Friday, September 25, 2015

Centering and Dyeing

I am at the end of an emotionally difficult week. The wait for and anxiety about any news from my traveling quilt had taken a more severe toll on me than I realized even when I received the news. I am still trying to get myself back on track! I did a bit of stitching, trying to center myself, and working towards finishing the piece I want to enter for the SAQA Migration/Diaspora show. (Have not entirely decided yet on how I will take care of the shipping, should it get chosen!)

Then the machine started mucking up and showing distress about the bobbin thread when really there wasn't anything happening. However, after a while it did not let itself be overruled by simply pressing the 'close'-x when the sign appeared on the display and stopped working altogether. I took it to my dealer and they think they figured out it had something to do with the bobbin, I should take another one. Not that I could see anything wrong with the bobbing I was using, no scratches on the silver marks on its outside - but the machine was working fine with a bobbin from the dealer in their shop. Now I have to try that out tomorrow. Is it the bobbin, or the aura?
But the stitching of the text is done, right now I have to clip many threads and then finish the facings.
While stitching this quilt I was also trying to turn around in my mind my idea for the next quilt I have been hoping to get finished before I leave for New Zealand in just about five weeks. But attempts at pre-viewing what I have been thinking I would do by putting it all together on the computer have yet to convince me, and this afternoon I almost thought I would give up on that idea. I get the impression that the 'text message'-series is getting overloaded with too many ideas, too much message. Any viewer must feel overwhelmed with what I am trying to say. Or it's not at all discernible, too complicated. In any case - right now I think I might not have to put a whole lot of pressure on myself to get something done before I leave in order to catch the deadline for the 'My place' exhibit. But perhaps I will have another idea, or convince myself, tonight when I sleep!

My son has been skidding through is second week of secondary school and everything is far from routine yet. And it's turned unpleasantly cold. Not that I wanted the summer heat waves to continue, but I am definitely not ready for any kind of German winter yet. Good that I am going to NZ ...
What has really strucutred my activities, though, was the dyeing of the September collection of the fabric club. Two colours at a time, four buckets each. At one point some dirt had accumulated in the faucet and it took more than double the time it usually did to fill up all those buckets, but the dirt has been removed and today's filling went quickly again. Last batch will be ironed tomorrow, and then I can start cutting the pieces.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lost and Found.

Thank you very much to everybody who has shown concern about my lost quilt.

Today I received the message from the organizers in France that it has finally arrived at their office. It took the carrier only two months and ten days to get it there. The mistake was in a misprinting of the street address when the German carrier relabeled the package before giving it to the French carrier, they say. (Why do they have to do that? Can't they just trust the label that the sender puts onto a package?)
They were kind (or should I say 'generous') enough to say it was not my fault. (For a while I had been told that it must have been my fault, I probably sent it to a wrong address. As if it's not bad enough to have one's quilt lost, why did they have to add insult to injury?) Anyway - relief is slowly sinking in, although it is still taking a little while...
At least it will be traveling with the show to the other venues. It just was not considered for any of the prizes.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Surprise Arrival. And a Non-Arrival.

Last week I received a surprise package in the mail. My quilting friend Kathy Loomis had told her publisher to send me a complimentary copy of her newly released book, which had been in the making for a while and finally is out now. Kathy had been writing about the process of making the book  here.

Unfortunately I did not have enough time to look at it in any kind of detail before I left for France, but even just leafing through it created a lot of interest. I will take a closer look at it when I get home and hope to be able to tell you all more about it then.

Unfortunately, during that same week I also had the news that another parcel, which I had sent in July, had not arrived at its destination. My quilt “reflections on ‘reflection’”, which was juried into the challenge of the European Patchwork Meeting did not find its way to the organizers. Which is rather annoying. And upsetting. I have been approached repeatedly now why it is not there with the other quilts although it is shown in the catalogue, and of course it did not get considered for any of the awards – and the in-limbo situation continues. The carrier claims it got delivered, they even produce a date of delivery, yet the organizers say it never arrived.

reflections on 'reflection' (text messages 7)

With the turnover in the management of the Ste. Marie-aux-Mines event lots of things are changing, and it will be very interesting to see how things develop here. Right now my personal relationship with the festival is a bit strained, of course. I am concentrating on doing my duties as a SAQA rep responsible for the SAQA exhibition “Redirecting the Ordinary”, which is a fantastic exhibition. But it’s hard to be a positive and friendly steward to other people’s quilts when one’s own is not on display where it should have been! Perhaps I will just go back to making quilts riffed on the Rail Fence and Log Cabin Patterns and stop entering challenges and competitions altogether? We'll see.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Migration in quilt and for real

As things have turned pretty dramatic with the refugees pouring into Europe during the past ten days, and almost all of them wanting to go to Germany, I have been working on stitching the text onto my piece for the SAQA exhibition on that theme. While I am stitching I keep wondering what these developments will mean for the future.
On the one hand, I think it is amazing that Germany, a country which was less than hospitable towards a large part of its population only seventy years ago, and which brought a lot of bloodshed to other countries and their peoples, has turned into the desired destination for so many people. Obviously, the historic part is not an overwhelming factor any more. On the other hand I wonder whether all of these people are refugees from war zones – not every place in Syria is subject to bombing right now, and some of the new arrivals we have had here in town openly told us that they were not fleeing from a war situation. And then I wonder what kind of probably false information is being passed around in those countries – because we have had people here who were annoyed that they were not given a house to themselves immediately,  who were expecting to bring in their families right away and who were not at all happy with the fact that being a refugee in this country does not get them treatment as in a decent hotel.
I still believe that Germany’s constitutional right to political asylum is one of the greatest achievements that this country has arrived at. But I am afraid that it might get damaged because of the developments we are watching right now. And what is going to happen with all the people in winter? It can be cold here, and we may not have enough houses to put them all up!
During our summer vacation, which we spent at home, I coached myself to step back a bit from volunteering to help the refugees. At one point a family from Kosovo, whom I had never seen before, had stood in front of our door, with two small children, they were facing being sent back, and could I please help them. That was the moment when I knew something had to change. I’m still visiting one house on a regular basis, but slightly less frequently, giving German lessons to two of the inhabitants once or twice a week, and managing internal communication within the network of volunteers. But I make sure that there is much more time left for my family and myself, and my quilting. I did not jump and run when yet another house was dedicated to housing refugees and 14 people were placed there within two days. Somebody else from the network had to do that. Sometimes I wait until late in the afternoon until I check e-mails. And I make plans as to when I will be sitting at the sewing machine. So the migration quilt is indeed making progress.

transferring letters onto the fabric

auditioning threads for stitching the letters -
none of these got chosen in the end, though.
Partly because my machine decided it does not like the shiny quality ones...

Backside view of first word stitched

Just before starting to write this I pinned the migration quilt to the wall to see how it looks now. Before I had started the stitching of the text I hadn’t been at all sure that this was going to turn out at all. But now I like what I see, and although I still have a lot of work to do with it, I am pleased with the development it has taken.

I am even planning ahead rashly – I might try to finish a second quilt, for another call for entry, before I go to New Zealand. But this is getting very ambitious, because I would have to have it all finished before I leave in order to catch the last date of online entry when I return. We don't know how many more refugees will arrive in our town within those seven weeks before I leave. And is traveling another kind of migration? A jumble of thoughts...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Little escap(ad)e: Global Paper 3 in Deggendorf

It seems like it was ages ago that I last went into an art exhibit and wrote about that in this little series... But my husband and I were orphaned parents for ten days a couple of weeks ago, and we actually took the chance and went to see the Global Paper 3 exhibit in Deggendorf. It’s last instalment was very impressive, and I wrote about it here.

The Stadt-and Handwerksmuseum in Deggendorf is a two-house-combination which has shown interesting exhibitions in regular intervals, including several issues of the German Patchwork Guild’s regular exhibition “Tradition bis Moderne”.

When we entered the museum, the guard told us specifically that we were allowed to take pictures, but not to post them on the internet. So at first I thought I would be a good girl and stick to that rule – but when I returned home and checked on a couple of the artist’s names and websites, I found that their objects were all displayed on their sites. That’s when I waved all good intentions good-bye.

So here are a few impressions from this issue of the show:

Kegelhalsgefäß #4 von Roswitha Berger-Gentsch

An array of 'tablets' made from cardboards:
De mirabilibus mundi (The wonders of the world), by
Irina Spelleken

With this one, the cast of the shadows of course adds tremendously to the impact of the work:

"100% vegan", Irene Rammensee

Here is a view into the exhibition room in the Handwerksmuseum:

This arrangement of paper cuts tricks you at first, until you bother to take a closer look :

"...wenn ich den Himmel nicht erreichen kann..." (If I can't reach the sky),
Madeleine Schollerer


"Rote Liste" (Red List of current medication), Helene Tschacher

Kariert 1 + 2, Harald Metzler
It's amazing what you can do with paper! I immediately wanted to take up that medium - if I had more time. Looking at these pieces will have to do, though - great show, well worth the trip!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Upcoming: SAQA Benefit Auction 2015

I spent part of the morning in my role as regional co-rep for SAQA, preparing a count-down presentation of our region's donations for the upcoming Benefit Auction 2015. First appearances will be happening on the regional SAQA blog starting two days from today.

My own piece will be up for auction during section 2.

Shapes 28, 12x12 inches, donation for SAQA Benefit Auction 2015

I was also asked to prepare a Super Dream Collection from the entire set of donated quilts. It was chosen under the combining feature of 'Lines'. I also sent some pictures of the making which were turned into a small video to promote the auction.
But, to be honest, I can't find the mail that gave me the link to that video. And I completely forgot to announce that I was a featured artist on the SAQA website in July! Still a lot to learn for me on the field of self-marketing...