Friday, April 27, 2012

Art Squared

This Sunday is the opening of our latest FANE show at the Mahopac Library.  I was happy to have my quilt chose again for the postcard.  That's mine on the upper left. If you're in the area, please stop by.  We'll have wine and other goodies and some great art.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brown Planet progress report

If I would only stay home once in awhile, maybe I'd get more done on this behemoth, I mean quilt.  If you've been following my blog you would know that this is a collaboration between Kathy Loomis and me.  I blogged about it here. She designed it and started the piecing and I am finishing it and will do the quilting.  It is huge (about 7 1/2 ft. wide) and involves some very tricky piecing.  The top half of the semicircle is now pieced.  Each row is a new challenge, but I am plugging away. I used up most of the little dark pieced sections I had made and will have to make a lot more before I continue. I can also see where I'll have to recut some of the big pieces, again.

I thought I would get a lot more done since I was home all day, a rarity.  But I photographed a quilt for my SAQA Porfoloio entry and that took forever for some reason, made a pie for guests who are coming over this evening, and this and that. I don't know where the time goes. I didn't get to my studio until late afternoon.  The rest of the week and weekend are pretty full so I don't think I'll get much done. Slow and steady wins the race. Stay tuned.

Wordless Wednesday and Sign of the Week

Monday, April 23, 2012

Put a Bird On It

In Portland, OR, where my son lives, there is a tongue in cheek expression that "if you put a bird on it, it's art". There is a very funny video here from the TV show Portlandia, which pokes fun at the city.

On Saturday I spent the day with three friends in the charming little town of Kent, CT, about an hour's drive from here.  I had often driven through it on the way home from somewhere and had often said that I'd like to go up some day and send the day visiting the shops and having lunch. So we took advantage of the gorgeous warm Spring day and did just that.  The shops were terrific, where we did our best to help out the economy and then we had a scrumptious lunch. 

One of the shops had an eclectic array of goods and we spent a lot of time ooohing and ahing.  But I also had to chuckle about how many things had "birds on them", bowls, dishes, pictures and these delightful metal birds that insisted on coming home with me.  They each hold a tea-light candle, which I thought I had at home, but I seem to be out.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dali Museum

I was asked where my Wordless Wednesday picture came from, so I thought I would show you some more pictures from this amazing pace, the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL.

Here's part of the outside of the 20,000 square foot building, in itself a work of art, that houses an impressive permanent collection.  We took a docent tour, which I would highly recommend to help you understand his often bizarre art. Our docent was incredible! 

The spiral staircase leading to the second floor was a reference to his use of the chambered Nautilus and the golden ratio in his work. There were so many things in the museum store (fabulous) that featured the Chambered Nautilus and I couldn't resist buying a great t-shirt.  (Looks much better in person.  It has 3/4 length sleeves and a V neck)  It was the glass ceiling at the top of this staircase that you saw on Wednesday.

All of the grounds were interesting, too.  This tree had strips of paper on which patrons had written things,
Here's that famous mustache.

And the famous melting clock.

If you're ever in the area, I would highly recommend this museum and be sure to take the free docent tour.   St. Petersburg is a wonderful city that also has a Chihully Museum.  We did visit, but no pictures were allowed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Book

One of the perks of having a blog is occasionally getting a new book to review. This one The Natural World came in the mail while I was away in Florida and since it takes me so long to get back into the groove I am just getting around to reviewing it. I did peruse it when I first saw it, but didn't take the time to actually read it until this weekend. And what it treat it was!

First, the way the book looks. It has a nice heavy paper cover with an embossed picture of Barbara McKie's "Peacock Pride" quilt. You can feel the edges of the quilt, almost as if a real quilt had been pasted onto the cover. The inside pages are also heavy, glossy, high-quality paper.

This book is the first in a series of books by Martha Sielman about art quilts. This one focuses on art quilts inspired by the natural world, such as flowers, birds, animals, insects, trees, and water. There are profiles of 19 accomplished artists and galleries of work by other talented artists. I was familiar with many of them, but some were new to me.

The individual profiles each have an introduction by Martha and then interviews with the artists telling about their backgrounds and how they work. This was the part that I enjoyed the most. I loved hearing what inspired each artist and their methods of doing what they do. Many of the artist have fine art degrees and/or sewing backgrounds. Some work only with their own hand-dyed fabrics, some use only commercial prints. Some rely heavily on computers, some don't like them at all. Some work in many types of surface design, some use only pieced fabrics. Some sketch out every inch of the design, some work intuitively by putting fabric up on the design wall. Some make complex patterns, some don't. But they all have a love of nature and portraying it on fabric.

I should mention the gorgeous photography. There are plenty of beautiful pictures, some by professionals and some by the artists. I would have liked to see some details, though, and some of the photos were small.

And while I don't have a quilt in the book (boo-hoo), I do have Elaine Quehl's "Unfurling" on page 146 hanging on my wall. It was my purchase from the SAQA auction two years ago and I love it.

All in all, I think it's a great book and a worthy addition to any art quilter's collection.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Art Show Winner

I entered two small pieces in the local Richter Art Association members' show and was so surprised and delighted to be awarded a first place. In previous years they had not accepted fiber. Mine were the only fiber pieces there and I was amused that they chose to group them with pastels and graphic art. I'm not complaining, I took my cash award and ran. Not really; they had a lovely reception with live piano music and refreshments, so I stayed for awhile and chatted with the other artists attending. It was a splendid spring day so there weren't too many there.

You've seen this piece before, "Recapitulation", it was done for a FANE (Fiber Artists of the Northeast) show a couple of years ago. It's a small quilt, 12" x 12" , mounted on an 18" square white artist's canvas. It is made using my hand-dyed fabrics and some Dupioni silk.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Sunday

Yesterday was spent at my niece's as have been the past few Easters. As I've said before, she's a wonderful hostess and a gourmet cook, so it's always a great day. All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.

One of the biggest treats of the day was meeting my newest great-nephew, Charlie. Here he is with my sister, Ruth, his great-grandmother. Isn't he adorable? And check out that outfit, which he kept on all day. He is the best natured, happiest baby that I've met in a long time. He smiled, laughed, waved and went to anyone without a fuss. I don't think I heard him cry all day.

My niece loves to decorate and every year she comes up with something new. These cute arrangements were on the tables, two to each, as part of the centerpieces. Yes, those are real Peeps and fresh tulips. She had a clear glass of water inside for the tulips. All the table cloths were pink, white and lime green plaid, so Spring-like.

Because she had so many for dinner, she had a buffet. Usually paper napkins and plastic utensils are an anathema to her, but when she saw these carrot-like utensil arrangements somewhere online, she knew she had to change her standards. I wanted to get a picture with all the food (delicious!) but Charlie was taking a nap in the room where I had stowed my camera at that time. The table was "L" shaped and went around the corner.

Even the lighting fixture over the table was dressed for Easter.

I hope you all had a happy Easter or Passover with family and friends.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ringling Museum

Whenever I told anyone I was going to spend time in Sarasota, they said I would love it and several people told me not to miss the Ringling Museum. I thought it would just be a museum about the circus, since Ringling Brothers & Barnum& Bailey circus was headquartered there for many years. I was so wrong. It is a twenty acre waterfront property, owned by John and Mabel Ringling that includes a fine art museum, to rival anything in Europe, their spacious mansion that was their home, two circus museums and a theater. All of it is set among banyon trees, ambling paths and a fabulous huge rose garden. We went three times. The first time was just to walk the grounds (for free) and get any overview of the place.

We went back a second time just to see the art museum. The Ringlings traveled extensively in Europe and bought a huge collection of the Old Masters, including van Dyke, Velazques, Titian, Ruben, and many others. He then built the museum to house his collection, building many of the rooms to specifically showcase certain paintings.

The third time we saw the two circus museums and toured the mansion, Ca'd'Zan, meaning "House of John" in Italian.

This is the mansion heading up to the front door. It has 56 rooms and is considered the last of the Guilded Age mansions built in America. It was built in 1925 and is full of treasures.

This is looking back on the mansion from the terrace which is on the water and made of different marbles set in interesting patterns. Note the stained glass windows, very subtle and in pastels. Most of it is the original glass.

Now we're on to the miniature circus. This was truly amazing. It took up an entire building and covers over 3,800 square feet. This is an overview from the second floor. It took Howard Tibals over 50 years to complete and he says it still is not finished. You can see the workrooms where pieces are still being made by hand. It is a replica of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus under tent. It includes not only the big top, menagerie and the sideshow tents, but also 55 railroad cars, 152 wagons, and 900 animals. Each tent and wagon is equipped exactly like the real circus. It even has 7,000 folding chairs in the big top that actually fold up. The attention to detail is astounding.

A peek inside a small part of the big top with the aerialists at work.

Part of the circus parade. I took sooooo many pictures, but I won't bore you with too many.

I loved the costume on this elephant.

Another part of the parade.

Inside the employees dining tent.

This was in the other circus museum building, that gave the history of the circus. Many wagons. part of the train, colorful posters, extravagant costumes, interactive exhibits, and much much more. Here I am practicing my bareback riding routine and not thinking too much about good posture. Should have sucked my tummy in. Think I can get a job?

The courtyard of the art museum (no pictures allowed inside).

The David statue at the end of the courtyard is one of the only two bronze sculptures made from the original marble David in Florence, Italy.

Part of the extensive grounds. The banyan trees send their roots from the tree down to the ground giving them a most unusual appearance.

Look closely at this picture and see the little angel statue that was surrounded by the banyan roots. "Help! Get me out of here."

The grounds include a breathtaking rose garden with over 1,200 rose plant of every imaginable variety. I thought this one was a beauty.

Statuary was everywhere. This little guy was safely away from those trees.

As I said before, I took tons of pictures, and only gave a snippet here. If you are ever in the Sarasota area, be sure to put this on your list of things to do. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

The picture in my previous blog was a hint that I would be traveling again. Did you get it? I spent the whole month of March in Sarasota, Florida where I rented a house with the same three cohorts, Claire, Sheila and Mickie, that did Arizona last March. We had a marvelous time and were so fortunate to have glorious weather, hot and sunny everyday. Actually here in the Northeast March was a great weather month, so it was hard to call home and gloat.

We used our house as a home base and made several road trips, day trips and overnights to Venice, St. Petersburg, The Villages (two nights), Cocoa Beach (one night), Vero Beach, Jupiter (two nights) and Naples (one night). We visited several friends and also took advantage of the many, many things to do in the Sarasota area.

We went to the Ringling Museum, the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Museum, the Mote Aquarium, the Joffrey Ballet, lots of shopping and dining out, and time spent at the beautiful Lido Beach and the pool. I am tanner than I meant to be, but with so much sun it was hard to avoid.

A month was just the right amount of time to be away. Now after unpacking, doing laundry and slogging though a month's snail mail and email, it's time to get back to reality and into my studio.

Pictures to follow.