Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, but not wordless

It has been cold and rainy here for what seems like a month.  We had one beautiful day on Monday and today, it was back to rain (although not cold).

All this rain has been great for my little garden in the front of the house.  I took this last week when the azaleas were still in bloom.  All that pink and purple made me crazy, so I bought a couple of orange and yellow things and stuck the pots in front of the azaleas.  Better, even though you can't really see them very well in this photo.
Unfortunately, most of the orange and yellow flowers are annuals, which I don't plant.  I bought a new kind of deer spray this year and it is not supposed to wash off in the rain.  We shall see.  I'm not sure I trust it.

When I left the house for NY on Tuesday morning, the sun was out. By the time I arrived at City Quilter to meet my friend Bella Kaplan and a new friend, Shoshi Rimer.  Both were on their way home from an Israeli quilt show in Canada and stopped in NY for a few days before they head back to Israel.
We met at City Quilter to see the show at their gallery - quilts by Deb Hyde. They are pretty amazing -- art quilts done completely in the sunshine and shadow traditional pattern.  She does not use a computer, but sketches out her work by hand.

 Well, this is the best I could do with my iPhone.  Bella, Shoshi, and me enjoying ourselves today.

I opted to walk from the Port Authority bus terminal on 40th and 8th to the gallery on 25th between 7th and 6th Aves.  On the way, I encountered a giant black movie cameras and a crowd on the 7th Ave sidewalk.
 They were looking up at this building across the street. Uh? Yes?
I chatted with a guy in a suit who was an extra in the film and he pointed up. Huh?  My eyes are not so good and my phone camera is even worse -- but if you look really closely at the inner circle, you will see a black speck that might resemble a human form.  You can't tell from here, but it was Spiderman.

The guy in the suit was an extra in the movie and he told me they were going to clear the sidewalk as soon as they got the lighting set. Most New Yorkers didn't even bother stopping to see what was going on; they are used to this kind of thing. I went on my way.
 By the time I was on my way back uptown to the bus terminal, it was raining lightly. Of course, no umbrella -- but I didn't care. It was very freeing not to have an umbrella.  Short time in the city, but it was fun!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

fifty years later

Catching up in no particular order...

1.  My college class reunion was more amazing than I dreamed it would be. The last reunion I attended was 25 years ago -- and it was as though no time had passed for those of us who were a tight group in college.  The biggest joy, however, was reconnecting with people we knew peripherally and discovering how much we liked each other: enough to hang out together for the four days and stay in touch afterwards!  I think the fact that it was/still is a woman's college made it very special for a lot of reasons.

Mt. Holyoke has changed (for the better). On the other hand, the first thing I spotted when I walked into the dorm was this relic.  Can't remember the last time I saw one, anywhere!
The girls in the graduating class we talked to looked at us as though we were from Mars when we mentioned:
1) house mothers
2) curfews (11 on weeknights, 12 on Fri & Sun, 1 on Sat) or you got locked out of the dorm.
3) no boys above the first floor unless you were engaged and then it was door open, 3 feet on the floor 4) meals in each dorm dining room, with waitresses  
5) milk and crackers in the kitchen at 10 every night
6) studying in the smoker 
7) compulsory chapel, no matter what your religion
8) gracious living on Wed and Sunday dinner (skirts & heels, candlelight and the house mother poured coffee in the livingroom after dinner so we could learn to be gracious hostesses - LOL). Some girls put skirts on over the gymsuits they had been wearing all day.  Yes, gymsuits!
9) no overnights unless you had written permission from your parents and then you had to leave your address info with the house mother.
10) no cars on campus until senior year.
11) you didn't graduate unless you passed a swimming test.  (I flunked floating and had to retest) 
ETC ETC.  much hilarity.

Here I am with Penny, my roommate for four years.  And yes,we roomed together again for the long weekend.

On our class reunion web page, some interesting facts you may (or not) remember.

Cost of Living 1963

How Much things cost in 1963
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.24%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 1.8%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 762
Average Cost of new house $12,650.00
Average Income per year $5,807.00  (I made $4800 as a teacher, damn good at that time)
Gas per Gallon 29 cents (and a pack of cigarettes was the same price)
Average Cost of a new car $3,233.00
Loaf of bread 22 cents
Bedroom Air Conditioner $149.95
New Ford Cortina $675.00

What Events Happened in 1963
A hurricane and resulting Tsunami cause Flooding in East Pakistan Bangladesh kills 22,000
President John F Kennedy assassinated in the United States
Korea returns to Civilian Rule
Lyndon Johnson Becomes President
An earthquake in Libya destroys the village of Barce - 500 dead
Typhoon Olive with 110 MPH Winds destroyed most of the homes on the Island of Saipan
The Profumo Crisis in the UK causing resignations from the cabinet caused by war minister John Profumo having an affair with Christina Wheeler who was also involved with a Soviet Navy officer
Alcatraz federal penitentiary known as "The Rock" closes
Berlin Wall Opened For 1 Day Passes
1st Beeching Report suggests closing 25% of British Rail
The Sabin oral Polio Vaccine which is taken with a lump of sugar is given nationwide in US and UK
Kenya Gains Independence from Britain
In the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright rules that a fair trial "cannot be realized if the poor man charged with [the] crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him."
Nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Thresher sinks in the Atlantic Ocean
Pope John XXIII dies
Pope Paul VI is elected by College of Cardinals.
The Great Train Robbery takes place in Buckinghamshire, England
First US State Lottery in New Hampshire
Yugoslavia declares President Tito President for Life
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I have a dream" speech
Jack Ruby murders John F. Kennedy's suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald live on television.

There's a lot more, but that's enough for now.

Research for this year is provided by The People History.
See History By Year and Decade for more prices and information.
Find out more about the 60s (or whatever decade you like) at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

random access

I remember years ago being in a crit group that had a challenge, and the phrase was "random access."  Just now I looked up the meaning of the phrase and it was so confusing that I gave up trying to get it.  Back in the day, it had to do with computer memory (RAM= random access memory, which means it could find things that were not sequential). I think.  Seems to me that this was the piece I made for this challenge. The piece was called "Seeking a Reading" and it had to do with Madame somebody-or-other, who was a palm-reader and whose card was found in the walls of what became the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in Manhattan.  I already forget what made the connection for me - but maybe it was having random access to memories or who knows what.
In any case, I am not sure how I got started on this tangent -- but if I trace it back to my day, I will no doubt find a link.  I am attempting to clean out my mother's apartment and the saga continues.  I have finally hired someone to help me make decisions of what to do with all these books, gorgeous antique cut glass, and everything else.  It all has memories for me.  My Nanny (pictured above when she was young) collected this stuff and so did my mother.  Now it all has to go.

On a brighter note - I got an email from Judy Carpenter this morning with a photo of her latest quilt,
Maggieville.  Here is a peek at a bit of this whimsical piece, which you can see and read about on her blog.

Getting an early start tomorrow - will try to post over the weekend from the Mt. Holyoke Campus.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

scarves, scarves, scarves

Not much question where this day went! I turned my kitchen island into a workstation because my sewing room workspace was/is slightly indisposed. Ahem. Of course, this may look familiar, but it is worse than usual, I think.
Even though these scarves had to be yellow, they are not all the same yellow. And even though they had to have certain common elements, everything else I added was up for grabs, depending on my mood, which screens and dyes were at hand, etc. etc.  Here are two of them, for example.

I have been paid for my work and now the Class of 19XX is going to sell them to raise money for the alumni fund.  I decided that instead of having people rifle through a pile of 50 slightly different items, hemming and hawing over which one they liked better, I would order from ClearBags and fold/insert each into one of those little bags.  They will pay their money and take their chances - they get what they get. The people taking turns selling them will have an easier time. 

What I didn't bargain for is how long it would take me to number, tag, fold, and insert the little beauties so they look NEAT.  Half the day and I am still not done.  But I have about 3/4 of them packaged, so that's not bad. I can take the rest with me to my crit group tomorrow and these can be my "what I have been doing for the last three months" contribution.
I will confess that I would rather teach for several days than to ever do another commission this large. However, it's almost done and I can move on. To what?

I suppose I could do something with this piece sitting on my bulletin board/design wall.  
 It is not as blue as these bad photos make it look: it's really gray.  This (below) is what it was previously (actually, this is the other half I haven't done anything with yet). A contribution from my friend Rachel. 
Or, maybe I should start something completely new. It might be time for some therapy strips.  Well, it will all have to wait. The rest of the week is scheduled up the wazoo.  Time to rest up for it.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

where did the day go?

Vanished in a cloud of answering emails, sending out supply lists, and a little bit of website tweaking.  

For those of you who can get to my my exhibit in North Carolina, here is where it is.  
Of course, I took terrible pictures, but here are a few anyway.  Even though it was a retrospective, the quilts that spoke to each other or worked together were not necessarily in chronological order and didn't go up the way I had pictured that they might.  Hanging a show is a trip and a learning experience, every single time. 

 This was part of the wall on the right of the sanctuary.

This was one section of the back wall.

These next two pieces were on the front wall, hanging together.  It was the first time I had seen them displayed in many years.  The first time they hung together it was 1998 and I put them into the guild show.  They shared first prize -- not because they were perfect, but because they had impact.  The judges were artists, not quilt police.
Last Stop

Prozna St., Warsaw
Below, Marni and one of her assistants are adjusting the work on this Walker hanging system.  I had to cut holes in the sleeves of several of my pieces to accomodate the hanging fixtures.sigh...
This is a very short week.  Got home late Sunday night (it is a long drive) and spent Monday doing errands and dealing with my mother's apartment, which I now have to clean out and put on the market in very short order.  Not easy with all my traveling.  Don't ask. Tomorrow, I am ironing, numbering, folding and packing 50 silk scarves. Thursday is my crit group -- we have not seen each other in eons .  Of course, I have nothing to show because everything current is in the exhibit. Friday I am spending with my college roommate whom I have not seen in 25 years. THAT should be lovely. And there is the week! 

So -- off goes this sleep-deprived person to make some coffee and iron some scarves, which are sitting on my kitchen island.  I know this is a boring post but honestly, my life isn't that interesting. Trust me on this.

home and in retrospect...

 Have you stayed tuned?  The rest of the time in Durham-Chapel Hill was so busy and I found it so hard to post from my iPad that I gave up till I got home.  Here I am - knee-deep in contracts and paperwork and emails that waited for me while I was away.

Earlier, I neglected to mention that we went to the North Carolina Museum of Art while we were there. The new part of the museum looks from the outside like warehouses, but inside it is light and airy and is simply one of the best-designed art spaces I have ever seen. Here are two of my favorite pieces of the contemporary art that was there. The figure was covered in buttons and made us smile.

The painting reminded me of  Terry Jarrard-Dimond's work, which I love.

Saturday afternoon we hung the artwork on the sanctuary walls.  The sanctuary was designed so that the walls surrounding the seating could show artwork -- and it's great because the congregation can look at the art while they are worshipping.  Art and spirituality -- what a lovely combination!

No two people would hang a show precisely the same way in most cases, but in this case it became clear almost immediately how the 20-something pieces I brought would speak to each other and the process went pretty easily.  We were helped by the art committee volunteers who straightened, aligned, and labeled the pieces and I am very pleased with the way everything flows.  I think there were only 2 pieces I did not hang.

  Later, I will post whatever pictures I took that actually came out:-).

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Weekend in the Triangle

After a rather long day on the road,we arrived last night in Durham. To say that route 95 was a parking lot from D.C till way past Richmond,VA into understate the traffic conditions. But we made it and went out to a fabulous dinner with our friends Marni and Fred.

Today, we had a tour of the Chapel at Duke University-- a beautiful and imposing neo gothic structure.

More later.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

up late tonight & a book review

Watching all 4 episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee, season one. Insane, but I really needed to sit and do nothing tonight.  Sandy Snowden posted the links today and the shows were fun to watch. However, I've had my fill and don't think I'll watch the reruns of season 2.

What I haven't had my fill of is Valerie Goodwin's soon-to-be-published, gorgeous new book, Art Quilt Maps. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and have to say It is a treat for the eye, a moving personal journey, and a poetic guide to creating your own fiber art maps. 

In fact, from the introduction through the galleries at the end, I found the book compelling enough to procrastinate my "must-do" chores until I had read from start to finish.

Beautifully illustrated with examples of her own work and a gallery of other artists' maps, the book shows how original and diverse the results can be.  Valerie takes us from starting places (visual and verbal exercises that generate ideas) through creating the layers, to arriving at the finish line (what to add at the end to make your work distinctive).  Along the way, her own design and creative process will inspire you to try this way of working.  

If you love Valerie's work, as I do, or have taken a workshop with her, you will certainly want a copy when it is released.  Now that my list of 'must-do" chores has gotten shorter, I'm going to go back and read it again. It's a winner!


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 ...