Saturday, November 30, 2013

Colour of the day: the eleventh selection

All of this month, my 'daily art project' felt more like a 'dull-y art project'. The weather was so grey and uninspiring, that most of the month it felt like I was completely out of step. I never really knew which colour's turn it was on which day. I took no photos at all on several days, because there just didn't seem to be any colours around. And sometimes I took several photos of different colours on one day, to catch up. Going through my files, however, it turned out ok. Here is the next to last selection of "Colour of the Day".

Red: November 28

Orange: November 17

Yellow: November 24

Green: November 30
Blue: November 26

Purple: November 3

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Supporting Quilter

When my husband said „Yes“ a little more than twelve years ago, he did not really know what he was getting himself into. To be honest - neither did I. At that time I was still thinking I would have a career in academia as a linguist. Quilting was a side issue, much loved, but not in the focus of attention. Only slowly did it dawn on my that my profound unhappiness of the time before I met my husband was not only due to the fact of being single, but that it also had to do with my job situation. So I resigned from my position at university. That’s when the real challenge started for my husband. He had not understood that this meant he was enrolling in an intensive course as supporting quilter. He has discovered signs announcing unexpected quilt exhibitions while driving by in the car, long before I ever saw them. He came along to a two-week class with Nancy Crow to baby-sit our then six-month-old son while I was at the sewing machine. He frequently is my first critic, and although his usual first jesting suggestion is to “turn it by 90 degrees!”, he is not always wrong about this... He was the one who came up with ‘justquilts’ as my domain name for the quilting business, and together we chose ‘justcolours’ for the dyeing. He found a book on old parquet patterns and gave it to me as a present with the suggestion to use that for quilting and patchwork patterns. He has helped me to install my new sewing machine table, which I would not have managed without him. And he always finds interesting bits and pieces. The most recent one was this:

In one of the music magazines he subscribes to, he found this 3-page-article on Gee’s Bend quilts as musical inspiration. Of course he knows about my admiration for Gee’s Bend Quilts, although I still haven’t seen any in real life, only in books. He would have gone ahead and probably ordered all of the seven CDs mentioned in the article, but I narrowed the selection down to three. 

Bobby McFerrin - SpiritYouAll
Geri Allen - A Child is Born
Guitar Concerts of the 21st Century, inspired by Gee's Bend Quilts

And I got them even though it is just before Christmas. All of which are great to listen to. Thank you, Michael.
Of course, Gee’s Bend Quilts are by now well-known, and many people are probably much better informed about them than I am. But this little re-encounter has led me to check back on the net.
You can find pictures of Gee’s Bend quilts here and here
An interesting article on the second exhibition can be read here.
This article is rather more recent, as is this one

Let’s see what other discoveries my husband will come up with during the next twelve years...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Museum Shops

I like going to museums, and of course the art is the main focus of the visit. Especially in a museum as large and wonderful as the Kunstmuseum Baselwhere I went earlier this month. But the end of the visit is not as pleasing if there isn’t a well equipped museum shop to stop in. An unsatisfying assortment of items on display might even spoil the visit. Not that I always buy something, indeed, frequently I pride myself in being able to go out again without having bought anything. Yet it is nice to see a good selection of art books, many of which one probably didn’t know existed.
The shop at the Kunstmusem Basel is very well equipped. Quite a trap. And no, I did not pride myself in walking out without having bought anything, on the contrary. I do not remember ever having spent so much money in a museum store as on that occasion. First of all, they have a huge selection of postcards, and although I do have quite a few at home and am constantly working on reducing this collection by actually writing and sending them to friends, I have not yet arrived at a moratorium? forbidding me to buy. Certainly not in a situation of “buy ten and get two for free”. Secondly, there is a huge selection of wonderful art books on display. And thirdly, some of them are offered at reduced price.
Amongst the latter was a volume with prints by Joseph Albers, a book edition  of his 1972 limited edition of prints “Formulation: Articulation”. 

 As I am currently working on my pieces for the exhibition “Inspiration Bauhaus” that two friends of mine and I will have in Octover 2014 in the Fagus Works in Alfeld, Germanythat felt like a piece I really needed to include in my collection. Probably also influenced by the experience I had had when going through the museum’s collection: in one room there was a relatively small “Homage to the square” with a title “The blue call”, which I had really impressed my when seen from the other end of the long room in which it was displayed on a wall where it could easily be overlooked when you first entered the room.
But the really expensive part of my purchase was this:

Front view of
"undiscovered minimalism
Gelims from 
Northern Iran" by Parviz Tanavoli
with contributions by Heinz Meyer  and
Werner Weber
I got attracted to its neighbor first – the catalogue of the exhibition on Moroccan carpets currently on show in Munich Pinakothek der Moderne), but because I am planning to go and see that later (perhaps even this week) I did not buy that one. After putting it down, my eyes got caught by the word ‘minimalism’, and after opening the book my guts had already decided that this was a ‘must have’. When I saw the price, mind started to argue with guts, but guts won, and credit card paid for it...
Just a couple of shots of pages in the book – you have to decide for yourself wheter it’s a must-have or not. 

These gelims are absolutely fabulous! For more information on the gelims you can click here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Little escap(ad)e: Kunstmuseum Basel (CH)

As already mentioned, in the end of October my family and I spent a week in the southeast of Germany, just across the river Rhine from Basel. Of course, we visited Basel, too, and as the Fall fair was still on, my son and I took a ride in the ferry wheel, which gave us a splendid view over Basel.

And on our last day, I took the chance and went to see the Kunstmuseum in Basel

I had been there before, about thirty years ago, when my 12th grade High School class took an outing to Basel. But this was a special treat. I went to see the special exhibit “Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Dan Flavin” – and as I could not purchase a ticket for only the special exhibit, I got the treat of the entire museum with it.

Of course, photography was not allowed inside the museum, so all I can show are these pictures of Dan Flavin’s installation outside, in the interior courtyard, and Rodin’s famous sculpture “Citizen’s of Calais”.

Dan Flavin, reflected...

... and partially.
The installation covers all four corners
of the interior courtyard, so it can't be fitted onto one picture.

Auguste Rodin, Citizens of Calais
The special exhibit  lines up the three grand names in chronological order and points out the influences that the younger artists took from each of the preceding one(s).
Piet Mondrian being the oldest of the three goes first, images can be found here, then follows Barnett Newman, (images can be found here and the link to the Barnett Newman Foundation is here), and the last of the three is Dan Flavin, with lots of pictures here
Although the special exhibit was large in its entirety, I would have liked to see more works from each of the artists. Especially Newman, and I can never get enough of Flavin, either... but be happy for what you get. It’s very interesting to group these three together, though.  
And I quite enjoyed seeing the other parts of this immesely huge museum – though I would have preferred it if Agnes Martin had had a wall by herself, and not right next to a work by Cy Twombly...
The special exhibit is on until January 19, and the rest is there all the time!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Outside the season: Ste. Marie-aux-Mines without the quilters

As already mentioned before, in the end of October/early November my family and I spent a week in the southeast of Germany, just across the river Rhine from Basel. We took an outing to my always-favorite city Freiburg, where I settled arrangments with Sophie Maechler, the new owner of quiltstar,  as I will have an exhibition in their gallery starting on January 23rd (opening reception at 7 p.m. – anybody who is in the vicinity is cordially invited!)

On another day, I took my family to Ste. Marie-aux-Mines in France (everything is close together there, it’s the three-countries-corner with a lot of geological energy going on).
On our way we stopped in the butterfly garden Jardin des Papillons,
which is absolutely enchanting. (They are closed now for the winter, but you should put them on your agenda should you go there during warmer seasons!)
We were lucky, the weather was wonderful, and thus my family could get a good impression of that little town in Silver Valley, which didn’t look quite as deserted without the quilters there as I had feared.

We had lunch in the Taverne aux Mineurs, where it is hard to get a seat when all the quilters are there. This time it was easy. Lovely dessert – and although I tried to remember the French word for blueberries, which I thought I had learned, it’s already gone again.

However, my son told my husband in the evening that the highlight of the day for him was hearing me ordering lunch for us three in French. He was so impressed! Now isn’t that something – how often will I still have the opportunity to deeply impress my eight-year-old son? Of course, he wouldn’t tell me directly...
Construction is going on right next to the hall where all the vendors are during the Carrefour – does that mean there will be other exhibition spaces next year perhaps? 

I certainly would wish that the Challenge gets a better display than this year – let’s wait and see!
On the way home we stopped at the border at Marckolsheim and watched the Rhine boats going through the sluice. Quite impressive to see these tight fits! 

And lots of beautiful reflections on the water.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A first time in Houston

Everybody talks about the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I haven’t been there, yet. (Though I hope to go, perhaps in two years’ time.) But this year a quilt of mine was there, for the first time.
The quilt I am talking about is “o(rounD)moon,” – watch out for the strange spelling! – which is part of the SAQA exhibition text messages that just opened at Houston and is supposed to be travelling now.
My inspiration for this quilt comes from e.e.cummings, and I have already postedthe poem that is depicted on the quilt here
My story with e.e.cummings goes back to my school days, when I found his poem “l(a” in one of my English text books, although I can’t remember which year.  We never talked about the poem, but because I had been to the States before and was so fluent in English that I usually had to spend most of the lesson time trying to hide my boredom I read every single line and page in that book several times, and immediately fell in love with this poem once I had figured it out.


Probably it was better for this little love affair that we did not talk about it in class...
Later, when I returned to the States (that was the time before book ordering via internet) I was happy to find “a selection of poems” by e.e.cummings, and even copied some more from the Complete Poems, typing them on a type writer, to maintain the typographic impression!

When I was thinking about what to use as text message on my piece for text messages I pretty quickle decided I wanted to do something with e.e.cummings, and I thought I remembered an opening line of a poem that would have been fun to do. However, it was not in my selection, I had not copied it, and so I had to do an order for an interlibrary loan. Leafing through the big volume once it arrived, I realized that my memory had cheated me, the line I had thought of was different from what I remembered, and not as suitable. So I went through the book some more and finally chose o(rounD)moon, which is short enough that the whole poem could be put on the quilt. 

o(rounD)moon, 2013

For the marking of the moon I printed out a NASA picture of the moon’s surface and copied the outlines onto my fabric as quilting lines – sort of.

o(rounD)moon, (2013) - detail

The full text of the poem is included on the piece in tone-on-tone machine stitching, though the impression for the viewer from a ‘normal distance’ is as if s/he were looking at the night sky with a full moon, the message being only subconsciously received. Beauty and meaning, of course, lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Little escap(ad)e: Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein (GER)

Once again I had a chance to visit the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, just across the border from Basel, Switzerland. My family and I are vacationing here for a few days, and the current exhibition – Lightopia – is on my life theme. Couldn’t miss that!
We’ve been having beautiful weather with lots of light and sunshine, as a kind of preliminary to the exhibition, and Wednesday afternoon I took the chance while my son and husband went for a bit of soccer practice. 

I did not remember seeing this lamp outside the museum on my last visit, but it certainly fits the topic of the exhibition.

The exhibit includes a lot of information about the cultural importance of light for humankind, and especially the western world. This is illustrated by the number of different kinds of light bulbs shown in one of the cases:
And in the full-wall-sized composite photo of the world at night, clearly indicating the different degrees of distribution of light across the countries. It looked very much like this photo, which, however, was taken from here.

Access to sources of light at night certainly is an indicator of participation in economic wealth!  
A display of numerous types of lamps through the 150 years of history of electric light, 

and the changeover from the light bulb to LEDs gives a historic overview.
This is enriched by several interesting pieces of light art.

Christian Haag, Ropes

Chris Frazer, Slant

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation

The exhibition is on display until January – it is definitely worth a visit! They have several events and workshops scheduled, too.

How I would love to go to the workshop on Redesign – objects made from recycling. What a pity that we live so far away.