Saturday, February 18, 2017

Little escap(ad)e: Niki de Saint Phalle in Dortmund

Two weeks ago I spent a weekend in Dortmund with the annual meeting of board and regional representatives of the German Patchwork Guild. As the new International Representative for the Guild, and a member of the editorial staff of the magazine, I had to attend, of course, and it was an interesting weekend. Some of the members of the board I already knew, but it was good to get to know the others as well. By mid-Sunday the meeting was over, and I had booked my flight together with Barbara Lange, current President of the Guild, for the evening as the mid-day flight would have been a bit difficult to catch. So after cleaning up most of the left-overs of the meeting we found ourselves with a few hours on hand and were happy to hear that Ulla had pre-planned and checked the museum exhibitions, and joined her to go and see the current exhibition of works by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Museum Ostwall.

Outside banner announcing the exhibition

The interior of the building is quite impressive, you have to go up five long escalators before you get to the entrance of the museum, with several other interesting sites located on the lower floors.

There were explicit signs on the wall saying that photography was not allowed, so I was a good girl and kept my camera hidden, just taking a few notes. Assuming that I would be able to find pictures on the web that would make illustration possible, without incriminating myself through illegal photography.

I have known quite a bit about her for a while, and must say that I have never been particularly impressed with the early works in their artistic quality. Shooting pictures certainly make for a scandalous reputation, and she was successful at that. Nor does she come across as a particularly likeable person in the biography presented, more like a spoiled brat and very self-centered person. But I know, of course, that those aren't any standards by which you measure or judge artists... and she was a fighter, she had a lot of influence on the position of women in art, so her achievements must not be disapproved of because she was a strong-headed and uncompromising person.

But I did like the 'autoportrait' on display in the entrance area. And I lover her Nana-figures and drawings.

Photo taken from here

And I am sure her relationship with Tinguely was an interesting one that never got to be boring...

The exhibition is on display until April 23, and well worth a visit!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Weekend getaway

My husband has sent me on a weeken getaway because he thought that once again I was getting to be too deeply emotionally involved with refugee issues, so I am spending a weekend on Lake Schliersee, south of Munich.
The lake was frozen and the ice, although it is not safe to walk on anymore, is still pretty much a closed cover.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Reunion 2017

I can't believe how fast time is flyeing these days. No time to sit down, think about quilts and art. I have to renew memberships, update credit card information, and somehow there is too much going on to do even that. I've been sleeping badly lately, which doesn't help in anything...
But last weekend was a wonderful weekend. Former Co-exchange students from my year as an exchange student in the US came, and we had a wonderful reunion.
Not only did we look at many pictures from way back then - Thomas has been really good about digitalizing them -

Kenneth, Caroline, Henrick, Peter, Thomas, Carmen, Michéle, Y
lva and me, way in the middle in the back Mr. Brauch, the coordinator


but we also went for an outing to Regensburg and had a guided city tour just for our little group.

The guide took this picture... not quite sure what he wanted to say with this,
but yes, Marianne went shopping...

During the city tour - very interesting, but a bit cold in the end.

Lots of stories, lots of fun and laughter and all of us were amazed - although some of us had been meeting relatively regularly, three people had not been to any of the earlier meetings, and a gap of 35 years is not always easy to bridge. But it worked, we co-operated in situ on finding the other four whom we had not been able to locate in preparation for this meeting - and we are planning the next one in May 2019. Smaller, individual meetings may even be in order before that, too.
On the trip, we passed a shop that has lots of tin figures, and as I have been asked to please participate in the German Guild's Bavarian Section's challenge on the theme 'at home' (written in a very Bavarian manner, and almost not-pronouncible), I took the opportunity to brush up my stack of ideas by taking two photos:

Not my style, to be thinking about making a quilt with this kind of inspiration. But one grows with one's challenges...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Re-Evaluating Brown

This week has seen the beginning of my dyeing activities for this month’s fabric selection. Because it has been an emotionally very intensive week with the refugee class, only two of the six colours have been dyed yet, none of them has been ironed … but I think it will be a nice colour selection. Which is a bit funny now, because this selection is one that I have been putting off for a while, at least since July, which was the first time I thought that it was about time for making another selection of browns. Not that there hasn’t been one done before, but it had been a while ago. It will be a combination of shades of different browns.

In my own stash, and in the colours I have on offer at the stand, I am never terribly well-stocked in shades of brown. I don’t like brown. Despite the fact that I used to have hair of a very dark and rich brown, and I have always liked my hair - it never led to a situation that would let me feel something like appreciation for the colour brown as such. Brown for me was always tainted, it was ‘the colour of the Nazis’. When I was still buying fabric in fabric stores I would always pass by the brown section. It just never occurred to me that one would want to buy a piece of brown fabric. I do have a brown leather jacket, and I have had that for many many years, but I bought it for the fact that it was less than half price, very large, and it just came at the right time. Never have I felt a particular appreciation for its colour.

When I started dyeing my own fabrics, this changed a little, and I learned to appreciate brown results of my own dyeing activites, especially when they had turned out not too uniform, but were rather displaying a bit of variation.
What I could appreciate about the beauty of hand-dyed browns was their hand-dyed characteristics, I was happy to sell them, and even strive to have an almost decent selection on offer. But I would still not have been very likely to try to actually use a shade of brown in a quilt unless I was forced to. Recent conversations with some of the students in class, talking about colours, preferences, and feelings associated with particular colours in their home countries, however, has given my unappreciative opinion about brown a bit of a shake-up. The pride of the West-Africans about their skin colour, the way they dress and are frequently very positive about brown has given me a new outlook on the possibilities of combining brown with other colours. I would probably still not (yet) use it much for any quilt for myself. But I could well imagine using it in special combinations with other colours, should somebody want that for themselves. It’s amazing how this little bit of teaching German as a foreign language is affecting my personal outlook on life, and obviously it is starting to take an influence on my art making as well. No matter how emotionally draining the refugees’ situation is, and how dispiriting my lack of power to take any influence in that can be - being in personal contact with this special group of people is probably much more enriching for me than I could ever give them back by telling them something about verb conjugations or passive constructions.

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!