Monday, September 30, 2013

Reveal Day -- Silence

It's Reveal Day at Latitude Quilts and our theme this time was the sound of silence.   I took a slightly different direction than most of the members.  I didn't reference a specific silent moment.  Instead
I tried to capture a feeling, that moment when you hold your breath, wondering what will come next?  Or when you ask yourself, Can I .... ?  Or when you hope .....

That pause, filled with possibilities and bursting with energy, is what I wanted to convey with my piece; the anticipation that's experienced in the silence before something comes into being or happens.

Anticipation - 15" x 15"
The yellow color palette is a nod to the phrase, Silence is golden.  I used all manner of materials including commercial cottons, hand painted fabrics, and paper towels that were tinted with watercolors.

This may be, as one friend said, "psychedelic" and outside my usual style, but I had so much fun with it.  I wanted to create a feeling of multiple possibilities, hence all the different shapes bubbling to the surface.  I haven't really tasked myself to stay within a particular palette so I enjoyed the challenge.  Though I have tons of yellow and yellow-ish fabrics, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted until I looked at my colored paper towels, left over from other projects. I thought they were a perfect fit and I was pleased to see how versatile that material was.  

Until next time, here's to waiting on that moment ripe with possibility....

Friday, September 20, 2013

From Under the Pile

Aside from loving to travel, being with my family, reading, and hiking with my dogs, I also love to cook.  I've been getting cooking magazines for a very long time.  In fact, I was just reminded that I've been getting cooking magazines since I had my first apartment when I discovered this VERY old Food & Wine magazine in a stack of cooking magazines I'd been saving.... since 1988.

Oof.  It's time for a purge of my magazines.

I'm not telling you this to give you the wrong idea of who I am.  Please don't call The Learning Channel hoarder intervention show to get me help.  I am NOT a hoarder.  I am, however, guilty of keeping magazines when I was a beginning _____________ (fill in the blank with either home owner, quilter, art quilter, cook, gardener) as reference, and then forgetting I had those reference materials.

Instead of just tossing everything I'd saved, I went through each magazine to determine what it was that made me want to save it in the first place.  In each magazine I tore out the pages that still intrigued me -- techniques and recipes, mostly -- but certainly not as much as had originally caught my eye.  However, in a Holiday 1999 issue of Traditional Home I came across an article about the old Braquenie patterned fabrics from France.  I doubt I gave pause when I first saw this article.  I wasn't doing much quilting back then.

But now I know that Braquenie (acquired by the French fabric firm, Pierre Frey in 1991) had been making carpets and tapestries since 1823 and cotton fabrics since 1843.  The patterns that are printed and distributed today by that name are from the copperplates, patterns, and archives of an even older company, Oberkampf, that Braquenie had acquired more than 150 years ago.  Oberkampf had been a supplier of cottons since the 1760s.

Here's an excerpt from the article by Katrin Cargill:

   It was almost 250 years ago that the first multicolored patterned cottons known as "indiennes" and monochrome figurative toiles de Jouy rolled out of the house of Oberkampf, headed by the famous German printer Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, the leader in the field of wood-block and copperplate printing on fabric, which high-styled Parisians turned into both dresses and cushions.
   As favored as storytelling toiles were, the main production was in floral designs, which reached a crescendo in popularity under the patronage of the Empress Josephine.  Oberkampf developed pictorial patterns scattered with flowers, fluttering ribbons, and garlands, and mixed in more exotic designs that had first come from India in the 17th century.
   .... Braquenie toiles and floral patterns are often historically correct re-editions based on old designs, some of which were first produced by Oberkampf in the mid-1700s.  Braquenie prints are recognizable by their evently spaced large-scale patterns and deep, fresh colors that have transcended literally hundreds of decorating styles. 
   How to spot Braquenie?  The lines should be as fine and clear as an old-master print, and the fabric should feel delicate to the touch....."Old French cottons feels almost like silk," says Kathryn Berenson, author of Quilts of Provence.  Back then they used longer cotton fibers, which were stronger and more lustrous.  If not overexposed to sunlight, printed cotton develops a mellow patina.

The caption under this photo by Peter Walters reads, "Above left: An original 150-year-old Braquenie fabric, Le Perroquet, on a chair at the Chateau de Montgeoffroy, has developed a mellow, creamy color.  Above right: Today, the same Braquenie pattern has been reissued in its original vibrant colors." 
How's that for a bit of textile history?  Personally, I found it fascinating.  I didn't know about Braquenie or Oberkampf.  I also didn't know that the cotton fibers they used centuries ago were longer.   Did you?

I'm hoping I'll find more little gems as I continue my purge.  I'll let you know if I do.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A New Adventure

Lately I've been longing to learn something new.  The nerd in me wants to research, study, master facts.   As wonderful as quilting is, it doesn't satisfy that part of me.

So I've embarked on a new adventure: I'm going to try to become a museum docent.  

I've seen wonderful exhibitions at the Katonah Museum of Art, a museum less than half an hour away from my home.  I've reviewed some of the exhibition here on my blog: the Lichenstein exhibition was part of my ponderings on creativity. I've gone on my own and I've gone as a school trip chaperone.  Regardless of how I've gotten to the museum, I've enjoyed it.

With all that in mind, I decided to place a call into the museum's education department to determine if they were taking on new docents and what might be involved.  My timing could not have been better; the museum was indeed interested in getting more docents and the training for the new exhibition would start in October.


And now I find myself all a-flutter.  I went to the Museum last week and spent three hours in a training session learning what it means to be a docent.  (That sounds like a long time, but it flew by in a snap!)  We learned what constitutes a good tour and what a good tour guide must do.  We learned what types of people attend museums (based on studies, there are five different types of museum visitors) and how we might ascertain who is part of our tour.  We touched on how we might amend our tours to suit the types of visitors we had.  We learned how we might tailor the tours we give to reflect our passions and interests.  We learned, we learned, we learned.

The Katonah Museum of Art is not a collecting museum, so docents have to learn about new exhibitions every three to four months.  The upcoming exhibition is a survey of 3000 years of portraiture.  After that, the Museum will be hosting an exhibition showing the artistic collaboration between Jasper Johns and John Lund.  Following that will be a show of contemporary Icelandic Art.

And I'm going to learn about it all....

I'm so excited.
Doesn't the building ooze art?  Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the museum and this picture is on the docent information packet. Among other things, Barnes designed the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, and the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in D.C., and co-designed the Citigroup Center in Manhattan.

P.S.  Do you take museum tours?  If so, what do you remember about a good tour you taken?  What made it special?  If you experienced a bad tour, what didn't work? I'd love to hear your experiences.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Quilt's in Africa

and I forgot to tell you all about it.  My piece, Chairs I: Musical Chairs, was part of a special Fiber Revolution exhibit at the International Quilt Convention in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 6-8.  From there, the show is traveling to Botswana.

Here's the show postcard (by Cindy Friedman) with all the wonderful works: