Saturday, March 31, 2018

Collaborative Quilt Project

I forgot to tell you I was participating in a collaborative quilt project!

A month and a half ago, I posed some questions regarding collaborative work on a post on the online forum, QuiltArt.  The next thing I knew, I was part of a group of artists responding to the prompt, "half".

Each participant was tasked with creating a piece that would be sent on to another group member to finish.  The goal: make something that somehow responded to the prompt, but that also left room for creativity from the second participant.

The organizer, Cynthia Busc-Snyder, sent everyone a packet of muslin, black fabric, and hand-dyes to get started.  I gathered scraps to complement the hand-dyes.  I intended to make a composition that would take up half the available (geometric) area of the 10" x 10" canvas the final pieces would be mounted onto.

Lovely, lovely scraps

Next, I started to piece the strips together.  I've made other quilts with sections of slightly wonky strips, and I enjoy the process.  I cut my groupings into 2- and 4- inch sections.  That seemed the most manageable size.

Measure twice, cut once
I arranged, and rearranged until a composition finally emerged.

Working through the composition.  Almost there

I stitched the segments  together once I liked the layout.   I didn't want to frame it in plain muslin, so I spritzed the background with some gold and bronze metallic misty paint.  Voila!  A finished "half" that left enough space for my partner to work with.

Fiddlesticks, now in the hands of another.  What will happen to it?

Here's what my partner received. (Her lighting is better in the picture than what I had.)  I've called the piece, Fiddlesticks, in part because I didn't account for all the seams correctly, so the finished size was smaller than what I had planned. Hmmm.  I thought the composition might look like a Pick-up-Sticks kind of game -- wasn't there something called Fiddlesticks out there? --  but I didn't immediately find anything like that.  What I DID find out is that a fiddlestick is a traditional percussion instrument that allows two people to play the fiddle at the same time.  COOL!  That seemed a perfect pairing to my initial "oh rats" sentiment.

Next up: waiting for the composition someone else has made that I get to manipulate and complete.  (We don't have the same partners for our first and second "parts.)  That should arrive soon and I'm intrigued by the challenge.  I'll keep you posted on the final reveal on both of my "half"s.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I Spied with my Little Eye

.... a robin.

Yes, they're all over the States and Europe.  But I had never seen the European species before.  When I was at Kensington Palace in London, I didn't recognize the bird at first.  It was so charming and tiny.  

I didn't know it's a whole different animal.  The Robin is a perching bird / flycatcher, whereas the American Robin is actually a thrush.  European robins' eggs are white or cream.  Only American Robins lay blue eggs.  Robins sing throughout the night, sometimes being confused with Nightingales.  American Robins announce the dawn, and it's a song I look forward to, especially as we sit through another Nor'Easter.   

Please come soon, Spring.  I'm not sure my poppies, with their lush foliage, can take much more.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Unexpected Details

Some of the wonder of Gothic architecture comes from the elaborate ornamentation.  Can you imagine designing and creating all those elements?

The downside to such ornate surfaces is that many wonderful details can be missed.  The gargoyles above the public entrance to Westminster Abbey were a surprise. The whimsy was unexpected.

Each of the gargoyles is unique!

Here's a close-up
Seen from below
Architecturally, this is a good example of implied symmetry and having fun.  Westminster Abbey proves that something can be majestic and have a bit of silliness, at the same time.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

L * O * N * D * O * N

A member of the Queen's Guard
I've just returned from LONDON!!

Perhaps you've been to London, but I'd never been.  When my husband had to travel there on business, I hopped at the chance to join him.

We had to cut our trip short (to three days) due to the impending storm in New York, but the trip was still an absolute delight.  I'll be oohing and aaahing about it for a while, I'm sure, and reflecting on all I learned.  Some things I discovered:

* Did you know that you can observe Parliament in action?  I didn't.  I stumbled upon the opportunity and found it fascinating.  I got to observe debate on prison reform in the House of Commons provided, of course, that I promised not to shout out in response to anything said on the floor.

* Did you know that some of the underground trains have no car dividers?  It's like being inside a long snake as it twists and curves. Rather cool.  But it bungles up some of the James Bond tube foot chases, though.

* Did you know that you can go to free organ recitals at St. Paul's Cathedral?  We used that as an opportunity to see the cathedral on a Sunday, when tourists aren't allowed in unless they are attending a service or a special event.  The organ was a breathtaking instrument.

*  Did you know they still have all the original room keys in the Churchill War Rooms?  It's true.  Even after all these years.  They also still have the asbestos cloths they kept on hand in case of a fire.

I could go on and on, but you'd likely get bored -- or perhaps you have all already visited London.  I'm going to have to restrain myself.  I'm still all giddy from the experience and would otherwise likely do a play-by-play travelogue. So I'll limit myself to a few snippets and images.

The National Gallery at dusk

Sunflowers, 1888, Vincent VanGogh at the National Gallery

St Stephens Hall in Westminster.  The last public place you're allowed to take pictures on the way to the House of Commons

Courtier clothes rendered in paper at Kensington Palace

Regent Street at night

Magnificent Gothic architecture