Tuesday, September 30, 2014

High Noon

16 - ball sizes

17 - signs of fall, seen from the train

18 - bark in Alsace

19 - longarm quilting class with Sue Patten

20 - found art

21 - unfocussed luggage on way home from Alsace

22 - through the looking glass

23 - way up

24 - soon to be marmelade

25 - remnants of barbecue delights

26 - last colour of September's fabric club collection
coming out of the washing machine

27 - spectators at children's tennis tournament

28 - Playmobil land

29 - cutting the fabric club

30 - somebody does not want to be featured in the High Noon picture

Friday, September 26, 2014

Busy busy...

Last week I spent Wednesday to Sunday in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace at the European Patchwork Meeting. As always, a very interesting and intensive time. This year my accomodation was slightly less luxurious than during the past two years, but closer to the center of things - a mere twenty minute walk from the commercial center.

I shared the tent with Gillian Travis, who was a good companion, and crazy enough to go along. We met with a lot of unbelieving looks when we told people we were camping ... We were lucky, too – although it did rain a couple of times, it was never so bad that we were beginning to feel uncomfortable about it. Only when we were waiting for the bus to take us out of the valley on Sunday was it raining so heavily that we agreed we were happy enough we did not have another night in the tent ahead of us. Next time I go camping, however, I will double check on my insulating air mattress. The one I had with me had been fine when I went camping with my son a few weeks ago, but it did not hold the air this time...
I have posted a few pictures of what I considered the highlights of the festival on my German blog.
What was also very important about being there is being in touch with people. Meeting old friends, getting to know new ones – it is always an interesting time.

SAQA meet and greet - an informal get-together
sponsored by EPM organizers, where
one can meet other SAQA members

What I liked about it this time, too, was the fact that I was offline – no computer taken – and felt like I was out of the world. I did not read any newspapers, did not have to listen to any of those ever increasing reports about conflicts bordering on a state of war, hundreds of thousands of refugees, weapons for this or that side – nor on the referendum in Scotland. A few days of peace and quiet – wouldn’t it be nice if we had more of this, instead of all these trouble spots in the world? It is getting to the point where I feel very restless because there just doesn’t seem to be much that one single person could possibly do, yet how should we improve the situation ...? Where is this earth getting to?

And it has been a busy time since my return. Last quilts to finish for the exhibit in Alfeld, opening on the 12th of October. (All the big ones are done – working on the next to last small one, and I have a plan for the last one!) I had originally planned to have half my September dyeing finished before I would leave for Alsace – it can indeed be a rather relaxed mode of production if started around the 10th of the month. However, my fabric shipment had not arrived for whatever reasons, and so I could only get started after my return home.

So I have been cutting fabric, dyeing three times two different colours, running up and down to the basement to keep putting on the next cycle of washing, each colour separately, transferring all of it into the dryer, and then sitting down at the rotary iron as soon as it comes out of the dryer.
In my mind I am at the same time wondering which colours I should still stock up on before going to the Veldhoven Open European Quilt Championships in the end of October.

Anything I might have missed? The house is not exactly tidy these days... but there will be time for that after October 12.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Blog Hop

This post should have been up on the 20th, but something went wrong, I had prepared it and was offline for several days:

I have been invited by my friend Frauke Schramm to participate in a blog hop. That includes answering four questions about my art, and nominating three other people to continue the hop. Frauke published her post about the questions last Saturday, it is my turn today, and my three nominees should have their posts ready by next Saturday.

These are my answers to the questions:

 1.) What am I working on/writing?

These days I am in the finishing processes for the last pieces that will be part of a three-person-show in October, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fagus Works, the first building that Walter Gropius planned and built after setting up as an architect, before he later went on to found the Bauhaus School. The other two artists exhibiting are Mary Schliestedt and Gabi-Julia Weimer. The exhibition has the title “Inspiration Bauhaus”, and I have been working towards this deadline for over a year now. As much as I have enjoyed focussing on this topic, and working in a rather geometric set of mind for a while, I am very much looking forward to this opening, as I hope that after that I will be able to work in other directions for a while. So many different ideas have been coming to me recently which mostly I could not follow up because the show was still looming on the horizon...
Then, I plan to return to a few more ideas that will be part of my earlier series “Play of Lines”, and I also have several projects in the backdrop that will be part of a newly developing series, “text messages”.

Shapes 21, 12"x12"

2.) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure whether it is on me to describe how my work differs from others – or whether this would have to be done from an outsider’s perspective. I certainly hope that I have developed my own voice, and that my work has it’s unique style that is recognizably mine. Due to the fact that everybody is constantly being influenced by the world around them, however, exactly that ‘own voice’ is one of the most difficult parts of making art, I think. A constant process of re-evaluation, permanent self-questioning and ongoing exciting and inspiring search! I don’t feel as if I have come to a point where I could put it all at rest. Which keeps me going, curious for whatever idea might linger just around that next corner. 

3.) Why do I do what I do?

A constant need to be ‘making things’ with my hands had been with me all my life, and turned into a serious occupation with textile art at a critical phase in my life. In the manner of addiction, I need to be working with fabrics, and I have an urge to express myself in this medium on a different level than ‘only’ traditional patchwork patterns. As much as I like seeing them in well-made antique quilts, the necessary mode of expression for me was in contemporary, self-designed art quilts. I dye my own fabrics, and use them exclusively, which gives my quilts a special colorization. Making, handling, and then piecing the fabrics into a finished piece are the different stages of a complete process, which gives a special kind of satisfaction. And the greatest joy after making them is when somebody decides that they like this piece well enough to put it up on their wall for them to look at regularly.

4.) How does my writing/working process work?

I have different processes, that may either be employed entirely separately, or in combination.
As the title of the exhibition “Inspiration Bauhaus” suggests, the pieces on display in October have been created with orientation to letting myself be inspired by Bauhaus philosophy. I had decided that I would not look at the famous Bauhaus artists’ work as inspiration, but rather chose to let myself be influenced by the clear geometric forms, and the colors used to represent them, and then see where my own work would take me from there.
With my series “Play of Lines”, I was originally inspired by line drawings of my son, then aged 2 ½ and 3, and have included other linear inspirations in later stages of the series. The relatively young series “Text messages”, of course, always has a text or some textual aspect as inspiration through which I want to express something, or want the viewer to experience a special text in a new manner.
Sometimes it has happened that I had a special piece of fabric which desperately called to be me to work with it, and have gone from there.

Thank you, Frauke, for inviting me to participate. It has indeed been an interesting process to actually put into words things I have been thinking about my mode of working.

And these are my three nominees:

1. Jim Martin

I first met Jim, an American now living in Stuttgart, Germany, during my studies at the university of Freiburg. 

We shared common interests in Music and English Literature, and I always liked talking to him before class, at the cafeteria or somewhere in the halls. He got married to a good friend of my best friend, and she kept me vaguely informed about Jim and Bianca's whereabouts. We got back in touch via facebook a few years ago, and I have been following his blog on his photography and writing/texts for a while. 

Jim has just had an exhibition in Freiburg, and I hope will have more, soon. His blog is called "Jim's Photoblog", and I am certain you will enjoy looking at it or even following it.

2. Kathleen Loomis

Kathleen Loomis has been a good friend since we first met at a Master Class workshop at Nancy Crow's Barn, back in 2008.

When I saw her show one of her postage quilts to another participant at the workshop - not this one, but a green one -

Kathleen Loomis, Spaghetti Sauce
I was stunned. And a bit worried about her state of mind. The latter soon changed, as we started a regular e-mail exchange on machine quilting, became partners in daily art projects, have spent a vaction together on the Outer Banks Islands in North Carolina, and she has come to visit me in Germany. I am even now the proud owner of one of her postage stamp quilts. Kathleen makes quilts, but has done some other fabulous art work in paper, photo, junk art, and other areas. (I keep trying to get her to start doing something with the dumpsters she photographs, but she has been rather resilient about that so far.)
Her blog art with a needle is the blog where she writes about art, and is THE blog on top of my list. On her blog Kathy's Daily Art she posts pictures of her current Daily Art projects, and here she does not want to have any text. So basically I am cheating a bit, as I am recommending two blogs by one nominee - Kathy will post her answers to the questions on art with a needle. But I strongly suggest that you take a look at the Daily Art!

3. Yasmin Sabur

Yasmin Sabur is the one of the three nominees whom I have not met personally, and I have been following her blog/facebook entries for only a few months now. 

She makes wearable art, prints fantastic fabrics, and whenever I see a new picture of her work, I start drooling...

Her blog is still relatively new on my reading list, but has been an interesting addition, especially in combination with her posts on facebook.

I hope you all will enjoy looking at these blogs - and don't forget to check out what Frauke's other two nominees had on their mind!

Monday, September 15, 2014

High Noon

1 - this is how I like 'my' pool, all to myself...

2 - little tiger on the hunt

3 - offers at the yarn shop

4 - reflection in Regensburg
5 - new growth on the bridge

6 - making apple juice

7 - glad that there is a canvas roof above me...

8 - on the road

9 - found art
10 - substitute ball fetcher for my son

11 - in the train

12 - view into my brown bag lunch on the train back

13 - voluntary work in public teaching garden 

14 - view from my stall at the fabric fair

15 - potential new member of the knitting circle

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Coming Up: SAQA Benefit Auction 2014

I spent many hours this summer setting up "The Grand Gallery of SAQA Europe/Middle East's Contributions to the 2014 Benefit Auction", which is currently posted on the region's blog.
I had already written about my 'difficulties' in coming up with a correctly sized piece earlier this year.

Today's feature on the regional blog is my more successfully sized contribution, which will be auctioned in the first part of the event.
Why don't you take a look at the series on the blog, and at the entire set of donations? Perhaps you would even like to buy one of those small pieces of art...

Shapes 19, 12 x 12"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Summer activities

My son’s summer school holidays have kept me busy after my return from England.
We went to a visit in Legoland. He loved it – and I am glad he did. That way it wasn’t quite that bad. 

Einstein in Lego

The Berlin Reichstag in Lego - on the right hand side,
President Obama is being welcomed by Chancellor Merkel,
with photographers flashing their light bulbs, securitiy agents and everything

Jungle Feeling in Lego

What I liked about that outing was the fact that we left the afternoon before, pitched our tent on a campground not too far away from the park, on a little pond, and got to do some camping together. With a little bit of sunset, and a constant drone of car traffic going by on the autobahn in the distance. 

During that night I had a very vivid dream: I won a very prestigious first prize in a quilt show, with prize money involved and lots of publicity afterwards. Unfortunately, in the dream I never got to see the quilt from the front, so I don’t know what it looked like, nor do I know its name. So not a whole lot of information about how to get that quilt made included in the dream...

I’ve been making apple sauce from some of our apples, and a very good apple strudel. I am getting to be very good at that recipe now, and pretty proud about it. As I did not grow up anywhere near Bavaria, I think it is not really a natural thing that somebody learns how to make those things. (And some typical Bavarian dishes I will never even try...) We’ve also been picking apples at our friend’s house, and last Saturday we went to have them pressed for juice. We ended up with 95 litres of 100% pure apple juice!

The whole family went to watch a second league soccer game of ‘the other Munich’ team, which is the original Munich team, but not the big corporation. They lost. But we got to see a game in the big soccer stadium for a very moderate price.

Motivation beforehand...

We went to Regensburg for a day, including a visit to the “Ostdeutsche Galerie”, a museum that focusses on art from Eastern Europe. We caught the last days of a photo exhibition by six or seven artists titled “Heimat?” – which translates as “Home?” Very interesting, in the various contexts that the word Heimat gets used, especially in Bavarian political discourse, with the amount of refugees around the world (political and economical) and globalization. As I have been living in an area which is not ‘home’ for me for more than nine years, the topic was moving on a personal level, too.

My son turns photographer:
in front of the Ostdeutsche Galerie
Meditating the 'home' qualities of the Danube River?

And yesterday – my husband is sick in bed, so my son and I had to while away the day between the two of us – we went on our ritual of a boat ride on Lake Starnberg. My son had a free ticket because of his good grades, and we enjoyed a lot of sunshine, trying to ignore the fact that many other people were trying to do the same.

All this (and some other activities), of course, has been interfering with finishing those quilts for the exhibition in October. Add to that the fact that I kept changing my mind back and forth about what I was going to do with the big fatlight blue I’ve written about earlier. Eventually I took the leap and got away from the idea that it had to be straight lines. 

Still relatively straight, but with the free motion foot -
and serving as foundation for...

wavy lines, several different layers to follow

Yet another pattern in the outside round

But then again it took longer than I thought it would. However, Saturday evening I completed the last stitches quilting, 

Of course, just a few square inches before the end, it's the end
of the bobbin thread...

and yesterday evening sunk the last threads. Today, hopefully, I will start doing the facings etc. – and then, there are only two more little ones left to do. One of which has been up on my design wall and really won’t take long at all. And I’m hoping that the last one will come off easily as well.