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!!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Artsy Saturday

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

     Last Saturday, North Texas SAQA met at Must Love Fabrics, a fabric shop in Grapevine Texas which has space for us to meet and  occasionally make stuff or have demos.  We had several new members/visitors and lots of "show and tell". At our last meeting, we decided to share with everyone our quilt/art beginnings!  Most of us started out as traditional quilters and branched out into becoming  fiber artist in different ways.
Andrea with her first quilt      
Andrea's first class- a Lone Star Quilt
A more recent art quilt of Andrea's from a class
Jenn showing some  of the fabric she dyed at our last meeting 
Jenn -with one of her art quilt

Natalie has always made art quilts and has a love
of all things Japanese
Natalie created a very graphic quilt-"Just One"
Diann with the help of Andrea, shows her two related
quilts, representing herself and  her identical twin.
Rhonda- showing one of her winning quilts
Dorene started out as a painter

Dorene now says she paints with fabric! Here
an incomplete work of hers.

Donna has always worked with art quilts,
creating her own patterns.
Donna shows a more recent work of her art in fabric
Cheryl, always working in fiber art, shows a
humorous quilt of a former workshop teacher.
Jessica shows a large piece of fabric she also dyed
at our May meeting
Jessica with an early work.
Carolyn, who works in fiber arts, shows her self portrait
Heather shows one of her early traditional quilts
One of Heather's most recent art quilts
I took the same class Andrea did...Lone Star,
my first quilt-traditioinal
And my first art quilt from a class at Arrowmont 
A fun meeting learning about our personal art journeys!  Then of course, a ver important part of our meetings....going to lunch. For July, we are going to the Dallas museum of art to see the Laura Owens exhibit. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Recent Books I Have Read

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” 
― Joseph Brodsky

     Along with my art and my travels, I have been reading.  I usually have two or more books going at a time.  I belong to two book clubs so I have those two each month.  Then I have my own choices to read and I almost always have an audio book going....sometimes book club books, sometimes my own choice.

1. The Marriage of Opposites- By Alice Hoffman   I love Alice Hoffman and this book did not disappoint.  Set in Saint Thomas in the early 1880's and covering nearly a century, a fascinating story of the artist, Camille Pissarro's mother....and eventually about him.  I love her descriptions of locale and times...with unforgettable characters. *****

2. Being Mortal - By Atul Gawande  A Bookclub Choice- Non fiction written by a doctor.  I had trouble getting into this book, but I found it in my library's list of audios and enjoyed listening to it. I enjoy listening to  documentaries and TED talks, so I found this to be of similar genre. It focuses on end of live decisions for the elderly and their families...sounds bleak but is very informative.***

3. Future Home of the Living God - by Louise Erdrich  A very different work for Erdrich. A dystopian work that was not up to her usual standards, in my opinion...Religion, babies born out of wed lock, fighting the system....all great subjects, just not her best. **

4. Killlers of the Flower Moon by David Grann  Subtitle: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.  Another bookclub selection...about the Osage Indians in Oklahoma, early 1900's and how they were robbed of their wealth and murdered by some very ruthless men...also the first National Case the FBI handled under the new leader, J. Edgar Hoover.  A riveting tale which made me angry at how, once again, we were monsters to the Native Americans...not just the murders, but in many other ways. *****

5. Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama  A fascinating story of the women who were worked to create the silk which was a commodity of China in the early 1900's, how they came to be in the business and how they bonded to survive.   I really enjoyed this book and have heard she has a sequel out so we can follow the main character further in her life. "The Language of Threads" *****

6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah   I read this a few months ago but am not sure I ever reviewed it.  France 1939-WWII, espionage.  Great characters! This is my first book by Kristin Hannah but it won't be my last....really enjoyed it!****

7. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly  Another WWII historical fiction, based on the lives of real people...New York socialite working in the French consulate office in NY; Polish girls in a Concentration camp where experimental surgeries are performed on them; an ambitions female German doctor working in the same their lives are intertwined during the war and after.  Really good!! ****

8. The Whistler by John Grisham  I had not read a Grisham in quite awhile and although this is not a new book, it was one I hadn't read.  And he has not lost his touch!  Keeps the reader involved to the last page. ****

9. The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg  Again, I had not read anything of Fannie Flagg's for a long time and this was very typical of her early works. Actually this was published in 2016 but somehow I had missed it. Fun characters...real down-home, small town folk!  Growing up in a small town, I could really relate to many of the situations!  This book covers about 100 years of the development of a town in Missouri to its modern day life...and after life. Reminesent of "Spoon River Anthology"! ****

And I am currently reading "A Gentleman from Moscow" by Amor Towles for one of my bookclubs.
I am just barely into it, but it begins interestingly...I will report on it for my next book review blog.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Threads of Resistance

“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

      Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I spent all day at the Original Sewing EXPO in Arlington, Texas at the Convention Center.  I am a member of SAQA (Studio Art Quit Associates) and we had an exhibit at the EXPO titled "Wild Fabrications" which was a wonderful exhibit of very creative works of arts about animals. But what I really want to focus on in this blog is another exhibit that was at the EXPO...."Threads of Resistance".
     Last year  a group of fiber artists'  (the Artist Circle Alliance) decided to put out a call of entry for a juried show after what was to many of us a disastrous result of the presidential election.  Here are the opening words on their website to introduce what they were requesting from fellow artists to create.
      "We seek to address current issues including climate change, sexual assault, immigration, the refugee crisis, racism, and sexism. The art in this exhibition expresses a range of emotions from anger and sadness, to our our hope for positive change."
      They received over 500 entries to their call, and over 60 were selected to travel around the United States. We were fortunate to be one of the places chosen for exhibition.  You can see all of the exhibit, as well as the other 400 plus not in the traveling exhibit as well as information about the artists and, in their own words, what inspired them to create what they did by going to this link.      
      While some of the entries were very graphic and might be considered rather vulgar, most were not.  I personally was not offended and applaud the talent and creativity of all the works.  They wanted to make a strong statement of what they believe to be a crisis in our country...again, I agree.  But because of the possibility that some of the works of art might be disturbing to some of the pubic and certainly not appropriate for children to see, the controversial works were set aside separately with signs that warned of the possibility of offending some one etc. thus warning the public to give everyone a fair chance to avoid being offended.  
     I happened to be in the cordoned area when three women came in and one was just outraged by what she was looking at!  I just mentioned that was why they had the warning signs posted so that people who might be offended could choose not to see what was inside.  Boy! Did I get blasted!! But that's OK, I have tough skin!  Several times throughout the days I was there, I heard lots of complaining of the exhibit.  Ah, RED TEXAS!!  I spoke to a couple of the vendors, one from California and another from the East somewhere.  They had been at two or three other shows in other areas of the country where the exhibit had been held, and this was the first time they heard any controversy at all!
      One lady came up to tell me that is was because of "that filth in that room"...that is what is the matter with our country!!!  I didn't even try to explain to her what the works of art were trying to say...several graphic works about messing with women's reproductive parts, and several  about "pussy grabbing", one portraying the president and Russia's president in a very close relationship.   She just saw it all as pornography and couldn't see the real meaning of the art. (Again she was warned what was inside might be upsetting).  Now, I have no problem with people not agreeing with me but the blind, bitter accusations were beyond just disagreeing! And I find very distressing! 
By Kerri Green who is a Texas gal, a member of  my local SAQA circle
You can hear Kerri's words by going to the link here
     Here are several works from the "Thread of Resistance" and I do encourage you to go to the link I have provided to see the rest of them and to hear what the artists have to say....some are heart breaking.

I love this girl!!!
What lies are being told every day from the White House
Elizabeth Warren by one of her constituents who highly admires her.

I thought this was interesting...a quote from Teddy Roosevelt
This was by a girl who attended the Women's March in her
state and was afraid
she would be the only one...this depicts what she found there.
Can you see what is written here...several times?

One of my favorites...such an impact on the immigration status.

This was considered one of the controversial ones
not sure why, it just shows how science is being
destroyed by the current admin.
Created by Judy of my favorite fiber artists..
also considered to be controversial.
And another controversial one...I love the simplicity
of the message.  The artist Sue Bleiweiss, is another of
my favorites and one of the forces behind the
call for resistance art quilts
    Again, more to see on the links I have provided...this is just a sample and some of my favorites!