Sunday, July 31, 2005

And now for something completely different...

Feathered Forest Posted by Picasa
Pieced and fused, made from hand-dyed, commercial and RECYCLED fabric.

Thanks Gerrie and Sonji for your comments on the sea turtles quilt. I am still working on it and will probably subject you all to more photos of it down the line. Hope you dedicated artists (ahem) are not offended at being subjected to something whimsical. Note my avoidance of the word "cute". I do that so I can pretend to take myself seriously.

Now for something completely different. On Friday I spent the day with a quilting friend who is leaning towards the "art" side (ok I am dragging her over, but she is willing). She spends most of her time doing machine quilting for other people since that is her business, but the few quilts she has time to make are bright and fun, and she has a great eye for color. Her husband and daughter are both artists and I love the creative style of their home. She is used to thinking of her other family members as artists, but not herself.

What I really want to tell you about is our fun foray into the thrift stores in search of recyclable fabric for art quilts. I am delighted to report that the mission was successful: several real silk blouses, something very shiny with sequins, a little velvet, and a fabulous print cotton, all for a few bucks. The fabulous cotton print from the THRIFT store led me to spend several hours yesterday making the above. I had a blast. This might or might not be a finished piece.

Close view Posted by Picasa

Close view Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Work In Progress

Sea Turtles progressing Posted by Picasa
I added fish, some paint to try to improve the contrast, small orange triangles in the right border...I have another large orange triangle border for the bottom...maybe. I might ditch the large triangle borders altogether, although it means unsewing. Brilliant multi color print for outer border. I love the fabric so much I think I have to use it. Beads for the back of the turtle shells if I ever get that far.

I know how you all like pictures, so here is the sea turtle quilt in progress. I am adding more borders, fish, and seaweed....
No quilting yet, just a few couched threads....

Sea Turtles Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Just Dropping In

Hello friends. I have been meaning to post, but was trying to hold out until I had something great to show you. Um, that hasn't happened yet. I have spent a lot of my remaining vacation time working on "domestic goddess" stuff (tongue firmly in cheek). Cleaning, organizing, browsing cookbooks and meal planning, even fiddling with decorating. The meal planning thing is to keep us interested and motivated to eat in a healthy way and lose weight. I have no shortage of cookbooks here, have I mentioned that I am a cookbook addict? Along with every other kind of book I seem to collect , there is a nice library of cookbooks. It makes no difference at all that I could never in my lifetime prepare all of these recipes, nor does it matter that I am often too lazy to cook unless I can figure out the shortcut. Could be we have grilled chicken and salad (yet again....)

I have started a new quilt about sea turtles, and I am enjoying working on it. It is whimsical and bright, but to my mind not terribly original. I will finish it though, and yes, eventually there will be pictures. I am also working on a traditional red and white quilt that will be a gift. Otherwise, the last week of my vacation is slipping though my fingers like sand. Where does the time go?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hawaiian Hike

We took a very long drive around the big island, stopping to do some small hiking trails. This is one of them.

The pictures here were taken during our "hike". I am not in as good a shape as I could be, and it was hot and humid. The scenery was worth the effort, though.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The happy couple on vacation Posted by Picasa

A few vacation pictures

The Kona Coast on the big island.

From the plane, approaching the big island.

More pictures from the plane as we traveled from Oahu to the big island.

These were taken while we were still in Oahu.

Here is how Jerry spent a lot of time. We must have hours of film for him to edit.

Back home from Hawaii

The Beach in Waikiki looks a lot like San Diego, until you look over and see Diamond Head and the skyscraper hotels that come right down to the water. That, and the water is very warm.

We have been home for a couple of days and I've been immersed in post vacation tasks and catching up with things on the home front. Since I know you all love eye candy, I'll post a few pictures bit by bit.

Friday, July 15, 2005

In Hawaii

Here we are in lovely Waikiki, getting ready to board a bus to the airport and go to the big island of Hawaii. So far, we have done lots of fun and touritsty things...walking on the beach, wading in the ocean, eating wonderful food, drinking mai-tais, visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center, and shopping. I found a fun fabric shop in downtown Honolulu, but it was kind of an adventure to get there. Jerry likes to do lots of "urban hiking", ie explore your environment on foot, walking through neighborhoods etc. Let's just say that I have not hiked so many hills since San Francisco...
Thank goodness for 45 sun block! After two days in the sun I am only slightly pink, and not burned to a crisp. So far, it has been a wonderful vacation!
On the Big Island, we plan to do some snorkeling and more exploring. I understand that where we are going is a bit less urban than Waikiki, which will be OK with me. This is not even peak season, and every place we go is crowded!

The neatest thing about the beaches here is that the water is so WARM. In San Diego, we have absolutely wonderful beaches, but let's just say the water is a little brisk! I am typing here on an internet machine in the lobby of our hotel (imagine!) that you feed money into. I can't figure out how to put up pictures or links by opening up multiple internet ports, and I don't think I can download any pictures here either. So, more to come in a few days......

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I have made it to a few blogs this morning, but I might not have time to do much more, since I have to pack for my trip to HAWAII. Jerry and I are looking forward to some relaxed time together. So, see you around the blog ring in about a week, ALOHA.

Quilt for a Friend

Sunday was my turn to be hostess for our little quilt group. This of course meant that I spent Saturday furiously cleaning, arranging, decorating with flowers, and meal planning. I actually love to do all of these things, frenzy and all. You may recall that I love all of these wonderful women, and that they are also very traditional quilters. We made these blocks for a comfort quilt for one of our members who has been through some harrowing surgery and has been very ill. I am pleased to report that she has been showing steady signs of improvement and is getting better every day. (It's extremely unlikely that she will read this blog, so I feel pretty safe in sharing with you).

Thanks to those who dropped by and commented on the last blog (fabulous fabric shopping day). Sonji asked if I hated to cut into lovely fabric. Yes, I do, unless the vision I have for it means that it will be better for the change...isn't that true for all of us? There is always the whole cloth quilt...

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Fun and Friendly Fabric Day

Some of the loot Posted by Picasa

Today I finally met Lisa (aka Procrastinator Extraordinaire) and we had a wonderful day shoppping at Rosie's (mega huge quilt shop in the San Diego area) and having lunch at Marie Callendar's. We each had to drive about 30 minutes to get to the fabric shop, so in addition to being the best possible destination, it seemed fair to split the difference, distance wise.

As artful quilters, we both tend to like fabrics that look as if we could have made them ourselves (but without the work). I'm not so sure we were a good influence on each other's budget (go on, buy it, you know you need it), plus we kept stealing bolts from each other's stack, but next to actually making an artful quilt, this was my favorite kind of fun day!

Lisa brought a couple of things to share, and I was so happy to see them "in person". In particular, the lovely sparkley fabric she made and used (see pictures on her blog) with the black background. She explained how it was done (chopped scraps, angelina fibers, lame, sewn like mad over solvy). It is absolutely gorgeous and no pictures do it justice. The same can be said of the bright quilt I have pictured here. It is an assortment of great techniques (different folds and stitching) that just don't show up in the pictures. I tried zooming and cropping etc, but it didn't work to show the detail, it just got blurry.

I'm so glad I had a chance to meet a fellow artful quilt blogger. Lisa is warm and relaxed and was easy to meet and talk to. Honestly, I felt like I already knew her, which in a way I do. If any of you find yourselves in our area, Lisa and I agreed that we would love to meet you, and perhaps even escort you on a tour of our local fabric shop(s).

Lisa's party quilt Posted by Picasa

Lisa's bright multi technique quilt. I wish you could see the detail here, it is wonderful. Posted by Picasa

Lisa and Jen (aka Procrastinator and Scraps) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Well, here I am five days into vacation and finally posting again. Hope everyone had a good weekend, and if you are here in the States, a good holiday. Friday was wonderful and I did little but decompress and read for pleasure. Saturday was a huge family gathering in honor of my neice Janet's 40th birthday. Her parents are still in Australia, but we did our best to stand in and celebrate properly. We had a big "road rally"and pizza party with all the usual good natured jokes at the birthday girl's expense. For those who don't know, a "road rally" is a game where you use clues to give you a map for the destination you are to drive to. Once there, you find the next clue and so on. The winner is the one who finishes first. When we did this years ago, we covered a lot of ground, but our little game was all within a small neighborhood. Our team won, since we had a couple of good puzzle solvers on board.

Saturday and Sunday were quieter but no less busy. Jerry and I spent some relaxed time together and checked out a new Middle Eastern restaurant. It was one of those "mom and pop" places where the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is fabulous. It's definitely going on my list for those times when we don't feel like cooking. I was not particularly virtuous since I ate the delicious saffron rice and hot homemade pita bread along with my kabobs. I don't know the name of the pickled beet dish, but it was crunchy, tart and refreshing.

We also did lots of yard work, housework, laundry and chores (and more reading during the down time). Every July I tackle all the projects that have been piling up all year. I am absurdly pleased with myself because I have already cleaned out three closets and completely overhauled my study/ guest room. The study was mostly filled up with a queen size bed, large bookcase and entertainment center, and my little computer table was wedged in a corner. Now the queen bed is gone, replaced by a new twin that will serve as a daybed for TV watching, and I have a much bigger work table for my computer station, printer, and scanner. I got rid of the overly feminine window treatment (think cottage flowers) and substituted a sleek woven shade. Ditto for the flowery quilt. The smaller bed is now covered with a plain ecru quilt and some toss pillows. I added a striped rug from Ikea, and I like the new look much better. I feel like the happy homeowner from one of those "spend no money" design shows.

I finished reading "Gods in Alabama", Joshilyn Jackson's book. I think Dara recommended it a while back. It was an absorbing read, and I did like the author's style of storytelling. I also got my copy of "Quilt National 2005" and have been losing myself in those wonderful images. I can only imagine how much better it was in person. Congratulations again to those of you who exhibited!

As you can tell, I've been nowhere near my studio so far this vacation, but that will be what today is for. Right after my third cup of coffee and "Simply Quilts".

Friday, July 01, 2005

Guess Who

" Iron Bound"

Emily Mason

Representational Art / Linkfest

Diane raised a question about pictorial (aka representational) art on her blog. Here is my 2cents (ok, it may be a nickel.)

I LOVE abstact expressionist art (like Emily Mason , whose work I'm nearly obsessive about) because for me it connects so directly to the thoughts and emotions created by pure color and form. It is such a joy and inspiration that I feel compelled to share (repeatedly). We can easily think of other artists whose work does the same (Rothko, Frankenthaler.) For an artist, working in this format can be absolutely freeing, but creating successful art without any definable image can be very difficult. You might be able to stand back and use some design or color theory to analyze the work, but in the end it falls short. A piece can be absolutely successful technically, but fail to "sing".

That being said, I also LOVE art that shows us something easily recognizable (figures, irises, beloved grandchildren, shoes). It doesn't matter what is pictured, it matters how the intangible is expressed. Why not make it into a quilt if that is the artist's medium of choice?

Should we use photographs or software or computer manipulated images in our art? Of course. Any tool that helps to express what we need to say should be included. I like to see the artist's hand in a piece, so my favorite works usually are less realistic, but that doesn't mean that extremely representational art or photography can't be very moving. I think focusing too much on the detailed process of achieving realism CAN take away from the art if the "realism" is what you obsess about, but knowing HOW to do it is worth learning.

When I look at art, I ask myself "is there a little something there that you can't quite express in words?" Whether I understand it or not, did the artist put some of herself in? Was something intangible made tangible? To me, that is what the quest for art is all about, making the intangible tangible. Spirit captured and made visible. A glimpse of inner world.

Thanks, Diane, for sharing your workshop with us (one more tool) and for sharing this very interesting question in your blog.