Monday, July 6, 2020

Bucket list?

About 10 days ago I participated in the SAQA ‘live chat’. The current president Deborah Boschert talked about the importance of having a ‘bucket list’ and that entering Quilt National is on hers this year, and then she sent us into the chat groups to talk about whatever it was that would come up.
In the first group we talked about bucket lists. What people had on theirs in terms of quilting. And I started wondering whether I still have a bucket list in terms of quilting. My general bucket list includes sailing around the world visiting a lot of the many islands we have on the planet.  Never knew whether a bucket list proper is supposed to carry items that are relatively easy and practicable to be made happen. Sailing around the world visiting many islands doesn’t seem to fall into that category, at least not without a huge inheritance coming along my way, which is not very likely to happen either. Oh well.
Living by the sea or at least on some body of water would be another point. Which again doesn’t seem very likely or possible right now, not only but also of the financial situation. So I am scaling down to spending vacation on the seaside, better than nothing. Right now, for a week, and it had been planned before the virus hit.

very windy today, although the water temperature would be feasible for swimming...

There are a number of other items I could mention that would make it onto a bucket list if I really had one, but as they all depend on the financial situation changing dramatically I think I would rather not talk about them in any kind of detail. Perhaps a bucket list should really have on the first position "be content with what you have"?

In the second chat group we did indeed talk about entering Quilt National, does one have to enter three to show that one has a consistent  body of work, did it hurt as much to be rejected from QN as from other shows, quilts that didn’t get into QN but were immediately accepted somewhere else. I have never seriously considered entering QN. Mostly because I don’t take it lightly when I get rejected, and then also because I have seen and heard so many people about how they fret about producing something for the deadline, slaving away – and then the buzz about being in or out. It didn’t sound healthy. But as the live chat finished, I began thinking about the quilt that is currently on my design wall and making (slow) progress. If the progress could be sped up and the quilting finished quickly… it might be an option. But I am not going to stress myself about it. Except for the fact that I must make sure not to post about it here right now...

Day before I went on my one week vacation I took my machine for a check up, and my work table looked really empty. 

I hope it will be finished just when I get back, and then we will see.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Abstract & Geometric in Heidelberg (Diary of Recovery no.5)

Last week I spent quite a lot of hours on trains. Due to uncoordinated planning a family issue took me to Würzburg and back on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I had planned a trip to finally see the SAQA exhibition "Abstract & Geometric" at the textile museum in Heidelberg.

I have a piece in there, but could not go to the opening in March. Then, before I could make plans, the virus hit, travel was not permitted, and then the museum closed. Now I was happy to find out that it reopened, and the exhibition is extended, too. So if you get a chance to go to Heidelberg before July 12, make sure you go on a Wednesday or on the weekend, because the museum is not open every day.
Agreed, it was a lot of hours on the train, with mask, to see this exhibition, going back and forth in one day, but it was definitely worth the trip.

In the middle of the room: one SAQA box

The museum is an old parsonage and has a special feel to the exhibitions room.

And it felt good to see my quilt "Play of Lines VIII" hanging next to big names in the quilting world, including many favorites of mine.

I don't want to single out one particular artist in the show - you have to go see it. But I do want to give an idea of the impact of Else van Barle's piece "Letters from a friend" that can be seen from the back in the picture above, and in a detail shot right here:

But all the other pieces in the show are just as impressive. The catalogue is available via the SAQA store, or you can pick up a copy in Heidelberg! Or at one of the following venues.

That day, all the trains were on time, and I arrived home early enough to catch a good night's sleep. And today our open air pool opened up! Lots of restrictions, and only a certain number of people allowed in the pool, swimming in lanes, not passing each other, and Germans' understanding of freedom is that they can swim in the pool in whatever manner they like, why should they stay in lanes, or heaven forbid, abide by a regulation as to how fast you should be able to swim in this particular lane... But getting to go to swim is better than not at all. So I feel much better now after I have come back from the first visit. And perhaps there will be some rainy days when the others don't want to go to the pool, then it will be my time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


It all started last fall when suddenly a book was not allowed to be shipped as a letter, but has to go as a package. Raising the cost from €3.50 to €16 (outside EU) and that put a definite end to a small pleasure of mine, sharing books I have read with friends of mine all over the world. I know it doesn't make for a good carbon footprint of the book doing so, but it's not as if I was doing it all the time. 
Little did I think that would affect my quilting, at that point.
When I tried to ship my contribution to the SAQA benefit auction recently, I found out it did, though. 

A letter weighing 250 grams (what's that, like 8 or 9 ounces?) could not be shipped
as a letter, because 'no merchandise in letters, only paper documents!' but had to be a package, and was to be fined for being in bubble wrap instead of a carton. The postal service wanted to charge me €54…! I almost fainted.
Subsequent attempts at shipping it via UPS were difficulty-ridden as well - online labeling, then the delivery point could not scan the code, and although the thing was not picked up at the door I still had to pay that fee) but I refused to succumb and finally managed to get it on the way. At 'only' half the price it would have cost with DHL.
 That took a lot of doing and I will see how it will influence my future decisions to enter for a challenge or show.
I used to think that it is a postal service's innate thing to transport something from A to B. When I feel like I am being ripped off unfairly, though, I might refuse to send stuff anymore. Then what is the post going to do when lots of people stop using their services? But it spoils my little pleasure to a significant amount. 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

It didn't feel right. And it still doesn't.

It’s been a terrible week. I have been under shock from hearing about the riots in the US. I felt as if I was choking myself when I read the transcription of the words George Floyd said before he died. Yet when I saw black squares appearing on Instagram on Tuesday, in a lot of feeds, to me it did not feel right. Because a black square with a #blacklivesmatter does not really say anything, and it does not direct anybody’s attention to any black life worth noting. It is a puff in the air, I felt. I did not declare solidarity with Charlie Hebdo when their office was bombed either. It didn’t feel right to me then, and it didn’t feel right to me now. Because ‘black lives’ does not include Hispanics, Native Americans, …

I have absolutely no expertise in saying anything about institutionalized racism in the US, and I feel completely incompetent talking about racism anywhere else in the world, even my own country. I have experienced racist remarks from Germans when I was about in the streets with refugees – even when walking with a Greek guy, many years ago. And when I was an exchange student in the US and tried to get in touch with black students I met with resistance and a clearly pronounced ‘no interest – you are white’. It is too complicated an issue for me to write about.
I believe I have always tried to treat people as humans, no matter what their color of skin, and my efforts at helping refugees have never made a difference regarding skin color. However, I learned that there is a lot of racism amongst refugees against each other. We all have a lot to learn.  Respect. Solidarity. Compassion. Letting go of our ego. Reducing consumption – Greta Thunberg’s fight is the same fight as the fight for racial equality.

This picture from Instagram is more like what I want to post for my statement:

Screenshot from Instagram

So the entire week I have been ‘under the riots’, one could say. And it is not over yet, because my Senegalese friend told me about experiences she had this past week which are clear signs of racism in the hospital administration where she is training. But she would not give me the person’s name to interfere on her behalf. Which is why I can't include this post in the 'diary of recovery' I am trying to keep.

Yet I finally returned to my private Spanish class, went there by bike and had a really nice round trip.

A lovely apple orchard on the way where they grow hundreds of different kinds
of apples.

Zooming in on the orchard's meadows where memories reside...

A short rest for a drink of water after the last, and steepest climb on the way
back up. Landshut in in the valley (here you see Geisenhausen) and going
home is decidedly more exhausting than going in!

But I was completely flattened out upon my return. Fitness is something else…

Sunday, May 31, 2020

“Daily Somethings” in SAQA’s Virtual Gallery (Diary of recovery 4)

As I was walking to the bakery the other day I saw this little piece on the sidewalk and instinctively stopped and stooped to pick it up. 

Yes, it is Covid19 times and you are not supposed to pick up stuff because it might be contaminated... but I didn't care. The action, and the instinctiveness of it, reminded me of last year’s project “Daily Somethings”, which had started as a Daily Art project, then I got behind, then I decided to cut it short by limiting it to 100 days, and finally I added some more things when I was picking up and collecting stuff in South Africa. However, I was extremely behind on the dailiness of it all, and then I started doubting the quality of what I was producing. At some point I was very close to putting it in the bin, but Kathy Loomis’ insistence that it was well worth finishing helped me push it through. I still wasn’t sure I liked it, but at least it was finished, and I was going to give it a chance for a public appearance. 

detail of "Daily Somethings"

So at first thought I would enter it for Birmingham, but then the Festival got canceled, then the virtual galleries were initiated, and then a SAQA call came up first. So I entered it there, thinking it could always still be entered for Birmingham after it got rejected from the SAQA virtual gallery.
Then I had almost forgotten it and the announce-by-date when Claire Passmore sent me a message last week congratulating me for being chosen. I once messaged Claire from a show where she had won a prize congratulating her before she had been notified by the organizers, who knows, we might be establishing a tradition here… I hadn’t seen the message by then but checked my mail and was quite pleased to find out that I was one of 28 chosen from over 150 entries. Not a real in the terms of physical exhibition, but it was a good piece of news to receive in the context of a week that was full of mood swings.
In my mess on my desk I have since found two more items that could easily qualify for inclusion in Daily Somethings, one of them being this label that was attached to a jacket I bought in the fall for its bright yellow color only. 

Even then I wondered about this label – there had been another paper one on the jacket declaring it ‘vegan’, and that almost put me off buying the jacket entirely because I don’t really believe in veganism, and certainly not in clothes. And I am old enough to remember when clothes like this would have been disapproved of as being ‘100% polyester’ in certain parts of the population, back in those days when ‘natural’ was the total hype. Times change, don't they? But I wanted this yellow, so I denied all my principles and went ahead and bought it. (Despite my ‘not buying any new clothes’ mantra.)
But I am not doing anything daily right now, and because I still remember vividly how hard it turned out to finish this one that I have only opened a little box where stuff like the metal piece and the plastic label will be living for a while. Something might come of them, but right now I am only keeping them.
Thank you, Kathy, for making me persist by believing in this piece.