Saturday, June 29, 2013

Back From the Arctic

Two weeks ago today I was flying from Oslo, Norway to Longyearbyen, the largest town in Svalbard, an archipelago off the coast of Norway. I never quite absorbed exactly where Longyearbyen and Svalbard were until it was mentioned in our first group meeting in Oslo that our charter flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen would be three hours in length. Three hours? I can fly from Rochester, NY to Chicago in less than two! About then it sunk in that an 'Arctic' trip meant I was going to be pretty far north.  In fact, at our northern most point in our voyage, our boat which we boarded in Longyearbyen was only 650 miles from the North Pole!

My adventures in the Arctic were priceless. I saw polar bears, arctic fox, walrus, reindeer, several kinds of whales, and countless birds and alpine flowers. I was lectured on the health of our oceans, the Arctic region of our planet, and Svalbard. Needless to say, I took many photos. Here is one of the many.

I will be writing more of my experiences in the coming weeks. The past few days have been intense, to say the least. Our first day home we realized that our dear senior dog, Seva, was fading. By day two, it was clear that it was time for him to leave us - not exactly the coming home scenario that either Jerry or I envisioned, but then there is never a good time to say goodbye to a pet.

Our last photo of Seva, just a month ago
Life this coming week should return to a more normal pace....which means a very full metaphorical plate for me. I decided now is the time to learn a new system for organizing and editing the 2500 or so photos from our Arctic trip. Along with that task, I am planning my first attempt at ice dyeing in the next few days and in the coming week will be moving from full size sketch phase of my next art quilt project to the 'fabric on the backing' phase. Looks like I will have plenty to blog about. :)

It is good to be back in touch!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Experimentation, Explore, Excite

The letter 'E' is very much on my mind this week. 

  • Experimentation - I realized that I never shared my finished challenge quilt for the Art Quilts Around the World Out of Asia theme. As I have mentioned before, I am using these challenges as a vehicle to stretch myself a bit and experiment with new ideas as well as use some techniques that I don't usually use in my art quilts. The experimentation in this past challenge was definitely some hand stitching. 

  • Explore - My fascination with hand stitching has grown since the Out of Asia challenge. My dear friend, Margaret Blank, suggested I look into the work of Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. After viewing a YouTube video of their work, I ordered their DVD, 'In Stitches", which is introducing me to many exciting stitches. I expect that I will be exploring this magical world quite a bit in the next few months.
  • Excite - Later this week I will be off to Norway and a trip to the Arctic. We are calling the trip a celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary (actually later this summer). In December 2011 we traveled to Antarctica and so began a fascination with glaciers and ice. It seemed fitting, having glimpsed the southern most region of our globe, to take a peak at the northern counterpart. This is most exciting. I expect to return with many, many photos and totally inspired to continue my series on ice.

Since I will be off the internet during most of this upcoming trip, I expect that this blog will be silent till later in June. Hope that everyone has a great month!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Favorites from the Genesee Valley Quilt Show 2013

Our Quilt Show has come and gone. It was wonderful to see the crowds filling the aisles and view so many beautiful works of art. In my eyes, everyone was a winner.

As I wandered, a few quilts caught my eye and I clicked a few quick pics. Looking back over those photos, there were two that I really loved - I suspect it was a combination of the colors and the design. I thought I would share those with you today.

"Giant Dahlia" by Martha Kalet, quilted by Mandy Applebee

Lantern Medallion by Marcia Birken, quilted by Joyce Blowers
If you want to check out all the quilts that were on view, one of our members has created a Picasa Album with photos of every one of the over 600! See which ones catch your eye!