Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ordinary Magpie

My first attempt at Sue Dennis' Viewpoints9 challenge was miserable at being ordinary.  Not that the piece was so extraordinary, by any means...but rather..I created a piece depicting an extraordinary place, missing Sue's point entirely.  I ended up posting the way too ooooo long message previously.

It did get me thinking.  And I never mentally left Australia as I looked for the ordinary in an extraordinary location.  When I think of what I miss when I'm not there.....  What ordinary thing I miss most?'s the magpies.  I love their songs. I also love that they are very plain looking in their black and white suits and that they are collectors.  Gosh, it's amazing how much you can have in common with a bird ;^)  Except I can't sing.

Pardon the my amateurish camera-work in the video.  After you listen to the maggies, go see what everyone is posting on Viewpoints9.  This is a fun challenge!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Post That Won't Be Posted

At least this won't be posted where it has been scheduled for the past couple of weeks.  It's like this:  I belong to an online group, Viewpoints9.  On the 26 of this month we are all due to post our inspiration to Sue Dennis' challenge: Travel to another country...armchair or real...and look at the ordinary with new eyes.  Be inspired by the everyday.

The following is my really long post.  Then I had two weeks to think about it.  I had two weeks because several events occurred that made me postpone my two month sojourn to the West Coast (which is why I was so early with my inspiration in the first place).

As I thought about Sue's words, I realized I'd missed the point totally.  While my post is doesn't capture the ordinary... Kata Tjuta is anything but ordinary.

Rather than waste a perfectly good post, I'm sharing it here.  Stay tuned for the Feb 26 reveal.  This time I did Ordinary...perfectly Ordinary ;^)

Katsuo-ji Temple Lantern

Dharuma at Kotsuo-ji

When Sue posted this challenge I was all set to work on something inspired by one of our trips to Japan.  For years I have photographed moneki-neko's and dharuma in places high and low.  However, it's winter here in North America, when an old woman's thoughts turn "down-under".

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta detail

In the late 1980's through the early 1990's my husband's job required him to remain in Australia working on a joint-venture project.  It was a wonderful opportunity for both of us.  I had signed the last tuition check to the last child's university and was 'free' to go.  My visa did not allow me to be employed or matriculate in school :^)  I was really free.  It was wonderful.

What began as an infatuation with a country, its landscape, its diverse culture, and its citizens has become a love affair. This time every year, I wish I were there.  Every 18-20 months, I give in and take the horrible flight.  To rationalize the long flight, I feel we 'have' to stay several weeks.

The desert monoliths Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Karlu Karlu (Devil's Marbles) are icons, recognizable worldwide.  You KNOW it's the outback of Australia.

As my husband (Saint David, my friends say) says, "Sometimes we just have to return to Oz so Diane can visit her heart".

It's not JUST the landscape.  It's the everyday:  The humor. The graffiti.  The food and wine (and beer).  The flora.  Oh, and the birds!

 Okay, I'm besotted.

Maybe there's a twelve step program I can sign up for.

I'm sure the irony will not be lost on Sue, a world traveler, keen observer, and Australian.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

News and Show and Tell (oops that's redundant)

I have been trying to simplify.  Honestly!  I felt I had to resign from a couple of activities around year's end because I could not commit to any more meetings.  I know I'm not alone in this, but, sometimes I feel too fractured and fear that, ultimately, I will do a poor job and my efforts will have been wasted.

Then a good friend and member of Fiber Revolution asked me if I'd ever thought about applying for membership.  Sure, I had.  But....oh, what the heck.  Go for it.

Crazy, I know, but I am now a member of Fiber Revolution and in some pretty heady company.  No pressure here, guys.

Meanwhile back in the studio, I've been working on a few projects:  Friday was the drop dead deadline for SAQA/CT "Local Color" traveling exhibit.  It was a cliffhanger.  At one point we thought we might not have enough entries to continue.  Then, in the last two days, more that half of the entries were submitted.  Hoorah!  "Local Color" is a GO!  And what wonderfully diverse entries!  Kate Themel and I are the co-curators so at that point we had access to the they are off to the jurors.  What excitement!  We have four, also diverse, venues: a university, an art center, a museum and the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.  I don't even want to get into the number of member-hours (or the number of members, for that matter) that it has taken to pull this thing off.  I do know it's a lot of time and energy from many, starting with the co-chairs Mayann Weinberg and Margaret Phillips, who will take the package through to it's first venue at Western CT State University in Danbury.

With the wonderful support of our SAQA/CT members, it looks like we will be able to support a catalogue and postcards.  Of course, some of you might be asked to help along the way...just sayin'.

Fortunately most of the last ten days' events were cancelled because of the winter storm Charlotte/Nemo.  'Fortunately' because there were yet more obligations that I was spared.  I'm hoping to revisit them in a more thoughtful way.  Like the huge Chinese New Year Party that our family hosts every year.  It was suppose to be happening TODAY.  Because of the feet of snow still on the ground, we have no place to park cars...nor does anyone else (like neighbors or even on the one lane street).  I usually spend the week cooking in preparation...which I didn't this year.  Although, I do have some dishes in the frige/freezer at the ready for a small dinner party....which will have to satisfy us this year.

Because of the various cancellations, I spent many hours in my studio (we have a generator so even though most of the house did not have power, I did!  My circuitry is on with the basement:  furnace, well pump and some lights.)

I have started to work on The Then/Now Exhibit sponsored by the Windham Textile & History Museum in Willimantic CT.  Largely to support my buddy Cathy Smith, I volunteered to be one of the 12 art quilters to create a piece inspired by one of the antique quilts in the museum's collection.  Easy peasy.  I have until 2014.  I have chosen the "Flying Geese" variation.  I have an to make it happen.

I have also been working on some cottons and linens that I discharged this past fall.  I wrote with various chlorine products...impulsively.  Months later they interest me for different reasons...first cursive writing is becoming an antique.  My granddaughters ask me to read their cards from their aunts and uncles.  Nobody writes anymore.  Well, nobody young writes cursively anymore.

These three all accepted the chlorine differently, producing slightly differing colored writing...which I like.  I decided to hand quilt and stitch them because basically it kept my hands busy at night...I was too busy to do much more in my studio.

So back to the "Stop Me Before I Volunteer" cocktail napkin.  I received a package of them from a friend of mine, Barb Adams, who knows from her own experience that one must at some point say NO.  They are available on Amazon and lots of other places. :^)

So there you have it an explanation for my infrequent posting.  News.  Show and Tell.  Redundancy and all.