Planet Textile Threads

November 28, 2015

Olga Norris


Surfacing (detail), 2009
I do not often get head colds these days, but when I do they seem to hit me hard.  I am delighted now, however, to be surfacing gently.  Yesterday evening was my first outing, and we went to a great concert by Julian Joseph - who when I first heard and saw him live inspired this piece:
Jazz piano (JJ), 2007
and set off all my various instrument playing images.
In between sinus headaches I find that it has been lino cutting which has predominated in my thinking.  Online shopping being so exhaustion-'lite', I indulged myself in a couple of new cutting tools.  I am not completely comfortable with the traditional mushroom-shaped handles, and so wanted to give these RGM tools a trial.  They have now arrived, and I'm about to do some gentle vinyl cutting.

by Olga Norris ( at November 28, 2015 12:29 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Life and Death - UCL Art Museum

A three-hour session at UCL Art Museum on a Saturday afternoon, 20 people there, starting out sitting in a circle, getting up to draw an object, sitting down to discuss it a bit; coffee break, and then a life model. It packed a lot into that short time, and I really enjoyed it. Excellent facilitator,
First task: get some drawing materials and choose something in the room to draw. I chose a (wax?) model of a brain and tried to distinguish one lobe from another, or perhaps to make them identifiable by someone who knew something about the structure of the brain. How would a knowledgeable person approach drawing this object? How would they "see" it?
When I raised this point in the discussion, fortunately there was an anatomist present, and she talked about what sort of section it was, and what functions the lobes controlled, balance for one thing (I was struggling with labyrinthitis at the time!), and that the brainstem was also shown.

Next task, draw something 2D - I looked intently at the fine lines on an Albinus etching (1749) and tried to render them with my clunky pencil. Then, draw something 3D - the hand of a skeleton. Different approaches to the same subject, bones; during discussion some people felt the 2D artist had already made all the choices for them, whereas with the 3D drawing they had more input and interpretation.
 The model did several 2-minute poses and several 6-minute poses. Life drawing is ... challenging ...
 He ended with a shoulder stand -

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 28, 2015 11:56 AM


Sometimes you realise that Today Is The Day - for tackling that heap of papers that's been building up.

Set the timer for 15 minutes - start - and if in doubt, bin it. Or at least that's the theory.

When the timer pinged, or rather buzzed, to signal the end of the task, I had a few things left over, things I couldn't quite manage to put in the bin. Taking a photo is helpful with this, so here they are -
- an article about Idris Khan, in the Guardian's Saturday review, 02.09.06 (here, with fewer photos; a more recent article on him is here)

- Persephone Biannually, with cover pic of Southern England 1944: Spitfires attacking flying-bombs by Walter Thomas Mornington (1902-1976) - available as a print from the Imperial War Museum (it knowingly references the cart from The Haywain, and surely that low-flying plane is either about to crash or has an extremely skillful pilot?)

- article on the art of Lucy Ward, needing another read on a tube journey sometime soon (available here)

- a little cutting from a horoscope that makes me smile wryly -
Gemini May 22-June 21
As the multi-tasker of the zodiac, you are great at juggling many different projects. However, your home life could do with organisation. Eventually everything will fall into place but something will have to give.
- a quote to send to a friend

- a few doodles, combined with yet more articles to re-read - or bin straight away

- two recipe supplements from the newspaper - these go into a heap for sorting later, and yes I do make a recipe from them now and then, the latest being Smoked Haddock Dauphinoise (too rich!)

Now we're at "the irreducible minimum" -
- a postcard that needs keeping, but where to put it? Unlike the recipes, I have no collection of "postcards that must be sorted some day but should be looked through more often"; they are in various places and I just don't feel like gathering them, at the moment, or perhaps ever

- a lovely little used envelope, with an interior of tiny squares and a fragile but valient feel to the paper

- two tiny pix of art from a magazine, to be glued into my notebook

-recipe for a cauliflower salad with pomegranate seeds (or pistachios) that, seduced by the photo, I'll make in the next day or two

- a memorable fact: "the arctic tern, travelling from the Arctic to Antarctica and back each year, sees more daylight than any other creature on the planet". What's more, arctic terns can live for 30 years, and thus travel 2.4 million kilometres. Amazing.

Sorting was quick, documenting The Irreducible took rather longer; now the originals can mostly be binned. 

Something, as the horoscope hinted, is giving.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 28, 2015 09:27 AM

Natalya Aikens

shameless commerce

This blog post is brought to you by the shameless marketing division of Just in time for the holiday shopper, here, consolidated into one blog post is what I have to offer for your gift giving....
detail of Nikolsky Cathedral
Original art from the St. Petersburg inspired City Love Affair series and Cathedrals series is available on the Artful Home website.
detail of Spring
Original art and prints from NYC inspired City Lines series are available on the Saatchi Art website.
throw pillow with a print of St. Pete Lace 1
Art prints, canvas prints, framed art prints, phone and iPad cases, tote bags, throw pillows, and laptop skins and sleeves are available on the Society6 website.
On Sunday, December 6th from 12 to 4PM I will showing small artworks, postcards and prints at ART for the Holidays with the artists of Northern Westchester Artists Guild at the New Castle Community Center in Chappaqua, NY.
detail of Urban Perspective
And as always my art is available on my website. Just email me at natalya @ ! Commissions for Home Portraits and other artwork are also accepted and encouraged!

Thank you so much for supporting my artistic endeavors! Happy shopping!

by Natalya Aikens ( at November 28, 2015 08:00 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Visual Journal Bird Pages - Scanned

 This page is essentially the cover. (above)

The writing I did in the journal is all connected (no spaces).  I am not necessarily writing anything that would be interesting or inspiring to anyone - so no need to make it legible.  I am just sort of filling in some background with another layer that makes it personal (with my own unique handwriting).....doing this cursive writing is my least favorite part of the whole visual journaling thing I am exploring right now (partly because it hurts my hand!)  I may try creating a journal with no personal writing,  but as I work on the pages - I find the pages without handwriting are less interesting to look at.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 28, 2015 05:00 AM

November 27, 2015

Margaret Cooter


Removing some same-size squares of "texture" from a magazine left interesting layers showing through, each one unplanned -

Sort of a reverse-collage.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 27, 2015 08:27 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Scanned Visual Journal Pages - Mixed Media

 There are many layers to these pages.  I probably should have taken more pictures as I developed the journal, but honestly, I was not sure it would turn out well in the end or be worth sharing. 

Additionally, this is supposed to be just a personal thing I am doing for my own artistic development.  It seems sort of invasive (and stifling to the creative process) to be taking process pictures and thinking about sharing it with the world.
 We saw SO MUCH of this vibrant and beautiful Fireweed on our travels through Canada and Alaska.  It was literally along every roadside of the trip.  As we drove along, I really thought a lot about what imagery from the trip would make it's way into my work and I knew I wanted to work with Fireweed.  I spent a cloudy afternoon in Chicken, Alaska (our last stop in Alaska) taking pictures of the Fireweed up on a hillside so I would be able to come home and make Thermofax screens of Fireweed.

 The Swallowtail Buterfly image below is a Thermofax screen converted from a photo I took of a butterfly on my iris!

I am quite satisfied with the way this journal turned out.  I feel it has a lushness and depth that is visually gratifying.  It inspires me to do more.....

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 27, 2015 05:00 AM

November 26, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - "My dearest dust" by Lady Katherine Dyer


My dearest dust, could not thy hasty day
Afford thy drowsy patience leave to stay
One hour longer: so that we might either
Sat up, or gone to bed together?
But since thy finished labour hath possessed
Thy weary limbs with early rest,
Enjoy it sweetly: and thy widow bride
Shall soon repose her by thy slumbering side.
Whose business, now, is only to prepare
My nightly dress, and call to prayer:
Mine eyes wax heavy and the day grows old.
The dew falls thick, my belov'd grows cold.
Draw, draw the closed curtains: and make room:
My dear, my dearest dust; I come, I come.

Opening "101 Sonnets" at random, I found this 1641 epitaph, and a mystery - did Lady Katherine write the poem, or did she commission it? The memorial on which it appears was erected 20 years after Sir William's death ... and she had to wait 33 years altogether before she joined him.

But this is not a sonnet in itself, the poem has an earlier section, which you can read here, as well as a bit of family history. Their seven children appear as adults on the tomb, which is at Colmworth in Bedfordshire.
Two of the suns are dressed as royalists, and two as roundheads (via)
The three daughters hold handkerchiefs - weeping about a family schism? (via)

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 26, 2015 05:38 PM

Browsing Chillida

Found photos, from a magazine-browsing session months ago. An article on Eduardo Chillida, no idea what magazine it was in. Events overtook me and I never did look closely at the images, until now.
His ironwork, made early in his career, is new to me. The text on that page, cropped from the photo, read:

"In Silent Music (1955) and In Praise of Air (1956) Chillida has fully mastered the material and is able to articulate it according to his wishes:

A piece of iron is an idea in itself, a powerful and unyielding object. I must gain complete mastery over it, and force it to take on the tension which I feel within myself, evolving a theme from dynamism. Sometimes the iron refuses o give in. But when I eventually reach my goal I always know; the individual fragments crystallize with a sudden shock and form a whole. Nothing can no separate the space from the force which encircles it."

Stone sculpture:

 From his "Homage to Goethe" series:
When you google Homage to Goethe, most of the images are from pinterest -
Here's an interview from the late 90s, mostly about his public art, in which he says that on his return from "Europe" to the Basque country:

" In the studio every day, I was looking back to the things I had been doing for the last year, and then I stopped to ask myself, "Why?" This was a crucial moment for me. At that moment, I decided never to look back. "

A question and an answer:

Wagner: Issues surrounding your work involve interior and exterior, solid and void, time and space, weight and weightlessness. Do you think you are continually solving these problems?

Chillida: The sculptures are very large and my work is a rebellion against gravity. A dialectic exists between the empty and full space and it is almost impossible for this dialogue to exist if the positive and material space is not filled, because I have the feeling that the relation between the full and empty space is produced by the communication between these two spaces. You can't simulate volume.

And this, about Chillida's homage pieces:

Wagner: You have often dedicated works to these people: Bachelard, Pablo Neruda, as well as artists Alexander Calder and Joan Miró. How were your homage sculptures conceived?

Chillida: I discover connections, even without thinking of people. I am concerned with them because I admire them in the history of thought. Miró was a fantastic person, his work inspires an unusual feeling. Everyone has always noticed him because of color, but I look at the drawings of Miró. The drawings are very important, all the curved lines were always convex, never concave. This was an important problem: I drew concave lines and his were convex. A concave line encloses a space, but it must be accessible or it is dead. He changed my way of looking at line and space, so I wanted to do an homage to him, "Homage to Miró" (1985).

A recent art market view of Chillida's work is here; the first of the Homage to Goethe series sold for $2,8m.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 26, 2015 03:39 PM

Terry Grant


Today. This is my favorite holiday, not so much for its historical significance as for what it has become—a time to celebrate family, friends and whatever we feel truly blessed by and most thankful for. I look back, now, on nearly 70 Thanksgivings, shared with people so very dear to me, many now gone from this earth and know beyond a doubt that each was a greater gift than anything else I've ever been given. Most Thanksgivings have blended into a common memory, but some stand, individually, as extraordinary. Surely our Ecuadorean Thanksgiving of 2 years ago is one of those. Another that I remember every year is Thanksgiving of 1968, my first away from my family and perhaps my first realization of the preciousness of friendship and shared tradition. I wrote about it in 2006 and am happy to share that story once again...

Thanksgiving 1968

Kathleen and I grew up together, nearly like family. Our mothers were best friends and our families shared many Thanksgiving dinners.

In 1968 Kathleen and her husband, Gary, moved to Connecticut to go to graduate school at UConn in Stoors. I had graduated from college the previous spring and I was working for my sorority (Alpha Omicron Pi) as a traveling chapter consultant. We were all far from our Idaho homes and discovering new worlds.

I spent the week before Thanksgiving visiting the chapter at Northeastern U. in Boston. It was a sad and dispiriting week. The chapter was one of the oldest existing AOII chapters in the country with a wonderful legacy of outstanding women, but it WAS 1968 and the world was blowing up in a lot of ways, both good and bad, and sorority life was becoming a symbol of elitist, old thinking and the chapter was suffering badly. The few remaining members wished to return their charter and close the chapter with some dignity. The alumnae, for whom this chapter had meant so much in their lives, were distraught and in total opposition. I felt for all of them. And I really had nothing to offer. So, at the end of this sad week, when I was feeling very homesick, Kathleen and Gary drove to Boston to pick me up and we went back to Connecticut for Thanksgiving.

What I remember most was how happy we were to see each other, how homesick we all were, how beautiful Connecticut was and the music. Three albums. During that long holiday weekend we played these three albums over and over and any song from any of them will instantly take me back to that Thanksgiving. Gordon Lightfoot, The Rascals and The 5th Dimension. When was the last time you heard of any of them? In 1968 they were all at the top of the charts.

We cooked our first Thanksgiving dinner away from home and family, together. It was a makeshift affair, but based on what we knew our mothers would be cooking on the other side of the country. Kath didn't have a pie plate, so we divided the pumpkin pie ingredients into the compartments of her muffin tin. Then we forgot that we probably should adjust the baking time for these tiny tartlets. They came out of the oven looking like black hockey pucks—inedible. We made way too much stuffing but Gary held the turkey steady while I crammed every little bit into the bird. It is a wonder it didn't explode. We invited another Idaho State grad who was also going to school at UConn, whose name may have been Allen—I have forgotten—to join us. We drank a lot of cheap wine, lighted candles and sat on the floor around the coffee table (which may have been crates) to eat our feast from Kathleen and Gary's lovely wedding present dishes. We laughed a lot, called our families and bravely held back our tears at the sound of their voices. They were together. We were together. Something right and balanced there.

When I left a few days later I could see, from the plane window, Kathleen and Gary standing just inside the waiting area. Between us a bitter wind and some snow was blowing. Gary had his arm around Kath's shoulders and she was crying. I was sitting on the plane crying silently as well.

I was so thankful for those friends. I am still thankful for them and for that memory.


by Terry Grant ( at November 26, 2015 02:47 PM

Natalya Aikens

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing a wonderful day of gratitude to everyone celebrating in the US. I am thankful to all of you who stop by this little blog to take a peek at my madness and give me encouragement. THANK YOU!
always grateful for autumnal treasures..

by Natalya Aikens ( at November 26, 2015 08:30 AM

November 25, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Finishing off the year's JQs

My journal quilts this year (size 6"x12") contain fabrics stitched on various train journeys, and others stitched at home, at the studio table under the window (with the radiator, under the window, making it cosy, and Radio 4 as company). Which fabrics were stitched on which journey doesn't really matter - the JQs, for me, are a way of continuing to use fabric on a more or less regular basis. Also I like the gathering and steaming and combining of the smaller pieces - these have been steamed and "relaxed" and their combinations are auditioning -
The small bits might get used in JQs, or they might become the basis of a ceramic piece. And there are some larger "all-in-one"s being stitched for the final JQs.
What the pieces look like when gathered is always a surprise - sometimes needing amendment with stitches added into some areas.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 25, 2015 09:51 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Journal Spreads - Inside the Bird Journal

 These are the interior pages of this first visual journal.  This set of pages - I feel is a bit too dark.  However - I suppose another way to look at it - it is visually rich....?  At any rate, I am pleased with this first visual journaling attempt for 2015.  It inspires me to do more.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 25, 2015 05:00 AM

Terry Grant

Taking a break from everything

Ray and I are not good at relaxing. We've never taken the kind of vacation where you just lay on a beach for a week—never would—can't even imagine how that would be fun. We are retired from our jobs, but neither of us fritter away the days playing computer games or watching soap operas and Judge Judy. We are busy. But for the last couple of days we indulged in a very relaxing getaway. Ray left his yard work and paperwork, and I left the quilt design that had been consuming me behind.


We headed for the Columbia Gorge. Less than 2 hours away, in that beautiful location, is the Bonneville Hot Springs resort and we indulged ourselves in good food, good wine, natural beauty and hot, steamy pools and baths and massage. Happy 45th anniversary to us!

Mt. Hood

The mighty Columbia River. Put it on your list if you've never seen it. I think the Columbia Gorge is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The great room at Bonneville Hot Springs.


The weather was cold and rainy, with a fierce wind, but even so the gorge was grand and dramatic by day and there is something kind of breath-taking about immersing yourself in a steaming outdoor pool with cold rain pouring out of the black night sky. Images to remember.

And now we are home and ready to whip up a feast and enjoy Thanksgiving with our family. I hope you all have a beautiful week.


by Terry Grant ( at November 25, 2015 12:16 AM

November 24, 2015

Olga Norris

Temporary absence

while I recover from a horrid head cold, and boost tissue sales.  Now we are back home, but I'm indoors wrapped up right now, frustrated that I'm not in a fit state to work.  Jane Smiley's Last Hundered Years trilogy is my comfort along with cocoa and the wood stove.

by Olga Norris ( at November 24, 2015 09:52 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Barkcloth at British Museum, again

A chance to draw the piece I'd wanted to do - as "something completely different" after my finicky literalness last time -
It's from Vanuatu and includes sea urchins, lobsters, and a bird, as well as mythological figures. I hope this closeup gives and idea of the barkcloth quality, marks, and painting -
 My plan of attack was light lines to position the elements, then splodges of colour added with a waterbrush and soluble Stabilo crayon, and finally the outlines in marker pen -
Going over it three times meant I got to know it well!
And for good measure, here's a version I traced on the ipad -
Truer to the original perhaps, but not to the spirit of the thing.

With half an hour left, I turned to a piece representing a journey, from the Solomon Islands, early 1900s, a long tapering piece with a long thin line -
It's pale and rushed, but was interesting to see the buildup of the bands of patterning, some of which represented frigate birds, and bush tracks through the hills to an island refuge. The large figures are bonito fish.

And the rest - everyone was prolific! Apologies for the faintness of some of the images, my little camera just isn't up to it.

Janet K's headdress and strikingly bold patterining -

 Mags' spirit masks (she's posted in detail on her blog) -

 Janet B's bark cloth clothing -

 Sue had a field day with patterns -

 Jo drew in the Japanese Gallery nearby -

 Cathy went for the spirit maks too -

 Pictures of the pieces in this exhibition abound - google "bark cloth british museum" or just click here.
The exhibition is open till 6 December - access is via the Japan Gallery, 5th floor, north staircase.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 24, 2015 09:42 AM

Gerrie Congdon

November Is Almost Over!


Truth be told, I am having a nice November. My SDA job has taken less time. I no longer have the Printed Fabric Bee to worry about. Portland has been beautiful this fall. Wednesday, Paige and her mom and dad are arriving to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am so happy about that. We will be going to Lisa’s for the dinner. She has a big dining room table. I am making the turkey, stuffing and a pumpkin pie. It will be nice having the whole core family here in Portland.

At Trinity, we are having our annual art show and sale for Thembanathi, a nonprofit project that provides early childhood development, education and community building in an area of rural South Africa devastated by HIV and the effects of segregation, poverty and unemployment. The bowl and necklace up there were my purchases. Here are some other examples.


There are also prints and photographs. The work is done by Zulu artisans and is really beautiful. The bowls and little animals are made from colorful covered copper telephone wire and the jewelry is mainly beads.

My art quilting friend, France Alford, turned 70 last month and she requested that all of her friends make and send a 6 inch block that was sandwiched and quilted. This is what I sent her. I finally got it finished this month.


I also finished this sweater and hat for a little girl baby. Her mother is a friend of my daughter Stephanie. Now I am starting another set for my hair stylist’s baby boy.



You know I am chilling when I am knitting.

Last week, I got to go back to the Seeing Nature exhibit at the Portland Art Museum for a docent tour with my local SAQA group. It was great to see it again with a docent. There was another interesting exhibit that was not quite installed when I was there last time. It was very intriguing. It is title Paradise.


The artist collaborative Fallen Fruit will explore Oregon’s paradisiacal backyard through the lens of Portland Art Museum’s permanent collection. Based in Los Angeles, artists David Allen Burns and Austin Young create site-specific projects using fruit to examine concepts of place, history, and issues of representation often addressing questions of public space.

I hope I can go back and study this a bit more.

For my master class this month, we were given our choice of 3 photos to simplify and interpret. I chose this one of Christo’s gates in Central Park.


I decided to distill it down to the simple shapes.


My mock up in fabric was thus:


I did not have satisfactory grays so I am waiting on some to arrive from Etsy and I also need to work on the orange bits. I cropped it so that it looks centered, but it is not.

So, I am not blogging as much, but I hope that I bring you something interesting when I do.

by Gerrie at November 24, 2015 05:31 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Bird Journal Progress

 Last month, I showed the beginning of a visual journal project.  I have been working on an accordion folded journal.  Each page is 9x12, and there is a design on each side. 

Here is a link back to the beginning when I added the first two coats of paint:

This link shows how it looked after the first layer of block printing was added:

Here it is after I have added more printing, collage, sketching / doodling / outlining with markers and pens, watercolor painting, and some stream of consciousness journal writing.  Then, I added Thermofax screen prints and colored those in with watercolor paints. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 24, 2015 05:00 AM

November 23, 2015

Margaret Cooter

The lamp lighter cometh

London still has some 1500 operational gas lights in various parts of town, and four lamp lighters maintain them, going around to wind up their clocks every fortnight.
Some of those lamps date back to 1813, a time when the streetscape was very, very different. Lamps that get damaged are restored to their original state (nice to know that).

The oldest stretch is on Birdcage Walk - lamps have the mark of the reigning monarch, for instance King George V -
If you see ladders chained to a lamp post, those belong to the lamp lighters, or rather to British Gas.

See the video here.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 23, 2015 08:50 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Monday Mail Art - November 23

"There are receptors to these molecules in your immune system,
in your gut and in your heart.  So when you say, 'I have a gut feeling' or 'my heart is sad'
or 'I am bursting with joy', you're not speaking metaphorically.  
You're speaking literally."
-Deepak  Chopra-

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 23, 2015 05:00 AM

November 22, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Pigment timeline

Developed by the Materials Research Project team at the Slade school of art, UCL, the pigment timeline is a visual historical timeline of natural and manufactured colour and a unique and innovative visual display of quantitative information. It is made from 180 pigments bound in gum Arabic, sequentially ordered chronologically as they emerged onto the artists’ palette from the Neolithic to the contemporary.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 22, 2015 08:01 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Elephant Rock in our Kayak

Click on this link below to view a Youtube Video of us kayaking through Elephant Rock!  It is right out in Kachemak Bay and we were able to pass under the arch because it was high tide.  It was thrilling!

Through Elephant Rock in our Kayak!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 22, 2015 05:00 AM

November 21, 2015

Olga Norris

and then there was snow!

We had planned to walk round Lanercost Priory this morning, but there was treacherous black ice!
The landscape was fantastic under the bright sunshine despite the temperature never rising far enough to melt the snow and ice.

by Olga Norris ( at November 21, 2015 04:35 PM

Margaret Cooter

Coffee at Edith's House

New(ish) cafe in Crouch End, uber-themed in a tongue-in-cheek way -

I simply couldn't sit among the wallpaper etc in the back room -

The owners' pooch, Roux, is far too well trained to gobble up crumbs -
There is an extensive scone menu!

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 21, 2015 08:58 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Otter Bay Lodge in Kachemak Bay

 We arrived at Otter Bay Lodge early in the morning so we would have a full two days at this primo location.  Above, Joe and the lodge caretaker unload and transport our kayak.  Below, the water taxi departs - we had our pick up scheduled for mid afternoon the next day.  Sigh....what a thrill to be here!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 21, 2015 05:00 AM

November 20, 2015

Dijanne Cevaal


I think this has been about the longest time I haven't blogged . There are a number of reasons, amongst which, in this day and age my wifi access has been less than I would have liked, but also this last week has also been filled with horror at the unfolding events in Paris and Syria, both places I  view with a special fondness and a kind of love really. My friend Christine on the outskirts of Paris, described  their feeling about the  events as a  numbness- no one is talking,they are walking but in some kind of automaton fashion. And though I am horrified, I am at a remove  and  then there are many other horrendous bomb attacks and acts of terrorism elsewhere in Beirut and Iraq.

Turn off if you don't like any discussion of these issues surrounding these horrific events- and my thoughts are first and foremost  with the victims, their families and friends,and my sincerest condolences to them. My views are coloured by pacifism.

Of course the discussion about the consequences into the future have taken on many angles from extreme racism and anti refugee sentiments to a more tolerant view. For my part I don't understand the existence of this supposed nation, which I won't name because it is a terrorist organisation not a nation,  and which  the press perpetuates the myth of existing as a nation. I must say I was in Syria when  the "war" first started- just a few days prior to this war starting I happened to be in a room with a southern Christian, an Alowite and a sunny muslim,all three men were deeply concerned about their country , all three men included me in the discussion  as they knew I was deeply interested , but they all expressed the same sentiment , which was not knowing what was happening in their country, there wasn't any animosity amongst them, despite their different factions , just concern. We discussed the Al Jazeera reporting and all felt it was slanted and not true of what we were experiencing, and were certain that the reporting of everything everywhere else in the west, was quite different to what they/we were experiencing. For example a reported riot in Hama on a night I was there in fact was not a riot but football fans celebrating a win for their Hama soccer team and it certainly did not go on all night as reported.There were mobile phone shots of young men on the street with flags, which there were, but it was not a riot. And since when has mobile phone shots/video been reporting? At that time ( 2011) the concern was the Kurdish refugees on Syrias northern borders and many Iraqi refugees - some almost 2 million Khurdish  and Iraqi refugees, and of course on southern borders many Palestinian refugees. Syria, a country of maybe 21 million people housed some 3 million refugees the last time I visited, which i considered a remarkably humanitarian response to the many difficult issues on their borders. I am trying not to make judgements because the many issues are so complex and I am not an expert though certainly my view is pacifist and liberal, but as I listened to talk back radio today one  listener suggested that the real issue we were not addressing was "arms", arming militants and other extremists, and even  using arms in any way at all- the radio host whom I thought would have been  more liberal in his response, recoiled from this suggestion and responded with well they are there... the arms I mean and they ( who is they?) buy them- but the issue is ( surely?) someone sells them don't they? I think ultimately it is at the bottom of many of the issues - what better way to promote arms than the need to bomb someone who you might have armed in the first place....and who makes money out of the sale of arms because ultimately at the bottom of every war, despite the propaganda of what  is or isn't morally right  ( and most faiths have remarkably similar ethics) the war machine which makes money for a certain elite who profit from these events just keeps churning on and in its churning grinds innocent human lives.. Yes my view of the world is cynical because  I have studied history and read a lot of George Orwell, and I would have to say that most wars have been fueled by money and we haven't learnt a single thing from history. Sometimes I think they, those that war monger should just  inhabit a sinking atoll and let the war mongering idiots at it against each other- and not innocents who just want to raise a family and live quietly and be human.

And I have had time to ponder as I have moved down to my shed and have  little wifi access and have time to think and read. There has been lots of grass mowing and trying to make space in a shed which  was cluttered with the stuff of other people.

This is the view  towards the back of
my block. it's lovely but the grape vines need tending and the blackberries have gotten a bit out of control. I should have done more work over these last few years but I had really hoped it would sell. I have made a reading corner  on my verandah of the shed, and with no internet distractions I have been reading a lot, but I also have no power and water.It's also been  lightening and thunderstorm weather with quite a lot of rain. I must say since my visit to India I have remembered to be frugal with water (we certainly were when I was a child and we had tank water only) and well a lot can be managed with a gas stove and candle light , and then you can always sleep with the falling  dark and wake with the dawning morning- as if the birds would let you sleep through the morning! And it is almost summer and the days are long. I had forgotten the riotous sounds of a myriad  birds in the morning!

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at November 20, 2015 11:19 PM

Margaret Cooter

Talk and Draw at the National Gallery

A while back, I went to the "Talk and Draw" Friday lunchtime events quite often, and today (as part of a Production Procrastination project) I decided on the spur of the moment to go. It was in Room 45, and the painting was Rousseau's 1891 tiger in the storm, also known as Surprised! - a very child-likeable painting, being oggled by a group of adults for a change.

In the Talk part, Aliki told us about the painting in the context of the times in which it was painted - how Rousseau, a self-taught painter who got confident enough in 1880 to leave his lowly clerk job, moved among the independent artists. Picasso was a supporter of Rousseau's art.

The subject matter, the power of nature and beasts, is one used by generations of painters. Rousseau took his plants and animals from the Jardin des Plantes and the natural history museum, mixing them up - pampas grass in a jungle?

Our "assignment", given that the painting had been "made up", was to remake the painting ourselves, either using elements in it or some photos of jungles and tigers she had prepared. The materials were pencil crayons ... something I've never used effectively. We took a couple of warm colours and a couple of cool colours.

Not sure whether the pencil crayons have been used effectively here, but I certainly used them vigorously and freely and with some pleasure. The 45 minutes of drawing time passed in a flash and I was pleased to get most of the paper covered and to have discovered some fast ways to make marks, eg those trees.
All this with four colours?
Sometimes it's good to Just Go and not think about it too much. As my current art-throb William Kentridge says somewhere (maybe in this video), it's important to maintain the same level of energy throughout the drawing.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 20, 2015 06:57 PM

Olga Norris

Skies and hills, and a powerful performance

The above snaps were all taken yesterday, after which we saw and were moved by a tour de force of a play: The Bogus Woman, a powerful one-hander written by Kay Adshead, and performed by Krissi Bohn .
The remaining images were taken today.  Can you make out the faint rainbow?

by Olga Norris ( at November 20, 2015 05:52 PM

Natalya Aikens

craven lane

My latest home portrait is ready to be shared! I shared it on Monday with my newsletter subscribers and as promised sharing more close ups on the blog today.

As you all know, I love the new challenges that come with each home portrait. The challenge with this one? Card stock was an adventure to stitch through! And this portrait was comprised mostly of wedding cards... I was delighted to stitch through the lace from the wedding dress and enjoyed figuring out the stitch shorthand for the stucco texture of the house.

Here are a few detail shots followed by the full image...
the diamond windowpanes
frosting like edge by the window
stucco stitching
roof shingles and the maid of honors words
wedding day blessings sky
top of the front door
Craven Lane © Natalya Aikens 2015
Hope you have enjoyed following along! Whose home will be the next portrait? Hmmmm....we'll see....
And now back to costumes!

by Natalya Aikens ( at November 20, 2015 11:12 AM

Neki Rivera

luxury ahead

cultivation of tasar silk.
taking a blog break. see you in a week.
have a good weekend.

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at November 20, 2015 08:30 AM

Margaret Cooter

Discerning Eye exhibition

I popped in to Mall Galleries to have a quick look and ended up with some photos of works that struck me in some way. It's good to have longer look and try to figure out what the attraction was.

Inside and outside space, awareness raised through drawing class

Chicken scratches on bits of cardboard? You couldn't "copy" this,
it would have to come from some sort of personal well

The colours, peaceful yet exciting, with an enigmatic subject

Laquered(?) paper - gorgeous

One of several pieces of sculpture made from what looked like grating

Colour, and figures ... moderately interesting; nice grouping

Loved this. Mysterious and slightly scary, a touch of
 the Giottos perhaps; and that number 11, did it just drift down?

Large piece with edgy collaged element

Still life of studio, with cubic "sweeties" scattered
among the jars of brushes - why not?!

Grouping of landscapes, including three sunk into wide, mitred, painted frames

Small sketchbook in hinged box, great idea

Pleasant, pleasant pictures, easy on the eye and mind; salve to the spirit

Monoprint and machine stitch, tones and colour

Lion Girl by Julia Hamilton - darks and lights

Work by some of those shortlisted for the drawing bursary -

Miranda Ellis
Blaze Cyan
The show has an online gallery - here - 451 works by 195 artists.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 20, 2015 08:24 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Homer, AK Water Taxi

 We were so excited about our water taxi excursion across Kachemak Bay!  We loaded our kayak, groceries, sleeping bags, etc. on the taxi.  Destination - Otter Cove Lodge across the bay.  We had a reservation at the rustic lodge.
Heading out from the harbor on the Homer Spit.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 20, 2015 05:00 AM

November 19, 2015

Terry Grant

I need a plan


To plan or not plan is a big topic amongst my art friends. The "spontaneous" crowd claim that preliminary sketches and working drawings kill the creativity in their work, because once they have put their energy into the plan, they are bored and have lost their excitement for making the actual art. I find that thinking hard to understand, but, OK, there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat and I'll give them theirs. For me, I need a plan. Not a detailed, set-in-concrete plan, but first a little tryout sketch to work out the logistics of the composition and some color ideas, then a to-size working drawing.

You can see, above, that I printed my iPad sketch, gridded it, then enlarged it to actual size. I learned this particular technique in a workshop with Elizabeth Barton, and I really like working this way. I used to enlarge my small drawing on the computer and print it out on a million sheets of paper that I taped together. That was one less step, but I have found that the extra work of gridding and hand enlarging the composition helps me simplify and tighten up the composition, plus I am really internalizing the structure this way. When I am ready to start cutting the individual pieces I have a fairly good feeling for how they will go together. But, even so, this big drawing is merely a guide and a lot can change when I start seeing what the fabric brings to it.

I keep most of my big drawings. I have never used one a second time, but if I did I know the resulting piece would not look a lot like the first one. I had an idea today as I was drawing this. Maybe when I finish this one I will make another as a night scene—an homage to Monet and his many versions of the Waterloo Bridge, or Rouen Cathedral! Or maybe I will be done with the basilica in Quito. I don't know, but at least I have a plan.


by Terry Grant ( at November 19, 2015 11:22 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - The Panther by Rainer Maria Rilke

Hear Rilke's own account here
Der Panther

Sein Blick ist vom Vorübergehn der Stäbe
so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.

Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte,
der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht,
ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte,
in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht.

Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille
sich lautlos auf –. Dann geht ein Bild hinein,
geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille –
und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.

- Rainer Maria Rilke, 1902

Of the five translations here I've chosen Walter Arndt's; the rhythm imposed by the rhyming importantly embodies the panther's pacing. This spoken translation catches it too, and arguably better.

The Panther

               In the Jardin des Plantes, Paris 

His gaze has been so worn by the procession
Of bars that it no longer makes a bond.
Around, a thousand bars seem to be flashing,
And in their flashing show no world beyond.

The lissom steps which round out and re-enter
That tightest circuit of their turning drill
Are like a dance of strength about a center
Wherein there stands benumbed a mighty will.

Only from time to time the pupil's shutter
Will draw apart:  an image enters then,
To travel through the tautened body's utter
Stillness—and in the heart end.
                             Walter Arndt

Teachers' notes on translating the poem (here) give insight into the process.

If seeing caged animals, especially the big cats, makes you cry, you may find that this poem gets to the root of that feeling. As for the panther, so for us.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 19, 2015 10:12 AM

Olga Norris

Seeing the light; hearing the height!

We went to Edinburgh for lunch.  Well, my husband and I, who met at university in Edinburgh in the 60s, went to a wee gathering of those of us who became firm friends then.  It is 50 years since we started university, and we had lunch together to catch up.  So from Carlisle, near where we are staying this week, we took the train.
Now that I seek out lifts rather than stairs we ended up at the back of Waverley Station, and there next to the exit is the gallery I thought I would never be able to visit now with my knackered knees, because of its level.  Those of you familiar with Edinburgh will know that it is a city of lows and highs with bridges many storeys above and streets many steep steps below.  The Fruitmarket Gallery is in the bowels of the lower wynds - at the base of the back of the bridge shown below.
Adam Bruce Thomson North Bridge and Salisbury Craggs, Edinburgh from the North West

Such a joyous delight to be able not only to visit the gallery, but also to see the unexpected bonus of a beautiful exhibition: Another Minimalism: Art after California Light and Space.  Light and space was what it encompassed, with thought-provoking pieces - there is a review here
I loved the whole thing, most of the individual pieces, and particularly enjoyed the projected shapes and colours of Olafur Eliasson (the after-images which I experienced fascinated me),
the work of Uta Barth, and
that of James Welling.
Also absolutely brilliant was the lift (elevator): stepping in, onto a work by Jim Lambie, I smiled - not knowing that more was to come.  A Martin Creed work, commissioned during his Down over Up exhibition at the gallery is still in place: a choir sings up a scale when the lift ascends, and down when descending.  Simply marvellous! and certainly beats "Doors closing ... doors opening ...."

by Olga Norris ( at November 19, 2015 08:31 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

The Beach at Homer, AK

 It was overcast the day we arrived at Homer.  This parking lot is very near a cabin my daughter lived in for 2 years.  I wanted to stop here and get some photos to send to her (they are building a new cabin next door to the one she lived in).  We did go out on the spit, as I was wanting to ask around and see what suggestions we could come up with for kayaking on Kachemak Bay. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 19, 2015 05:00 AM

November 18, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Extended Drawing, third module (two weeks)

Arriving at class, we found tables laid out with objects, and each quickly wrote a description of what the interior of the strange fruit might look like. Then we passed the description to our neighbour, who drew a cross-section of the fruit based on the description -
 Next task, observational drawing - but with the aim of "showing something new" - in my case it was an act of imagination, imagining that the leaves of the pineapple could be turned to activate a musical mechanism (hmm, that would have made an interesting cross-section...) -
Now we were in the habit of writing on our drawings (must say I found that uncomfortable a first) and next task was to use the shape of one of the objects as the container for a space that contained ways for people to navigate it, with stairs, ladders, tunnels, etc -
Finally, the "peel-away" of a part of the outside to reveal something unexpected in the inside, and the possibility of putting the object in a context. Mine had a tangle of tubes inside (drawn from imagination) so I put it into "spaghetti junction" -
Adding the imagined components makes me want to look harder at real things, to get a grasp of their structure.

Using charcoal makes me want to use more charcoal. It's messy but I love it.

Some views of what other people were up to -

Artists etc mentioned:
Fritz Kahn (1930s infographics)
Brodsky and Utkin (wow!)
Wyld's Globe 1851
Henry Bradbury - nature prints
Albertus Seba's cabinet of natural curiosities

We had homework. For the second part of this module, Amanda listed the aims -

This is a foundation project, aimed at expanding ways of thinking as well as means of making.

General Aims:
Explore visual contrasts between flat space (pictorial)  and illusory space (perspectival)
Access imaginative depths that extend, circumvent or even surpass factual knowledge.  

Project Objectives
Combine or make creative use of flat and illusory space in drawing
Integrate creative ideas with empirical facts (apply personal research)
Evolve, inhabit and communicate imagined environments or 'systems'
Explore composition in terms of function and aesthetics.  
Use (if appropriate)graphic devices to enhance image/information synthesis and arrangement.

The homework was to do research towards either a "folly, museum, performance space" or something more like the layout of botanical drawing. Both appealed to me, and I could happily have spent the week (or forever) doing research on this. But by Monday it would be time to do the drawing...

Somehow the idea of the ivory tower took hold - it was something personal to me, for had I not spent years involved with academe in various ways: as a student at intervals; working in university departments in various capacities; married to, divorced from, or involved with academics, romantically and/or as friends. Its machinations intrigued me; surely there were visual metaphors, or simply visual opportunities, in the theme.

First choose your shape, then think about what to put in it and how to organise the drawing. The tower might have some of the architectural features of the castle in Annecy, and perhaps those solid stone buttresses propping it up. There would be tortuous stairs and fast, fancy elevators, and some glass ceilings for women, and small crowded rooms and large rooms with just one occupant, and collections of objects of various sorts. Such as ... ivories ... something I've drawn in various museums.

I spent a happy hour in the British Museum, after going to a talk there, drawing some ivory objects from the Chinese and Indian galleries -

And I went through my "museum" sketchbooks to find other relevant items, taking them along on my ipad -
But at the class, it didn't come together at all easily. So much to "want" to put in, more than could be done in the time available ... and, where to start?

First, though, Amanda demonstrated two things. She showed how tracings, made from objects in a sketchbook etc, could be arranged and rearranged, and then transferred to the drawing paper - and how paint or ink could be flooded in to fill areas. Simple, even basic stuff - but so very useful to have not just a spoken reminder but to see it happening.
The second demo was "trace monoprint" - again, a simple technique -
The ink is applied thinly and you draw (or trace) on the back of the paper. If the ink is too thick and the monoprint is too smudgy, do another...
This gives a different quality of mark, apart from any accidental transferral of ink. (Try not to press at all on the paper.)

And now my ivory tower.
in progress
all wrong
sparser, clearer (maybe)
More deletions, some rearrangement (gotta have balconies) - and the addition of shapes from photos of sketchbook pages, and at least it's got contrast and a cross section ... and something unexpected. The writing says, at top left "It's an ivory tower but..." then at lower right: "we all know about the madness in the attic". There's some slight madness in adding text at all; I surprised myself.
Next to it is (click photo to enlarge) a work using the trace monoprint technique.

Artists mentioned in the slide show:
William Kentridge - 30-minute film on his philosophy on drawing here, 3-minute film on his process here

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 18, 2015 08:30 PM

Olga Norris

Pauses in the rain

November is an interesting month for visiting landscape here in the UK.  We have encountered all kinds of weather and temperatures over the years.  This year we are near Hadrian's Wall, and experiencing rain - almost constant, but with the most marvellous effects when it pauses.  It really is worth being here during the downpours in order to enjoy it when it stops.
I was never ready or quick enough to catch a snap of any of the many fragmentary rainbows unfortunately.

by Olga Norris ( at November 18, 2015 06:34 PM

Neki Rivera


knitting the missing yardage is an option?

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at November 18, 2015 10:58 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Captain Cook State Recreation Area Beach Walk

While strolling the beach at Captain Cook, we met a woman who grew up nearby at Nikiski.  She was in the area to fish the family net set spot.  We talked about finding agates on the beach and she directed us to the best spot down near Nikiski to seek out agates.  Looking for specimens on the beach is a favorite activity for Joe, so that was our plan the next day.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 18, 2015 05:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

bits and pieces

It has taken me a few days to find the time to post about our lovely day on Saturday. Late morning we headed to the Michener (as in James) Museum in Doylestown, PA to see Kaffe Fasset's exhibit.  I had seen it in Houston, along with Kaffe's lovely lecture -- but as it was a nice day and I thought Phil should get more acquainted with quilt art, we headed out.

Doylestown is a terminally charming town, where people really live and shop.
 I wish we had had more time to wander, but we did find a small, elegant place to have lunch.  Actually, brunch because it was a weekend.

Afterwards, we went over to the museum, which is a lovely place. It used to be a prison, but i don't think we were in that wing. i love when an old building is repurposed.  Not in New Jersey, where they tore down the local county jail and built condos -- and where they are shortly going to tear down Doris Duke's 67,000 sq foot home on the estate because they allege that it costs to much to fix it. Tragic.

So off we went to see the exhibit of Kaffe's quilts, along with the antique quilts that inspired his reinterpretation.  My photos were sporadic, but here are some.  This one shows wonderful use of fabrics, interspersing the floral with the solids so that it is looking like a garden through lattice.

This quilt on the left is the original antique piece that inspired Kaffe's interpretation on the right.
I was crazy about this antique quilt, so had to take a photo of it. it's one I wish I had in my own collection.
The museum also had some other quilt-like art; an exhibit of quilt-like wood pieces, the next one of which was apparently inspired by Kaffe's quilts.

And a totally unexpected group of pieces by James Michener, which fit perfectly into the exhibition. Go figure!  Who'd have thunk?  It was a lovely surprise.

Finally, as part of the exhibit, there was a room with interactive design walls and a pile of pile of fabric pieces people could play with and make their own designs.  
i would have played but by then, we were tired and ready to leave.  However, if you are within a couple of hours of Doylestown and did not see the exhibit at Houston, it is worth the drive to see the quilts -- and to have a lovely lunch in town.  

by (Rayna) at November 18, 2015 01:34 AM

November 17, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Museum of London

We were to meet in the room with the 2012 Cauldron display, but when I got there the room had disappeared! Consternation! And where was everyone, anyway? (This was last week, and part of my mind was on the book project that was waiting at home.)

Actually the room was still there, just not where I remembered it. The others had been driven away by the large school group that had taken over the room, but made contact by text. Thoughts of books faded; I was ready to draw. Soon the room cleared and - apart from the incessant audio loop - was peaceful. 

The forms used for shaping the copper petals made a great display - each one different -
 I drew what was nearest -
At certain moments in the repeated showing of important olympic moments involving the Cauldron, the lighting in the room changed and some great shadows appeared -
I used soluble graphite, but entirely the wrong way round - from dark to light, rather than building up layers, starting with the lightest -
 Janet K looked at clothing from the 60s, and a Pearly King's outfit -
Janet B was captivated by a Vespa -
 Not content with a Sabbath lamp from the 1700s -
 Sue also captured the interesting shapes of some iron heel brackets used when horse riding -
Cathy thought she'd seen "that shield" somewhere else, and sure enough, it's a replica of one kept in the British Museum -
Carol had been drawing on her own, unaware that other people come to museums - in groups, no less - to indulge in this pasttime; she came and joined us in the cafe. She had added some celtic metalwork to some pots drawn previously at the Petrie Museum -

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 17, 2015 07:25 PM

Kyra Hicks

Dr. Gladys-Marie Fry - In Memory

Dr. Gladys-Marie Fry
I remember the first time I read Dr. Gladys-Marie Fry's book, Stitched from the Soul: Slave Quilts from the Antebellum South, and marveling about the amount a old fashion, pre-Internet research work that went into this book. In the preface to this groundbreaking catalog, she wrote:

"To date, no formal study has been undertaken to determine the extent of the involvement of slave women in the design or craftsmanship of mid-nineteenth-century quilts, or to determine the influence of African culture on African-American quilting styles. Thus, for too long fave slave women been denied recognition or acknowledgement - or even a history... That history, however, has been inscribed in the quilts that survive.... Denied the opportunity to read or write, slave women quilted their diaries, creating permanent but unwritten records of events large and small, of pain and loss, of triumph and tragedy in their lives. And each piece of cloth became the focal point of a remembered past."

Dr. Fry's research forced us to remember by offering documented insights into slaves as seamstresses, quilting during slave times in America, and more. It takes courage and leadership to be the first. And, she was.

In 1976, Dr. Fry's landmark essay profiling the life of former slave and quilter Harriet Powers was published. This was the first large-scale effort to recreate Mrs. Powers' life story... and place the Bible Quilt (now at the Smithsonian Museum of American History) and the Pictorial Quilt (at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts) into context.

When I started researching Harriet Powers' life myself, I called Dr. Fry, since she was one of the leading authorities in this area. I had this idea about tracing the people who touched Mrs. Powers quilts and understanding how the quilts actually got into the collections of two major US museums. Oh, and I wanted to self-publish the research. Dr. Fry really lit into me on that point. And, if you've ever met Dr. Fry, you know she's rather feisty. She thought the work deserved to be published more traditionally. When we hung up, I cried because someone I so looked up to seemed so disappointed in me. Once I sent her the (self) published book, she apologized and said the equivalent of "well done," which I cherished! We laughed about that phone call when I visited her last month.

A major force in documenting African American quilt history has left us. I'm saddened to share that Dr. Gladys-Marie Fry passed away November 7, 2015. Her memorial will be Saturday, Nov. 28 at McGuire Funeral Service, Inc., 7400 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20012, (202) 882-6600.

You can sign the online guestbook for Dr. Fry at - click here.  Best, Kyra

by Kyra ( at November 17, 2015 04:01 PM

Neki Rivera

considering the situation

 the top conundrum,but working on the next warp. part of this summer's ai vat. would like to have the chains ready before i leave for madrid next and this time i'll size it. 
why  oh why can weavers accept sized industrial yarns yet we are such purists with our own? or maybe i should speak in first person singular.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at November 17, 2015 09:00 AM

Gerrie Congdon

In Stitches Quilt Show


Yesterday, Mr C and I drove 4 hours over to the Coos Bay on the Oregon coast so that I could attend the opening reception of the In Stitches, Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts exhibit at the Pacific Park Gallery. The gallery is a big open space in quite new dental office.

The gallery is a lovely space, but not lighted that well. Quilts were hung on both floors. The women involved in putting this on were very gracious and welcoming.




My Pick Up Sticks was on the landing of the stairs to the upper level. It looked great all by itself.


My other quilt, Taking Leaf of My Seasons was on the long hallway.



This is Tina McCann from Depot Bay who won Judges Choice for best freeform art quilt. It is titled Saturday Market Baskets. I met Tina at Cynthia Corbin’s workshop last summer. It was nice to see her again.

Paulette Landers, who is a member of SAQA, and an incredible artist won Best of Show with this piece; and it was well deserved.


She was not at the reception even though she lives in the area. The quilting on this is exquisite.

There was also a traditional quilt category. No photos of those.

Now here is what took me aback about this exhibit. The jurors got to speak and give out the awards. They were both very much in the traditional quilting wheel house. They actually judged the quilts as in a quilt show. They talked about taking off points for this and that to reach their awards. There was nothing in the prospective that would have given a clue that this was going to happen. I did not expect an award. I am very happy with my two pieces and think as far as “art” goes they were in a small minority in this exhibit. I do not enter my quilts in judged shows. I enter them in juried shows which I thought this was. I will not enter it again. I think some people I know did not enter this year for that reason.  It is too bad because this is a lovely venue and would make a great space for a real art quilt exhibit juried by artists not quilt police.

Mr C and I stayed overnight and drove back this morning. Even though it was cloudy and rainy, it was a beautiful drive and the fall colors were still quite vibrant.

by Gerrie at November 17, 2015 05:58 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Captain Cook Alaska State Recreation Area

We drove to the furthest north point on the road on the Kenai Peninsula - all the way to the Captain Cook State Recreation area (end of the road).  We were delighted to score a camping spot on the beach (although the beach itself was much lower than the land and steeply eroded.  We could not actually access the beach from our campsite (had to make our way to the boat launch to do that).

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 17, 2015 05:00 AM

November 16, 2015