Friday, September 30, 2011

Exhibit on Fire!

There is an exciting fiber art show in the Denver area if you are going to be anywhere near there before October 8. The show, On Fire, is by Regina Benson and is on view at the Ice Cube Gallery. I am slightly frustrated as I won't be able to see it in person. However, one can gain some sense of the uniqueness of this exhibit from some excellent reviews and photos on the web.

On Fire features a selection of huge works by Regina that were inspired by the Colorado wildfires last summer that threatened her home in Boulder, Colorado. Regina often works in large scale - I was able to see some of her work that is included in the SAQA Sightlines show - and it is impressive. One set of photos from On Fire can be seen in an article by Nick Lucchesi in the Denver Westwood blog. I have included one of those photos here:

What I found really fascinating was a description of Regina's technique for creating the effect she desires on her fabric. Michael Paglia wrote a review of the show for the Denver Westwood blog. He discusses how Regina created the cloth she used for a 40 foot long enclosed walk-through piece. Here is how he described her process:
Benson colored the cloth through an elaborate multi-step process, with the results having the look of burning embers. She begins by dying the fabric numerous times in colors including red, yellow and black. To create the illusion of something burning, she discharges the dyes to different color saturations ranging from amber to black. Benson lays the fabrics on the snow outside her studio, then applies hot liquid containing sulfur applied with a brush or a sprayer to partially remove the dyes until the desired tone is achieved. The melting snow underneath the fabric is also used as part of the process. As the snow melts, the fabric wicks up the water and further dilutes the dyes in places, thus changing the colors in those spots.
If you can view the show, I suspect you will come away impressed. At the least, I suspect that you can share in my admiration for this amazing fiber artist who is able to express her vision in such dramatic and complex methods.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Fun Project!

Last week I was easing my way back into life after India. As I started up my Bernina once again, I wanted a simple, yet practical project that would even allow me to play with that embroidery side of my machine.

My newly organized stash and quilt-related supplies actually mean that I can find things that I purchased along the way - imagine that! I found a pattern by Jamie Kalvestran for "Fat-Quarter Scrap-bags" that I must have purchased a while back.  It was what I needed to create this cute little bag.

The pattern was extremely simple and the directions were very clearly written. You can actually create the bag using only one fat-quarter.  I just went online to find a source and found a great website by Jamie. The pattern I used didn't seem to be available but a very similar one is found here. I also learned that Jamie has some interesting blogs on fabric design listed on the website that I expect I will follow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Place of Peace

The last day that we were in India, we visited a Memorial Site for Mahatma Gandhi - the home where he spent the last four months of his life before he was murdered. It was a moving experience to walk through the site - quotes capturing the essence of his philosophy line walkways. I am so glad we took the time to tour it.

The two rooms that Ghandi used  while he was living there have been preserved. The words, Simplicity is the essence of universality, are framed in one room.

Finally, the path he walked to where he met his assassin have been marked with footsteps.

India is so complex, so busy, so dense in population and activity. The site contrasts so dramatically with its environs and, in doing so, makes a powerful statement for the man whom it pays tribute to.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Theme Emerges

My first post back from India was called Outside the Box. No surprise that my first quilt bears the same name. It begins to capture some of the creativity that abounds when we allow ourselves to explore and create. It also reminds me of how colorful India was in so many ways.

And, I already have a use for Outside the Box in mind. As many SAQA members have been mentioning, it is currently SAQA auction time - I am happy to say that my contribution for this year sold the first week. It is a nice feeling that someone else out there valued it.

I really enjoy supporting SAQA through contributing an auction piece and during my first year as a member, someone suggested getting one's contribution in early so it would be displayed on the SAQA site for an extended period. That sounded like a well thought out idea provided one has a contribution ready to donate.

So, I decided that the time of the 2011 SAQA auction is the perfect time to create a possible contribution for the 2012 auction! Of course, I can always change my mind, but Outside the Box will be put aside with the 2012 auction in mind.

Here is what it looks like at this point.  It still needs to be quilted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remembering a Very Special Friend

CH Demavand's Colette, TDIAOV

We have had to say good-bye to our Siberian Husky, Colette. She passed away Monday night after a very long illness. Colette was a very special dog. In her 11 years, she got to be a Mom twice, and in a show ring enough times to earn the title of Champion. But, where Colette was brightest was in her role as a therapy dog.

Colette loved to serve and gave joy to so many. For years, she cast herself in the role of official 'greeter' at local nursing homes. When she was visiting a group of residents and someone would enter the room, she would immediately go over and acknowledge his or her presence, and, of course, be told she was beautiful.

Colette seemed to intuitively know what was needed in every situation she found herself in. If she visited a battered women's center, she was content to let the three and four-year-olds climb all over her or fall asleep on her back. At developmental centers, she would draw upon her show ring talents and run in circles with the teens, head held high. These last five years she would visit two floors at our local VA Medical Center most Tuesdays connecting with our Veterans. Patiently, she would move from client to client and stand oh so still, while they petted her head. Even the most withdrawn or quarrelsome resident would acknowledge Colette and sometimes share a story about a dog or cat in their past.

But, most of all, Colette was our loyal friend. She was good with our children while they were home. After they left to follow their own lives, she was always willing to leave her two companions, Seva and Magic, for a bit and come sit with Jerry or me. She was kind to our cats and even tolerated an occasional cleaning when they felt she just smelt too much like a dog.

Now she is at peace. We miss her but will always treasure the time she shared with us. I hope there is a doggie heaven where she can run and play again. She definitely earned it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Outside the Box

I am back from India. It was an amazing trip and I will undoubtedly be sharing my experiences over the next months. I was reminded over and over as I traveled that, for me, India is a grand experience in living outside the box. It pushes and pushes at your preconceptions of reality, your comfort levels, and your endurance. And, the rewards for letting go and just experiencing are immense!

Here is a photo I took near Alleppey of the traditional fishing boats that have been used for hundreds of years - they create a majestic scene. These fishermen have returned from their morning fishing and are pulling the boat up on the sand. It is as big as it looks.

Shortly after I took this photo, we were treated to an impromptu traditional tiger dance by some local kids. We were in Kerala for Onam - the equivilent of a secular Christmas there - and the dance is part of the Onam celebration.

Cast of dancers

Tiger dance
 If you can imagine, the crowd where I was standing was as dense as the crowd that you can see. Did I mention that it was 100% humidity and about 85 or 90°F out? It was a totally unexpected and memorable moment - not your average upstate NY experience!

Hope to share more in the coming days!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flowers for You

If all goes as planned, I will be arriving back in the States today. I hope by Monday to have some photos of my adventures to share.

For now, here are some of my favorite flower photos from Hawaii:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Underwater Explorations

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Never have I seen cleaner, more vibrant water. I still love the photos I took while I was there. Here are a few of coral, shot in the water. I thought the current added to the interest of the photos.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Don't Forget! The SAQA Benefit Auction

The SAQA Benefit Auction starts today at 2:15 pm Eastern time and runs through October 2. The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA's exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs. Each of the quilts in the auction has been donated by a SAQA member and is approximately one foot square. You can see some "Dream Collections" of the various quilts that have been compiled by SAQA members.

Rice Fields - my auction contribution

The auction runs in three sections.  On the first day of each section's auction, the price for each piece in that section is $750. The next day (at 2:00 Eastern), the price drops to $550. The third day, it drops to $350, then $250, then $150, and finally $75.

Hope that you will consider participating!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

So, I haven't visited this church but I sure hope I get there some day. It is in Barcelona, Spain and was begun in the 1882 and is still under construction. One of the great Catalan architects, Antoni Gaudi, became involved in the design in 1883 and continued to work on the church until his death in 1926. He left extensive plans for its completion.

The website for the church has an amazing collection of images that are really worth checking out. I particularly love the towers and side naves. Here are just two images from their collection:
Side Nave

Imagine the feeling that must be invoked being there in person!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Poem to Appreciate

I found this poem on a blog, Mind Deep, that I like to follow.  Hope you enjoy it too.

Getting On With the Full Program

Lurking behind every aversive thought,
every constriction in the body,
every annoyance in the heart,
I almost always find
the implicit expectation of something else,
another reality wished for
and not to be had in this moment.
And beneath it all, the firmly planted delusion
of life just as I would like it to be
with no pain, no unpleasantness, no bad surprises,
no old age, no sickness, no death, no earthquakes,
no downturn . . .
I sit and I wonder, when shall I become wise,
and get on with the full program?
When? Marguerite Manteau Rao

Monday, September 5, 2011

SAQA Auction is Coming

A week from today the SAQA Auction will begin. This innovative online auction features a host of foot-square quilts created by art quilters specially for this event.

The Auction is run in three sections. On the first day of each section's auction, the price for each piece in that section is $750. The next day (at 2:00 Eastern), the price drops to $550. The third day, it drops to $350, then $250, then $150, and finally $75.

The first section will begin September 12th at 2:00 PM Eastern. The second section will begin September 19th at 2:00 PM Eastern. The third section will begin September 26th at 2:00 PM Eastern.

You can view the quilts now on the SAQA website

Here is a peek at my contribution:

Rice Fields