The Huntington

Yesterday I visited the Huntington Library along with a group of my watercolor friends and fellow students.  We were soon separated, and just as well, because I became one with my camera, taking photos all afternoon long at my own pace (and sans smoke from the Springs Fire about 70 miles away).

The estate is huge, with a number of buildings that house the permanent exhibit as well as temporary exhibits, one of which is called When They Were Wild, and was the one I came to see, so it’s almost impossible to stay with a group.  When They Were Wild is a collection of botanicals painted in the early 20th century, mostly in watercolor.   Also, in my life drawing class we’ve been practicing drawing draped fabric, so I spent some time examining the “best collection of British art outside England,” particularly the portraits (Blue Boy is one of them) and the draping of the clothing.  How did they do that without a photo to preserve the folds???

Here is the Japanese garden, not quite as nice as the one we put in our backyard, but good enough.


I’m always looking for interesting textures and found some in the trees’ bark.




And the lines created by this hanging moss intrigued me.


And here is a rather funky photo because it’s taken in the Conservatory and shows the glass roof, my shadow, the reflection of the roof on the water’s surface, and the fish under the surface.


It was a beautiful yet hot day, but nothing that couldn’t be quenched by an ice cold jasmine tea on the banks of the Chinese garden, made better by my stop at Dick Blick on the way home to drool over art supplies.  I splurged on a tripod portable easel for the outdoors that can be tilted flat to do watercolor.  Maybe some plein air painting this summer, although I’ve never tried it before.


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My hand dyed fabric used by a friend of a friend!

I was surprised at the last meeting of my local art quilt group, Extreme Quilters, to find out that a piece of my hand dyed fabric was used in an art quilt by a friend of a friend of mine!  At the Extreme Quilters show last October, Starlie Espinoza bought a piece of fabric I made in Carol Soderlund’s True Colors workshop.  The technique is called Trading Spaces.  You can see some of the pieces here:  My friend, Glorianne Garza, brought the quilt to our last meeting that Starlie says was inspired by my dyed fabric.  I love dying fabric, but I’m not always sure how to use it, so I was flattered and thrilled to see someone I don’t even know use it to such success in an art quilt.  Starlie, you made my year!!!

This is Glorianne showing the quilt to our group.


Here is the label on the back:


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Fabric bowls

In January I took a fabric bowl class from Jerry Ferguson at Quilters’ Studio in Newbury Park.  I was able to finish one bowl in the class, now it’s become an addiction.  The technique involves wrapping 1″ strips of fabric around a clothesline, then sewing the coils together.  Way more fun than doing laundry!!!  This bowl measures 6″ x 2-1/2″ tall.


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International Quilt Festival/Houston 2012

Because I missed seeing my art quilt Cosmic Gears displayed at the International Quilt Festival/Long Beach, and because my older son lives in Houston, and because I had a free airline ticket, I decided it was time to revisit the Houston IQF.  I was there many years ago as a new quilter and don’t remember seeing the quilts; instead, it turned out to be a major shopping fest for me.  Apparently most of the women at the show this year were new quilters too, because the quilt display areas stayed sparsely populated most of the time.  I heard someone suggest they just forget the quilt displays and make it a vendor show!  This time I spent a long time looking at the quilts, buying very little (scissors and some Thai sheers), and taking very few photos.  Because I tend to take many many photos that I never revisit, I decided instead to focus on the quilts in person.

First let me say that the whole festival is overwhelming.  I took a class the first day and went to Preview Night.  Once I was able to find my classroom, and later stroll through the quilt displays, I started to feel the show was a bit less daunting.  After spending two days at the show, I can understand why it’s easy to stay the whole time, Tuesday through Saturday in order to see everything and experience a class or two.

George R. Brown

The witches were there in full force the first day (Halloween):


Some with a sense of humor (those are Handi Quilter stickers):

As an aside, I was struck by the artistry of the Hyatt Hotel elevators where I attended a reception put on by Karey Bresenhan, founder of the show:

Here I am with my friend from home, Gayle Simpson, at the reception Friday night.  Gayle and I were able to hang out together all day Friday.  Fun!

Saturday my son Dave and I drove out to LaGrange to see the new Texas Quilt Museum.  On  the way we had to stop at Round Top for lunch:  a shrimp BLT and an ice-cream topped pecan pie.  YUM!

The Texas Quilt Museum is a gem in a small town.  The founders won an award for their restoration of the building, which has the most gorgeous pine floors you’d ever want to see.  There are about 40 bed-sized quilts dating mostly from 1835 to 1865 to 1930 on display.  It was such a beautiful setting and there was such craftsmanship in the quilts that I came away proud to call myself a quilter.

I understand visitors to HIQF book their hotels a year in advance.  But thanks to Dave and his Hotel Hunt, I have a permanent booking any time I want to return.  Maybe I’ll have to go more often than every 15 years. . .

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Quilting Arts Magazine

Yesterday was the big day when the October-November Quilting Arts Magazine arrived in the mail.  This month’s issue features Rituals, a special art quilt invitational exhibit curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison.  This is their fourth annual exhibit, and I’ve been fortunate to have been selected to be in each one to date.

But the most exciting year to date is this one, because my quilt got a full page spread (page 43)!  Based on the theme of rituals,I was inspired by a quote from Robbie E. Davis-Floyd, Ph.D., who compared rituals to a set of “cosmic gears.”  I used a photo taken by my friend and travel companion, Paula Chung, when we visited the Eiffel Tower in 2011, of the gears that lift the Tower elevator.  I Photoshopped the photo, drawing out the hidden colors, and turned the photo on its side.  Then I had it professionally printed on cotton sateen as a wholecloth, which I then machine quilted.

If you are interested in a catalog of Rituals, here is a link to Blurb, where you can purchase a copy:

Jamie and Leslie do a wonderful job of curating and exhibiting their annual shows in addition to their teaching schedules and time spent making their own beautiful artwork.  Many thanks to them for a job well done every year!


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True Colors

For the past five days, I’ve been dipping and dyeing fabric in Carol Soderlund’s “True Colors” workshop.  This is the fourth workshop I’ve taken from Carol because I know that she will always teach me something I didn’t know before.

On the way home today, I realized that because we spend about 35 hours in class, the education just about equates to a one semester college class.  No wonder I feel like I have a BS in Fabric Dyeing.

This time we learned some easy procedures for some complicated tasks, including dyeing runs of gradations from one color to another.  It’s NOT like doing a gradation in one color, believe me!

Here’s a photo of our swatches drying outside:

Drying Dyes
These are three of my pieces in a series of nine that resulted from an exercise called “Trading Spaces.”  I mixed colors that I drew from a Modigliani painting:

Trading Spaces

The only thing missing this week was a surprise visit from Cyndi Lauper singing our theme song!

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Klimt drawings at the Getty

Yesterday was one of those “Why Would You Choose to Live Anywhere Else??!!!” days in Southern California.  My DH Jim, the finder of all good exhibits and TV shows, happened to find out that there is an exhibit of Gustav Klimt drawings at the Getty Center, here in L.A.

So off we went yesterday on the most perfect weather day of the year.  Not only was the sun warm, but the air was cool AND clear!  Tuna fish sandwiches on the terrace never tasted better.

The Magic of Line exhibit consists of dozens of the 4,000 existing preliminary sketches done by Klimt as preludes to his now famous paintings.  Every day he sketched in his studio, primarily drawing nudes in pencil and charcoal.  What struck some of the other visitors and me was that many of these now-framed and admired sketches were found just piled in his studio after his death, left for his cats to play with!

Because Klimt had such a good understanding of body language, he was able to capture emotions without the viewers even being able to see the subjects’ faces.  Many of the sketches are drawn from the back or with the subject’s head tilted so as to portray a chosen theme or emotion.

It’s always fun to see the artist’s preliminary work and have an understanding of what he was trying to convey.  Klimt drew quickly, yet painted slowly.

The Getty was designed so that the guests can move from the inside to the outside as they visit the various rooms.  Yesterday was one of those glorious days that afforded us a view of downtown and L.A. with UCLA just in front of it.

On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean in the distance; in this photo, the haze hadn’t quite cleared enough yet for us to photograph it.  However, the gardens below were well worth the view.  This museum has to be one of the most photogenic combinations of man-made building and natural view.  Every snapshot is a work of art!

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