Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mahopac Show, part 2

I was asked to be the guest blogger for the FANE blog and I put up pictures of all the pieces in the show.  You can check it out here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mahopac Show

Yesterday was the opening of the FANE show at the Mahopac Libary.  It was a splendid da
y, weather-wise, and we had a nice turnout.  As I had hoped guests were able to drift onto the balcony and sip their wine and overlook the Mahopac river.  I don't think that too many libraries have a view like that.

I'm only going to  show a few pictures of my friends' work who are also members of FiberWorks, one of my other fiber groups.  All of the pictures will be up on the FANE blog soon and I will let you know when they're there.

In this show, called Poetic Fragments, each participant had to make a piece inspired by a line of poetry or song. Each piece had to consist of more than one element and that had to fit within a 14 inch square. They were all mounted on 18" square artist canvases.

NIke Cutsumpas--Blue Grass

Norma Schlager--To Time

Andrea Shedletsky--Arrangement in Gray and Black
Paula West---Leaves Compared
Barbara Drillick--Enkindled Spring

As part of my jam-packed weekend, I went into NYC to see Matilda on Saturday.  It was such a fun show, based on the children's book of the same name by Roald Dahl. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Host of Golden Daffodils

Alright, I admit it.  I've having so much fun with my new phone.  Yesterday I drove to a few places I had seen during the week, where I wished I had had my camera.  This time I had my phone. I'm still impressed with how high the resolution is.  I have to resize them way down for the blog.  It is also amazingly fast.  With my Sony Cybershot 14.1, I have to wait several seconds between shots.  With the phone I can shoot in rapid succession.  I know that this will come in handy.

Part of several large beds at the Newtown Library where we had our FiberWorks meeting yesterday.

Two very large beds at the Brookfield Police station parking lot.

I should have moved back farther for this one.  The huge bed went all around the sign.

More at the Municipal Center

These stunning larger-than-life sculptures, by the artist Peter Busby from Cromwall, CT, stand at the entrance to the Municipal Center in Brookfield.    They were added one at a the time.  The first year was the big male,  the next year the female and the last year the foal. At Christmas they wear big wreaths of fresh greens and big red bows.  They look different from every angle and they always make me smile.

My humble offering in front of my porch.  I like the way they look with the lime green spirea, but I have to plant more daffies next year.  They look so fabulous when planted en masse.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Did It!

I've finally jumped feet first into the 21st century and bought myself a new smart phone yesterday.  An iPhone 5S, to be exact. I know that many of you have had them for years, but I was stubborn.  When I needed a new phone two years ago, I specifically told them at AT&T that I wanted a dumb phone. I didn't need any more gadgets to eat up my time.  But I saw so many of my friends doing such cool things with them and my dumb phone seemed less user friendly. My two year contact was up, so it was a good time to do it.

The case is really snowy white, don't know why it photographed so dark.

I must say that I'm having fun with it and it is pretty easy to use, although I still have a lot to learn.  I haven't bought any new apps yet, but the ones that come with the phone do a lot.

One of the features that I like is the camera.  So many times when I'm out, I will see something great to photograph and I don't carry my camera with me.  But I do always have my phone, so I'll never be at a loss again. I was amazed at the high resolution and it really is a snap to use.  I've only taken a few and this is a macro shot of a bunch of tulips on my kitchen table.

A new laptop a couple of months ago and now a new phone. What's next?  Who knows!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Upcoming Show

This is such a busy time of the year for me, art-wise, with several shows coming up.  The one in which I am participating this coming weekend is the FANE show at the Mahopac Library. This is our fourth annual show and all the others have been splendid, as I 'm sure this one will be.  Each work is composed of more than one component and was inspired by a line of poetry, thus the title "Poetic Fragments"

If you are in the area, we are having a lovely reception on Sunday with wine and goodies, so please stop by. The reception room opens onto a balcony overlooking the Mahopac River and it promises to be a good weather day. You can sip your wine on the balcony if you want.  I will post pictures of the show next week.

  I'm in two more shows the following weekend, but more about that later.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"A Rose By Any Other Name

would smell as sweet." so said Shakespeare.  In my small weekly art quilt group we have been talking for a long time about changing our name. Our group was started over 25 years ago as an outgrowth of the Newtown Newcomers Club.  The small group consisted of all traditional quilters who met weekly at menbers' home and they called them selves "The Scrapbaggers", very appropriate at the time.  Over the years the group grew to about 25 members with some of the members starting to make art quilts and with several members joining from other nearby towns. At one point there was a challenge with the idea of exhibiting the results at the local library. It was very successful and became an annual event.

Meanwhile the group was shifting and changing.  New members joined and others left for one reason or another. At the beginning meeting locales were determined by asking, "Who wants to have it next week?".  Then we became more efficient and we started planning ahead and sending postcards with the month's agenda.  Then......came email, which made life so much easier.  Now we can plan ahead and make changes, if necessary, with the click of a "send' button.

But the group was still evolving.  The shows that we put on at the library consisted of all art quilts and "Scrapbaggers" didn't look quite right on the posters.  We usually got around it by called ourselves the "Scrapbag Quilt Artists" or some variation thereof. And alas our group was shrinking.  We only had about 6 active members and decided to open our arms to encompass other fiber disciplines.  Now we have 12 members consisting of women who knit, weave, collage, work with paper and make art quilts.

"Scrapbaggers" just didn't cut it anymore. We really needed a new name and every so often the subject would come up and then get shelved. Some thought that if we had a "mission statement" it might make it easier.  One of the members, Andrea, came up with a good one and I quote it here:

"We are a group of artists who create a diverse range of work, using fabrics, threads and yarns, whether they be sewn, stitched, and/or woven; which are glued, fused, and/or secured, the old-fashioned way, with a needle and/or needles.  We enjoy being the teacher, sharing the good things we have discovered , as well as the student, learning new skills that might enrich our work.  To each other, we give thoughtful critiques when asked and encouragement when needed.  Each of us might be in a different place in our art, but all are enjoying the journey.  Please pass the cake."

You can read her whole blog entry here. It is quite clever and amusing. and she also gives you many of the names that were thrown around.

The meeting was at my house this past Friday and we had our own "sequester".  We would not leave until the task was accomplished.  We had a long list of names, 47 to be exact, that had been contributed by members.  We went round and round, reading them, discussing them, eliminating and finally got down to a final four, then a final two until we had a winner.

Drum roll, please........We will now be formally called FiberWorks, that's one word with a Capital W.

I am pleased to say that we accomplished this efficiently, with no fisticuffs or hurt feelings. We thought that our government could have taken a few lessons.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Book

In the huge pile of mail that was waiting for me when I returned from my Hawaiian trip was a padded envelope that felt like a book. I didn't think I had ordered anything, and was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of People and Portraits, sent to me by Lark in the hopes that I would review it on my blog, hardly an onerous task.

This book is part of the Art Quilt Portfolio series by Martha Sielman. Like her prvious book in the series, the Natural World, this book is a feast for the eyes.  It is a soft cover, but a very sturdy soft cover encompassing an embossed picture of Maria Elkins prize winner, Windblown.  There are 21 featured artists, each with their own unique style: from the whimsical Yoshiko Kurihara, the political Pat Kumicuch, the ethereal Colette Berends, the serious Lori Lupe Pelish, and everything in between.

There were artists whose work I had long admired such as Margo Levinger, who uses layers of tulle as if  it were paint to achieve her sensuous nudes.  Her fine art background is very obvious.

Mary Pal's work has always intrigued me  She works mostly in white cheesecloth on black backgrounds to make the most amazingly realistic portraits, mostly of the aged or homeless.  One of the great features of this book is that each artist explains how they work.  There was a big, "Aha, that's how she does it!" when I read Pal's explanation.  Not that I would ever do it, but at least now I know how it was done.

Margene Gloria May was a new name to me, but I loved her striking and powerful African American portraits using bold graphic fabrics.

In addition to the featured artists there are many galleries with more than 100 other talented artists showing their talent.

My friend, Carole, does the most incredible, quirky and playful woman's faces.  When I heard about this book coming out, I told her to be sure and enter, certain that this book was right up her alley.  We were both shocked and dismayed that she was not accepted.  After seeing the book, I realize that she may not have been as well known as the featured artists, but I still think that at least one of her works would have been perfect for one of the galleries.  But then I wasn't a juror and one never knows entirely what is in their minds.

Would I recommend your getting this book for your library?  You bet I would!  It is well written with an abundance of beautiful colored photos and to make the pot even sweeter,  you can get it on Amazon for under $10!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

SAQA Auction Quilt

Every year SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) has an online auction to raise money for its many endeavors.  Members are asked to contribute a 12" x 12" quilt.  You can read more about it here.

When I finally got around to binding Brown Planet, I had to cut off a few inches on each side to square it up.  I was crushed to think that all that intense quilting would have be lost.  But I looked at it and realized that I had enough to piece those strips into a small quilt.  Fortunately I had just enough for a twelve inch square quilt and I decided that this would be a good choice for my entry this year.  The auction doesn't start until September, but they are due in June.


Quilting detail

Quilting detail

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I took a trip into New York yesterday and visited MOMA (Museum of Modern Art).  It was a scrumptious spring day where you only needed a light jacket.  What a treat after such a cold start to the season.

The museum itself is a work of art.  This is one view looking through a window onto floors below.

We had two docent tours.  One was outside in the sculpture garden and the other was inside.
It's always a thrill to see famous works of art that you previously had only seen in books.  I'm sure you'll recognize them all.

I was surprised at how large this Picasso was.  For some reason I always thought it was a small painting.  It was huge!

This one surely looks like a quilt.

After a yummy lunch at the second floor cafe we had time to do a little walking around outside enjoying the day.  Rockefeller Plaza was still decked out for Easter.  The center planters were filled with lilies, hyacinths, and azaleas.

At the one end was this enormous bunny rabbit all made out of fresh plant material.

Our brief fling with spring was short lived.  It was chilly and nasty today and tomorrow is supposed to be downright cold and rainy.  That's New England for you!  It promises to be a nice day on Saturday.  I'm itching to get outside and do some garden cleanup.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Aloha and Farewell

It's time to wind down my Hawaiian travelogue.  This has been just the tip of the iceberg, but it gave you some idea of our fabulous trip. We did go to a luau, but I didn't get any good pictures.  Too dark, too far away.

I never saw so many Mustang convertibles in one place.  It got to be quite amusing as we'd say, "there's another one!"  I even asked one young man if there was a special rental place, but he said that he just got it at the airport.  In one small parking lot that held about 30 cars, there were seven Mustangs.  Most of them were in bright red or blue , but there were also black, silver and white.  Hawaii surely is a good place for a convertible with its year round mellow weather.  On the road they usually had the tops down.  My late husband was a Ford dealer, a car buff and an owner of an original Mustang.  I know he would have gotten a big kick out of it.

One of our adventures was to take a sunset cruise on this boat.  There was plenty of seating room below with a bar.  This was an hor'dourves/cocktail cruise.  You could have as much as you wanted to eat or drink, but with the rough water and unstable walking, one Mai Tai was enough for me.

I took this casual shot of Sheila and zoomed in from the other side of the boat.  She loves the water and sunsets, so she was in her element.  Notice the bare feet and rolled up pants.  We had to take our shoes off before boarding and put them in a big plastic container on the sand.  You had to walk thru a bit of water boarding the boat and we all got a little wet.  Same thing for getting off, where some of us got even wetter.

We were rewarded with  a spectacular sunset.

These shots were taken at the airport.

This picture was actually taken as we got off the airport in Honolulu after 11 1/2 hours on the plane, the start of out trip, but I just got the picture from Marilyn.  We were all given the leis by our transport man.  Since Aloha means both hello and goodbye, I thought it was a good one to end with.

It's funny how references to Hawaii seem to be everywhere now.  When I went to the bank the other day and commented on the teller's nice tan, she told me she had just returned from Hawaii.  One of my quilt group members did the same thing.  The new episode of Madmen started in Hawaii and was the theme thru out the episode.  There is a new program on HGTV called Hawaiian Life in which prospective buyers are looking to get a home in Hawaii. Maybe it's like when you buy a red car, you seem to notice all the other red cars.  I don't know.  But suffice it to say that we had a great time and would recommend it to anyone interested in gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery, good places to eat, and fun adventures.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hawaiian Quilts

As a quilter, of course I was interested in seeing the quilts.  Some of the big hotels used them as display on the walls behind glass.

There were also shops selling hand bags, glass cases. pillow covers, wall hangings, bed covers, etc, but I was very disappointed in the quality.  While they looked OK from a distance, upon closer inspection the needle-turn applique was clumsy and the quilting stitches quite large.  They never would have passed muster at a big judged quilt show.  I later learned that they were made in the Philippines.  They were inexpensive, though.  Claire bought a cute bag for only $34.

I was excited when I saw these from a distance on a resort wall, but they were a complete fake-out.  They were painted on the wall. With the edges slightly rippling and the shadows, they looked quite real.

In one store called "Everything Hawaiian " I found this darling Santa ornament for my Santa tree.  He was made in Hawaii. Isn't he cute with his jams and ukulele?

On the day before we left we found out that there was a museum on the other side of the island that had all things authentically Hawaiian, including quilts. We had been in that area a few days before, but didn't know about it.  We didn't want to use a whole day and miss out on our last day at the beach, so we didn't go. I'm sure that I would have enjoyed it.

I still have a few things to wrap up so please come back