Jun 4, 2013

Genesee Valley Quilt Club Show, Part II

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Red-Dog Enterprises, Inc. sponsored one of the special exhibits at the weekend show. As the large array of vendors lined the outside of RIT's Gordon Field House, Travel Companion and I walked through them first before tackling row upon row of quilts.  One booth in particular caught our eye not only because of this:

But one couldn't help but stop and catch their breath at this amazing piece of quilt art:

The gals who make up Red-Dog Enterprises, Valerie (Schultz) and Julie (Brandon) are two very talented women! Valerie is the dye specialist and teaches workshops on low immersion dying as well as shibori, and her hand dyed silks were to die for. Travel companion couldn't decide between two very distinctive and beautifully dyed scarves, so she decided to buy them both (who could resist!). Julie holds workshops in collage, scanning, digitizing and an overview of photoshop. Putting these two together is literally a collaborative dream. They lecture together on the fine points of collaborative quit projects as well as teaching a workshop that encompasses glass fusing basics, cutting glass and mixing basic colors for dying (the low immersion technique). Above you see the results of their collaborative "play". The photo does not do this beautiful hanging justice. We had an interesting conversation on how it is interpreted by people who see it. The adorable digitized piece at the beginning of this post is a second copy of an award winning quilt the gals made that is now traveling the country with a special exhibit. The original, Valerie told us was fairly heavily beaded and had "lots"of sea shells scattered along the bottom- quite the masterpiece I am sure. Red-Dog Enterprises also offers a retreat space at Williamson, NY in the gorgeous NY Finger Lakes Region. Their website is almost up and running and I would encourage you to spend some time exploring it. 
As we were talking and gathering printed materials for future reference, I decided to scroll through my cell phone photo gallery and lo and behold I had this photo taken on Memorial Day as my grandson was anticipating the start of the Wynantskill town parade. 

How fortuitous as the show special was one 8"x 11" photo print on fabric for a mere $8. A quick email to Julie's cell phone as I stood in the booth, and I was the proud owner of the beginning of my own art quilt. It was too exciting, and I can't wait to sit down, figure out how I want to design around it and put together a piece that will be full of meaning and memory! I want to go through my entire collection of iPhotos now!!
As if that weren't enough to get my juices flowing, we happened upon a booth filled with batiks and patterns for art quilting. I could not resist picking up a patten complete with digitized leaves by Mo and Mike entitled "Winter Garden". **

(** Noel P. - make sure you take a look at Winter Garden's link NOW! This has everything you and I love...nature, words, batiks!)

Needless to say, my mind was racing the rest of the day, fueled on by works of art such as these (all digitized by Red-Dog Enterprises:

Negative Growth- exhibited by Lori Anderson. the quilter's own photograph was manipulated into black and white at a high contrast and then made into its own negative. It was thread sketched and embellished. She noted that "the root colors are meant to reflect beauty, love and synergy in the beginning of life, but as we come out into the world, the exposure to selfishness, power and evil can turn our lives colorless and gray".
Think on that one for a moment. I know I did.

I was intrigued by Animal, Vegetable, Mineral II exhibited by Janet Root. Janet wrote: "This is the second piece in a series exploring the use animal (silk), vegetable (linen, cotton, birch bark) and mineral (glass beads) products". It was another favorite of mine.

Most stunning of all, was this next piece, from the Novel Quilt Challenge. As part of All Rochester Reads, these artists created wallhangings based on "Into the Beautiful North" to express a reaction to the book. Unfortunately, I do not have the quilt artist's name and I hope she will forgive me. 

She writes: The image was printed by Red-Dog Enterprises, Inc. It is a picture of Lisa Purda, a professional photographer and art teacher in New Zealand, and a landscape. Lisa, an old friend, gave me permission to use her photo in the (challenge). The three boarders represent the American and Mexican cultures and how they are interwoven. The main character is illustrated in Lisa's wide eyed, hopeful gaze. The quilting in the project was my favorite part of the process. I tried to convey both the organic and the ridged aspects of society by using both traditional flowing lines as well as unmoving straight lines. While reading "Into the Beautiful North", I was struck by human resiliency, the quest for identity , and the impact age has on a woman's outlook."  Tell me that doesn't make you want to read the book! Both Travel Companion and I stood and searched the image looking for the wide eyed gaze mentioned, but could not find it anywhere...I saw hair, and in a certain light I thought perhaps it wasn't hair per say, but lashes...it was an enigma, and drew me in totally and completely. Isn't that what good art is supposed to do?

One of the other features we especially enjoyed was the Iron Quilter Contest. It began at 10am on Saturday and ended at 3pm that afternoon. Taken from the shows Project Runway and Iron Chef, the contestants were given a theme at the stroke of 10am, and had access to a huge stash of fabrics laid on tables in the center of the set up. They were given 3 1/2 hours of sewing time to complete a quilt masterpiece. At the final bell, the quilts were judged and prizes (the top prize being a new sewing machine!) were awarded.
Talk about designing/working under pressure! But it was amazing what was produced in so short a time:

The first place winner is directly behind the sitting gentleman's head (below).  You'll see part of it's golden spiral (the maker is looking to the left and has white earrings). It was difficult to get a close up photo of it, but the theme was "disappearing act" and the quilt was titled "disappearing quilt". How did it disappear? The very talented and clever maker envisioned a quilt under a zipper...opened ,the quilt was in full view, but zip up the top layer of fabric (which was constructed to act as lapels) and the quilt was gone from view. All fabrics chosen were batiks. Ingenious. Enjoyable. Too much pressure for me!

It was a long day, but so different from any of the quilts shows I've attended in the past, making the long bus trip and the very, very long day so very worth it. I'd do it all over again next time....but I think I'd drive and make a weekend out of it!
Hopefully I've given you some moments of awe, and a few ideas of your own to take away from this virtual trip to Rochester's Genesee Valley Quilt Club's Show.  I'm eager to sit and contemplate where to go from here artistically. That should take some time off my hands this summer!


Jun 3, 2013

Day Trippin'

Some days it pays to get up early, not that there was much sleeping going on the past few nights thanks to the oppressive heat and humidity. "Early"-after just 4 hours of sleep- is a tough "early" to take, but I managed to pull myself up off the soggy sheets, hop in a cool shower and be on the road at 5:30am to head north. All of this was so I could catch a bus to Rochester, NY (4 hours west of me) for the Genesee Valley Quilt Club's 2013 quit show. The chosen theme: Magical Threads/ Inspired Stitches was just that- magical and definitely inspiring!!  Six hundred quilts.  Nine special exhibits.  Three "challenge" exhibits: one inspired by a novel (Luis Alberto Urrea's Into the Beautiful North), the second by a show title and the third by the Chinese Chestnut pod.  Two other special exhibits: "Through the Looking Glass- Downtown Rochester at the Turn of the Century" and "Nature Behind Bars" were also on display.  Most of the photos you will see below are from this (Nature Behind Bars) particular collection of juried quilts whose exhibitors are part of the Rochester Area Fiber Artists. It was sponsored by Red-Dog Enterprises, Inc. (more on them in tomorrow's post!) 
The Genesse Valley Quilt Club History Booth featured Susan B. Anthony House, and explained how quilts influenced the suffrage movement in our country. Now this is where I must caution those of you who have been long time readers, and/or know me and my quilting preferences either personally or through this blog. What you are about to see might confuse and astound you.  You will not see one photo of a Dear Jane quilt (there were two lovely versions). You will not see fabrics designed by Jo Morton( there were quite a few). You will not see Ohio Stars, baskets of any kind, hints of the Civil War or a crazy quilt block in the mix. What you are about to see are (cell phone) photos of some of the the quilts that particularly delighted me (and got me thinking a million thoughts at once).  I hope they will delight you as well! So many quilts, so little time- a definite drawback to a bus trip. 

Magical Threads was awash in art quilts. Beautiful renderings in colorful cottons and beautiful batiks. Amazing designs, wonderful execution, lots of hand quilting, and some major machine quilting. Enjoy!

This first photo is a wallhanging entitled Currents- designed, quilted and exhibited by Beverly Kondolf:
"improvisationally pieced from hand-dyed fabrics"*

Teal Spring- designed, quilted and exhibited by Mary Louise Gerek: "concept taken from the poem 'Teal Spring' by Kathryn Jospe.  This quilt will be featured on the cover of 'Mosaicq', soon to be published".

Which Way Out- designed, quilted and exhibited by Karen Sienk: "This quilt changed directions many times through the design process and I was determined to find which way out to get to competition."

Upon closer inspection I was delighted to discover the use of a couched ribbon I actually own in my ribbon collection!

Birds in Warped Time- designed, quilted and exhibited by Caris Burton: "inspired by a piece of music of the same title by contemporary Japanese composer Satoh Somei. He graciously gave permission to create this quilt referencing his work."


Ice Crystals- designed, machine quilted and exhibited by Kathi Everett: digital imaging, machine quilted, with the addition of cut and pieced hexagons" (approximately 350!).

Amazing close up:

*Note: all comments/descriptions are taken from the cards hung along side the quilts. There were no explanations in the show catalog! I am so glad I photographed the entry cards- a habit I started years ago to keep things straight, and give credit to the quiltmakers/quilters.

So much amazing work, and to say that I left excited and inspired is an understatement. My head was swimming with ideas- and not a one was even close to a reproduction! Stay tuned. I have a few more photos to share and will tell you more about Red-Dog Enterprises (with whom I spent a good amount of time).  I'm away much to tomorrow, but hope to make some time to blog upon my return home late tomorrow afternoon.

Apr 27, 2013

Spring Energy

I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle. I go out and explore and then fall asleep for what seems like a hundred years! But I've not really been gone, I've just taken spring by the horns. I've tended to my neglected gardens (or now, lack there of!) gifting the city with 20 full bags of leaves and other yard debris. I've spruced up the front of the house dealing with over a year's worth of weeds. I've torn down old wooden what-nots that are decrepit and no longer useful for holding flowers of any kind. I've cleaned off the back deck and gotten it ready to wash down, sand and spruce up for summer use. I've met with Alan the pond guy to see if my small pond is salvageable (it is and will be "easy" in his discussion of the facts).
I've planted a large urn of pansies and johnny jump ups at the curb and dusted off the metal do-dads that make it a bit more appealing over there. I've taken to getting up at 6am and out the door by 6:30am with my faithful 4-legged companion for a nice walk and have shed some of the "winter 10" that was giving me grief {smile}. I've spent the weekend in Newton, MA (just before the horror of Marathon week) celebrating the impending birth of a new little life. I've been to my centering place- spending a weekend with a friend in Vermont. Laughter, great food, lovely wine and tasty craft beer. Book store browsing, artisan shop goodies (jewelry for her, a beautiful etched stemless wine glass with birch trees for me), and 2 quilt shops all in one weekend adventure. I'll spare you the trip down into the "hollow" which was a sitcom waiting to be written! We never fail to find something that makes us laugh until we cry uncontrollably funny tears. 

And even if I'm not sewing (must get that construction top put together and to the quilter asap!), I am pursuing art. I've found my niche. I'm excited...I am enjoying every moment of my second level photography class. I'm not as experienced as some of the others in the room (and boy do I covet that professional zoom lens that is larger than the little girl who is sporting it!) but I am growing and finding a true passion for the nitty gritty. This week's topic was landscapes and street photography. We had models to work with to learn the fine art of direction. You'd think being a mom would make it easier to order a young 'en around- not so! "Make your bed" or "Pick up your clothes" rolls off the tongue a lot easier than "tuck your chin a bit" or "try this" or "try that". But My model was a joy ( yes, totally adorable and since I have a release form, I can share her photo). With "golden hour" approaching, we gathered up our gear and headed out to the streets of Troy. This is one of the first shots I took down at the river front. The sun wasn't where I wanted it just yet and this view was calling....

I couldn't resist this one:

these (as we came to refer to them) "dead bodies" were all over the River Street area. They were too ridiculous for words. New Parking meters, I'm assuming??

Now meet Mia. Isn't she beautiful? This is an untouched version of the photo. I did want to lighten it up a bit, but those files don't load in blogger, so this one will have to do for now. We were down near the river and the painted wall behind her just screamed backdrop. I have a few back and white shots of her that I'm proud of, but apparently I will need to format those to load in blogger as well. 

After working with Mia, I took to the alley ways. I'll spare you most of the urban decay that I shot, but I will just mention that this is the kind of thing I want to document. I have done the pretty flower, trees, nature thing, and it has yielded some lovely photos, but if truth be told- if I photograph another daffodil or budding tree or stark pre-spring landscape I will hit myself over the head with a bouquet! This is what I want to document- the raw, the gritty, street life at it's best (and worse). My favorite of the night is this almost unreadable painted sign on a ramshackle building near the river. I shot lots of doors to nowhere, rust encrusted windows, crumbling concrete and the "beauty" in it all. Remember- beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Just as golden hour hit, I was making my way back to River Street and caught this sun flare by putting my camera on the ground of Monument Park and hoping for the best. I am pleased with the result:

We did of course walk the lovely historic neighborhoods of Troy as well. I chose to shoot a lot of ironwork. There is such amazing beauty in railings and finials etc. This is one of my favorites from that walk:

I do love the repetition of pattern glimpsed through the front of the railing. Almost like a quilt/quilting design, no? Repetition at its best.

This railing finial and the back lighting in the door well was lovely. I wish it wasn't so painted over and "pristine".I love pineapples, and this one is no exception...

As night descended upon Troy we made our way to a private tour of the upcoming Photo Regional exhibition at the gallery on Fulton Street. How many ways can one say amazing?? I am so happy we got a chance to see it before opening night in the context of class. We could take our time, discuss what we saw, what we liked, the different applications and forms of photography. One artist (and they are artists in the truest sense of the word!) photographs with a pin hole camera of his own making- using an oatmeal box! Incredible photos. Incredible art.

I really wanted the evening to go on...and on....I was totally energized. But all good things must come to an end, and there is more to discover next Thursday night (studio portraiture). I came home to find the biggest full moon sitting over the neighborhood

and couldn't resist trying to capture it from the attic window (crazy lady that I am!). 

It has been a good week. Now back to that yard.....

** Morning update! Those "dead bodies" are art pieces! They are "Uncle Sam"s.....should have read All Over Albany before writing my post

Apr 1, 2013

Too Much Spam

I tried to be nice. Really, I tried. Hard. I wanted several "no blog" friends to be able to comment on my musings...
I really,really did. However, to let them (one in particular) do so I had to change the settings for comments to allow anyone to leave a thought. That left this blog wide open to all kinds of spam comments, and I truly have neither the time nor the patience to deal with this on a daily basis. So, with apologies, I have set my defaults to registered users only. I am sorry if some of you can no longer comment on the blog itself. You can of course simply send me an email! Happy reading....

Mar 28, 2013

Oh What A Night....

I feel that it is safe to say that maybe, just maybe spring is on the horizon. The sky has taken on a beautiful blue:

There are signs of green popping up through the tangle of leaves in the "forest area" of the yard:

And it was great fun to take advantage of the light to take some shots around the pond. I love my fossil rock:

Last night was the final class for my photography 101 course. I have a couple of weeks off, then begin the next level. I'm excited. Because the weather was so nice and there was still a bit of daylight at 6:15, we all gathered our gear and hit the streets of Troy.  We were free to shoot whatever we wanted, and starting near the river was my choice. I loved the look of this railing- in all its rusted, chipped glory. A perfect perspective angle- shoot low, take advantage of lines, play with angles. 

Troy is a beautiful city in many ways, and I wanted to capture some of the old, some of the grandness of the city:

Not a perfectly angled shot, but I like it...and it gave several of my classmates a good laugh as well as a memory to take home. As I was attempting to meter this narrow street, I was off curb and there was no traffic at all....for a minute anyway! As I progressed in metering and sharpening my photo, I was "accosted" by a very large brother, in a very large SUV, with a very loud horn who decided he had to pull up right there near the curb- and I was in his way. He was not at all pleased that I didn't move immediately, so I figured I had best shoot and move. From the rockin' of the rap inside the vehicle  and his not so nice look as he jumped out of his (left it) running car (where was he headed in such a hurry??), I think I made the best decision....but alas, my art suffered for it.

Seeing as the streets were a bit unsafe, I took to the side alleys (hummm...safer?). Bingo! I have two  photo series I felt I wanted to begin. One was "Doors". My first door shot presented itself. Again the perspective and angles:

Then I found my second door. This is one of my favorites from the outside shoot. This is just one of three wood doors in an alley, and I loved how by shooting it from this angle there is a hint of something being "inside" or "behind". A door. A mystery.

The sun was beginning to set, so we were called to head back to the Arts Center. The sky and clouds over the river were gorgeous.  Unfortunately, I had just missed a rowing team as I walked back up the street above the river walk.

Another favorite of the night- that golden hour that professional photographers always rave about. It is so pretty when you have it...and I got the silhouette I was hoping for, so I felt good about that.

And then it was back to the Arts Center

and our "grand review". We also had a quick lesson in editing in camera raw. A very interesting mini-lesson indeed. I am now going to try my hand at shooting in raw more. The tweaking and editing one can do is incredibly easy and totally amazing.

With more practice I think I might become a fairly decent photographer. I'm not aiming for pro status, just a competent gal behind a camera. I can see why this hobby can become a passion. Now to find more doors....oh yes, and that second series of shots?? Cityscapes- I think that would be grand.....

Mar 25, 2013

Notes to Myself

Some days I wonder where the my time goes. Mondays seem to bring about the question: what have I up to? What have I done with myself over the past 7 days? Waking up and finding a brand new week ahead of me can be a bit disconcerting when I'm not sure where the old one went! Thinking back on last week, I guess there were things that captured my time. 

These went away as the sun came out for a bit:

I went to my photography class and got to see part of the newest exhibits during gallery shoot: 

" wall graffiti"

Part of the current exhibit caught my attention: "words".  Humm...wonder why (smile)?

(the above is not a great photo- but I still love the entry. Note to self: practice depth of field!)

(the faces above were covered in word collage. Eye catching and rather interesting)

Then there was the mundane every day stuff. Lots of this: 

Note to self: Don't let the day's dishes sit in the sink over night (yuck!). Second note to self: No need to publicize your laziness to the world!

There was the folding of laundry (talk about mundane):

There was catching up on my week's reading- the good, the bad and the ugly!
Note to self: Don't photograph a page in your latest Kindle book that looks like you've discovered "old lady porn" when you are actually reading an "OK for what it is" book (In the Kingdom of Men)

I've been tackling the monster quilt's binding. Two sides down, two to go!  Note to self: Just. So. Big.

I've finished another hand applique block for a project that should have been done 4 years ago!
Note to self: Get. This. Done.

 And got side-tracked by a bit of journal making (Note to self: ADD/procrastination leads to a girl getting nothing done!):

Then of course there was the hunt for the perfect Easter Basket and goodies to go inside. Note to self: get that frog pillowcase made asap! Easter is this Sunday (no time to procrastinate anymore!).

Hummm- no wonder I felt like doing exactly what fearless companion does most of the day:

 Note to self: Naps can be a good thing. 

I guess I didn't let last week get away from me after all-well, OK, not that much. More importantly, I'm glad I spent the day yesterday laughing, sewing and then laughing a bit more with some very lovely ladies. Laughter, sewing, friendships- Note to self: all good things!

Mar 19, 2013

Out Like a Lion

This blog (and my stitching) has been temporarily interrupted by Mother Nature.
I'll be outside shoveling (again!)...

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