Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Shibori and Mandalas

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young."  Henry Ford

     Last week the Original Sewing and Quilt EXPO held the North Texas Quilt Festival. For the past three or four years, local guilds have been having great difficulty holding individual quilt shows.  The expense of renting a place, getting vendors, etc. had proven to be a financial loss for them so six guilds got together with the EXPO people to hold a joint Quilt Show at the Arlington, TX Convention Center.  Along with having a great show and more vendors than they could ever have on their own, they were able to offer many classes by well known quilters and fiber artists of which my daughter Andrea and I took advantage!
      On Thursday we took a class-"Mini Mandalas-Ice Dyeing" taught by Cindy Lohbeck who  is the owner of Hands on Hand Dyes. You can go to her website to see what all she has to offer!  Cindy is not only a good teacher, she is a lot of fun to be around.  We spent the first three hours folding  fabric about 20" square different ways using rubber bands to create areas of resist. Then we arranged our bundles on a screen clipped over a bin, loaded it up with ice then squirted the dye over it all.  We placed the whole bin with the ice and bundles into a large plastic bag and left it overnight.

My Mandalas-to-be under ice and dye.
     I wish I had taken pictures of the process while we folded and manipulated the fabric but I didn't.  As the ice melts and drips through the screen, the dye soaks into the wet fabric.  The fun is you don't really know what any of it is going to look like!  That evening we left our projects there because we were going to be back in that same room first thing Friday morning for another class with Cindy.
    Friday morning, Andrea and I decided to just take our projects home to rinse out as the sinks in the room were really crowded with people who didn't live in the area.  Now for our second class "Pole Dancing-Arashi Shibori" (Also known as pole-wrapping shiboriarashi (Japanese for "storm") shibori is a japanese dye technique that results in diagonal stripes that are reminiscent of storm driven rain.) The first thing we did was to take  long strips of white fabric and sew them into long tubes which we then crunched onto poles.  I did think to take a picture of some of this process.

One of my three fabric wrapped poles.
After we filled our three poles with various crunching techniques and wrapped with twine, we held the poles over a bin and, if one wanted a blue background, poured a thin blue dye over it all then painted on the darker blue.  If one wanted a white background, just the thick dark blue dye was applied. Then the tubes were placed in a large plastic bag with instructions to NOT peek until the next day!
     When I got home on Friday, I rinsed out my mandalas...and lots of ahhing going on as I unwrapped them.
Six of my mandalas on my design wall
The rest of my mandalas
Andrea's mandalas on her design wall at her home
I was just delighted with the outcome of this class.  I have been doing some hand stitching on mandalas that I have purchased from others, so am looking forward to embellishing my own mandalas...mine from start to finish!
     I worked at the Show on Saturday at the SAQA table, giving out information about our organization and signing up new members.  So I didn't have a chance to rinse out my Shibori until I got home.  Again, as I was able to see my final work, I was equally delighted with this process!

I have nine different pieces on my wall.  I had to overlap
to get them all in the picture.
Andea's Shibori
     Both classes were a wonderful source of learning new techniques.  Cindy had made up kits for both classes which contained materials that can be used again, for example the poles.  Shibori is traditionally  dyed with Indigo  (Egyptian blue goblet from Mesopotamia, 1500–1300 BC. This was the first synthetic blue, first made in about 2500 BC. Extract of natural indigo, the most popular blue dye before the invention of synthetic indigo.) It is a very ancient dyeing material; the dye we used is synthetic...symbolic of the original material.  One can get true indigo but the process is much more involved. 
     I hope these classes will be held again next year because I have had many people who are anxious to take it.  If any of you are of that mind, you can watch for class schedules on Cindy's website or the EXPO site.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NTAQ August Meeting

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.” 
― Albert Einstein

    Last Monday was our monthly NTAQ meeting.  This month we met at Heather's and we played with cutting up paper and glueing it together, using shades of grey, to create the illusion of depth and overlapping.  We also decided to use either these collages or the ones we did in color at Wendy's last month for our challenge for next month...to recreate what we did in paper with fabric.
Our shades of grey collages in paper.
      After we finished our collages, we had our show and tell. Our challenge this month was a painting done by Ferdinand Leger "Woman with a Cat".
August Challenge Piece
My work
I had so many scraps left over that I made a second quilt from this color scheme.
Second quilt from Challenge colors
     After that we did some other showing:
Heather's-from a paper collage she had done
Wendy's-the back...her quilts could always be reversible as she does
some great piecing on the backs
Our meetings are an opportunity to learn from each other; to share ideas and to be open to critiquing each others' work.  Last month there was a group consensus (including my own!) that the buttons I used for the flowers were a bit overwhelming so I took it home and redid it with French knots for the flowers.  I personally like it much better with the knots than the buttons.

Last Month's Challenge- Picaso's "Peasants with Flowers"
My last month's challenge with buttons
My revised last month's challenge with French knots
This coming Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,  August 24, 25, and 26 come to the Original Sewing and Quilting EXPO in Arlington at the Convention Center. Five area guilds have gone together to create the North Texas Quilt Festival in place of their individual quilt shows.  This is a first time event which if successful will continue for years to come.  There will be judged quilts, vendors, door prizes, etc.. The SAQA group to which I belong will have an information table there as well as a show of SAQA quilts from all over.  Be sure and stop by...I will be taking classes Thursday and Friday but will be manning the table Saturday from 10:00 -1:00.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Memory Monday

 "We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending."
     So I am back home in Pittsfield, Illinois. I am engaged, but without a ring...my choice!  I knew Dick couldn't afford an expensive ring and, at that time, I was very much against diamonds because most of them were coming from the mines in Africa and I had read of the atrocious  conditions for the workers...my own little private protest!
     Remember, none of my family have ever met Dick so my mom decides she should go to Reno on a little vacation and meet him.  She even talked me into taking her car rather than mine...it didn't take much convincing!  She had a Ford LTD with air conditioning and I had my little Fairlaine sedan without air!  It was June/July of 1963; my little brother Jack, my mom and I take off for the far West. Jack would have been 12 or 13 at the time. So it was up to mom and me to do the driving.
      It was a great adventure! None of us had been West before and mom was an avid reader as was I...historical fiction being one of our favorite genres.  We were on the same trails as the pioneers!!  We had read about the Donners and other travelers in their Conestoga Wagons..."Ships of the Desert"!  I was driving when we had our first view of the magnificent Rocky Mountains as we drove through Nebraska. What a thrill for us flatlanders of corn and wheat fields!
The Rocky Mountains!
          We finally got to Reno, Nevada...

The Biggest Little City in the World!
Reno...nestled in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevadas
We scoped the town and found a  motel where we could get a room for  a reasonable price for a week.  Then time for introductions! I was a little nervous about mom meeting Dick...I don't know why because he was a really nice guy albeit a little shy, quiet, and really good looking! But he had her instant approval, probably because of those very traits...calm and steady to my occasional flightiness!
     Dick worked part time at a Shakey's Pizza Parlor as did many of his military buddies.

Jack thought it was pretty cool to know someone who made pizza!  Pizza parlors were just becoming popular at the time.  Pittsfield didn't have one yet and, of course, we are right next door to California where everything begins! Shakey's was a west chain...I think they still have them even now.
       Dick was working a nine to five job on the Base at the time, so mom, Jack and I were able to go exploring on our own.  We hit the strip but we would have to leave Jack outside as he was too young to go in the casinos.  Back then, there was no reason to worry about anything happening to him. And we didn't leave him for too long.  We even found a casino that had Black-jack tables for $.50...that's right...fifty cents, a pop! 
       We were also able to take in a few of the tourist attractions....Virginia City for one.

Virginia City, Nevada...around 1860
Virginia City a hundred years later
     Virginia City was a boom town when silver was discovered in the mid 1880's.  This is where Samuel Clemens  had his first writing job as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise.  And  where he adopted his pen name, Mark Twain. Virginia City is way up in the mountains ...mom would not think of letting me drive even though she had not done any mountain driving either, but it was her car! She was so much fun... a little nutsy, but fun.  She had read somewhere that if you had been driving on steep inclines, you could tighten your brakes up by driving your car in reverse for a period of time.  So, before we could start back down the mountain, she got off on a side street and drove backwards several times assuring that we would have good brakes for the trip back down the mountain!! One of those memories repeated at family gatherings.
     Then there is Lake Tahoe, a natural crater lake not far from Reno...the clearest lake I have ever seen.  You can see clear down to the bottom! And cold!  It was fed by runoff from the snow in the mountains.  We were up there in July

Lake Tahoe
     After a week with Dick in Reno, we headed back home by way of going to California first!  My mom had cousins in Santa Barbara she had not seen or been in touch with for years she wanted to try and look up.  Of course, we took the scenic Highway 1 South through Big Sur.  But going South meant driving on the outside of the very winding highway...a sheer drop down to the ocean below!  Of course, mom had to drive this also!  I'm sure we were one of those cars that the locals hated, going slow on the curves, braking frequently!  But we made it all the way to LA...stopping to look for her cousins to no avail.  Then headed back to Illinois!  A successful trip...mom could report to dad that I wasn't a complete idiot wanting to marry someone I had only know for a short time...she gave a favorable report!  So all is well!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

SAQA Meeting

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 
― Edgar Degas
    Today, my art group SAQA from the North Texas area met at the Dallas Museum of Art to visit an interesting art exhibit on some way out fashion!
Wall at the entrance to the DMA
The DMA with huge posters of the current exhibits.
     The exhibit we saw featured Iris van Herpen, a Dutch designer. The title of the show is "Transforming Fashion".  To learn more about her, click on her name to go to her website.  And transforming fashion it was!!!  Very bizarre...very unusual materials used...and very uncomfortable  looking!!  Here are a few pictures from the show.

At the entrance to the exhibit.
A line up of the mannequins.
Something Alien looking!
This looks like something  the "Mother of Dragons" might wear.
("Game of Thrones" fans will get the reference!)

     After we saw the exhibit we went for a leisurely lunch at the restaurant Lark on the Park right across the freeway from the DMA.  I had not been in that area so was curious to see the park built over the freeway...wonderful concept!
The greenway in one direction
Sign at Klyde Warren Park
     There are food trucks lined up along the street; and tables and chairs placed around under the trees.  We ate inside the Lark, but if the weather were cooler, that would be a fun place to spend some time.

Klyde Warren Park..above the freeway!
   It is a spectacular endeavor. Click on the name for a link to more information of how it was developed and built.  I was very impressed!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Memory Monday

“Relationships don't always make sense. Especially from the outside” 
― Sarah Dessen,

   At my last memory  I was telling of my first year to teach and my relationship with Dick, future husband.  He has now been transferred to Stead Airforce Base, Reno, Nevada.  Stead no longer exists; it was a small base near the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The main purpose of Stead was for  survival military training and helicopter training.   The guys were taken out into the mountains and dropped and had to make their way back to base.  Because of his college major, Dick is, as he would later say, "flying a large metal desk".  He was in finance working in an office on base.
An aerial view of Stead AFB Reno, Nevada
We are writing to each other pretty frequently.  It is now spring and he writes ..."why don't I come out to Reno instead of  signing a contract to teach again in NKC for the following year." My response back is "Is this a proposition or a proposal???" I wasn't about to go running out there if he was just lonely and wanting company!  He counters with...A Proposal!  I declined the offer for the next year of teaching and made plans to go to Reno...I had a car and my faithful German Shepherd   Dagmar (who is huge by now) so what could go wrong?

At this time, neither of us had met each others' families, outside of Cousin Bonnie whom I introduced in an earlier memory who taught right across the hall from me.  So I was quite surprised to get a letter from Dick's mom, inviting me to dinner on a Sunday out to their farm.  They were farmers, residing north east of Kansas City by about an hour and a half.  The nearest town to them was Bogard, Missouri, a small rural town where Dick had gone to school, graduating with a class of 12!  I accepted the invitation and received another letter with directions on how to get there.  I guess they thought I might not be able to find the place because we made plans for me to meet Dick's brother, Fay in Bogard and I would follow him out there.  The road at that time was not nearly as well maintained as it became in future years.  We wound around on narrow gravel roads,  crossing a one-way bridge, and finally came to their farm...the house set on a hill overlooking the fields and barns
The Harold Dodds' farm
All the way out there following Fay, I am thinking "What in the world am I doing? I don't know any of these people!  What had Dick told them about me?"  But of course my fears were unnecessary; nicer people you could not find.  It was a bit awkward though; my salvation was Dick's little sister, Janice who was 14 years younger than he, only seven at this time.  She wanted me to play games with her and that I could do!  When we sat down to dinner, Dick's dad, Harold, asked me about the price of eggs in the city.  Other than livestock and grain farming, raising chickens to sell eggs was their main business. Well, I had no idea, but I didn't want them to think I wasn't smart about my money so I said my roommate did most of the shopping; I did the cooking and we just split the total grocery expenses.
The Dodds' house many years later after a new owner added a deck on the front.
An aerial view of the farm taken probably in the seventies 
I survived and even found my way back to the city with no harm done!  I guess I got a good report because Bonnie knew all about it by the next day at school!!!