Wednesday, August 25, 2010

100th Post

This beautiful smile belongs to Takuya Takenaka, our guest visiting with us, along with my son, from Japan. As is the custom both of them came bearing omiyage (gifts).

I wanted to send a gift in return that would be something Takuya's mom Kumiko would enjoy. The boys thought something "useful" rather than decorative would be most appropriate.

Takuya is proudly displaying a lap quilt I made in 2002 after I had found and rescued a bag of vintage, hand-pieced nine patches made by an anonymous Branford CT quiltmaker. There are 1930's/1940's/1950's textiles from shirts, flour sacks, pajamas and the like, pieced into nine patches. The lot cried to be completed.

I found reproduction fabric for the solid squares, inner border and backing. The few remaining patches that didn't make it into the body of the piece were appliqued on the outer border and the whole thing hand quilted. I like to think that the spirit of that anonymous quiltmaker is smiling somewhere. I am very happy to think that this piece has found a "real" home after languishing in my studio.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lowell Quilt Festival

The thrill of the weekend was seeing my two pieces on exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art. Not that demonstrating how to mount small pieces on foam core for the SAQA/MA meeting wasn't fun ;^). It really was, as was seeing all my "peeps" that reinforce, nurture and otherwise abet my passion.

The thing that makes the weekend of "Images", the annual quilt exhibit sponsored by the New England Quilt Museum, a very necessary event in many of our lives is that Lowell is a wonderful, artful town making a supreme effort to pull itself up by it's bootstraps...or in this's shirt tails. Once a textile producing mill(s) town it became a veritable ghost town in free-fall. Fast forward a decade or so and, while, the effects of the recent recession are evident, there still are many committed souls who are determined to make Lowell work...literally.

Lowell is full of character...and characters...but that's another story.

It is defined for me by cobblestone streets, good to great restaurants and pubs, and more than its share of museums and wonderful old buildings that are slowly being renewed in use, but preserved in beauty.

This pic was taken from the front steps of the New England Quilt Museum. The red brick building in the foreground formerly housed the Revolving Museum which has relocated to the warehouse/artists' lofts on Western Avenue (Never to be missed stop! Check out Friends Fabric Art).

My little entourage arrived Friday and "did" the quilt show along with its coterie of vendors before we checked into our digs, chosen because of its middle-of-the-town/walk-to-absolutely-everything location. Months before I had made reservations for dinner at our very favorite restaurant. (A sad side note: good friends ran into a very unfortunate server there. I say unfortunate because she was so bad she received zip/nada/nothing as a tip. Unheard of. I hate to say this... but I'm glad it wasn't our group that had this inept would have really burst my bubble!)

Saturday was my favorite day by far! Starting with The New England Quilt Museum where the SAQA/MA held it's meeting. We were delighted that our Pres. Lisa Chipetine was able to join us...always witty, informative, funny, engaging and irreverent. Gotta love her!

It's a chance to catch up with friends new and old too: Sandy Donabed, Sandy Gregg, Jeanne Marklin, Valerie Pratt-Portie, Debbie Bein....Betty Warner, Judy Ross, Aurelle Locke, Mary's a huge group hug every time.

I'll close with this last pic. My "Tidepooling--after Audubon" was paired by the Whistler with a member of the Lowell Garden Club who was challenged to create a piece for the exhibit. It was brilliant! I had a chance to speak with the creator. She had searched for square frames to hold the aqua fabric...she had placed the lilies imitating the egret's shape, clear glass reflected the water, the red made an impression of the crab. A real inspiration!

Can't close without mentioning the other "must see" whilst one is in Lowell: The Brush Gallery. This is the second year that I was not juried into it's Quilt Fest Week exhibit....but I was twice before so I should be happy.... Which, of course, is not the point. The point is that it is a wonderful venue, an artists' cooperative that embodies what I envision a really thoughtful, successful collection of artists do. Support the art, theirs in particular and others in general. And they do it well. It is one of my destinations. I never leave without buying jewelry, a weaving, or two dimensional piece of art. Their juried exhibits are always at the leading edge of what's happening.

I'm already planning next August in Lowell!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Between Inspirations

"Hanging the Stars and Moon" is roughly 40" square and what's been occupying my time between inspirations.

I wouldn't call it artist's block....exactly...just not inspired. Heck, I must just be kidding myself.

So, when I am in an artistic funk I try to keep busy with something in the studio...usually I retreat to the thing that captured my imagination with quilting in the first place: piecing. I find it very meditative.

This time I dug out my New York Beauty templates for paper piecing and made a block or two for several days. Yesterday it looked just like that...several disjointed, unorganized blocks.

I remember seeing a wonky set that I thought was interesting somewhere so I started with that thought in hopes of organizing the lot.

It's hot off the machine. Not squared, not batted, not quilted, not blocked....and I haven't a clue on how I will quilt it. Ideas, anyone?