Friday, July 29, 2016

In. And Out.

The past few weeks have been far too busy, and art had to step into the background. I don’t like that, really, but on the other hand I did like having the opportunity to do a bit of (paid) substitute teaching of German as a Foreign Language to refugees. It kept me pretty busy, and gave my son an insight into how it would be if Mom were working outside the house, ‘down’ in the city. Because that means commuting, early trains, and coming back only after he comes back from school. He didn’t really say anything about it, but I think he understood how privileged he has been so far. Last week, though, I found out that I will be getting the 10-hours-a-week teaching job I had applied for here in our town. So much more convenient! The one I was substituting for I also could have continued next school year if I had wanted to, but this local one is definitely my preference - fewer hours, a commute by bike of max 5 minutes, it seems that the school is much better organized, and I will be part of a very nice team of teachers.
I have started dyeing the July collection of the fabric club – but because more things are coming up, it will be shipped a few days late this time.
And while Germany has experienced a series of attacks and massacre shootings last week that is highly disconcerting – especially as the media are blaming it all on Angela Merkel, a line of argument that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense - a good piece of news last week was that several of the refugees I have been dealing with over the last year have managed to pass exams that will get them school diplomas. That’s crucial when trying to get jobs in Germany, and the lack of report cards from their home countries is one of the major difficulties many refugees are facing. They’re almost ‘in’ now in that they can start further educational programs, or an apprenticeship. And I am really happy for them, and a little bit proud that I could help them along this path.

I got into Wide Horizons V for Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, shipped that quilt, got rejected from Masters Quilt at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, but entered it in the Contemporary Section and shipped it a while ago, got rejected from the competition in Alsace, had one quilt accepted for “Stuff for Thought” in Nuremberg, which needs to be sent soon, sent in applications to the Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival and am planning to send in to Quilt=Arts=Quilts. Luckily I had made enought quilts to have several to choose from. And haven't yet completely lost orientation regarding which quilt was meant to be entered where...

But I am behind on my Journal Quilts ... need to get going on that, when my son is away at Basketball camp next week. Because I don't want to have to drop out on that one!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

“You just have to start to dare!“

This weekend I am teaching a workshop on improvisation for a group in Herzogenaurach, near Nuremberg. They are a group of experienced quilters, with a lot of expertise between them and no technical difficulties. 
Except for the fact that we had lots of flies in the classroom the first day that seemed impossible to get rid off (they appear to be multiplying when you swat at them) it is a very pleasant workshop. Hot!

The nicest moment of the first day came after I challenged one of the participants, who had seemed just a little bit sceptical at first and said she could not sew really small pieces, to make a smaller one yet – no more than two inches square. When that one turned out just about 2 ½ inches, she turned to her off-cuts next to the sewing machine and made another one, really small. These are exercises that are supposed to loosen students up, and then she looked at me, smiled a big broad smile and said “You just have to start to dare! Now this is beginning to be a lot of fun." And continued to turn very creative and inventive.

In the evening we went to a typical frankonian restaurant, where I caught this magnificent reflection:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Coughing in Concerts

One of the two first CDs I ever owned was a recording of Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Italian Symphony”. When I was a teaching assistant at Holy Cross College, a student had been kind enough to lend me a radio, because I did not have any music playing devices in my room. When he brought it over he said, “I hope you don’t mind, it comes with a CD player.” I did not mind, but I did not have any CDs, so next time I got to go off campus I bought two CDs. The one by Mendelssohn, and the other was Keith Jarrett’s “The Köln Concert”.
I have no idea why I bought the Jarrett-CD, because I did not know the recording before that, but it certainly turned out to be my favorite CD for a long time. (I did buy a few more before the year was over.) I still have it, and should it ever wear out, I would definitely look for a replacement.

Jarrett’s solo concert CDs have been an important part of my life since, and my husband is a great admirer of his quality as an improvisor as well. He knows much more about music, musicians and recordings than I do anyway. So he was the one who happened to find out that Keith Jarrett was to be make a rare concert appearance in Munich, and managed to get us tickets before they were sold out within very few days after opening of sales.
Yesterday was the date. There had appeared an article in the newspaper reminding people of how much Jarrett insists on the fact that no-one should cough or make any other interfering or disturbing noises during the performance. There was a leaflet deposited at every single seat in the huge concert hall stating in German and English how quiet you were to be because it was all being recorded, that Jarrett requested to turn off and put away all portable devices for the entire length of the concert, and not photography, please. And the manager appeared on stage in person and repeated the whole thing in so many words. Everybody understood that this was a serious issue!

My husband was well prepared – neither of us currently has a cold, but he brought cough drops nevertheless, the kind where you don’t have to unwrap anything, because that can cause distrubing noises as well.
As the lights were dimming, a cacophony of coughing started, which turned into a whole concert hall laughing, as everybody was trying to get the coughing done with beforehand. Never before had I experienced such a profound stillness between the artist sitting down at the instrument and the first notes being played! Perfect silence, not a single cough at that point. Marvellous. It can happen. Why can’t it be like that every single time at any concert?

To be honest: there were only about 20 coughs throughout the entire concert. (But every single one I noticed and was disturbed by, because I thought perhaps Mr Jarrett would now interrupt and stop playing... Overall that’s a pretty good – but it is summer, no coughing season... why any coughs at all? And too bad that people usually started applauding even before the last vibrations of the final notes had completely passed. At one point one woman even yelled “bravo” before the applause. I was a bit scared somebody would shoot her. And unfortunately somebody must have flashed during the encores because Mr. Jarrett took the pains to give a little lecture ‘to those who don’t understand’ about respecting the request to not flash during playing, asking them “Why did you come?” He even used the word that starts with an “a” and ends in “-holes” several times. I wonder whether that speech is going to be included in the CD when it’s released, or whether that will be edited out. In any case, when “Munich 2016”, or whatever will be out, it is well worth to buy that CD, if you like that kind of music. And you can hear me applauding – though not coughing, nor shouting that disturbing ‘bravo’, which can't be edited out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Little escap(ad)e: Ilana Gloor Museum, Jaffa

Basically all of my trip to Israel was a slightly bigger "escap(ad)e", with a few museums dropped into the whole. But one amongst the many interesting places that I got to see was the "Ilana Gloor Museum" in Jaffa (official website of the museum is here).
This picture of the outside building appears on the official museum's website:

(Interesting that the museum has an entry in wikipedia, but not the artist/founder herself... but probably that's a different story.)
I admit I had never heard of her as an artist, but the museum is an interesting place. Gorgeous house - supposedly the building is still her residence, but whether she really lives there is not clear - filled with art, by her and many other artists in a rather eclectic collection and arrangement.

Several pianos in the house -

but obviously not all are meant to be played on anymore.

"Le Piano Alphonse Blondel", Artwork by Myriam Bat-Yosef 

The views from various spots in and around the house are magnificent.

the kitchen

one of the roof terraces

overlooking the old harbor of Jaffa

Artwork is displayed all over the three stories and roof terraces.

"The Fountain" by Vered Aharonovich

Barrel-Bird, by Ilana Gloor

unfortunately I forgot to take  note of the title of this chandelier, again by Ilana Gloor

hallway leading out onto the roof terrace, full of works of art

And everywhere there are interesting things to see.

I loved the view out onto the sea.

Great location, wonderful scenario - well worth a visit, away from the trodden paths of art museums! (And wouldn't I like to live in a house like that - but to be honest, I would not let anybody walk through my rooms, but keep them to myself...)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Food in Israel

... was a constant temptation!

Greeted by lichies, picked fresh from the tree...

Bananas - measured in a different kind of scale
than when shopping at our local supermarkets.

"The best hummus in the world" at Lina's in the Old Town of Jerusalem

Colorful spices


One of our delicious evening meals

These places I just love - and they're open late at night!

All kinds of different tomatoes