Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Workshop with Nancy Crow

I’ve been in Falera in Switzerland for three days now, taking part in a workshop taught by Nancy Crow.
This is the view from my working space:

However, anybody who has ever taken part in one of Nancy’s workshops knows that there is really not a whole lot of time to enjoy a magnificient view!
On the first day you usually start with sewing various – and rather numerous – sketches within the topic. Our topic this time is “Lines, Curves, Circles, Figure and Ground”, and we began with lines. Now that is just the right thing for me, since I have been working on that series „Play of Lines“ for three years now, and I don’t have the impression that I am done with it yet.
Thus I spent quite some time trying to figure out, amongst others, the most interesting arrangement of three lines to each other, which were not allowed to touch each other. Let me show you only a small selection of the various arrangements I laid out before finally sewing one together:

In the afternoon we were allowed to use some neutral colors as well. This is a first stage in the design process for that exercise.

In the evening we then received the first exercise in which we were allowed to use color. I first thought this might be an exercise that would leave me with another UFO, a workshop-piece that I would not want to finish. I then decided to interpret Nancy’s instructions in a rather liberal manner, which is something I have learned to do over the number of workshops that I have taken with her. If you can argue convincingly why you did not follow the instructions to the point, and the result is convincing, too, that will be fine.
So now I am sewing according to instructions, sort of. It will be interesting to see whether it will be a UFO or a completed piece.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Art exhibit in former cow stable

Tonight I went to the opening of an art exhibit in the „cow stable gallery“ at Hof Bödldorf  (south)east of Landshut in Bavaria.

It is an old four-sided farm as they are typical for this area of Bavaria, protected by the Office for the protection of old buildings (Denkmalschutzamt), which would make it quite a pain to own it and try to restore its former beauty, because you will have to deal with lots of rules and regulations. But it has indeed been beautifully restored, even the dovecot is still there:

And the gallery is indeed located in the former cow stable, which is still clearly recognizable as such. The other parts of the farmhouse are used as center for seminars and meetings.

This is a view into the cow stable gallery:

The artists are members of a local women’s art club who have been making art together for a few years. The opening also included a book presentation of a survivor’s story about sexual assault, throughout the exhibition a fund-raiser for the German Child Protection Agency is taking place.

I was really fascinated with the place. What a great idea to combine a cow stable, which is still clearly recognizable as such, although not by smell or dirt, with art. What a place to have an exhibit – admirable! Certainly yet another way of presenting art to an audience. I’m very glad I went to see it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beyond Comfort - SAQA-exhibit in Birmingham (UK)

Last Wednesday I sent off two more of my quilts to the USA. „Illuminated“ and „Yellow Line“ have both been accepted as part of SAQA’s Beyond Comfort Show which will be shown for the first time at the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham this Summer.

"Illuminated"  is the quilt which I first entered at the competition in Ste.-Marie-aux-Mines and which had been the completely wrong size. Since it fit the conditions for „Beyond Comfort“ as well, namely „do something that you’ve never done before“, I decided to try for another chance. The whole process of evolution of this quilt is too long to tell, in fact I don’t really remember all the various stages it went through. At some point I even considered including small silver pieces that had been worked on by my goldsmith friend, but that would have been too expensive. I did want to include some sparkle, though, and came up with the string of LED-lights which I had seen during the Christmas season. Luckily they still had one left at the shop when I finally asked for it.

"Illuminated" (2010) - Detail.
Includes LED-string, pearls, rocailles, fishing line, coral pieces...

"Illuminated" - full view.
40 x 40 ''.
„Yellow Line“ was originally conceived in a slightly different format than it appears in now. I wanted to do a really long and narrow quilt that would hang from the very top of the wall down to the floor, perhaps even be lieing in a heap on the floor. But even a call for entries named „Beyond Comfort“ and asking for something really different came with size restrictions, and the original plan did not fit into those, three inches wide was not wide enough, and over three yards long was too long... At first I almost abandoned the idea entirely, but then I came up with the solution of tieing it up in a sort of weave.

"Yellow Line" (2010).
Both of these certainly are rather different from what I had been doing just before with my series „Play of Lines“. And they gave me an inkling of what it feels like to move on. Not that I really think I am completely done with Play of Lines yet. But at least I have had a sense of what lies beyond the comfort zone ...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Guerilla Knitting Award 2012

On Friday and Saturday this past week I taught a course at the patchwork meeting of the German Patchwork Guild (Patchworkgilde Deutschland e.V.). Due to family reasons I could not stay the whole time, the event continues through today. The first thing I want to presenet here that really impressed me was the small solo exhibit by Silke Bosbach in Johannisberg. 
Silke Bosbach works with modern techniques of shibori, and she has published a book on her projects with Haupt-Verlag.

Photography was not allowed in the exhibit, but I have taken pictures of some of the objects which were also exhibited from the book I had bought:

And: Silke Bosbach is calling for entries to the „Guerilla Knitting Award 2012“.

Entries are supposed to be-knit outdoor objects, sculptures, lamp posts or whatever.
A first public presentation, including the presentation of awards will occur during the h+h cologne 2012 which takes place March 23 -25, 2012.

Knitting was the first textile technique I mastered, and for many years I was an avid and very creative knitter. My grandmother had taught me to knit by preparing a ‚magic ball’ of yarn: she had re-rolled a ball of yarn, putting some little goodies inside, which kept me motivated and going because I wanted to find out what would appear next. The final big surprise was a coin of five marks, quite a lot of money for a little girl of five or six at that time. After that first initiation I was constantly knitting, even knitted for money during my daily commute to swim practice. Working on the computer later gave me tendonitis in my right arm, which put a halt to knitting for many years. But when I was expecting my son I slowly started back with a small baby jacket, and have knitted lots of pairs of socks since. And not only that.

In the beginning of June I read about Stephanie Rhode’s knitted art project „490 Houses“ in Gunzenhausen.

It seems knitting is encroaching on the art world.

Final date of entry for photos of be-knitted objects for the Guerilla Knitting Award is September 17, 2011.

I may enter – have to do a little bit of thinking to come up with a good idea...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

The ArT-QuILT ExPERIENCE at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park

Starting next Sunday, June 12, my quilt „Play of Lines XIX“ will be on display for several weeks as part of the exhibit The ArT-QuILT ExPERIENCE at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, NY (USA).
This is a great pleasure for me, and I feel very honored to be represented in the show.
When I read the call for submission via the SAQA-newsletter I immediately was convinced that I would like to participate in that exhibition. I wanted to enter as many quilts as permitted. However, with all the preparations for my market event, and my travels, I did not have enough time to make a brand-new quilt. As they accepted works from recent years, I wanted to refer to some of the quilts I had made during the last two very productive years. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that the size restrictions included in the call for submission gave a clear indication that that wasn’t ‚my size’. All my quilts were either considerably larger or just a few inches smaller than permitted. Except for Play of Lines XIX.

Fits the size restrictions:
Play of Lines XIX (2010)

But to go through all the paperwork for only one single quilt? And I do not have PayPal, nor an American checking account, they did not accept credit card payment... I almost withdrew from my plans. However, an American friend offered to write a check for me. So virtually in the last minute before departure to North Carolina I prepared the CD with the picture, printed out and completed the form for entering and threw everything into my suitcase. After all I was going to the States – good chance to save a little bit of postage.
Even before I returned to Germany I had a positive answer that my quilt was accepted. (That arrived on the same day as a rejection from another competition I had entered, but that’s another story.) So right after my return I packed and shipped my first larger quilt to a show in the US. A Miniature quilt had been shown in Texas last year, but this is the first in a juried show.
Unfortunately i can not be present at the opening or any of the lectures that go along with the show, nor see the show itself. Or the Art Park. From what I have seen on the website, it must be quite an impressive place for art! How wonderful to be represented there. We’ll see whether Play of Lines XIX will return to Germany ...? 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Daily Oak, May report

Number of days missed: 5
Number of days with more than one visit: 7
Number of visits with more than the two standard perspectives taken: 15
Guest trees: 5
Total number of pictures taken: 94

In this fifth month of the project the sun is so much higher in the sky that lighting conditions throughout the day have changed considerably from conditions during the first month. This is very visible in the different orientations of the two standard perspectives from which I take pictures at every single visit. Perspective a faces pretty much due south, and the different times of day are mostly noticeable with the wandering shadow of the tree. Perspective b, on the other hand, faces pretty much due east, and pictures look very different depending on at which time of day they were taken. I will only show pictures taken from perspective b this month, passing from the earliest time in the morning to the latest time at night that I took throughout the month. Pictures don’t appear in strict chronological order of date here, but are arranged according to the time of day at which they were taken.

May 21, 6.31 a.m.

May 5, 7.46 a.m.
May 19 , 9.35 a.m.
May 13, 11.00 a.m.

May 31, 1.52 p.m.

May 23, 4.35 p.m.
May 20 , 5.44 p.m.
May 5, 7.54 p.m.
May 19, 8.28 p.m.
I also did a little more research on oaks with books that I took out of the local library, i.e. nothing seriously scientific. Thus I found out that oaks, as deciduous trees, are also called „enduring plants“ because they dispense of their leaves in the fall, reducing their metabolism, and giving the wood and roots the chance to outlast long and hard winters. Of course I knew that with a new period of growth they will produce new leaves, increase their body of wood, and their volume of roots in the ground. However, I had not known that they need to be at least 40 or 50 years before they will start producing fruit, i.e. offspring, nor had I known that any (female) tree will produce fruit only every two to three years. There are a few babies around my oak, but I haven’t taken pictures of them yet.
One statement that keeps recurring in any information on oak trees is that they offer „living environments for the highest numbers of organisms“. However, none of the books I have consulted so far has given more specific information on this – I would assume that this statement probably refers to woods that are made up of predominantly oak trees rather than a single tree in the landscape such as my oak is.
Given the right conditions in terms of soil, location, sunlight, water, etc., oaks can easily live up to 700 or 800 years. I will talk a bit more about the age of oak trees in my next report.