Sunday, January 22, 2017

New Year's resolutions?

It's been a couple of very very busy weeks in the refugee class, with a lot of teaching to substitute for another teacher who was on extra leave, and a few very emotional issues going on, but I don't want to write about that in detail here. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of time to spare for anything, however, and the little time I had I wanted to spend with family, and practising the piano a bit.
My husband insists I should take a late New Year's resolution and make sure that there is more personal time for me and the family rather than thinking about and working for the refugees so much of the time. In a way, he is right, and in another way that's not possible... It will all be a matter of again trying to find a decent balance.
What I have decided to do in that direction is to go for regular walks. And I have even managed to do that recently - some days were outrageously gorgeous in terms of weather conditions. And I even remembered to bring my camera along, and managed to take a few photos.

Checking up on Daily Oak...

The New Year also brought new responsibilities in the quilting world. When I resigned from being a SAQA representative in September, I thought I would be out of any kind of  'official' function. But that didn't last very long. Only a few weeks later I was approached by the German Patchwork Guild whether I would be interested in taking over the soon-to-be-appointed position of International Representative for the organization. I was extremely flattered and pleased, as this had been a dream of mine long ago. But I had sort of given up on this dream about 6 or 7 years ago for various reasons, and then turned to the function with SAQA as a kind of substitute, really. So the beginning of the year brought a few steps of being introduced into this new position, and I must say that I am really looking forward to it.
So the late New Year's resolution not only includes a good balance between family and refugees, but also international contacts and interesting events as well. I hope it is going to be a good year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

On with the New Year: Little escap(ad)e

Yesterday - I had not opened the computer on January 1 - started with a big fright: when I first started the computer some weird message appeared on the screen about a team viewer that had been newly installed (there is one on this machine, because it's a computer from school), and that was all there was. No files, no software that I had installed, no nothing. I almost freaked out.
Tried to call the computer guy, who was not available. And rebooted. Then, tank God, everything was there. I certainly wouldn't have needed such a beginning of the year!

After that my son and I went for a bonding excursion to the outpost of Deutsches Museum in Oberschleißheim, north of Munich. He was happy to play around with his still relatively new smart phone, taking photos of all the planes, although he is not really a plane fanatic.

 I was happy looking for  reflections,

and found art. (Which made me realize that that is an area that I have neglected a bit lately, perhaps it's time to get back to it.)

My absolute favorite in the entire museum was this piece.

Not necessarily because of the color combination, but the design style - I just love these old VWs!

We ended the trip by looking at the special exhibition, which had been my priority to go there in the first place: aerial photography by Bernhard Edmaier. Absolutely stunning photographs!

Only one minor point of critique: the glass, under which the photos are presented is not reflection-proof, and in some cases this seriously interferes as the lights reflect and distort the art one wants to look at. Still on until January 29 - definitely worth a visit!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflections of the Day December 2016

This is the last selection of my reflection photographs for 2016. I am sure I will continue seeing and taking photos of reflections, and will post about them off and on. My Daily Art Project for 2017 is going to be drawing, but right now I don't think I will post about that... Unless a dramatic surge of talent should become visible. I will be doing a sort of "weekly willow" on my German Blog, for which I posted the preliminaries here.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 2017 - may it bring more peace into the world than 2016 could!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Gains and losses

Christmas tends to be a time when new things show up in life, usually in form of presents.
I gave myself a small present already before Christmas, however, in the shape of a mini-machine which I intend to take to workshops, for demonstrations on the stand, and basically just as a backup in case of need. Ever since my old Bernina went up in smoke two years ago and I was then told that there wouldn't be a whole lot of spare parts to get in the future I have been hesitant about what to do, because I don't want to lug the big Bernina around to workshops. So when I saw the offer for a small mechanical elna at 180 Euros I couldn't resist! It arrived by mail.

I do admit, the zebra design is not really my style. But who knows, now that I have much more contact with people from Africa, and really like them, perhaps a bit of zebra in my life is an apt addition!

My husband gave me a new music system for Christmas, which we had first intended for the room where the longarm is positioned. But as this is a much better system than the one I have had in my studio for a long time now, we reconsidered, and put it up in the studio. Unfortunately so far we haven't been able to secure radio reception for my favorite radio station (we don't have cable in the house) and need to fiddle a bit about that. The gain of the new system might mean the loss of a source of information that is not heavily Bavarian-scented, as my favorite station is from outside the Bavarian boundaries. We haven't given up hope yet, though.

The removal of the old system leads to a gain in space in the shelves!

Perhaps a bit of sorting might even increase that effect. If there was time...

And due to mis-assorted thinking on my part we lost a pan and pan-scraper. I managed to turn on the wrong burner when I was trying to make my beloved lemon-ginger-tea and didn't notice for far too long, thinking the strange smell was caused by something burning under the pot.

The pan wasn't exactly new and probably would have needed to be replaced in the near future anyway, and the pan scraper wasn't a special thing either. But I do mourn the loss of the lid, solid and heavy glass. However, after the plastic had melted unter it and with all the black spots on it I just don't want to use it anymore in the process of preparing food that we want to eat. Let's hope this is the only loss of this kind in a while and my absent-mindedness not a serious sign to worry about!

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Just how did this happen? I must have written several blog entries during the past couple of weeks, in my mind at least. And every time I had a chance to do something creatively (i.e. sit down at the sewing machine, or actually write that entry) it came down to “sit down at the machine and sew!” That’s what must have happened.

Not even a Christmas greeting… but it's too late for that now, next year again...

The weeks were busy - time before Christmas always is - and I realized a little while ago that a jurying-job is coming up just after the New Year is on. I have been nominated as one of the jurors for the German Patchwork Guild’s bi-annual show “T bis M” (an abbreviation for “from tradition to modern”). Now being jury, of course, I don’t need to enter before a deadline, but I have been told that probably jurors will be allowed to hang a piece of their own. And I wanted it to be a new one. But there haven’t been that many new ones finished recently… so there is work to do!
And I have been stitching, finally picking up that quilt in the text messages series which I started a while ago, red and black, and an hommage to Oskar Pastior, a Romania-born German poet who wrote a very special kind of poetry that is more of sound effect oriented than traditional poems.

The quilt had been neglected for so long because - I don’t really know. I used it to demonstrate my technique at the Bernina-stand in Prague almost two years ago. And then, well. It was my ‘refugee crisis overload’, for one thing, and then too much respect for my new machine, which at first was mucking up when I was trying to make it do what I wanted to have done. However, a few weeks ago I sat down had a serious conversation with the machine, started applying all kinds of tidbits and technical hairdos, and now we are both happy. 

It’s working, I am stitching. And there is a lot of stitching to be done. But I have made progress. And will now go back to the machine.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Abstract & Geometric" by Martha Sielman

The big surprise of last week arrived in the mail on Thursday: Martha Sielman's newly published book "Abstract & Geometric".

title page of Martha Sielman's new book

Of course, it wasn't a complete surprise that I am featured in that book, after all, I had written the text and sent the photos. But it was a surprise to see my quilt Play of Lines XXXV on the first page after opening the book:

I had not known at all that would be the case. I am very pleased to be included in such an illustruous selection of artists, and as the only quilter from Germany. And that my quilt was selected as the piece for the frontispiece.

This gives me quite an emotional boost, after I had only recently been turned down from the "Layered Voices" exhibition. And also because this particular quilt has a bit of a story that comes with it. I started it after a friend's comment about the scarcity of green quilts in Germany, as already mentioned in its first appearance on this blog. It was made mostly from scraps, using complementary colour effects, and a simple geometric shape constructed through a variation of Kathy Loomis' thin line technique. I loved making it, outlined the red line figures by machine,

and then I started to hand-stitch with seed stitch around the shapes that appeared as a result of the outlined lines.

Already after only about an eigtht of the quilt finished with the hand-stitching I was seriously questioning whether that had been a good idea indeed, and wondering how long it would take to get it done... or whether it would end as an unfinished object. However, I was determined to make it through, and it was done in relatively short time. Determination is one of my characteristics.
But when it was finished, finally, I wasn't sure about it at all. Yes, I loved it, but I had no clue what kind of impact it would have on people. As much as I loved it, it just seemed too simple. Nothing spectacular. But when I put it up for the first time to decorate my stall at some market just after it was finished I received quite a surprise, because never before had I had so many admiring comments about a quilt of mine as I did at that market. Everybody was looking at it, and sometimes it felt like the quilt was completely stealing the show and distracting people from the fabrics I was trying to sell.
I am glad it has now found a prominent place of display, and I had no influence on that, besides the fact that I decided to include this particular quilt in the selection of photos I sent to Martha Sielman to be included in the book.
I'd been thinking about trying my hand at a blue-orange version of this particular design. This might actually be the kick-off to get started on that idea.

The book is available through the SAQA store. And it would make a wonderful gift for a quilting friend.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Munich, twice

Sometimes it takes months before I get a chance to go to Munich. Last week I got to go twice.
On Tuesday, I went to take down the International Threads' exhibition at Quilt et Textilkunst Gallery. Barbara was working, so I had to do it alone - with a little help from Christine Köhne for the four larger quilts that were up over the stairway. But taking down an exhibition is always so much faster than putting it up. Yet taking down an exhibition without Barbara is a lot less fun than putting it up with her... In any case, I had the chance to get another shot of Shapes 26 where the reflecting effect is actually visible - when there are no real lights around.

And then I found myself outside the store and gallery again, with a complete exhibition packed into two moving boxes, and pushing it back to the station.

Of course, the train was late, and I got back an hour later than could have been.
And then on Thursday another trip to Munich. This time together with my German class of refugees: the entire class went to visit the Bavarian Parliament, the Landtag, where we had been invited by a local representative to follow the debate of a new law for integration. Not only did we get to listen to the first few hours of the debate (which in the end lasted until five thirty in the morning before the final vote), but we were also shown around the building and met with some other politicians.

I had never been to the Landtag before, so it was an interesting and new experience for me, too.

Earlier in the week I had sent out the November selection of the fabric club. However, I have not taken a photo of the color range yet, so all I can show here is the stack of packages before shipping.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to post a photo of the color range.