Sunday, August 31, 2008

Famous Last Words

I thought I had it under control; I thought I was ready to send in my Quilt National entry. Then I went to a crit group meeting and took along a piece I had started at QSDS in the Master Class and finished at home. It was still just a top. The consensus of the group was that it should be quilted and entered into QN. After thinking about it I decided that it would make a better fit into a 'body of work' than the other piece I had planned to enter. After dedicating the next few days to quilting it, it was ready to be photographed. I sent off the entry yesterday, getting it to the Post Office just in time to be picked up for the last Saturday pickup. Even with the holiday weekend it should easily make it to Ohio by the September 5 deadline (are these the Famous Last Words?) At the same time I posted an entry to Materials Hard & Soft in Texas, and ready to mail out on Tuesday is an entry to CraftForms.

And now I can turn my attention to coming events. What is this person doing? This is my husband spraying bug repellent on our clothes in preparation for an African Safari. We are leaving next weekend for Tanzania, 2 weeks in the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plain. I've gotten shots for hepatitis B and C, yellow fever, and typhoid, I have malaria pills to take while I'm there and also after we return home. We have multitudinous instructions on what not to eat or drink: unpeeled fruits and vegetables, any water that is not contained in a sealed bottle that I have opened myself. We have a first aid kit that would make a Boy Scout envious. I will be spending the next few days testing out what I have to pack since we have a weight limit of 33 lbs on one leg of the trip. Thank heavens there are clothes washing facilities available so I only need about 3-4 days worth of clothes. Not looking forward to the 16 hours on a plane to get there, nor the resulting jet lag, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

While out spraying clothese I caught a hummingbird at the feeder. They are great entertainment - the male hummers are very territorial and will chase any perceived intruder away. That includes humans and the goldfinches that go for the water in the ant trap.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Read the Directions

It's that time again. Time for my biennial stab at the Holy Grail. Quilt National, that is. I could go back and count how many times I've entered but that would just make me feel worse. And along with Quilt National are the entry deadlines for Materials Hard and Soft in Texas and CraftForms in Pennsylvania. All with September deadlines. I have enough of an inventory of work to enter so I'm not scrambling to finish something. Usually at this point in August I'm scrambling to finish Quilt National entries. But this year I planned ahead and started thinking about it and working way back in January. I have a number of pieces that I have held back from entering anywhere and even have not posted them on my website. Wouldn't want to break any of the rules. Except.....

My plan was to make something BIG that would make an impact. So I did. This is it.

Now you may be wondering why I'm posting this picture since I've held it out of circulation for so long. Because while I read the instructions for prohibitions on prior publishing I neglected to note the size restrictions. This piece is eleven feet wide, too wide to enter. Not just a little bit too wide, but two feet too wide. I could insert a whole lot of swear words here, but I'm trying to keep this clean so my Mother won't be shocked. (Hi, Mom!)

I toyed with the idea of cutting it down to fit but dismissed that - it would ruin the piece. So this piece will get entered somewhere else, someplace with a great big wall. Luckily the oversize-ness was pointed out to me in June, and I have had enough time to make another piece. Which will not be posted here. I would have been quite distraught to discover it's too big at this point, as I'm filling out the entry form, and it's too late to do anything about it.

The replacement piece is just under 7 feet wide, still big enough to make a statement, but well within the size restrictions. I'm tired of making great big pieces, they're a pain to get through the sewing machine. I'm going to stick with medium sized for a while.

Meanwhile, if you are in Staunton, Virginia, you can seem my work at Amazing Art Quilts. If you are in Springfield, Missouri, you can see my work at ThreadLines. And if you are in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, you can see my work at the Rehoboth Art League.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Have you been watching?

The Olympics, that is. Specifically, the Michael Phelps Olympics. Last night was the most exciting race I have ever seen. Not only was it close - 1/100 of a second - Michael tied Mark Spitz' record of 7 golds in one Olympics. We here in Baltimore are avid fans of Phelps since this is his home. Actually, he lives about 1/2 mile from my daughter's house in Rodgers Forge. Other newspapers write about 'Michael Phelps of Baltimore'; here it's 'Michael Phelps of Rodgers Forge'. Tonight is his last race and he is going for an unprecedented 8th gold medal. I hope he wins and I hope he wears all of them in his upcoming parade up York Road. There was a parade after the 2004 Olympics and I went and tried to take pictures except my camera battery died just as he came by. That won't happen this time - I'll be prepared.

This article in the Baltimore Sun has the story of the race and lots of photos.

On the art scene front I have nearly finished my Quilt National entry. The quilting is finished and I plan to add some more paint. And that will be it, done in plenty of time to photograph it and get the entry form off by the September 5 deadline.

Last weekend I was in Sun Valley, Idaho teaching surface design techniques to 2 new friends I met at QSDS in June. Both are award winning quilters but neither had really done much with stuff like thermofax printing or deconstructed screen printing. We spent 4 days in the inspiring surroundings of the Sawtooth National Forest playing with paints and dyes. Here is the view from the living room, where we worked after removing most of the furniture and covering the rest with plastic.

Last Fall there were forest fires in the area. We took a hike through one stand of aspens that had been burned. It was amazing to see how quickly the area has recovered with new growth.

But the most memorable event for me was the evening that we went to a concert in the new Pavilion where the Sun Valley Orchestra accompanied the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a program of opera (along with Denyce Graves, the mezzo soprano) and popular music. I know I wasn't the only one in the audience with chills running up and down my spine. And if that wasn't exciting enough, we then watched an ice skating show on the outdoor skating rink that featured local skaters along with world class performers.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


One of my readers, Violette Severin, asked me to participate in an artist interview. She sent me a list of questions and I answered them as best I could. To read this interview, visit Violette's Blog Handquilting. Here is the link to the interview.

Yesterday I spent the day in Philadelphia at the Buyers' Market of American Craft. This is a wholesale market only open to gallery owners, shop owners, and people like that. I was recruited to help staff a booth sponsored by the Rosen Group, the group that runs the Buyers' Market. The idea is to promote Fiber as the Hot New Collectible. Fiber was very poorly represented among the exhibitors at the Market and this booth was to help buyers to get more familiar with fiber as something they would want to have in their stores. I (and the volunteers I recruited)represent SAQA. There were representatives from SDA (Surface Design Association) and SPIN (Silk Painters International). Two other groups were invited - handweavers and needleworkers - but there was nobody from either of those groups. We had a very nice display area with hard walls where we were able to exhibit some work, but since the handweavers and needleworkers didn't send anything to display, there was a lot of empty space. I could have easily gotten more art work from my volunteers. If they ask us again next year, I think we will be better prepared. I'm not sure we were very successful, at least not yesterday, but maybe there will be a better response today and tomorrow.