Friday, August 28, 2015

New Work (sort of)

I made five of these 12" x 12" squares for a project last year and they ended up being the wrong size for what I needed.  After all that stenciling I didn't want them to go to waste and knew that they would be perfect for my FiberWorks current project.  We are to make three pieces 12" x 12" that are related in some way and mount them on a black background 14" x 40", which leaves one inch around each piece on all sides.

You may remember seeing them on a previous blog.  The fabric is from my snow-dyed stash and I used several stencils using Shiva paint sticks. I fused on various quotes about time and machine button-hole stitched around them. I then quilted around each motif and applied different gears and watch parts.  I was going to sew them down, but I decided to try Acrylic medium and it worked perfectly.  I was afraid they might pop off if the quilt was bent or rolled but they seem to be very secure.  See the pictures below for some detail.

Please click on any picture for a bigger view of all and check out Off The Wall Friday to see some terrific work by other artists.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

China at the Met

This past Thursday I went into NYC to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see China Through the Looking Glass.  To quote the website :"This exhibition explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. In this collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, high fashion is juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.
From the earliest period of European contact with China in the sixteenth century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashions are infused at every turn with romance, nostalgia, and make-believe. Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.
The exhibition features more than 140 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Filmic representations of China are incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which to understand the richness of Chinese history."

 Please go to their website to see some fabulous pictures and read about it in more depth.

The whole exhibit was magical, with music and film clips playing, mirrors, glitz and glam and so much to see.  It took my breath away.  I offer you a few of my pictures that don't do it justice, but if you live anywhere near NY, run don't walk to see this exhibit. It has been extended to September 7, so you have time.

This next gallery was very hard to photograph and  hard to explain.  It was a huge room with rods of glass (or maybe plexiglass) that had to be 20 feet or more high. They filled almost the whole room.  Hidden within this forest of glass were life-sized mannequins dressed in white or gray or black.  Playing on the back wall screen, which was enormous, were films of warriors fighting/dancing among bamboo trees.  You really had to be there. Read the explanation below and then there are two pictures of a very small part of it.

The white figures were sometimes hard to see.

 Anyone who has been to my home knows my penchant for blue and white, so I felt right at home in  this next gallery.

The exhibit ran through three floors and several galleries.  We kept getting lost and almost missed one whole huge section.  My friends who went with me are well traveled, as am I, and we said that the Met has to be one of best museums in the world and we are so fortunate to live so close by. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Book

A while ago Kathie Loomis asked if she could use a picture of my quilt "Fiesta" in an upcoming book about making Rail Fence Quilts.  Of course I said yes.  Firstly, I know that Kathy is a fabulous writer having led another life as a journalist before she became a full time quilt artist and she writes a terrific blog.  Secondly, Fiesta is one of my favorite quilts.  I made it to hang over the couch in my family room and I have received a lot of compliments on it.  It has also been juried into the big show at Houston and it has been in another book and I am happy to share it with other readers.

I received my complimentary copy of her book the other day and I now am extra proud to be a part of it.  It is a great book!

Kathy's premise is to show people how to make a Rail Fence quilt, in its many variations, without using patterns; she hates using patterns. I particularly liked her comparison to cooking in this passage:

With a general pasta plan (see mine on my blog at, you could serve pasta
every night and never repeat yourself exactly. Or you could broaden your repertoire and in addition
to your general pasta plan, have a general soup plan and a general salad plan and a general
boneless chicken breast plan. The same can be true for quilting. One of my favorite general plans
for “contemporary” or “original” quilts is rail fence. And just as I could serve a different meal for
many nights in a row from my general pasta plan, I could make a lifetime’s worth of bed, lap, wall
and baby quilts from my general rail fence plan.
The pasta plan calls for four essential components: pasta, liquid, solids and flavor. The rail
fence plan does, too: rails, blocks, an overall organizational structure and a color/fabric scheme.
Just as the pasta plan allows for many possibilities in each component (for instance, the solids
could be broccoli, cauliflower, or ground beef) the rail fence plan does, too (for instance, there
could be two, three or four rails per block; the blocks could be square or rectangular; the colors
could be high-or low-contrast…). By choosing a different set of possibilities each time you make
a quilt, you can make each quilt unique, and your very own. And by following the general plan,

you can be assured that the quilt you spend so much of your precious time on will look just fine.

While this book would be great for a beginning quilter, as an experienced quilter I found a lot of good ideas that I could use, too.  If you want to make a quick and easy baby quilt or charity quilt, one of her plans would be a good way to go.

She used my quilt for the Chapter 3 heading.

And she also gave a full page to each artist's quilt included in the book .

If you've ever used any of Kathy's free tutorials on her blog, as I have, you will know that she is an excellent  teacher. You can buy her book by going to this website.  I would be a nice gift for a beginning quilter or a welcome addition to your library.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pictured Rocks

The last leg of our Michigan trip was to drive to Munising on the Upper Peninsula to see the fabled Pictured Rocks. We stayed at a hotel (just a Holiday Inn this time) for one night after seeing the Rocks via a Pictured Rock Cruise. The only way to  really see the rocks was from the water, although we saw several hikers way above the rocks, part of the National Park System.  The colors in the sandstone cliffs were created by large amounts of mineral in the rocks that showed up as the rocks were eroded by water.  As you rode by you could see various "pictures" in the rocks such as skyscrapers, village, battleships, etc.  It depended on your good imagination.

This formation had some Indian name since it looked like an Indian chief complete with headdress.

The next day we drove back to the airport stopping for lunch at yet another charming little restaurant on the water. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and would recommend it to anyone.  It's a beautiful part of our country.

Come back for something totally different, my review of a great new book by Kathleen Loomis.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grand Hotel

We decided that if we were going to stay on Mackinac Island we wanted to be at THE place to stay, Grand Hotel.  We had a hard time getting reservations several months in advance and were only able to do it though a travel agent. It is really something to see and you can see it from the water miles away.  Again I took way too many pictures and narrowed them down to these.

Walking up to the front of the hotel.

The end of the building with the ice cream parlor.

One half of the front porch, which claims to be the longest front porch in the world.

The front porch looking in the opposite direction.

The view from the front porch onto the water.

There was a big geranium theme with red geraniums everywhere, even in the elevator.

In the evening after dinner there was harp music with complimentary demitasse.

Isn't this carpet fabulous?  It was all over the hotel. I couldn't help but think of my late mother who was so fond of red geraniums and planted them every year in front of her Florida home.  She would have loved it here.

 Maxine walking down the front steps line with more red geraniums.

Inside The Geranium Bar with these beautiful red lacquered chairs.

Part of what they called "the Parlor" or what we would call the lobby.

Me sitting on an adorable four seated circular settee.

The Main Dining Room held 750 guests for dinner.  Dinner was five courses and delicious. Gentlemen were required to wear a jacket and tie after 6 PM and ladies were required to dress appropriately, a real treat in this day of "dressing down" and casual dress. I love any opportunity to dress up.

Each of the 300 rooms were decorated differently.  All had wall paper and hand painted furniture.
The suites (which we did not have) were amazing, but these were our two rooms, bigger than they look here with a lovely sitting area and patio.

The lower level had shops and this was one of the art galleries with floor, paintings and furniture all done by the same artist.  Don't you love that sofa? There were chairs to match.

The Grand Hotel's horse drawn carriage. So elegant!

We were so glad that we stayed there.  It was pricey, but worth it and part of the Mackinac Island experience. It was also convenient, being a ten minute walk to town.

I have one more small segment of our trip to show, maybe tomorrow.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mackinac Island

Our next stop was Mackinac Island.  The only way to get there, other than a small private plane which we did not have, was by ferry.  Once on the island there were no motorized vehicles. You got around by foot, horse drawn carriages, horseback or bicycles.  It was one of the prettiest places I've ever seen with beautiful houses ranging from small and charming to lavish and grandiose, but what they all had in common was flowers.  Flowers everywhere, hanging baskets, window boxes, landscaping, roadside, and borders.

I don't usually show this many pictures, but even though I did a lot of editing, I had a hard time choosing, so here are some of my favorites with very little text, just a feast for the eyes.

These were the tallest Astilbe I had ever seen.  The next photo shows them peeping over the picket fence. 

Where else would a bright turquoise house look right at home?

The island was a flower lover's dream and the pictures don't do it justice.  Come back tomorrow for pictures of the Grand Hotel, out home for two nights. 
Be sure to click on any picture for a bigger view of all.