Sunday, June 30, 2013

This is My Brain ...

Here's the story so far.

I have the front stitched and joined in the center.

Now I'm stitching on the back. 

Obsessive? ha ha ha ha

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Latest Obsession Plus

It started out as a skirt thing. I was just going to sew up a few skirts made out of old T-shirts. Then I thought I'd embellish one of them Alabama Chanin Style.

Here are the skirt panels laid out with some of the stenciling and stitching and cutting done.

Even the simplest design takes forever to complete.

Forever being relative of course.

For this one I stenciled and stamped some of the panels.

Horrible photos; sorry folks. Right now it's all about the projects.

Of course one things leads to another. Especially when you're online looking at all the great stuff other people have made.

So in preparation for a "real" Chanin challenge I sewed up this short tunic to make sure of the fit. Raised the neckline. Snipped 1" off each strap because I'm short waisted.

It's all about the comfort and fit. Cotton jersey. Soft like your pj's.

I did a chain stitch around the neckline, etc. and I'm sure lousy at it. I'll try a different stitch next time.

Okay, I've got the fit, now to start on the big project.

I've got a long skirt, 2 layered long sleeved bolero and 2 layered long tunic started. I'm going to be stitching all summer. Oh, and that stencil? On heavy paper, really hard to cut. Took me an entire day just to cut it out. Aargh!!

But hey, there's all kinds of other stuff happening too. 
Painting stuff. 
The thing we do that makes us so very happy and that's an exploration, a discovery, a dive down the rabbit hole of "what if"?

I'm going to be teaching a one day class on painting here in Portland at the Collage store on NE Alberta in December. It's the first Saturday; yes, a long way off from today but we can start to make plans and reserve spaces. I'll talk a little about how I get my ideas onto canvas and we'll all have a go at mixing colors and making discoveries together. To me, the best thing about painting is that the idea in your imagination is never the image that's manifested on canvas; instead we get a surprise, a search and a revelation. It's more than just paint.

I hope some of you can join me in class. Mark your calendar.

Go here for more details.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The In-Betweens

My next teaching gig is at EncaustiCamp (July 23-28) where I'll be teaching a wax printmaking class. I have lists drawn up and supplies I've been gathering for that. This year the camp is moving to much nicer quarters in Federal Way, Washington, on the water, and some folks from Northlight will be in attendance to gather photographs for a book that's being published on the event. If you want to give yourself a midsummer lift, it's not too late to sign up. Here is the class information. (My classes are filled but I believe everything else is available.) EncaustiCamp is the highlight of my summer.

After that on August 8-10 comes a retreat with my good friends; Katie Kendrick, Misty Mawn and Stephanie Lee in Layton, Utah. We've been planning this one for over a year and we're all very excited about it. Stephanie will be giving each attendee a CD of her metalsmithing class and we'll all be presenting projects that we ourselves love. We're planning on a small group so you'll have lots of time with each of us and we get to take each other's classes as well. Bonus!! It's going to be a party. You can read more about it here.

I'll have one more class announcement in a few days. Something right here in Portland for you painters. Yahoo!

I've been sketching here and there and congratulating myself when I can wedge one in. The garden is doing well but we're back to rainy, cool weather again. 

The strawberries and cherries are ripe. My daughter is moving. I made a new journal and will show you the Australia pages in a later post. Everything is moving so fast around me. It's life as I love it. When it gets too hectic I chill out by pulling weeds and deadheading roses. The smell of the earth always brings me back to a quiet place.

To be continued ...

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

And finally: Sydney

Sydney. A few years ago when I first contemplated a trip to Australia, Judy Wilkenfeld told me that it would be a shame to visit Australia and not come to Sydney. With this advice in mind, I scheduled an extra day to see as much as I could of the city. She was right and it was glorious.

I arrived the night before and drove into Newtown where I'd be staying at the Billabong Gardens Hostel. Tracy Verdugo directed me to this place which was in a fun, hip, graffiti strewn area not too far from the airport. Alternative and happening. I shot pictures left and right as I negotiated the traffic coming into town.

There was so much to see.

For example, these little houses and their fanciful names: Lilac, Aster, Lily and Rose.

The streets in Newtown are old and narrow. Supposedly one way but people driving as they pleased. Corners that were difficult to turn. All the parking was permit only. No place for me to park my car and the little streets leading me around in circles. I was at my wit's end when a neighborhood lady, hearing of my distress, let me park in her tiny driveway overnight. Thank you, nameless stranger. My first angel.

So I set out with 2 bags to walk to my hostel but immediately lost my way in the narrow streets. On foot. With no GPS, no map. Asked some mothers with babies in strollers where my street was. They looked up a map on their iphones and showed me exactly where I was. (Going in the wrong direction!)

 Thank you nameless angels #2. My hands were exhausted and I was winded from pulling the suitcases; tired and really in need of a sit down. You were my lighthouses on a stormy sea.

So directed, I settled into my quiet and private room for the night and made a sketch of my bathroom sink. The place was delightfully funky but really clean and there was instant coffee, tea, and real cream which was quite welcome the next morning. It's amazing how a little means a lot when it's all you have.

My sketch of the bathroom sink.

The next morning Judy Judy Judy showed up right on time to whirl me around the city.

 How can I properly introduce you to this woman who wears so many hats?
She an artist who teaches and writes Visual Anthologies, is a history researcher, an ambassador of goodwill, a great mother, storyteller and world traveller.

She has a ballet slipper under a bell jar in her studio that opened a door in my imagination to a fairytale world of Russian ballerinas and a dancing grandfather who emigrated to Sydney from Lithuania. Who made ballet slippers, is there anything more enchanting?

There is also another world in her history too, a dark place where a grandmother, aunt and uncle disappeared in a concentration camp in Poland. Judy's work includes restoring the histories to other families who've lost members during that dark time. She travels and researches. She gives people back the histories that were taken from them.

This kind and admirable woman.  

The first place she took me to was The Rocks where the first English convicts landed in 1788 and started the town of Sydney. That's the Harbor Bridge behind me.

Those rows of sandstone buildings behind that vessel were possibly dens of iniquity at some time in their history.  

Turn in the other direction and you're looking right at the Sydney Opera House. Every New Years Eve I like to watch the fireworks going off in the harbor over the Opera House. That's what I always think of when I picture Sydney.

Judy wanted to give me a closer look at the Opera House. That guard in the bright green vest is to turn anyone away from doing that.

But Judy knew how to get closer and I was able to see the tiles on the roofs that cover those arching shapes. It was magnificent.

My life is complete.

We walked around the historic area and explored a bit.

The old doors are very short and some quite narrow. The people were smaller then.

This sandstone sculpture stands in the middle of one of the streets.

I loved the colors on the building above. And the design of the detailing. Of course we had to stop for refreshment.

Smoko = morning tea.

Here are some of the little shops with tiny rooms and narrow, low doorways. The iron lacework over the balconies are typical.

A big, iron letter box. I'm evidently mailing my fingers. 

And here burns one of the gas lights that used to be lit each night by watchmen. Imagine the streets darkened and filled with seamen and other scurvy types. It was a different world than the clean, beautiful neighborhood we visited.

Just standing in the doorway. By my lucky number.

The Queen Victoria Building.

I liked the honeycomb pattern on this portico.

Judy had to stand in the street and risk her life to get this shot. The reason the sign is here is because during the Olympics people from countries like the U.S. were looking the wrong way before stepping out into oncoming traffic. 

How long has it been since you've seen a phone booth? Very English.

St. Mary's Catholic cathedral.

This was a sculpture made out of traffic cones. Pretty cool.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales which is right across from Hyde Park.

Date palms with ferns growing out of the trunks. Loved this.

Oh, I'm getting rummy from so much time on this post. After a great Chinese lunch in Newtown it was time for me to head to the airport so Judy and I parted with a happy hug.

Here are the Judys all Photoshopped up. Ms. Wilkenfeld doesn't need it but I do - lol.

Thank you, Judy, for an unforgettable day in Sydney. It was everything I'd hoped it would be.

Only two photos left in the camera then. 

Both taken at the Waikiki Airport where I stopped in mid-Pacific to change planes.

And on to home.

And thus ends the great Australian adventure. Love and thank you to Jacky, Ro, Trish, Tracy, Judy and all the un-named angels including my guardian angel that made my trip safe and excellent. Soon we'll return to the regular programming.