Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Trip To Lowell

Well there it is, the post card announcement of the art quilt show "The Sea." I went up to Lowell yesterday to see it. As the regional meeting for SAQA was held there, I raced out of the house quickly to get there by 10am. It's about and hour and 45 minutes away. The racing part is responsible for me forgetting to bring my camera as the battery was charging in the kitchen. What a day to forget the camera! Not only was there the one show but others all over the city and the trunk show for SAQA was in attendance at the meeting.

I was very impressed with the quality of the work hanging at the Brush. When you walked in there were two gallery walls, left and right with quilts greeting you. The one to the right had two quilts by Betty Busby which were phenomenal. Betty's quilt is the one chosen for the post card above. I just couldn't pull my eyes off them. With her two was a quilt called Loggerhead by Gay Young Ousley. Gay's quilt was rich in texture, a tortoise swimming in the sea. These three quilts made such a commanding presence as you walked in. There were so many wonderful quilts, that I wished I had brought the camera. As I was wandering from quilt to quilt it began eating at me that I had wanted to try to enter this show with "Mermaids." But there was no way I could get it done in time for the deadline. It would have looked wonderful there amongst the other sea inspired quilts. I left with a renewed urgency to get it moving faster and with more attention to detail.

I did bring it with me for show and tell at the regional meeting. I wanted to see if it was interesting at all to the other quilters. After all it is just a wave. I got some well needed feedback, especially from Linda Dunn, who told me she was wowed by the wave alone and was concerned about the addition of the mermaids. I instantly got it. Most artist renditions of mermaids are a bit tacky, dripping with shells and seaweed hair. I am steering clear of this type of rendition in creating what is in my mind for this illustration. While thinking about it on the way home, I honed the image I had of them even more coming up with the final title of this piece in my head, "Beneath the Deep." I see the mermaids as what they are in folklore, specter-like sirens, other-worldly in existence but alluring to men. Their tails are fish-like and their bodies voluptuous but not human. They're more to be feared than anything like a great white shark would instill fear in a swimmer. As forcefully beautiful as the wave is, the sirens will be equally as ominous. This is the story I am telling with this quilt.
On the way out of the Brush I looked at some local artist's wares outside in booths. I bought some wonderful hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns to use on the mermaid quilt. They will be couched over the wave to create swirls of movement. I'm really exited about the embellishments that I have set aside to make the water come to life with movement.

Back to reality at home, I hung a stained glass piece I found at the Brush in my studio window to distract me from the disturbances of what is happening in our neighbor's yard.

This has now become my view. The flowers just visible to the right of the window are the left portion of the Butterfly Garden. The only thing I can see as a positive is that the garden will get more sun. Soon we will be planting cypress all along the edge of what once was the woods to try to regain some of our privacy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vacation Bonus!

Look what I found going through a listing of activities for the weekend of August 5th and 6th. Tony and I went to Cape Cod for a mini vacation this past week. When looking for fun things to do I noticed a quilt show in Harwich, about 20 minutes from where we were staying. They named it "Sew Many Pearls! 2011" and it was sponsored by the Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod. All the usual venders were present, local quilt shops, long arm demos, Pfaff, Bernina, and Viking, and even a button Godess "Dusty's Vintage Buttons - Tablecloths - Trim." I had lots of fun with the buttons. $30.00 worth of fun!
"Revelle" by Maggie Walker, hand pieced, appliqued and quilted.

All the quilts on display were from members of the quilt guild. The first room I went into had a long grouping of quilts, some Hawaiian, some traditional and some like the one above. There were about 15 in a row. As I was gushing about how much fun the chickens were a woman told me that all the quilts in the row were done by the same woman and introduced me to a rather elderly woman. I hope I'm quilting when I'm her age!

Most of the quilts were of the traditional ilk. They were just lovely. Above is a sampling of the 200 quilts in the show.
"Through Spencer's Eyes" by Julie Lariviere, machine pieced and quilted.

I just can't resist colorful quilts and this one caught my eye right away. There is enough diversity in the blocks of this quilt and the randomness of the arrangement that it captures your eye and doesn't let it go. Below is a detail.

"Endangered Species Tiger" by Barbara Delphos

A Rob Appell design with multiple irregular shapes. She used echo quilting to enhance features and to add dimension. Machine quilted, appliqued and quilted. I just loved all the contrast and stepping back from this one makes it look so alive.

Another one of my favorites in the show was called "Mom" by Paula Tuano. She worked in whites, greys and blacks to transform an old photograph of her mother on her wedding day in April of 1942. The puddle of a train was free form at the bottom of the quilt. They had it mounted from the ceiling and hung very high. It was so high up that I could not get a good picture of it. It was very intricate and extremely creative. Loved it!

What a great surprise on my vacation. I love those kinds of surprises.

Not these!

Upon returning home from the Cape it was clear that even though we were not there to hear it a tree or twenty fell in the woods! We talked to the workmen to find out that the owners were bringing the driveway along our property line, in 300ft, like our driveway. Then they would situate their septic system, the house behind and the yard behind that. They were felling the whole 600ft. Their house will be situated just behind my bank of studio windows and the woods behind my lovely butterfly garden are ripped out to leave a gaping hole of emptiness behind it.

Tony and I did some research into privacy plantings. The quickest growing plant is the Leyland Cypress and we will be putting in a lot of them to try to patch up the holes in our privacy. There are huge piles of logs and branches all over their property. It really is such a shame that this has to happen when there are an abundance of homes already built and on the market all over RI and even at rock bottom prices due to the economy. I'll tell you it is going to be really hard warming up to these neighbors when I already despise the first thing they have done.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The End of Privacy As We Know It

This is the entry into our beautiful home in the country in Rhode Island. We bought this home five years ago in an attempt to get away from the noise and bustle of the city, having lived in Providence on the east side for years and Mount Pleasant across from the High School for five years. Our neighbors were always too close, too loud and way too visible for our liking.
This wing of the house is on the left side and houses all the bedrooms. Bedrooms are usually where you want the most privacy.
Next to that wing you can see our yard delineated by the mown lawn. Beyond that are the woods from the vacant lot next door. The previous owners of our home owned this piece of land, 160 feet wide, situated between us and the Browns property. We knew they had the land on the market and were asking an exorbitant price for it. We couldn't afford their asking price, nor could the Browns. We never thought he'd sell due to his greed, his immovable desire to get his price for the land.
Take a good look. All this will be gone in the matter of a few weeks as someone has bought the land and they are clearing and building a house on it. The deer, turkeys, hawks, rabbits, fox, and coyotes better have a back up plan because they will no longer be able to use this piece of land to live, or cut through to the deeper woods behind us.
If you take a really close look you can see the yellow 'dozer sitting at the entrance which they just cut out of the hundreds of years old wall fronting the property. And of course, you can't hear them felling the trees with their chainsaws which is happening as I type. I'm hearing the trees go down one by one. We have no idea if they will leave any on the border of our properties. All the trees are on their side of the line. I'm having this uncontrollable panic-filled need to call a nursery and order about 50 junipers or arbor vitaes to line the edge of our land for privacy!

And then of course is the yet unspoken issue of the new neighbors, who we have no idea who they are, and there being people living too close again, too noisy, too visible, too loud. I really don't want to move again. I love my new kitchen, all the wonderful windows and sliders and my sunny and large studio, which will now probably look out onto their back deck only about 25 feet away.

More buzzing noise - another tree down. Oh, how I wish someone would just make it all a bad dream so I could wake up.