April 27, 2008
Also going to NQA will be "The Fledgling", below, as part of the Sacred Threads exhibit. Sacred Threads "is an exhibition of quilts exploring the subject themes of spirituality, joy, inspiration, peace/brotherhood, grief and healing. This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters of all faiths who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey." I believe very strongly in the purpose and value of this venue, and am glad that it is receiving additional exposure. Selected works from the 2007 exhibit were shown at the IQA festival in Houston last fall, and are now also traveling to NQA.
April 25, 2008
Dogwoods are in their glory. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of their demise have been exaggerated . While dogwood populations in the northeast suffer from dogwood decline, over time it seems to me that while the effects are real and apparent, they are not totally devastating. My landscape trees show signs of it, especially in stressful weather years, but this year they are looking grand and prosperous.
I used a photo of dogwood blossoms to make a cyanotype that I transformed into a page for an art book:
It's embellished with hand embroidery and beads. For the same book, I made a heliographic print of the leaves onto silk:
Years of benign encouragement have transformed a shady spot in the yard into a wild violet patch. I've never understood the classification of them as a "weed"; they are so beautiful in bloom, the leaves stay greener than the grass in a drought, and they provide food for butterflies. We hold off mowing this section of the yard until the first flush of blossoms are finished, and the whole area has a purple haze. It doesn't translate well into a photo, but here's a shot at it:
A neighborhood cat, who apparently either knows how good she looks, or is the feline equivalent of Fendinand the Bull, has been spending a lot of time posing in the violet patch:
April 22, 2008
Here's the detail shot:
April 18, 2008
April 17, 2008
April 16, 2008
April 15, 2008
Living in Lancaster County, I have become a bit blase about many of the sights the tourists thrill to, but one thing I still find extraordinary is the spring plowing. There are many Amish and Mennonite sects that employ technology and machinery in varying degrees, but the most conservative of them still employ mules for plowing.
I saw several mule teams out in the fields today as I was going about my errands. I didn't take pictures, out of respect for their desire (based on their religious principles) not to be photographed. But imagine if you will a team of 6 large and sturdy mules, hitched side by side, walking at a brisk pace through the field. They are harnessed to a plow, which turns over a broad swath of earth, and where the farmer stands and handles the reins. The most impressive part is when they reach the end of the field and need to turn around and head in the other direction. The outside mule makes a large 180 degree arc, the inside mule turns in place, and the four in between keep pace according to their position. I am so impressed by the amount of training and skill that must be involved in choreographing these sometimes stubborn animals.
April 14, 2008
I'm about halfway through shaping up some overgrown arborvitae. They are lovely to work on because they smell so good. They require ladder work, which I'm no longer willing to do without a spotter nearby, ready to call 911 should I lose my grip. Below is an arborvitae postcard, a cyanotype on silk.
April 10, 2008
I'm not done exploring calla images yet. I have a set of cyantypes made from photographs of the flowers that are awaiting my attention. I am tentatively planning to combine them with some vintage embroideries that also feature callas:
Both of the above are from old table runners I found at the flea market. So many ideas, so little time.....
I bought the bulbs at the farmer's market a few days ago, for the incredible bargain price of $1 each. I'm not certain what variety they will be, but any calla is a good calla.
I've used callas a lot in my fiber work. They are pretty much irresistible--the graceful curving shapes, the markings on the leaves, the way they seem so tropical yet grow here in Pennsylvania. Here's a few postcards made from photographs:
The fabric on the side of the photo is a bit of cotton print fabric from my personal stash. My mother made a dress from in the 50's. It's covered with French motifs--the Eiffel tower, a well-dressed woman walking a poodle, a street side cafe. So chic! I dole it out in bits for different projects, and will miss it when it's gone.A bit more of my 50's stash is on the bottom of this one.
Here's a small quilt I made featuring a calla lily leaf. The center is a heliographic print done on pink silk:
And a detail from Pink Calla Leaf:
April 7, 2008
At this point I am working, for want of a better term, intuitively, and trying my best not to over think the design. I am very particular about the craftsmanship of how it all fits together, and keep basic design principles in mind, but aside from that I try to just let the work flow without a lot of editing. Sometimes I am surprised--happily so-- when I step back and see I've done something like this:
April 4, 2008
In this section, I've got nasturtiums, then eggplants, then gladiolus, and a huge stand of cannas. In back of the cannas is the asparagus bed. It's all kept under a permanent straw mulch, fertilized with compost, and maintained organically.
April 2, 2008
It's shaping up so far to be a cold and windy spring. The daffodils taking their time about blooming, but a few have opened. This bit of vintage embroidery is from an Eveline Foland pattern. I have a set of them, with all different flowers, that I am slowing working up into a large quilt. I love the sparse elegance of the lines, a sort of Art Deco look.