Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend, Prep and Finale

As Thanksgiving weekend began........
From my studio window, looking down on the 
neighbors brightly colored trees, 
I love to see this scene change with the seasons.
 From the front door our little maple changes all year, as well.
 Taking a page from our daughter and granddaughters,
 I believe that shoes are part of picture taking.
These, where all the leaves congregate, on our upper deck.
 Getting ready for Thanksgiving often involves polishing silver.
I have not done this for many years and may never do it again. 
 What I really enjoy in planning a dinner is organizing a centerpiece.
Our daughter, Vicky and her husband, Alan 
came the weekend before Thanksgiving 
and moved our furniture to make a longer table in the living room.
The dining room then became the buffet room.  
With such a long table I needed three tablecloths. 
 Deciding on an all-white centerpiece after I painted some dried gourds, 
I began collecting white vegetables.
 Some of those white mushrooms and parsnips and cauliflower 
didn't want to stay white so I added onions and white flowers.
 And, a lot of white candles as we have no chandelier in the living room, 
turned dining room, and it would be dark before dinner was served.
Before dinner Clark peeled shrimp and organized a chilled shrimp platter. 
Julianna Mahley created two delicious appetizers.
Spencer brought 3 bottles of champagne to toast the day.
Alan made rolls and a fancy apple pie and carved the turkey. 
Vicky made two different salads.  .
Julia made her garlic (I think) mashed potatoes, 
and delicious decadent brownies.
Caroline roasted cauliflower and roasted Brussel sprouts.
We roasted the turkeys and made the stuffing/dressing and gravies.
And, Susan Stamberg's Mother-in-laws cranberry sauce 
that was unusual and a good contrast.
Besides the apple pie and brownies there was pumpkin pie. 
And, a special brown sugar pie from Charlottesville,
brought by Rachel and Austin Robinson. 
Another addition was a failed cranberry and walnut tart.
 Alex had arranged for us to play games after we ate
while waiting for some of the 5 desserts.
She also designed the place cards on tiny easels 
with word games on the back of each painted card.
(above: Caroline and Alexandra Fogg, Austin Robinson 
[Rachel was running after the baby, Taliesin], Julianna Mahley, Alan Fogg)
 Thinking about the game we are playing, 
on the left is Austin,  Julianna and Alan at the end. 
Julia Fogg and Vicky and Spencer Fogg's hand on the right.
 Just resting, Spencer Fogg and Clark Adams.
It was a much fun evening, with a lot of delicious food, 
and good company.
After dinner, Clark was washing dishes in the kitchen, 
while the guests moved all of our furniture back. 
And, then they added to the clean up detail in the kitchen.
This is all that is left of the centerpiece. 
The turkey caucuses have been simmered and 
I have a couple of quarts of good stock for soup 
or other future meals............. 
to end the weekend.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Anatomy of a Commission

Late in August I was contacted by Ginny Friend about creating a small 
commission as a gift for a 'retiring' curator (Rebecca Stevens) 
from the GWU &Textile Museum.
Jeanne Benson had drawn and painted several 'illuminated' letters 
and I thought, "why not try embroidering initials" as a sort of illuminated
theme. I started sketching with the R and S of Rebecca's name.
And, I did a lot of sketching. Many of these are on tracing paper.

 Rebecca Stevens full initials are R.A.T. S. I decided to make the 
A and T small and include them within the R and S.
 Further drawing and I decided to make a pattern 
of the centers of each letters to be cut out. 
This way I would be able to try different colors inside the outlines.
 While continuing to plan I sketched in some shading
 to get a feeling of color placement
 The theme for the evening of this presentation was blue and white shibori.  
Yoshiko Wada would also be given an award at that time. 
Part of the invitation is shown here.
 Cutting out the centers of the two letters I started trying colors.
Here black and white
Then a watery aqua fabric. I tried several more combinations of colors, but.....
Settled on some shibori fabric to be the center of each initial. 
Luckily I have friends who had all created Shibori samples 
and gave them to me. I used most all of one of Joan Dryer's fabrics.
Again this is on paper and I tried the colors for the outlines.
 Some of the shibori samples friends lent me.
 Now came the embellishing of the letters. I started planning how and where 
I would add small images to add to or highlight the initials.
 And, more drawing and planning
 Then thought I'd better embroider the letters to see
 how the small images could be attached.
This first R I decided against. The reds are too dark. 
It turned out I made several attempts at each letter and each of the small images.
 Laying the R and T on three shades of blue before attaching them 
and then working on the small images.
 As I said I started to make these small images and ended 
with two or three not useable. 
As often as I have created many subjects with thread
 on the sewing machine I never realized 
how hard it would be to make tiny ones.
Here I have taped some to the paper drawing 
before permanently sewing them on the embroidered letters..
As you can see images were rearranged and 
not all images were used. Here is the final presentation. 
The butterflies stand up a bit.
 However, since this was to be an award 
I thought Rebecca ought to have an original certificate 
that this gift represented.
I worked out the document on the computer and 
wanted it to be printed on fabric. 
I ironed freezer paper to both silk and cotton to print the certificate
and then my printer failed. 
Finally Dominie Nash printed it for me. Her printer used the
cotton beautifully.
 Still looking at the original invitation with hundreds of the 
white cherry blossoms 
I started embroidering tiny ones to be used to surround the certificate.
Here is my hoop with a few of the many blossoms and some already cut out.
 This then became the back side of the hanging.
There is a small casing at the top if it is to be hung in that manner.
The presentation was made last Thursday evening at a lovely dinner.
I cannot see Rebecca Stevens leaving the Textile Museum 
and I hope she stays on as a consultant as well as on the board.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fiber exhibits both real and digital

Time has been flying past my previous creative work keeping it 
at a stand still as I work on a commission. 
I am still collecting butterfly photos....
.... while the  many finished butterflies are waiting
 to be included in an art work.
At this time my 'Variations on K' artwork is included in this SPUN exhibit.
Variations on K (KISS) is 24 by 18 inches.
Kiss in many languages including sign language.
Embroidery on hand-dyed cotton fabric.
'No Answer' (belowis 23 by 20 inches and will be 
in the digital exhibit titled 'To The Point' 
at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego 
in early October.
In case you cannot read the words in No Answer
the letters are created with window screening 
and then covered with thread.
 The words say, "What is the Question?"
 When I finish the commission 
 I will write about the steps 
it took in creating the final art work.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Art Work Comes and Goes

Often my artwork comes and goes. 
Some pieces travel further than I have ever travelled.
 Not Always Green has recently returned form The Taiwan 
International Quilt Exhibition 2016 in Tainan City, Taiwan.
Window Box is now at the International Korea  Bojagi Exhibit 
in Seoul, South Korea
KISS: In Any Language is leaving tomorrow
 to go to the SPUN 2016 Innovative Fiber Exhibition 
in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The opening will be September 10, 2016.  
 Three Flowers left the studio for places unknown. 
They may be at Vicky Fogg's desk at
the Washington Post or where ever she wanted to hang it.?
 I have been thinking about butterflies for the past month 
and wondering how I can show them as the delicate 
winged creatures they are. Perhaps in a cluster.
Maybe as small lacy versions of themselves?
And I am looking at old paintings. 
This is probably 5 by 6 feet,  50 years old, 
and loosely painted on plywood.
Keep watching as I love a puzzle 
and don't know what is coming next.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Choosing a new desk with more possibilities

A couple of weeks ago I visited Vicky Fogg at the Washington Post.
She gave me a brief tour of their new building.
Wile waiting for her to finish the Style section layout for the next day,
I enjoyed watching her at work while she was SITTING at her desk. 
I emphasize the word 'sitting' because she had told me 
she had a 'stand-up' desk and I wanted to see it.
 She immediately stood up and pulled her desk up in about 2 seconds.

This interested me because at a conference a year or so ago
 I had listened to a lecture on standing to work.
I felt that sitting at the computer and sitting
 at my sewing machine was a lot of sitting.
So for the next week I checked several adjustable stand up desks 
on the Internet, reading the information and reviews. 
I liked the look of this one as it also came in white. 
However I finally decided there may be too much light 
bouncing off the broad desk top. 
And, my printers, scanner, and desk chair are all black.
So, I bought the Flexispot 35 inch desk top.
 Today we had a good friend help setting it up in my office. 
It weighs 55 pounds so we did need a good strong helper.
Here it is on my desk in the low position.
By the way, this low position is actually better for my posture 
while sitting as my computer needed to be higher.
 And, here it is at the height I need to stand and work. 
There are 12 heights available. and a lot of space on the top shelf.
I am standing here now checking pictures for this blog 
and have just abut finished writing. 
I do find that I kind of wander around back and forth 
while working in this stand up position,
and if I get tired of standing I can sit down in about 2 seconds 
as it raises and lowers quickly and easily.