgeous display.

ed note #1:  Why people need an actual pattern for a four-patch surrounded by a frame is beyond me. Seems to me that any quilter with basic skills can cut squares and strips without needing a pattern.

HOME DEC FABRICS FOR QUILTS and everything else.

ed. note #2: The nesting instinct has taken over (it usually does in a depression) and I saw LOTS of charming, domestically themed prints being used interchangeably for quilts, slipcovers, pillows, aprons, tablecloths, placemats and bibs.Colors are soft and restful.


ed note #3:  a hallmark of the "modern" quilt -- asymmetrical squares and/or rectangles set into a white background.  Very lovely.  Very impractical.  White shows every dust particle, not to mention the substances that babies are likely to spit up onto these lovely items. What are these people thinking? Maybe I'll make a white quilt and find out.

That's enough snarkiness for tonight. Life is catching up with me and I'm off to have sweet dreams.
Part 3 tomorrow. Nice to go away and good to be home:-).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

market blog

Ahhhhh - happiness is being at Quilt Market.  I am having so much fun!  Arrived Thursday and the vendors were not even close to being set up.  Had a delicious dinner with Carol Doak and Katie Pasquini-Masopust - a good end to a travel day.

Friday afternoon, it was my turn to give a Schoolhouse for shop owners about my new book.  Quilts and lots of before-and-after blocks that were so much fun!  Here I am with my book and the quilt I made in 2003 for Usha's booth (Handloom Batik) -- a very early free-form quilt.  Little did I guess I'd be writing about this one day.
By evening, I caught up with Iris Karp of MistyFuse and kept her company while she set up her booth. By then, the hall looked like this: all set up and absolutely empty and peaceful.  It wouldn't look like this again.

I started today with a book signing.  It was so great to meet people from all over, and to chat with them as I signed copies of my book.  There were only a few dozen books available so everybody had to take a number.  They won't be available till sometime in November -- in a couple of weeks.  They will be in the fabric stores but Amazon will not have them for quite a while, yet.  

 Later, I walked the floor today, overwhelemed with everything - but got a few pix.  There were still quite a few brown traditional quilts, but I also saw lots of bright colors. 

Ran into Susan Brubaker Knapp this afternoon and it was fun to catch up. Her book, Point Click Quilt has been out since April. This is not the most wonderful picture  but my iPhone was tired. 

Tonight was another treat --dinner with two friends from Australia - Annie and her friend Annette. I have to say that the food in the Hilton restaurant is excellent and we had a leisurely, laugh-filled evening.
Are you tired yet of seeing my face in all these pictures? I'm not as cute as Miss Emma, but oh well. 

 Time to turn in -- I have to see the rest of the market and the rest of the quilt show.  No pictures allowed of the best quilts, so that was that.  But as far as Market - tomorrow I'll talk about what trends I am seeing and will try to get more pictures of the madhouse. I'm leaving tomorrow night -- to go home to 4-6" of SNOW in New Jersey.  Good grief!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

like eating peanuts

 I can't help it -- I seem to be doing one of these almost every day.  For what?? An addiction that I hope will be temporary (unlike some of my others).

I was in the studio again today, but I think that's it for the week. Have to pack for Houston!   Sliced up some more random stuff lying around and made this little piece, which is much too orderly around the edges for my taste.  Will have to make it look more random or I won't be happy.  And we want me to be happy, don't we?? However, the fix will have to wait till tomorrow (although technically it IS tomorrow).

In the meantime...if you need an Emma fix... Here she is in her favorite hat, which I bought for her last month. She loves hats.

This expression always makes me laugh. She's been clowning around like this since she was little. Yikes, she's 20 months old! How did that happen?  Do you think she'll still be making this face when she's married?

Here we are with a more socially acceptable expression.


Monday, October 24, 2011

inside an acorn

I have a ton of these vintage blocks.  OK - at least a dozen. Been working my way through them, one at a time - seeing what I could do to save them and create something new.  This is all part of my therapy sewing project which has evolved in an attempt to get my creativity back.

As I was staring at the latest permutation, rotary cutter in hand and about to pounce, my email pinged.  There, sent by one of my loyal and strangely prescient blog readers (as it turns out), was a snippet of an interview with Philip Roth.  

While Roth is a writer, his answer to the question below applies equally well to those of us who are visual artists. Even if you have an idea of where you'd like to go with something you have just started -- whether it's a monoprint, a collage, a painting, or a textile piece, don't you find that it never (or rarely) ends up precisely as you had visualized it?  Even the most detailed maquettes may change slightly along the way because serendipity rears its lovely head and changes things in the process.

Q: Which of your many books succeeded best at conveying what you had in mind when you started to write it?

Philip Roth: What I have in mind when I start to write could fit inside an acorn -- an acorn, moreover, that rarely if ever grows into an oak.  Write fiction and you relinquish reason.  You start with an acorn and you end up with a mackerel.  Unfortunately, my workday does not support the argument for a universe of "intelligent design."  Chance and staying power.  That's the hand that imagination's dealt.

Three of the blocks I have hacked up over the past six months

Chance and staying power... need I say more?  :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

guest blogger today!

 My friend Eva is having trouble posting to her blog, Colourful Research.   Blogger is eating her posts, so she's a guest blogger on mine today!  Here is her post, which I am honored to have here.  Be sure to check back with her blog to see when she is able to post.

Although I love quilting and embroidery, there are phases in which I rather use paints to express my ideas. I prefer English gouache for the brilliance of its colors.

The idea of an extreme contrast, reached by the use of gouache paint, has been haunting me for years. The intention is to enhance contrast and reach a neon-like effect without using neon paint. These are experiments about the effect of complementary colors -- how do they interact with the contrast of dark and light? How do subdued colors influence brilliant hues?

The theme is: Strata. Layers of earth and other material. "Bohemian Green Earth" is about earth as a source of color, of a green that used to be very popular among painters before synthetic colors were invented. There is Bohemian and Veronese green earth, the first one more olive, the second one slightly blueish.
My intention to use more subdued colors is regularly thwarted by my instinct that keeps driving me to the unbroken tones. "Tectonic Destruction" also deals with layers; the title refers to the light-minded attitude we have towards these layers. In old Tibet, people never dared to dig in the earth, fearing that they would disturb evil spirits that might come to the surface. Thinking of the fracking problem, we might need a bit more of this attitude.

"Moon over Craigleith" -- Half of Edinburgh, Scotland, was built of the sandstone from the Craigleith quarry which later was filled with debris, and a supermarket stands on the site now. The neon lights of today's city flicker over it.

These small paintings are approximately letter format, some are painted on black paper, some on white paper, then cut out and mounted on black cardboard.

Creating and enjoying combinations of colors goes slow when painting. It is faster when I use kinetic arts like mobilÈs. I'm working on a type of abstract mobiles, like I started building them a few months ago. The number of variations is limited by the space to hang them in our flat.

So I'm just keeping the perfect sample and demolish the older versions. The constant motion of the painted mini sculptures allows millions of combinations, making the object a composition machine.

If you leave a comment on my blog she'll be able to read them till her own blog gets sorted out.  See 'ya.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

my woods are turning

Yesterday was drizzly and grey, but even in the rain, my woods sang with a small burst of color.  Despite what follows this season, autumn has always been for me, a joyful time of beginnings.
Every year I take pictures of my woods in season as they cycle. And while they may not look that different, for me they are always new.  This season is crisp, pungent, exuberant, and ripe with possibilities: a time to celebrate life.  Especially this year.
Last night I unpacked the fabrics and how-to's and bits I created for the book and sorted through them, since they are all pieces I can incorporate into new work.  I've been dying to get them back.
So, in the spirit of beginnings, I am off to the studio with these bits this afternoon to see what I can do with these new possibilities!

Monday, October 17, 2011

home again, home again jiggety jog

When I got home tonight from the airport, my advance copy of Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts was waiting for me. It looks great! I'm so happy with the job C&T has done with it.  Here is the back cover. Excuse the photo - the flash ignored my request for it to go play outside while I was shooting. Nonetheless, I am excited!

It was a great week and now I am going to rest so I can get back to real life, tomorrow.

it's been a tough week

Meetings, meetings, meetings - dawn to dusk.  Even at meals.  We have been working nonstop, dealing with business and professional issues and resolving open items from last year's meeting.
 Leslie Jenison and Susan Ettl on the roof deck during a short break.
                                       Maggie Weiss, cooling off her feet between meetings.
We broke up the business parts with gallery sessions in which we got a chance to see examples of art cloth everyone had done during the year.   For me, that meant scarves.  For others, larger, wonderful pieces.  Here are just a few.

Downtown St. Pete is a pretty place.  The trees in the park were lit up at night, the weather was balmy and pretty much perfect.  Lots of restaurants, cafes, music outside, and young people spilling onto the sidewalks at night.  

I was sorry that the business meetings and planned events did not leave me any time to return phone calls, answer emails, or see my friends who live in the area, but if I get back there to teach again it will be different.  I am back on the right coast of Fla today and will be home tonight.  My advance copy of the new book should be there to greet me.  Next blog post will be from my own computer.

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 ...