James

20130927-untitledThis is “James”, my entry into A RVA Runs Through It, which is a special exhibit at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest (MAQF) this weekend in Hampton, Virginia.

The Richmond Quilters Guild sponsored this exhibit, and it seemed a natural for me to enter using photography as well as quilting.

My Artist Statement—

“I am not a native. As a transplanted New Yorker, the songs that Richmond sings to me aren’t necessarily the same ones a native hears, and I am ok with that! (Obits in my hometown paper for a 97 year old read “Brooklyn native, brought to Staten Island as an infant.”) I get it.

This is the first in a planned series of YoYo quilts. Painted Cheese cloth and Yo-Yo’s depict Class III and IV Whitewater Rafting, surrounded by photos I’ve taken of favorite spots in RVA.”

I love to take photos of the James River, and of things in Richmond that I enjoy.

I have an outsiders appreciation of the place—I don’t focus on the political or Civil War, but I do love a lot about Richmond, and the parallel’s to my former New York life aren’t lost on me. I was born in Richmond County, New York. (More popularly known as Staten Island.)  Staten Island is to Manhattan what Colonial Heights is to Richmond, VA.  Manhattanites stare blankly when you say Staten Island, and when I say Colonial Heights up in Richmond I get that same vacant stare, a level of disbelief that I have wandered so far afield and north of the river.  I went from the forgotten borough to the outer suburban edge of this metro area. It takes almost as long to get to downtown Richmond as it did to get to downtown Manhattan, although the mode of transport is very different. Car.  Not bus, then boat, then train.

The quilt came about the way most good things do. I was walking around the IQF in Houston just after Super storm Sandy, and my mind was distracted by thoughts of home, of the devastation, and I had a certain amount of survivors guilt, being there in TX enjoying life, while so many of my family and friends were battling this storm; seeing all the news reports, and just this sense of doom, and dread for my hometown, and all the places I knew so well.

The idea for this quilt came from that day, because walking through the quilt show in Houston, my mind being pelted with an overload of visual stimulation, I had suddenly envisioned a quilt about Sandy. And, once that came to me, it broke through my inability to buy fabric, to settle on things I liked. I bought fabrics and I knew it would have YoYo’s, and I had very specific ideas, but I wasn’t totally ready to make it. So, it sat, aging, as my quilts often do.

When this challenge was announced, “James” came to me, almost fully formed; so many of the thoughts about Sandy that I hadn’t yet realized just lined up and became this quilt.

Sandy is still going to happen. It’s closer now, than it had been before. This piece was very much a test run.

 

The photos on the quilt are all mine, and are all available to purchase at my website.  This takes you to one page where most of the images are, but please, explore more of Richmond and  more of my photos!

My understanding is after this 4-day show, the entire RVA exhibit will be at a church in Richmond for the month of March. (I believe it is Shady Grove, but am not positive, nor do I have details.) Watch this space for further information.

Inspiration Vs. Reality

I ‘rescued’ a package of 7 fat quarters last year from a dusty shelf at Tuesday Morning.  The colors were fun, but the fabric was not the best. However the price, and the desire to buy fabric at the moment overtook me, and into my basket went this $5.00 bargain.

As is normal for me, the fabric was washed as soon as I got it home.  And of course, it shrank, it raveled, and it revealed a fair amount of fading along the fold lines.

So, it was relegated to The Pile.  I picked it up last weekend, when I needed something quilt-y to do at our Saturday meeting.  Since I wasn’t planning on sewing yet (recovering from foot surgery), I needed a plan.  I gathered a handful of books and grabbed that fabric.

I decided I would make a charity quilt with the fabric. Simple shapes, nothing with points that may not take well to the quality of material, and of course, I didn’t want it to end up as another UFO, so it needed to be a day project.

Today was the day.  Foot feeling better, I put the machine back on the desk, pulled out the strips I cut last week and went to it. I had chosen as my INSPIRATION  the quilt called Funny Farm DSCN0057

in Karen Snyder’s book Fat Quarter Fun.DSCN0056

I knew immediately upon seeing it that it satisfied the criteria I had established. I also knew that the pattern was very much going to be about inspiration and very little about following the directions. Nyah-Nyah Instead of the same color background, I chose the ‘almost’ solids.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to replicate the tessellation perfectly because of that, so I planned to use a fabric to separate the rows.

Strip piecing 2.5 inch strips.DSCN0046DSCN0048Cut into 4.5 inch squares.

DSCN0050Resembled into blocks. (Here, I didn’t pay attention to the order I worked, and so ended up making one set reversed, but I wasn’t stopping to fix, since I wasn’t planning on a tessellation anyway.

(What they would look like, tessellated.)DSCN0053

The finished top.DSCN0058

This is a nice baby sized quilt.  7 fat quarters! One afternoon!

Quilting day…

Today is the first day of my annual three day, pre-birthday quilting weekend …which includes the annual trip to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival  (MAQF) in Hampton.  It was to coincide with a girls weekend for out of town friends, and a trip to VMFA for the Picasso Exhibit.

Alas, real life stomped on those plans, and one girlfriend is with her fiancé during post-op, and the other is dealing with the possibility of unsettling job issues that all of us fear….

So, today I decided to work on a quilt. I pulled this quilt out of the nether reaches of my UFO pile last month.

It was a quilt that I decided to do about a decade ago. The pattern was, to say the least, challenging. Jack’s Chain is pictured here. I should point out that a decade ago, I was a relative newbie to quilting. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, I explained to Timmy last night. I totally didn’t realize what I was asking of myself.

Now, a decade later, my skills are probably up to the task, but I am also more aware of my frustration level and desire for torture. (VERY low and VERY small, I assure you.) I also know that I am NOT a precise quilter, and that this pattern requires precision.

Therefore, last month I redesigned the quilt to a far more acceptable and FINISHABLE pattern.

2 25 2011

This is how far I got today. I took all the pieces I had previously cut and worked up this quilt. I am going to locate a very dark blue or green antique patterned fabric for a sashing between the main pattern and the triangle border.

Tomorrow, Timmy will chauffer me to the quilt show so I can spend my birthday money and dream of many more quilts I probably will never make!

(I even think I may know of a special someone that I will need to FINISH this for!Flirt male)

Balance…

How did your clothes flinging go??

I have had a (RARE) 4-day stay-at-home, and because “I” am the person leading this, I figure I needed to lead by example.

Combining clothes closet and drawers, my flinging number is up to 92! (Remember, ANYTHING you fling counts. The extra hangers, the hole-y pair of socks, the ones that don’t stay up  -count as one- the orphan socks EACH count as one…)

I can purchase a pair of new khaki’s and a pair of black jeans without feeling excessive! My clothes match. There are no holes, or stains or missing buttons.

I lean toward blues, turquoises, teals, olives, and black. That is proven in my closet. So passing up a fuchsia sweater should be easier, right? Not foolproof, but easier.

But my word for the year is BALANCE.

So therefore, I have not dug deeper, and made more mess, trying to cross off even more of the list while I am home. I could have, sure. But I think it would have lead to resentment on my part for my ‘wasted’ time off. I want to create, too!

I have quilted. Played with my fabrics would be a more apt description. But today, I have quilting at the library, and I have a few things to work on.

I have UFO’s.—(quilt speak for Unfinished Objects.)  Many of them. My goal this year, is to finish twice as many things as I start. A great balance. I won’t feel like I am swimming in old things, but will accomplish great amounts! (I hope.)

If you go here, you can see the quilt projects in all their unfinished glory.

Virtual Hugs…

9-11label

My first 9-11 quilt.

This was my response to driving to work on 9-11-02, in a new state, far away from New York, from the people I loved. the DJ was talking about the time, approaching 8:46, a moment of silence. My lips were quivering as I pulled off the interstate; my eyes were filling with tears, as they are this moment as I write this…unbidden and unstoppable.

The need–the push and pull of desire versus horror –to hear and see the reports on the radio of the first Ground Zero anniversary.

I stood in the employee break room, the television tuned to the news, finally forcing myself to shut the damned thing off; it would take too many hours standing frozen, to hear the names I felt compelled to hear. I found myself returning time and again, while fearing I would get caught goofing off with only 9 days employment under my belt…

I was miserably alone. My husband was at work. He would understand. My daughter; she was in Connecticut, in college, alone and confused and hurting. She would understand. My brother, he was in Philly-far away from my embrace; he would understand.

But these people here. They didn’t seem to understand. I think there were maybe a half dozen references to the date during the course of the day; I remembered spending the days after 9-11 cutting ribbons; and comforting people and hugging them, and here, no one was wearing ribbons; no one seemed to care.

I spent the first months of life in Virginia having people tell me how GLAD I must be that I was out of New York!

How DO you measure a year? Now, in 2009, even ‘Rent’ is no longer. (Rent was the show we went and bought tickets to on the very first chance we had to travel into Manhattan when the ferries started running…solidarity, desire to survive, the need for Arlie to see that Mike wasn’t coming home…)

Measuring years lately has taken on the feeling of trying to measure the rush of the wind. Time flies by; we are celebrating the start of another school year, waving goodbye to another summer; and with it, the melancholy of 9-11 descends as it does for the weeks running up to it; I notice how I cringe having to tell people their order will be done on September 11; how I brush it off to ‘two weeks’ from today,’ or “on the ‘11th’,” but saying 9-11…

I don’t watch much TV; I don’t know if tomorrow is being hyped; I do know Facebook is going to open my heart to more heartbreak this year. Having lost touch with so many—and not knowing their circumstances over the past 26 years– I know I am going to find that friends still in NYC are suffering in ways I don’t even want to imagine…

I was only peripherally involved in 9-11. A witness, not a victim. And yet.

This quilt was designed by me when I came home from work that day in 2002 after work; a frenzied desire to create something, to get all the feelings and thoughts out of my head.

9-11quilt It took time to finish of course. (It’s me, after all.) I asked my friends and families to offer to me the names of loved ones they lost, and I embroidered their initials along the edges.

And I while I would like to say there can be no more, I will be honored to add the initials of your loved one.

Here is a bit of the original essays that I wrote in 2001, and photographs of the day itself (in the form of a scrapbook, double click on the image) Its a tough read, and a tough view. And everyone should have to read it, have to remember it.

disc guard-2

(Another quilt, part of a triptych, called Disc/Gard Guard Aquehonga, the sun setting on Fresh Kills.)

Hugs to you, Kerin, and Jessica, and Arlie and Pokey. Love you all.

INSIGHT. Journal quilt, 2007

International Quilt Festival, Houston  2007.

 

This is my second year with a quilt at Houston in the Journal Quilt show, and it is also the last year of this multi-year show. My first series of quilts is still traveling in part. One is being shown again this year, in the “book” section of the Journal show.  I must publicly thank Karey Bresenhan for her tireless enthusiasm for this project. Without it, I don’t know if I would have ever made the leap and tried to exhibit my work!!!!

 

 

 

 

This years quilt began with a box.  Last year I read about an artist who ships painted boxes to anyone who requests one. They say “FRAGILE: Contains—and then an empowerment word.”(www.fdlmstudio.com/)

 

 

Click on this to see the quilt. 

It’s about the community of people, the connection; the thinking that occurs as people encounter the box on its journey.  A brightly painted orange and yellow box arrived at my home one day with the label “Fragile: Contains INSIGHT”. The box sits in my studio. My mind ponders the word, thinking about its true meaning. Researching it, it has many facets of definition. In October of last year, I traveled to Ocracoke Island, NC. I am not a morning person. But I do love sunrise, so on vacations where there is a beach involved I don’t growl too much when awakened before dawn.  I took a large number of photos at the beach of an incredible sunrise. One is framed and sits on my studio desk. The fiery orange INSIGHT box sits next to it.   

Choosing this year’s quilt was difficult. One quilt? I had thought that nine were hard. I froze. Finally in July, I noticed these two objects together and a quilt just came to me. Photo transfer! Painting! Crystals! Oh, and let’s try silk and rayon! In a matter of days, the quilt was almost finished except for the details. Having taken a Pamela Allen class, I decided to approach it with her pre-layered quilt sandwich as a canvas to stitch a variety of fabrics from clothes purchased at the Goodwill.

The lace of one wave is from the edge of a blouse once owned by my grandmother. I made a photo transfer of the original photograph, sandwiched and bound it and applied Swarvoski crystals to the sparkling water. I didn’t really know how this would be incorporated. It kind of evolved. Took it to work one day, and found explaining what I was up to helped clarify and validate my thought processes and ideas. At that point I realized the photo needed to be hung from a piece of driftwood; alas no more time for another trip to the beach. I scrounged around the yard for a piece of wood, scraped and bleached it and then found some sunrise colored yarns to hang the smaller quilt from the larger quilt. This three-dimensional aspect begged for balance on the bottom, hence the tulle trapped seashells.  Since I collect seashells and sand from every place I go that provides them, it wasn’t a challenge to come up with a few to incorporate.