Sunday, September 16, 2018

NTSAQA September Meeting

“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” 
― Maya Angelou

      North Texas SAQA met Saturday at our usual place, Must Love Fabrics in Grapevine.   The owner of the fabric shop is so nice to work with; there is a large room where we can spread out and do messy stuff like painting!  The workshop that I presented to our members started a couple months ago when I showed this wall hanging.

Sunset on water
      I had created this several years ago in a class I took at Arrowmont, an arts and crafts school in Gatlinburg, Tennessee...painting on canvas, using duct tape to mask off areas, cutting up and reconstructing.  After explaining the process, several asked if I would do a workshop on the technique. We had a great turnout!  Here are the gals all working away!
Jackie and Jennie busy painting
Deborah and Earamichia talking it over
Robin and Jaye
Sherry, Mary Ellen, Carolyn and Diane
Denny with her two visiting exchange students
     We had a couple of visitors....Denny is host to a couple of exchange students from Japan; she had called me last week to see if it would be ok to bring them to the meeting. to which I responded of course...if we had room for them....which we did!  They were so eager to paint with us, a real pleasure to see their enthusiasm!  

Deborah Beschert showing a copy of QA
      At our meeting, we always have a show 'n tell...things we had been working on, activities of interest, announcements, etc. The above picture shows Deborah Boschert showing her article in the latest Quilting Arts magazine.  In this same issue, there is an article written by another of our members, Heather Pregger.  Heather is also in my other local group, NTAQ,  and her article was about some of our challenges.  

Heather's article in the most recent Quilting Arts
     The two quilts on the lower picture are Andrea's and my quilts...we were inspired by Degas'
"Dancer at the Barre".

     At the next NTSAQA meeting, everyone is supposed to make something out of the fabric they painted this month.  It will be fun to see what everyone comes up with!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

NTAQ Meeting for August

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

     Last Monday, my friends/artists of NTAQ met at my condo for our August meeting.  This time I had put forth the challenge of "Art Nouveau".  Many, including myself, found this to be a bit of a tough challenge to depict!  I had given a list of Art Nouveau artists to choose from (or they could go out on their own).  I chose for my artist Mary Fraser Tytler Watts, a woman who, with her artist husband, worked in various styles...Art Nouveau, Celtic art, architecture, but what interested me about Mary was her activity as an early suffragette in England. I kind of strayed from the Art Nouveau theme and picked up on her Celtic designs instead.  She was the architect and artist for her husband's family mortuary.  I chose one of the columns which I found appealing.

The Columns I chose and some of the fabric I used to create my challenge.
The portion of the column I emphasized
I actually graphed out my design instead of just stitching improvisationally.
It ended up larger than I usually do 30" x 42"
To create the look of the vines, I am doing a lot of chain stitch by hand.
(Not finished yet)

At our meeting we all shared our challenges.

Wendy took her design from a stained glass window.

Kay liked the trees on a book cover and was also influenced by the color of a particular type of Aspen.

Heather was inspired by a rose in a stained glass window.

Bethany said hers was a bit generic, not influenced by anything in particular.

Andrea's was taken from the curlycue pattern seen in many Art Nouveau works.

A fun meeting as usual...after sharing all our stuff, we went to a new restarurant in the Shops of Clearfork which is very near many new places to eat!!!  We chose "Fix", a very nice lunch had by all.  (And I want to apologize for my dreadful form on this blog.  I am having trouble with making paragraphing and captions with pictures to work so bear with me! I also do not know why some of my lines are highlighted!! I need a good tutorial!!!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

An Abundance of Art

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” 
― Thomas Merton,

    This past month has been very full of doing some of the things I love best...making art, seeing art, and seeing art with friends!  Last month our SAQA Circle met at the Dallas Museum of Art to see an exhibit by Laura Owens.  She is a prolific artist whose work you can check out through the link by clicking on her name. Although I did like some of her pieces, I felt she is still searching for her identity as her work is all over the place.
Laura Owens did a whole series of art on the alphabet
    While there, we also visited a couple other exhibits.  The "Hopi Visions" was really interesting as I am particularly interested in their culture.
A panoramic shot of three walls
Another exhibit we enjoyed was the Asante Kingdom of Gold. A rich depiction of gold from an African Kingdom....especially interesting was the Kente fabrics which were woven with gold strands and worn by the royalty.
A description of the show
A beautiful Kente cloth made of gold
And, of course, we ended the visit with lunch at the DMA cafe....always a highlight!

     The Modern of Fort Worth has been hosting an exhibit of the works of Takashi Murakami. I have been to see this exhibit three times now....the first was just a quick run through after having lunch with a friend at the Cafe there.  The second time was with one of my daughters and my granddaughter. The first time I went I didn't realize there was a film showing the artist at work and his process of creating these huge, detailed works.  When I went the second time we discovered the film and I highly advise seeing it before you see the rest of the exhibit.

Viewing one of Murakami's huge, colorful works.
The third time I went was last Saturday with my SAQA group.  I was surprised at all I did not see the other times.  It's not that I love his work, but more that I am amazed by it!

This is one of his early works...all that were on display were dark and rather dismal. But somewhere along the way he discovered color!
This is a wall just outside the elevator leading into a doorway of another wall of art...see the profusion of color!! And my picture really does not do the colors justice.
He also works in three is one of his statues...a monk which is a bit of a self portrait! Yes, the face is spilt and you do see two faces...I am sure there is some deep meaning behind that! This is a miniature...if you are familiar with the Modern, he would go nicely with the little lady sitting on her suitcase!

                 Unlike these two guys who are temple guards totally demonic....and Huge!!!!
And another shot of the hallway straight out from the elevator in the stairway area. Down at the end is an interesting sculpture made of polyurethane. The making of it is shown on the film down stairs. 

When my kids and I visited the Modern, we also went across the street to see what the Kimbell has on display...
From the Lands of Asia
This is a fabulous collections of art, pottery jewelry, kimonos, tools, weapons collected by Sam and Myrna Meyers. I unfortunately didn't get any pictures of the beautiful kimonos, but you can click on the link which will take you see more.

I did get a picture of this vest which is made up of squares of jade!  Can you imagine wearing something like that in a Texas summer?
     I have also been taking in several of the films at the theater Magnolia at the Modern.  The last two I have seen with friends are "Rodin" and " Gauguin", both French films with subtitles; I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them..a bit of insight on two of my favorite artists...I especially liked the Rodin film as I didn't know that much about his background.  Here is a link to the upcoming movie schedule for anyone interested. 
    My own NTAQ art gals met here yesterday, but I think I will save that for another blog!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book reviews

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
― Stephen King

     I think the last time I did a book review, I was just starting to read "A Gentleman in Moscow" ***** by Amor Towles.  Well, I am here to tell you it was one of the best books I have read in a long time!!! I loved every page of it!  It begins in the early days right after the Russian Revolution.  Count Rostov has come before the Tribunal to be sentenced for having written a subversive poem several years ago. We discover he didn't really even write the poem but took the blame for a friend who would probably end up in the Gulag, whereas, the Count's sentence is to live the rest of his life in the Metropol Hotel where he had been living anyway!  The book takes us through 30 plus years of his life in the hotel...wonderful characters, fascinating historical  tidbits and quite a bit of intrigue especially towards the end!  Did I mention that I liked this book immensely!!!

      Another book I did enjoy was "What She Left Behind" ***** by Ellen Marie Wiseman...the story of a foster girl who is working with her foster parents who work in antiquities and restoration  cleaning out a now closed Insane Asylum...trying to piece together some of the stories of the inmates from their personal possessions left behind....I also gave this five stars, because it really kept my interest and tells a great deal about those institutions of the early 1900s...warning...not for the faint of heart!

     "Burnt Mountain"**** by Anne Rivers Siddons, a mystery taking place in the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia...not a hillbilly thing, but in the areas where the wealthy girl falls for boy parents don't approve of, etc..I found the story to be pretty intriguing.

     "The Cuckoo's Calling"*** by Robert Galbraith (actually JK Rowling under a pseudonym)  but nothing like Harry Potter and I didn't know it was hers until I did little research on the author for this blog! Her detective Cormoran Strike is a one-legged large man, who is full of angst but likable, compassionate, struggling to make ends meet.  He is Rowling/Galbraith's newest character and this is the first of the series written in 2013.  There are three more out and I will probably try to read them all as Cormoran is a pretty interesting character. A good audio book.

     "To Capture What We Cannot Keep"**** by Beatrice Colin...a historical novel about the building of the Eiffel Tower and the men who had the dream.  Very enjoyable...I found the descriptions of the development  and the moods/opinions of the tower as it was being built very interesting.

     "Night Woods"*** by Charles Frazier...another mystery taking place in the Appalachian Mountains. This time, murder and intrigue involving more poor folk! A good audio book.

      "The Chalk Man"***  by C.J. Tudor... a murder mystery/ intrigue reminiscent of "Stand By Me".  A murder took place when these kids were young; now as adults, it comes back to haunt.  A good audio book.

     "Laura and Emma"* by Kate Greathead  I am not alone in saying this book leaves a lot to be desired...the original premises is not girl wants to be independent, has a baby, but always knows she has her family wealth to fall back on...whine, whine...and then just as I am kind of beginning to think we are getting somewhere...the baby is now a teenager...the book ends...and the poorest, dumbest ending ever!  Did I mention I did not care for this book???

     "The Family Next Door"**** by Sally Hepworth. I liked this book.  It takes place in Australia; four lady neighbors living in probably a cul de sac. We get to know them and their problems; post partum depression is one of their concerns..a bit of hanky panky for another...past wrong doings coming to the surface!  A very good audio book.

     "A Is For Alibi"*** by Sue Grafton I had never read a Sue Grafton and when I read that she had died awhile back, I thought I would give her a try....she has written soooo many books!  I listened to this as an audio book and would listen to others.  Her protagonist is a lady detective, Kinsey Millhone who is your typical tough gal, get 'er done, kind of character.  This first novel was written in 1982 and Grafton's last was "Y Is for Yesterday" in 2017.  She died of cancer before she could get to her last one, "Z Is for Zero". It will be interesting to listen to  a more recent one to see if her style changed through the years even though Kinsey remained her lead.

     And my last book to review is "Ruthless Tide"***** by Al Roker (yes, THE Al Roker!) Again a very good read...although I did listen to it as an audio.  This is non-fiction about the the Johnstown flood which happened in Pennsylvania in 1889, one of our countries worst disasters.  A spellbinding account of what happened.  I didn't know Al Roker was an author; I'll need to see what else he may have out there!

     So that sums up what I've been reading or listening to lately.  I have learned to really like audio books to have on hand when I am busy doing other mindless, laundry etc.  I don't turn on tv until evening and I practically never listen to the news any more so audio has become my new entertainment!!  I still like a good ol' fashioned paper book, too, though!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

NTAQ Meeting

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 
― Edgar Degas 
     This past Monday, my most favorite art group met.  And as usual we had a great time! Our challenge for this month, presented to us by Michelle, was to choose one of the artists of the School of Bauhaus and create a quilt with one's choice as inspiration. The Bauhaus was the most influential schools of art and design in the 20th Dessau, Germany from 1919-1933.  The school was populated with many  well known artists on the faculty...Kandinsky, Josef Albers, Paul Klee and others.  Josef Albers' wife Anni was one of the prominent artists who started there.
     After researching several of the  artists' I chose Otti Berger.  Otti, as well as many of the others was a weaver.  She was very talented and innovative; but unfortunately she was living in very dangerous times.  Many of the school left Germany for England then on to  America when Germany fell under the spell of Nazism.  Being of Jewish ancestors, Otti did go to England, but being unable to  get a job...not being able to speak the language and being hearing impaired...she returned to her home and there in 1944 with her family she was arrested and taken to  Auschwitz where she died. If she had been able to stay in England, if it had been a year later, her story would have ended differently!

Her story as well as her talent is why I chose her as my artist for the challenge.
    I decided to make a quilt to honor Otti.  The first thing I did was to write her story, then to print it off on fabric.  This is accomplished by ironing fabric to freezer paper, cutting it to the size of computer paper and run it through the printer.

Step one

Step two

     Then I printed off a picture of one of her weavings on fabric, and added her picture onto the fabric by running it through the printer a second time.
Step three
    I then began to sew together strips of fabric, somewhat emulating the weaving I had printed off. And step four was to put it all together.  It is approximately 14" x 33"  in size.

Step four
       Here are some of my NTAQ buddies' challenges:

     And here is a picture of all of them together.  Most chose Anni Albers for their inspiration. Heather  chose Gunta Stolzl and my choice of Otti Berger were some of  the other artists at the Bauhaus as well as many others.
The Bauhaus inspired quilts by NTAQ

     We usually have some activity when we meet...sharing new techniques, etc.  so in keeping with the idea that many of the students/artists at the Bauhaus were weavers, I got some little cardboard looms, yarn,  needles, together to do a small weaving project.  We plan to bring them back to our next meeting to show what we did with our weaving!
Rhonda, Heather and Kay working on their weaving!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Interfaith Service

"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." 
The Dalai Lama

Program for the Service
     Last night I attended the Interfaith Prayer Service for the Children at the University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas.  UCC is a very large church and the sanctuary was filled!!  Several members of my church, Westside Unitarian Universalist, were there with me.

Westside UU
There were others at the service also, just not around when I took the picture.  We were pretty close to the front; before the service began I looked back and was amazed to see the that the church had filled up!  As I sat there....this guy came up to me to say "Hi"...I had to give him a big hug.  Kevin is the SIL of a friend of mine and is the minister St. Alban's Episcopal Church at 305 W. Main, Arlington. He was one of the organizers of the service.  It was good to see him!
Rev. Kevin Johnson, 
     This very special service was great in so many ways....the crowd, the music, the sincerity of all.  And most of all the diversity of the presenters and attendees...Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, NONs, and probably more that I am not aware of!
      Now, as many of you know, prayer is really not in my vocabulary, per se, but I do believe in the power of numbers and positive thinking.  Seeing all these various faiths together, all striving for the same goals...helping the children caught in the maelstrom of politic chaos. I like the quote I found by the Dali Lama (above). And there is another one I found by Walter Cronkite.  " Never before probably has the need for interfaith commitment been nearly as great as it is at this very moment."
       I don't know when he said this but he has been gone for over nine years so  for him to have said this at another interfaith service many years ago, means we haven't gotten there yet so we have a lot of work to do to get there!  
        One young lady read one of my (and I am sure everyone's) favorite poems: "The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus -1883....

The New Colossus 
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

     At the end of this beautiful service, a two page list of "how to help" was handed out.  If anyone is interested, let me know and I will scan and post the list....either respond by email or leave a comment here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” 
― Ă‰mile Zola

     Monday, my North Texas Art Quilters held our monthly meeting.  We met at Kay's house to do some dyeing.  She had set up her garage  for us to work with Indigo dye.  Indigo is a bit different than other dyes.  If interested, you can go to the link here to find out more about it.
Hanging up dyed fabrics
     Our challenge this month was to choose a favorite work of art from a museum, gallery, book, etc. and be inspired to create a quilt.  My friend Heather is also a blogger and did a great job showing all our pictures of our challenge so you can go to her blog from this link to see what everyone did.
      What I am gong to blog about is some other pics of our meeting as well as my process of my challenge for this month
Kay, our hostess, had been dyeing with her niece.
This is a duvet cover they indigo dyed.
Kay had also done some printing with different objects.
Michelle, wearing a necklace she made with kitchen strainers!
Michelle showing a quilt she made with dyed cheesecloth
Heather showed 25 yards of fabric she had dyed at home.
Wendy showed a new quilt she had made, some of the fabric
from men's shirts she had bought from Good Will
Wendy had also just returned from a design class
where she worked with painted paper with the
plan of recreating the design out of fabric.
       And now, my process for our June challenge which I described earlier.  I had chosen "Interior of the Buurkerk, Utrecht" by Pieter Jansz Saenredam 1645. This is one of my favorite paintings at the Kimbell in Fort Worth.  I love the clean lines, the perspective and the subtle colors.

I first sketched out a very abstract drawing of some of the shapes.  Then I cut out the paper and traced each onto the back of fused fabric.  I decided to create a somewhat stained glass look so, after cutting out the fabric, I placed it on a black satin background. (One of my personal goals for our monthly challenges is to use only fabric I already have...not to buy any new!!) The fabric I used was some upholstery scraps I had as well as some raw silk I had picked up somewhere!

After doing the first section, I decided it was too small so I added another section at the top.

Then I auditioned two similar fabrics for the border...light on dark or dark on light?

I use my iPhone camera a lot to see the various steps.  It really helps to get a look through the lens.

After fusing it all down on the background fabric, and stitching the borders on, I quilted around each section with a tight zigzag stitch then quilted most sections, leaving a few unquilted for emphasis.

And here is a picture of all our quilts from our individual choices.
     Our challenge for July is to choose one of the artists' from " The Women of the Bauhaus School", a German school of art including weavers, industrial designers, photographers, etc. which existed between 1919 and 1933....more info to come in a future blog!!