Sunday, June 25, 2006

Have you ever had the experience of visualizing a piece, working through the processes needed to bring it into being- and your finished piece actually being everything you'd visualized? I can't say it has been a familiar one for me- I usually can get a part of what I'd hoped, but I've rarely experienced the serendipity of achieving the whole look and feel. But this weekend was different. I started working on my June journal quilt, with a definite vision in mind, and it all just feel into place. The piecing technique I tried worked like a charm, the fusing just jumped into place- it all just FLOWED. And now I'm frustrated- BECAUSE I CAN'T POST IT!!!
I am, however, taking the liberty of posting a small detail. I was so happy with the transparent fiber pieces that I posted about last week, that I'm including a photo of one of them. I decided I wanted more transparent than I'd gotten last week, so tried again with less fiber- and it worked like a charm. So here's a very small part of the best journal quilt I've done yet. . .

I'm also pleased at the way my pieces are following a more coherent theme. I've never tried working in a series, but it's something I'll do again. Three more to go, and I've got good ideas for all of them.
I won't be posting Tuesday for the discussion on "View"- so I'll ask the question now, since it's the one in the whole book that has preyed on my mind. Does this art matter? To my mind, in the larger scheme of things, probably not that much. But then, what makes a piece of art matter? I didn't get a good answer from Ted, and I don't have one yet either. I just keep trying to make art that is good design, makes my heart sing, and gives at least some other people pleasure. And that's good enough. Other viewpoints are welcome, post a comment!!
I will also be doing something this week that makes my heart sing. The Utah Surface Design group, of which I am a member, is having a workshop with Judith Trager from Colorado. She curated the show I went to a couple of weekends ago, and had some beautiful pieces in it. We'll be "Exploring the Surface," with paint, stitch, all kinds of fun. Three entire days with a nationally known fiber artist- to say I'm excited would be an understatement. So, no more posts until after the workshop- but hopefully I'll have lots of pictures to post!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Well, I can't say a lot of fiber work went on this weekend- but amidst all the housecleaning, training to be a poll worker for the primary election in a week, and going to a Salt Lake Bees game (minor league baseball) today, I did manage to get one thing done- which will find its way to my June journal quilt. And, that means I can show what I did today, but not the final product- that will have to wait until next fall after Houston.
But, first, I must digress. I started the year determined to have a more coherent theme for my journal quilts. I knew it would be something nature-based, because I love the outdoors. After my third month, I knew what the theme would be- WEEDS! I try to walk our dog Sadie at least 3-4 times a week at a nearby golf course. We're so familiar with the route, I can let my mind wander and really observe the unusual. Do you realize how many shapes and sizes of weeds there are, even in a desert like Utah? I started with the obvious, dandelions- no lack of those. Then, a little later, I noticed these giants- they look a little like dandelions, but clearly aren't. The leaves are different, and the furry thing is considerably larger. If anyone out there knows what these are, I'd love to know!!

On our walk Friday, I saw two other "weeds" that had interesting shapes or colors. The first is a thistle, obviously- but we grow giants here, I saw some that were almost as tall as I am.

Some were already flowering. They are pretty, despite their deadly appearance!

Last, I saw this "weed"- large leaves, and some spheres.

Then, bit farther on I learned what the spheres were!

So, now you know more than you ever wanted to about weeds in Utah. All these images will find their way into my journal quilts-- but you'll have to wait for those.
Now, back to that giant dandelion. I remembered reading somewhere- maybe the QA list, maybe not- that paint medium could be used to hold fibers together to use in fabric art. I have a bag of silk caps I have been waiting to use--

And, after a shopping trip to Michael's last Thursday, I have paint medium. So, I tried painting the stuff on fibers, cut about an inch and arranged about the same size I want the heads to be--

After I started by trying to "paint" the medium on the dry fibers, I realized, Duh, this would be so much easier if the fibers were wet. So, I sprayed 'em, painted more medium, and left it to dry. Oh, yeah, in case you are wondering- I arranged the fibers on a piece of black tulle, figuring I could cut it away after I was done. Here it is, drying:

And, IT WORKED!! When we got home from the baseball game, I ran downstairs to check- success!! I was even able to peel the tulle off the fibers! So, now I have a lovely ethereal head for my giant dandelion!

Now, to pick the background fabric, fuse my leaf fabric, and start the piecing. But, that will be a post for another day!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I was able to spend all day yesterday in Salt Lake at the Museum of Fine Arts- they have just opened a quilt exhibit, "Rooted in Tradition: The Art Quilt." Yesterday was a symposium, that included a lecture by Robert Shaw on the history of the art quilt, a movie about ten members of a crit group in Northern California, and a panel discussion that included Mr. Shaw, an art quilter (Lynn Welter). The audience was small, but I was able to get to know some others who share my love of the art quilt. And, who knows, I'm hoping to be able to develop a small crit group, after a conversation with another member of the Utah Surface Design Group.
The exhibit itself was magnificent. The quilts dated back to the 80's, and it was wonderful to be able to see in person the work of artists I have admired for years, and only been able to experience through books. It also was a real lesson on the challenges of photographing quilts- Mr. Shaw showed a couple of slides during his lecture- and they did not bear much resemblance to the actual work.
My favorites? Phil Jones' flowers done in silk, cotton, and wool fibers; Katy Widger's exquisite colors and quilting immediately spring to mind. Some quilts cry out for massive amounts of quilting, others are just fine with more subtle stitching. Lesson learned: listen to the quilt, it will tell you what it needs!
I will go back more than once; the exhibit is here until October, with more special events planned. The curator of the exhibit, Judith Trager, will be here the end of June; I'll be at her lecture, and her three day workshop. She had three pieces in the exhibit,and all were beautiful. And, another lesson learned: you can work in the traditional grid format, and still produce art quilts.
This will be a wonderful summer for viewing art quilts in person. One of the exhibits from Quilt National will be in Brigham City this summer, and there is an exhibit of the Front Range Quilters in Park City. And, there is always the annual show in Springville!
No pictures allowed, so none to post- which is fine, because Blogger is being temperamental today and not uploading them anyway. Time to go work on the manatee quilt, I feel newly inspired!

Friday, June 09, 2006

I've had plenty of time to think about the value of friendship, and how important it is - especially to us "old-timers!" I look at photos of Judy and I from high school, and all I can think is how young and naive we were.

Our friendship has lasted through marriage and divorce, distance, and long periods of time without seeing each other. Yet, last weekend we were able to pick up without a hiccup. I value friendships like Judy and I have and more as I get older- that ability to have a conversation about things past without having to explain much, sharing interests like our love of the outdoors. Here's hoping I'm still writing about our adventures when we're ninety!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I am not a runner- so much of this was new experience for me!! Judy and I were up very early this morning, and hit the road for Salt Lake before 6 am. We parked at the Gateway Center, which was the finish line for the race, then took Trax up to the University of Utah where the race started. To say I was amazed at the mass of humanity that runs is an understatement. However, even more amazing was the lines at the portapotties ten minutes before start time---

Found out from Judy after the race that numerous people found discreet bushes or trees to use instead!!
I had a marvelous vantage point on the bridge before race start. These are the elite runners, who do the race in a little more than two hours--

And this is the rest of the runners, at the start--

After I saw the pack off at the start, I headed back to the Gateway Center- with a stop for breakfast. The party had already started by 8:30 in the morning!

And, I was there to see the winner cross the finish line!! I spoke to some runner after the race, and they said these elite runners' feet hardly seem to touch the ground- they fly!

And, a couple of hours later, here's Judy crossing the finish line!! (And, this was her second marathon in a little over a month!!)

After a massage, lots of water, and some food at Mimi's Cafe, we headed home. And we plan to vege out the rest of the night. But what a day!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

I am exhausted- but it has been a glorious day hiking in the mountains above Sundance. Yesterday I picked up my long-time friend Judy at the airport, she is visiting from Phoenix. We go back a very long way- dare I say it, we go back at least forty years. We were in high school together many many moons ago in Southern California. Judy and I shared some wonderfully wild and wacky times together in high school and college, and usually manage to pick back up where we left off- even if it has been years since we last saw each other. Since Judy has spent most of her adult life living and traveling in far away or exotic places- Alaska, Montana, Nepal, Guatemala to name just a few- there have been times where we haven't seen each other for years.
Today we drove up the Alpine Loop just above Sundance, and went hiking up the back side of Mt. Timpanogos. Judy is also in much better shape than I am- she is here in Utah to run the Salt Lake marathon tomorrow. I'll be there to cheer her on- but running, not on my knee!! Anyway, we saw some spectacular scenery today; here's the view up where we hiked to, at the trailhead.

It was beautiful and green- and, since I had to stop rather frequently to catch my breath (there was quite the incline!!- I had plenty of opportunity to observe the flora. Judy and I also were talking the whole way, catching up since we last saw each other! We made it up to the falls, although not on the trail all the way. Somehow we missed a turn, and ended up bushwacking our way up part of the mountain. But, we found a nice flat rock to have lunch on, and could walk down to the falls. That water felt so good, and standing next to the roar of the falls was awesome. I haven't been out hiking in awhile, and this reminded me how much I love it and the mountain outdoors. Here's Judy next to the falls:

And, here's the view from the top of our hike:

Coming back down the mountain, Judy noticed webs on the bushes, full of eggs and some hatching caterpillars. Fascinating to look at. .

All in all, a great day. We'll be to bed early tonight, we have to leave for Salt Lake before five am to get Judy to the starting line on time. I'll post pictures from the race tomorrow!