C'est la vie

Paducah 2010.  What more can I say.  If you haven't ever been to the "big mother of all quilt shows", think about treating yourself one day.  It is another world.  As expected, I didn't win a ribbon, but that's OK, cuz I am honored just to see my big  Orange Hibiscus hanging there.  That's not all I am gonna say about it though.  Does anyone ever get a "kick" out of the judges comments?  It never fails to amuse me when I read their critiques.  Just to show you what I mean, I'm going to write these down for all to see.  Here goes:
Best Feature(s):
1.  Flow from light to dark
2.  Variety in scale of fabric prints
Area(s) to Improve:
1. Flowers get lost on busy background
2:  Machine tension
Okay, some of this is really confusing to me.  The judges liked the variety in scale of fabric prints, but seemed to think that the flowers were lost.  Maybe because I created this thing,  I have no trouble seeing the flowers or the blooms or the buds or the leaves.  Tension, yeah, I got lots of that.
C'est la vie.

As an unexpected treat, my friends and I had the good fortune of enjoying a delightful dinner at a table next to Kaffe Fassett  and Liza Lucy right before Kaffe's lecture.  Now there is an interesting fellow.  Jolly good and all that.

They were both very cordial to us and as much as I was tempted to bombard him with adoration, I thought it best to only take a few discreet snapshots.  Loved the purple shirt, purple slacks, and his bag of knitting yarns. (assumption on my part regarding the bag.)  And check out those socks..  I really had to restrain myself from asking him where I could buy a pair like those.  Loved his lecture.  All about color and design.  Duh, one of the masters of color and design in the quilting world.  And, to top it off, he has no problem in stating his opinion.  In answering questions from the audience he stated that he left America for England to get away from all the rednecks.  I didn't know that his stomping grounds, Big Sur area and NYC,  was so full of rednecks.  I always thought that those areas were full of hippies back in the sixties.  I shall assume that he has acquired that dry British tongue and cheek attitude.
On the other hand, I was also amused by his statement regarding all the little folks in their white gloves who wouldn't allow you to touch the quilts on display.  He seems to think that quilts are for all to enjoy, to caress, to explore.  He and Liza don't like quilts to be overly quilted to the point of feeling like cardboard.  Yippee!  so now I am once again justified by a famous one.  I agree with Kaffe - it's all about the color and design. The quilting, whether hand or machine, is secondary.  Sorry, I know I have just insulted a zillion quilters out there.  But that is my joie de'vie.

Back home from my 6 day trip with the girls, I am back to work on grandpuppy.  I must say, she's lookin' good.  I have begun the sewing process and it is always a thrill to see it come together. And, as always, I welcome input from anyone who sees any faux pas that I have made in the color and design.  Still agonizing over the "water".   Any suggestions before I continue to sew? 

Friendly Relations

Although i have constantly sought friendship, in fact i am very much a loner.  I was quite submissive, mousey mary, as an old childhood friend once described me, unsure of the rest of the world out there.  She was, and still is, i am quite sure, a tall, lithe beauty who never met a stranger.  Always seemingly self confident with a constant entourage of followers.  I was always in her shadow, readily accepted whatever she dished out to me.   I always enjoyed being in her shadow.  Life was always so much more interesting with her.  I realize it is the interaction with persons who are obviously far more intelligent and talented than myself that i seek.  I know  (or think i know) what is going on inside myself, but other folks - they are much more fun to watch. Since i never had the nerve to show what i am on the inside to that outside world, i just needed to find someone to follow.  Maybe i'm just lazy - let others do all that for me??????

Being a loner, it takes time for me to be able to establish relationships with others.  It's relatively easy on "paper" or the written word.  I normally sit back and wait until someone approaches me.  Nowadays, I'm trying to learn to be the initiator.  My mind is constantly rambling and whirling as i socialize with people.  Just like it does when i try to cipher what it is that i want to create.  Acutally a bit like this quilt that I created several years ago inspired by a pattern in a book by Jan Krentz,  "Lone Star Quilts and Beyond".

To pull out what is within the tornado like turmoil constantly blowing around in my head.  If i could totally detach myself from external influences, i can soar so much further. OK maudlin, you say. perhaps so.  A bit of braggart you say. To think that i would place myself in that stratosphere. I'm told that more than a bit of bravado is needed to succeed.  As if those artists i might come into contact with, might actually accept me into their world.  You've just got to try, get out there,  i keep telling myself.  There i go again, back and forth, back and forth  . . . .   sorry  . . .  those tornados are really whipping up the dust today.   

I may have mentioned that one of my interests is in photography. If you haven't noticed, my photography is lacking a great deal of skill and talent. Blurry/fuzzy is not what i intend to show you. I want to post pictures on my blog for you to see.  I'll keep working on it.  Just so you know, it is the photography of others over which i drool. That's another of my wanna-bees, maybe one day i'll sign up for photography classes.  A girl can dream on her own blog can't she?  And while i'm dreaming, how about a private concert by the likes of Van Morrison or Eric Clapton.  And while we're dreaming, let's go all the way, how about being able to sing like Eva Cassidy, Diana Krall or Joni Mitchell, just to name a few.  I digress, sorry.

Back on task,  i guess i should finish up by telling you this:  believe it or not, the same childhood friend who used to call me mousey mary, went to camp one summer and told everyone that her name was Mary. Unfortunately, she became ill right after she arrived and the camp counselor had to phone her mom to let her know that "Mary" was very sick.  Her mother responded that she didn't have a daughter named Mary. After much confusion, the situation was finally resolved, my friend recovered quickly from the "bug",  and her mother laughingly related  the episode to everyone. Turns out her mother had always kept saying to her as she was growing up, "why can't you be more like Mary?"  So she went to camp and tried to become Mary.  Years later, this friend confided to me that she always thought that i would become a famous songstress or artist.  I was stunned. I always thought that she would become the famous one, she was one with brains, the talent and the beauty.  And then I hear that she acutally thought I could be something.  As if i could ever become as wonderful as she was.  Dang, she was in the same boat as all the other females growing up in the 1950's south. She was just bluffing her way through it much better than i.  Neither of us have yet to become famous.  Content is good enough for me so far.

OK, that's out of my system, let's get back to reality.  Just to keep you updated on the progress of my grandpuppy's portrait,  here's the current status, pins and all.  She is to be totally pieced - no applique this time.  I'm also still thinking about incorporating a/some appropriate traditional quilt blocks somewhere in there.  Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  A perfect marriage. 

Hiatus Land

Hiatus - I don't think that I ever completely understood what that word meant.  Vacation, holiday, getaway, I understand.  I'm thinking that hiatus must have approximately the same connotation. So just to be certain, I looked up the definition:   hi·a·tus (h-ts)n. pl. hi·a·tus·es or hiatus  1. A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break.  I don't feel that I am on vacation, it isn't a holiday, and I am not really getting away.  And since I am not in my studio at home, doing what I feel obssessed to do, then it must be that I am in Hiatus Land.  I really miss my newly begun project as well as all of the UFO's, calling for me.  Scratch that, screaming my name.  I am assuming that I will only be granted a limited amount of time in this life to get all the projects done (or at least started, since I'm not too good at the completion part).  Time's awastin', I can't wait to get back and get busy.

However, in the mean time, I do have internet access in Hiatus Land, and boy howdy - have my eyes ever been bugging out.  All the quilt bloggers and quilt websites have just overwhelmed me.  There is so much amazing talent out there, my feeble mind is just soooooo bogggggleeeddd.  I have enjoyed all the "youngsters" or even maybe not so young, who are doing their interpretations of  Gee's Bend Quilts.  And the colors, the fabrics, the designs, just never seem to end.  My daughter introduced me to Gee's Bend in 2003 by means of the most delightful Christmas gift.  A first edition copy of  "Gee's Bend:  The Women and Their Quilts".   I have read it cover to cover several times.  I often refer to this book for inspiration, as well as a reality check.  To top it off, while in San Francisco a couple of years later, I had the pleasure of viewing many of these quilts on display at the de Young Museum. There are no adequate words to describe those works of art or my emotions as I walked through the exhibit.

So now is where I must admit I have attempted a few semi-inspired versions for the backs of a few of my quilts.  Good thing they were the backs, cuz my pieces don't quite make the mark.  I have very few solids in my fabric stash, and loving the riots of color and design from Kaffe Fassett, among others, I tend to gravitate to fabrics of that style.  Using all the leftovers from a quilt top I randomly stitched them together for the back.  So all that being said, guess I should show you a picture of one such back.

Now for the front of the quilt.  And to explain, further, my quilt guild sponsored a workshop by Billie Lauder, in which I felt obliged to participate.   One of the projects was her quick and easy pansy quilt. In case you didn't know this, I am not a fan of quick and easy.  Of course, to keep my interest peaked in the class, I had to make it more complicated, so here's the result.  A bit busy you think?  Oh, well, it keeps me warm at night and I can drool over all the lovely fabrics as I drift off to sleep in Hiatus Land.

There is also another reason to leave Hiatus Land and get back into the studio.  Begin new projects using my own hand dyes which I will learn to do with the aid of two newly purchased books and a wonderful website I recently discovered:   Malka Dubrawsky has written a wonderful book on batiking and dyeing,  "Color Your Cloth" ;   Frieda Anderson's new book,  "Fabric to Dye For";  Melody Johnson's energetic blog , which never ceases to amaze me.    All those, not neccessarily in that order, are fantastic instructional aids, as well as delightful reads.  Drooling, drooling all the way home . . . . . .