Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Deb R invited us to list our personal fiction favorites. Since I spend time in a really great LIBRARY practically every day, I guess you could say reading is an occupational hazard. "Favorites" are something I find difficult because I enjoy so many. I decided the best thing to do to was look at the bookshelves at home, because these are books that I actually bought, and live with, and haven't passed on. Since I have many, many bookshelves in my house and they are usually overfull, I do pass on a lot of books. To be consistent, I will stay away from all the ART books on my shelves, and focus on fiction.

"Little Women", Louisa May Alcott
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Maya Angelou
"The Heart of A Woman", Maya Angelou
"The Handmaid's Tale", Margaret Atwood
"Cat's Eye", Margaret Atwood
"Lady Oracle", Margaret Atwood
"Girl With A Pearl Earring", Tracy Chevalier
"The Red Tent", Anita Diamant
"Good Harbor, A Novel," Anita Diamant
"The Complete Poetry of Emily Dickenson"
"The Radiant Way", Margaret Drabble
"Selected Writings of Emerson", edited by Donald McQuade
"A Great Deliverance", Elizabeth George
"A Place of Hiding", Elizabeth George
"Deception On His Mind", Elizabeth George
"Playing For the Ashes", Elizabeth George
"The Autobiography of Henry VIII", Margaret George
"Mary Called Magdalene", Margaret George
"Autobiography of a Face", Lucy Grealy
"gods in Alabama", Joshilyn Jackson
"The Secret Life of Bees", Sue Monk Kidd
"To Kill a Mockingbird", Harper Lee
"The Fifth Child", Doris Lessing
"The Golden Notebook", Doris Lessing
"Gift from the Sea", Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"Jewel", Bret Lott
"I, Elizabeth", Rosalind Miles
"Runaway", Alice Munro
"Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage", Alice Munro
"Bel Canto", Ann Patchett
"Truth & Beauty", Ann Patchett
"Plain Truth" Jodi Picoult
"Circles on the Water, Selected Poems of Marge Piercy"
"Black and Blue, a novel", Anna Quindlen
"Blessings", a novel, Anna Quindlen
"Object Lessons", Anna Quindlen
"One True Thing", Anna Quindlen
"Housekeeping", Marilynne Robinson
"A Durable Fire", May Sarton
"The House By the Sea: A Journal", May Sarton
"Dress Your Family in Coruroy and Denim", David Sedaris
"Fortune's Rocks", Anita Shreve
"The Pilot's Wife", Anita Shreve
"Dear Theo, the autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh", Irving Stone
(ok, this is sort of an "art" book, but there are no pictures, I promise)
"Collected Essays and Poems", Henry David Thoreau
"The Bluebird Carries the Sky on His Back"
"Accidental Tourist", Anne Tyler
"Dinner At the Homesick Restaurant", Anne Tyler
"Ladder of Years", Anne Tyler
"Leaves of Grass", Walt Whitman
"A Room of One's Own", Virginia Woolf
"Mrs. Dalloway" Virginia Woolf

Ok, that's about 50, so I have to stop NOW. Aren't books wonderful? Infinite worlds, just there for the taking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Frank Stella

Frank Stella is a legendary artist who has been creating amazing work for over 50 years, and as far as I know he's still going strong. I love to look at his works and see the changes over the years, as well as the stylistic thread of continuity.

This one is from 2001.

Done in 1969

From 1982.

Sorry I didn't manage to get these up in proper chronological order, but you get the idea. Pretty great, huh? If you have time to explore the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website, you can see lots of Frank's work, and watch a video as well.
When you have time, google up his name and prepare to be amazed.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Joseph Stella

Joseph Stella
1877 - 1946
Oil on canvas
76 x 57 inches (193.0 x 144.8 cm

I ran across this today in a lovely art book on Joseph Stella. When I hear "Stella", I remember Frank from art history, but I was not familiar with Joseph Stella's work. So, this image is for the Two Madonna gals.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sonja Svete

This is "Wavy". pastel on paper, artist Sonja Svete.

This is "Purple Swing", pastel on paper, artist Sonja Svete.

I love these, they have such an organic feel. If you would like to see more, go spend some time at the worldwide art gallery.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Alice Hoffman is one of my favorites. What I always like about this author, besides her finely crafted words, are the stories. Always intriguing, always human, always thoughtful.

This one by Barbara Ehrenreich made me think. She goes "undercover" and works as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aid, and Wal-Mart salesperson.
Long ago I worked some of these jobs myself, so I know how back breaking some of them are. Her stories about what these jobs are like did not surprise me. What did surprise me is just how far short of a decent (ie "indoor")living they can provide.
I realized that a critical differrence for me was that I did them as a student, and I did them with hope for a better life in the future. Millions of Americans are working for poverty level wages, they are working hard, and they are not surviving.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

More Goldsworthy and a little reflection

Here are some more inspiring images from Andy Goldsworthy's work. They are from the film "Rivers and Tides". Terrific to watch and probably available from your local library.

I got a wonderful sparkling postcard from Frances, and will post a nice picture as soon as I can. Thanks Frances!I know I am late with my own postcards, but they are coming...will someone be kind enough to re-send me the address list? I can't seem to find it...

I am just blown away by what I saw on Fibermania today. THIS is exactly what I have wished to achieve but haven't yet. Just like all those other painters I admire so much. Now I am inspired to go sling some more paint....hope springs eternal....

The free time I have has been spent sewing a traditional quilt that will be a gift. I have been debating about color and border design, but I think it will include some machine applique. The "deadline" for this one is approaching, so it gets my attention. If only I didn't need to sleep, I could get so much more done!

There is always lots of discussion on various lists about the "place" for art and the "place" for traditional work, and usually there is tension between the two groups. Art quilters complain about not being understood by traditional quilters, and traditional quilters complain that their work is unappreciated and is being "edged out" by art quilts. Well, I love both, so sometimes I feel like a split personality. Long before I ever began making quilts, I admired and purchased antique quilts. I love the sense of history and the stories, real or imagined, about the women who made these quilts. I imagine how designing and sewing these quilts brought a glimmer of creative light into lives that were all about work and hardship. The quilts were necessary, but also a labor of love. Just as when we make them today, we think about how they will be used to bring warmth and comfort.

And art? Well, that is my joy and my sanity. If I am too pressed for time to work at making some, then I can look at it, reflect on it, and feed my spirit with the joy of color and form. That's why I like to post and share art here on my blog.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bea Danckaert

"Abstract Day"

"Violet Statistics II"

Postcard From Valeri

Rock Pool #4 Posted by Picasa

This is the beautiful postcard, Rock Pools #4, that I got from Valeri. She writes "A little taste of Cornwall. Rock pools galore and interesting rock form..."
Thanks Val for a beautiful card!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Missing Fall and PIQF

Photos by Claudio Pallard.

Even when I don't have much to talk about, I like to share some images. I know what visual junkies you all are, so here are some more visuals to celebrate my "I'm missing fall" obsession. Looking at all those lovely piled up apples makes me want to do a piece with spheres. It also makes me hungry.
Wish I were at PIQF, but I am enjoying the posts from those who are. Debs, your quilts look great hanging, and so do list mom Diane's (see Gerrie's blog today). I love that we all got to see blogs about these works, some of them while they were in progress. It makes me feel, well, personally involved somehow. Next year I must plan better so I can be there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Andy Goldsworthy

Most of you are probably already somewhat familiar with Andy Goldsworthy's art. Does he have the best job in the world or what? Spending time out in nature making art and following his vision...
(and making a good living at it.) I do love his art.

When Gerrie mentioned him, I mostly thought of stones and twigs, but a pleasant lunch break and some googling led me to a few of the leaf images. Thank you Gerrie. I think I'm off to look for a book before I leave today...

Fall again

Today's photos are courtesy of mcldigitalcreations. (Webshots public album.)

I hope all of you who actually get to see fall color are enjoying it. You already know I am jealous. Last night the temperature dropped (low 50s, to us that is chilly) and I could smell the woodsmoke from my neighbor's fire. I love the smell of wood smoke in cold air, reminds me of camping. (This is not to be confused with the smell of brush fire, which smells completely different and is terrifying.)
I'm still working on postcards, hope to mail by this weekend.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Halloween Quilt

Halloween Carnival Posted by Picasa

After furiously working to complete the dreaded chores (thank you Swiffer, thank you Clorox) I spent some time in my room yesterday. Here is the result (not yet quilted). I called it "Halloween Carnival". Can you see the monster eyes? Bahhahahaha (cue evil laugh.) Fun and silly. Some of my handpainted wool made it in too.
I started something else using LOTS of texture created by fabric pleating and stitching embellishments under net. I'm loving the things that are happening, so I will keep at it for a while.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Something traditional

You all know I love the traditional quilts as well as the artistic ones. I love the historic aspect, the beauty combined with utility, and the comfort factor. Here is a quilt shared by my friend Carla at our last gathering. It looks like an antique quilt top but it was made from reproduction fabrics to achieve that effect.

Yesterday I took a day off work and spent some time alone working on some old projects and some new ones. I deliberately ignored the housework begging to be done, and I closed the door of the laundry room.

It was a wonderful, peaceful day. Unfortunately, no little elves came in and took care of all those neglected chores, so I guess I know what I have to do next!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Helen Frankenthaler

Some of her thoughts on painting:

A really good picture looks as if it's happened at once. It's an immediate image. For my own work, when a picture looks labored and overworked, and you can read in it—well, she did this and then she did that, and then she did that—there is something in it that has not got to do with beautiful art to me. And I usually throw these out, though I think very often it takes ten of those over-labored efforts to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronized with your head and heart, and you have it, and therefore it looks as if it were born in a minute. (In Barbara Rose, Frankenthaler (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1975), p. 85)

See more here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A touch of fall for today.

Photograph by Claudio Pollard.

Some new wool projects

Here are two of the little wool projects I have been working on (scroll down). While rummaging through my wool stash for the more traditional project, I found some nice white wool and decided to paint it. I used Setacolor and painted it the same way you would PFD cotton, the difference being that it took a long time to dry. Now I am having a little fun with some free form embroidery and trying out different threads, so we will see where this leads. It is very early in the project.

A little free form stitching, work in progress. Posted by Picasa

What to do with painted wool? Posted by Picasa

Some painted wool Posted by Picasa

My play station Posted by Picasa

Wool candle mat, work in progress.
Picture this with a nice pumpkin colored pillar candle in the middle.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Why I don't feel guilty about UFOs

Today's eye candy is courtesy of my friend Carla, who found this great old top in perfect condition and gave it new life by quilting and finishing it. Don't you love the color?

I am working on finishing up: some postcards, a quilt for our quilt group's Christmas exchange, a small wool project, and something I just started made with hand painted wool (I painted the wool night before last). This is not a list of unfinished projects, but just what is going on right now. I start lots of things all the time, and sometimes they get finished and sometimes they don't. I get bored working on the same project start to finish. Often if I don't finish a project, it gets cut up and made into something else.

I work full time, my life is busy, and quilting and art (and art quilting) are my relaxation, my joy, and my sanity. Someday when I retire, I will rejoice in making quilting my daily focus. Until then I will chip away at those UFOs (or not) and enjoy the experience. I figure those UFOs will be waiting for me when I retire. And that fabric stash? That's just an investment in my future.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Lovely Day With Friends

Photo by Claudio Pollard

As will happen, life got busy and I haven't had time to spend here. The weekend was great, and I especially enjoyed spending time with my quilting pals. Our gathering this time was at the home of my friend Carla, and though I have known her for several months this was my first visit to her home. Due to the way the house is built into the hill, from the front it seems quite simple, but once you enter you can see how wonderfully huge and spacious it is. Lots of arches and high ceilings, big windows, not to mention a beautiful deck and garden. Amazing antiques, including some gorgeous huge carved pieces. Even one of them would look oversized in my home, but her living room has several and they look beautiful. I think my whole family room and kitchen could fit into her living room. The very best part of the house, though, is a huge room on the lowest level that is Carla's sewing room. Similar to a basement, it opens out to the back yard and is not completely underground. SO much space, plenty for quilts, the longarm, the fabric, all the sewing machines and tables to spread out the work. I am seriously in envy.

We had a wonderful day, as we always do when we get together. We worked on a little wool project, a "candle mat" with a fall theme. I had not thought about wool for a while, but rummaging through the stash gave me a few ideas. More on that later.