Saturday, April 21, 2018

Falling in love

The four days of show in Villefranche-sur-Saône were interesting, but long hours, and overall very exhausting. Trying to talk French after having studied for my Spanish exam (and there weren’t a lot of visitors who could speak anything else but French) was a challenge, but I managed. (Of course, in yesterday’s Spanish lesson I was again using French words when the Spanish wouldn’t pop up…)
I split up the return drive spending a night in Memmingen, a city I was really only aware of from a severe court case many years ago that made it into the nation’s newspapers and that has always been a scar on my image of Bavaria. So much so that I never thought about going to look at the town - it does have a really pretty old town and is very picturesque. 

So after a really tiring week - two days of driving, four days of show, two days of driving - I immediately went back to two days of teaching. But now my class in doing two weeks of practicum and I am ‘on vacation’. Well - not really, except for the fact that on Thursday I just needed to hang out, not do much, catch my breath. But all week I have also been working on preparations for the textile art symposium. I am one by one securing handwritten versions of some of the articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that I am using as the message for the quilt I want to make. Here is my student Puji writing Article No. in Thai, which really is a fantastic script. 

At first I let the writers chose themselves, but now that a number of articles already have been taken it is fun to consider which person or which language is the right one at this stage for a particular language. For example, I chose my Hungarian-born colleague to write the article on the right for demonstrations and expression of opinion on Hungarian. She loved that, too.
Of course, my son’s motivation for choosing Article No. 6 was completely different - he looked for brevity to get it over with quickly. But I love and appreciate the fact that he was willing to write it, after all he is not 2½ years old any more as he was when I started using his drawings as inspiration for the series ‘Play of Lines’ and could have said ‘forget it’…

Yesterday I started stitching the intermediate layer after some procrastination, which resulted in some changes of design and orientation. 

This is the plan - but plans are there to be modified...

And as I am stitching some of the what I consider key phrases of the preamble, I am beginning to really fall in love with these words.  

I have always held a very very high appreciation for this Declaration, but as I am repeating these phrases on the fabric, they resound within me, it is amazing:
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all the members of the human family.

  • Freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want.
  • Human rights should be protected by the rule of law.
  • Dignity and worth of the human person.
  • Equal rights of men and women.

What a powerful message. Perhaps it will be heard after all, some day…

Thursday, April 12, 2018

At Biennale Internationale d'Art Textile 2018

Spending a week away from home again. I have an exhibition at the Biennale International d’Art Textile in Villefranche-sur-Saone, where I had already been once two years ago with an exhibition for International Threads. Contrary to original plans I had to drive because of the train strikes in France, and although I was a bit non-plussed about that, I was kind of glad I hadn’t bought a ticket earlier because there are no refunds when there are strikes and I would have been rather mad about that. This was I spent two days driving, broke the journey visiting my best friend whom I hadn’t seen in person in a while and listened to several more of the 16 CDs of my favorite audio book while traversing Switzerland.
The exhibition was put up really quickly and I am very pleased at how good it looks. 

Empty walls at 1:30 p.m.

Chrisse Seager lent me her husband for certain
helpful actions, and only a little while...

 I have incorporated one quilt which I made for an International Threads challenge into the text messages series, as I think ‘Girl Power’ has a text message in the broad definition of text as linguists would use it, and I used to be a linguist… so now there are 17 pieces in the whole series, and 14 of these are on display. 

'Girl Power' on the right

It’s good to see many people again, I hope to meet new people, and although I think 4 days with opening hours from 9.30 to 18 o’clock is a bit on the longish side, I am enjoying the show.
Slower hours can be filled with stitching - either adding on to 'A Scrap a Day' (with slightly relaxed rules during these days, I may add more pieces per day for the time being), or continuing on a middling I am making for the 70,273 Project, including teaching myself a new and complicated stitch that I now at least understand, even though I won't claim I have mastered it.

We are staying outside of the village in a holiday apartment with a beautiful courtyard that makes one wish it were just a bit warmer already so we could sit outside in the evening, which is not quite possible yet… 

An inviting courtyard...

Somehow this door reminded me of Georgia O'Keeffe's door

Sunday, April 8, 2018

One thing off my back!

One of the many things I have been doing lately and that has kept me rather busy in combination with all the other things is to study for a Spanish exam. I have been studying Spanish with a private teacher for over four years now. At first we were three ladies going to her class together, then one lost her husband and dropped out shortly after, and the other one kept going with me for about another 9 months. Since then I have been going by myself, sometimes studying more, sometimes studying less. In a desperate attempt to get me to study more my teacher at some point suggested I should take the A2-level exam. Which I put off for a while, but we started using a different book to prepare me for the exam, and finally I plunged in and said I want this over with, so I signed up. Last Friday was the big day, I had been totally stressed out the weeks before because I still could not put aside enough time to study and was absolutely sure I would fail. My wonderful teacher had prepared me very well, though, and given me a few hints as to how to approach those standardized processes of taking such an exam. Of course, I should know, because I teach a language as a foreign language myself… but it is totally different when you are on the other side. In any case, I think I passed, although it will be a while before we get the results as the exams will be corrected in Salamanca.
After the written part of the exam I had to breach a few hours and went shopping, after the oral part a friend came and picked me up and we went for a coffee before I took the train back home. Amazing how much of a relief it is to have that thing off my back! I feel almost relaxed, although there are still many other things going on, I have to pack my bags to leave for France tomorrow, … I will have to decide how to continue with my Spanish. Of course I want to go on, and my dream is to go to Spain for a few weeks, perhaps a language class first, and then woofing, if possible, to actually use it in the real Spanish environment. But I am not certain I will take another exam like that. My friend Kathy rightly asked ‘so what is this credential going to give you?’, and I could not give a satisfying answer. I probably won’t need it to apply for a job anymore, nor do I need to demonstrate that I can do it. It was an interesting experience, though. Of course, I don’t know yet for real whether I passed.

So my thoughts have turned towards preparing the piece I will do at the Art Symposium in May. I have used two of the fabrics I printed when I was staying with Chrisse Seager in January. They are related in that one was the dropcloth under the other and I simply ripped them apart, inserted them into each other and have now prepared a piece that is large enough to get a finished piece of approx. 1,60 in width. 

I am talking to people who will do some of the handwriting that I will then transfer onto the fabric. 

Pragmatic way of determining the actual size of the area in which I will stich:
ironing creases, and these will then be the edges between which I will fold,
to finalize the size of segments

And I have taken decisions as to orientation and arrangement of the text. At first I thought it would be only 12 segments, but this morning I decided it will have to be 16. 

12 ...?

or 16?

And I realized that there is not a whole lot of time left before the beginning of the symposium. I will need to work well ahead because even a whole week of intensive work on site might not be enough time to get everything done there.