Friday, June 19, 2009

Kool-Aid Yarn

Anna and I tried our hand at dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid this week. Here is Berry Blue and Cherry above. It is a funky wool yarn that the lady at the store suggested, but it is a little hard to knit with. The colors are nice, but together it makes me think of clowns.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer time

I know things have been slow here on my blog lately. That doesn't mean we are having lazy summer days, though. I have been working at the museum helping to get a new exhibit up. The artist is Devorah Sperber and she uses thousands of spools of thread (like pixels) to recreate works of art. Click on her name to see what I mean.

Anna has been in all day camps while I have been working. I have a new piece I am working on and trying to finish up the quilting. But I haven't had a lot of time to finish it.

We have been having a nice wet spring here and all our plants are doing well, especially the roses.
Our peonies never last very long but they leave behind some interesting things.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday! The piece above is a piece I made for my friend for her birthday on June 3rd. Below is what I made for my birthday treat to take to work with me today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good News!

I found out today that one of my pieces, Japanese Rock Garden 1, was accepted into a juried show which will be held at the one of the local galleries. It is an art show that was open to all kinds of media (except crafts) and people from other states, I think. I am very happy. It's like an early birthday present.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cardboard Cat

Yesterday, Anna and I took a workshop at the museum. It was taught by an artist whose work we are currently showing in our sculpture court. Her name is Ann Weber and she does amazing sculptures made from cardboard. You can see some here. The pieces she shows outside are actually bronze that was cast from the cardboard pieces she created. They are really amazing. She coats the inside cardboard pieces with shellac and I think that makes them look like baskets. I really like the pieces, the forms she uses and the fact that it is a recycled material.

Anna and I arrived a few minutes before the time when the class was suppose to start (at least according to my watch) but we must have missed the brief introduction as we caught up with the everyone just as she was showing the group her sculpture (or maybe there wasn't any introduction?). Really she just pointed out some things about the structures and then we went right to work. She showed us some different ways to put cardboard together, but there was nothing specific about what to make. I think she wanted us to be creative.

It was a workshop for a child and parent but I think mostly we parents were there to help the kids cut the cardboard and help them put the construction together. (There was a separate adult class in the morning, but I thought it would be more fun for Anna and me to do it together. Ann also said our class did a better job than the morning class because the kids were more free in their ideas.)

Above is the cat that Anna and I made. The class was three hours long and it took us the entire time. I wish I had brought my camera because what the rest of the class came up with was really neat. One mother and daughter pair made a lounge chair for her daughter to sit in. The daughter laid down on the cardboard to draw the template and she could actually sit on it when they were done.

One father and son team did three different sculptures with one being a large fish that looked like the kind fishermen hang on their walls. Another father and son team did a very tall (about 8 feet) piece of diagonals and triangles from cardboard slotted together and then made a small round piece for the top.

Another mother and daughter team did a piece that kind of looked like a bongo drum, but they decided to use a lot of colored cardboard which made it very different and fun. They also made a round sphere for the top of theirs.

I got lots of ideas from this workshop and am thinking about trying to make a small side table with this technique. I would also like to try it with fabric.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What is Success?

Yesterday was Anna's last day of elementary school. Thank goodness! I don't know what happened at the end, but things seemed to deteriorate a bit with high emotions, people getting on each others nerves, and I don't know what else. Anna came home cranky every day this week.

One day that she was cranky was after the "awards" ceremony they had for the 5th and 6th graders. I did not go. I know they passed out some papers for the sports teams. They also passed out Presidential Awards, which was for mostly A's (maybe not more than two B's?). Anna said after they had passed out the awards, they had said something like, "Let's give a hand for our future successful . . . ." I don't know the exact words.

Anna didn't happen to get that award. She was sitting with one of her friends, who is very smart and did not get the award either, among others as well. And she was very put off by the statement they made because she was thinking, "Well, what about us?" She told me just because they got a piece of paper doesn't mean they are going to be successful later in life. Conversely, it doesn't mean she wasn't going to be successful in life either. I totally agreed with her. I told her it didn't mean anything.

I thought it was an important idea, so yesterday I had a conversation with her about it. I said that in our American Society, there is a lot of pressure on people to "succeed". However, most of the time it is society's or somebody else's definition of what that means. I told Anna that only she can decide what her definition of success is. She said, "I know." I'm glad she's a quick learner, because it has taken me about 35-40 years to figure this one out!

I gave her some examples. Maybe someone's definition of success might be to write a book and have it published, even if it didn't make a lot of money (or maybe even just to finish writing a book). Or maybe someone's definition might be to have a family and be able to take care of them. Or someone might want to just be able to help others or live as lightly as they could on our earth. Success could be so many different things. It doesn't have to be like the Jones' or making lots of money, etc. I said I think success is being able to follow your own dreams without letting anyone stop you. Even if you don't reach the goal, the journey of following your dreams is a success in itself.

Image what the world would be like if everybody was encouraged to follow their own dreams and passion. Now that would be a success story!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Work

This is a piece I finished last week that kind of goes with the aerial landscape series. It was very hard to take a picture of as it is long and skinny. This time I used the paintsticks to create the tree circle before I did the hand stitching. It is subtle but you can see it in the detail picture. It turned out a bit different than my original idea. What are your impressions?

Monday, June 1, 2009


I have posted this quilt on my blog before. It was the "play-along" quilt for the 12 x 12 group's latest theme of identity. Today is the official reveal so go to their blog to see all the wonderful interpretations.

This is my interpretation. When they first announced the identity theme, I thought that would be a hard one. Nothing came to my mind right away. I didn't even think about it, but what might have been a few days later, this idea came to my head. Obviously, I made it bigger than 12 x 12 because that was what I envisioned.

How does this quilt identify me? I used cool colors on the "outside" of the quilt because I have been told that if you don't know me, I seem to have a unfriendly, "cool" (not the hip kind) demeanor. Maybe because I don't chit-chat a lot, or I have a naturally frowning face. Also, I may seem calmer on the outside than the chaotic thoughts that go through my head sometimes. I used green and blues as those are some of my favorite colors.

However, if you get to know me, you would find that I am very "warm" on the inside and very passionate about some things (hence the fiery orange and reddish colors).

The "inside" square was made with glue resist fabric I made. You probably cannot read the words (which was intentional), but one has "artist" written repeatedly and the other has "creativity" written on it. The leaf in the middle represents the environment and nature, which I care about deeply. I feel I function much better if I am around nature, even if it is only seeing lots of green and trees as I look out the window.

There are six horizontal sections and eleven stripes in the bottom section to represent my birthday of June 11th. The orange square, in my original sketch, was set off-center. But when I was putting it together, I decided to put it centered because that is what I am striving for in my life; to be centered and grounded.

The top quilting lines are more calming and represent the ideas that sometimes float by. The leaf shape forms growing up from the bottom are all the many ideas I have that I may never get to.

Do you think it looks like me?