Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My how the time flies......

I guess I'm still working small, so let me show you some of my Little Quilts.

Here's a photo of my niece Julie and her 4 kids, with whom we visited on Thanksgiving. I hadn't seen them in years, since they live in Israel, so I wrote their names on the picture Julie sent me: Adiel, Matan, Galia, and Elazar.

What I do in such pieces is to draw each person several times, until I have captured what feels like the essence of their portrait....a kind of cartoon. Then I build the picture against the background. Here's what the final little quilt looked like:

Soon thereafter, I was told I was the "secret santa" for my adult stepson, Craig, so I got to play with the same technique for him. I used the same arrangement of adult + children seated on a sofa, and here's a snapshot of the piece in progress. I generally do one person at a time....

and here's how the whole piece looked when it was done:

I think of these as little folk-art portraits.

So then I decided to do a self-portrait. My little "joke" was that in my portrait, I really would be painting myself. Unlike painters, who are limited to individual paint colors, we quilters can dip into anything in our stash. So my first attempt is called Self-Portrait in Plaids:

Then I tried Self-Portrait in Polka Dots:

Then I thought it would be funny to do a Self-Portrait in Words:


And then came Self-Portrait in MUSIC:

And then, before I finally made myself stop this silliness, I did Self-Portrait in Spring:


Now on a similar silly note:

I was finally able to finish a quilt that has been "in progress" for a lo-o-o-ng time: it's called My Magic Phone. It all started with a little drawing of an old-fashioned telephone with a dial on the front that just captured my fancy in some weird way. So I made the telephone with some slick fabrics I had at the time, and it just sat on my design wall till this past month. I finally found the "right" background fabric and printed the labels on Pabric (a wonderful material), and got it finished just in time for our local group's quilt show:


another detail:

I know you can't read all the labels, so I'll list them here (snort):

Press 1 to have more hours in a day
Press 2 for another chocolate infusion
Press 3 for effortless free motion quilting
Press 4 for George Clooney's private line
Press 5 to have dinner delivered immediately
Press 6 to be invisible for a day
Press 7 to be 20 years younger
Press 8 to lose 5 pounds
Press 9 for the bathrooms to clean themselves
Press 0 to have a zero added to your bank account
Press * to get a Wild Card!

It sold the first day of the show!

One of the best things I did recently was to join an online drawing class taught by Carla Sonheim. It was titled "The Art of Silliness" and was run by a King (see below) and Carla, the Silly Queen (or, as she liked to say, The Squeen). Every day we had a worksheet with delightful
challenges to do, and when we were finished, we scanned our work in and uploaded to our private flicker site where we could see and comment on each other's work. There were even extra credit assignments and special prizes and awards given. Here's the king.......

One of my favorite tidbits was Carla's drawing of little ants that talked. I took to drawing them myself. On one of my last papers, an ant crawled by and left this message: "Oh look...she made a BLOB", but another ant said "I like it". Maybe I can show you a sample of my silly work later. [If this sounds like fun to you, Carla will be offering the course again in May. Just google her.]

This must be Signing Up Season. I also signed up for a 12-week course at Montgomery College called "Exploring Creativity".... and I signed up for 10 sessions with a personal trainer at the Y....and I've joined a Color Study Group which meets monthly. The color group began to fade quickly (pun intended), and we're down to 4 die-hards clinging to the color wheel, but we have fun exercises we do together, and take turns leading a discussion on different topics. I just got my first EXCITING assignment to lead: monochromatic.

Taking a right turn~~

On a more serious note, we went to a very moving show at the Renwick Gallery called The Art of Gaman. "Gaman" refers to bearing the unbearable with dignity. The show had artifacts and art made by japanese people in gaman.
In 1913, a law was passed that no Japanese were allowed to own property; yet they prospered. During WWII, 120,000 Japanese from the West Coast were ordered to appear at gathering places, like fairgrounds, with poor facilities for the people. They were given 48 hours to get ready to be at a detention camp. Bank accounts were frozen. When they arrived at their bleak destination at the detention camps, they were provided with one room for a family and one bed (w/o mattress). Eating, cooking, toileting, showering was done in a central area. Privacy was at a minimum. Most were kept for four years. When they were allowed to leave, they were given $5 and a bus ticket.
One of the ways people coped in these miserable conditions, was to build and craft what they needed, and craftsmen and artists set up classes, making tools and art from the most meager of environments.

“Only what we could carry was the rule, so we carried

Strength, Dignity, and Soul.”

Lawson Fusao Inada

“Everything was lost, except the courage to create.”

Delphine Hirasuna

Among the artists in one community was Chiura Obata, an artist at UCLA. If you want to see some lovely images, google Mr. Obata. If you want to read more about life in the camps: The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a lovely novel.