New Birds in Town

I always look forward to seeing baby geese each spring. I love their green fluffy look when they are so young, as these are that we saw on the Pennypack Rail Trail a couple of days ago. In fact, these are the first goslings we have seen this year. Here they are.

Art Quilt Show

Yesterday my husband and I visited an art quilt show at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA.

As you may expect, this show has been disrupted by the pandemic and I think this is the first time in a couple of years that it has appeared in person. I have never taken classes at this center but I know of it through art friends, and I’ve been on their mailing list for some time. I’m considering taking a class here, and if I don’t sign up this semester, I feel sure someday I will – so this visit also allowed me to check out the facility and get familiar with the location.

Here’s the info on the show. You can visit it online, so I won’t go through all the details. I’ll just give my personal impressions of the exhibit.

As you know, I did a lot of fabric art in the past, but not much since maybe about 2000 or so, with the exception of a few small items. I was interested to see where things stand in the art quilt world and I thought this exhibit would be informative.

The quilts were hung in two large galleries. I’ll show you overviews of each one. Let’s start here, as I sort of pan around the room from the entrance.

And here is the second room:

And here are a few of the details I found of interest. Note: I didn’t record the names of the artists or the quilts, since you can easily find them on the exhibit online page – I just went for photos of details or items that captured my eye.

I noticed that many, if not most, of the quilts utilized a quilting system of straight line stitching. I think this is because most of the quilts relied on their fabrics and colors for their visual impression, and not much for texture, so the stitching did not interfere with that objective.

I found it interesting how the stitching color affected the impression of color that the fabrics made.

I think the effect was even more pronounced in this quilt. Imagine how this detail section would look if the stitching followed the fabric colors in all cases.

Our favorite quilt, however, exploited color in its overall impression as well as employing a lot of texture. I also liked the pictorial nature of the quilt, and the idea that there is a story here. I also really like the construction technique and how it reads differently close up and from across the room.

One other quilt that caught our eye was this one constructed of mesh. It was displayed so that it hung in front of a window and could be viewed from both sides. Though I took photos of just this one piece, the same maker had another one right next to it (you can see a portion of it in the first photo, at the right) that used the same technique in another way.

I found these innovative and fun to look at, and also, I liked the idea that both sides of the art could be viewed.

I enjoyed the exhibit, but overall, I feel like I’ve seen similar work before and with the couple of exceptions I mentioned, nothing felt that fresh or different to me. I guess I have seen many very well-constructed quilts over the years and I now am looking for something that stands out and shouts out to me, commands attention. And something that is maybe coming from an unexpected direction or perspective. These quilts mostly felt pretty impersonal and almost detached to me.

Well, that’s just my opinion. I’m glad to have had the chance to see fiber art in such a setting. It’s important to see fabric work in person if possible as it reads so differently than when it’s photographed. And, it’s another step for me in heading toward my goal of rejoining the fiber art world, even in the small way that I have been contemplating, with my new sewing machine and my small stash of recently collected fabrics.

The Collection Grows

You may remember some time back I wondered when a number of objects could call itself a collection, and when do you even realize you have a collection? and that I evaded any hard and fast conclusions. But I did determine that I have a collection of brake pads lost in the line of duty and picked up where they fell.

Now that that burning question is settled, I can add to my collection and let you know all about it, with no ifs ands or buts.

Yes. Another brake pad has arrived, courtesy of my husband and his pre-dawn walks. This one was out in the street. Which is where you will find these things, usually, just as they fell off the vehicle, though I did find one in a parking lot once, but the same thing applies – they do just fall off.

Oh my goodness, this one has had a tough time. The metal is striated and grooved with friction. Even the edges of this item are sharp and damaged.

But what a beautiful look it has.

As you turn it in the light, the metal catches the illumination and is iridescent. Hidden colors suddenly jump out. Wow!

The collection is certainly enhanced by this addition, I think!

Art Drop-off 3/25/22

The weather is so fickle right now, some days very mild and others brrrr freezing cold, that my walks outside and consequently my art drop offs have been hit or miss. Here is one from this date, set on the info kiosk at Moredon Road crossing on the Pennypack Trail.

And here it is in place!

Library Picks! By Claudia

Guess what, exciting news. I won a raffle to set up two display shelves of books on any theme I wanted at my home library, the Glenside Free Library, Glenside, PA. It’s part of the Cheltenham Township system and the Montgomery County PA consortium. It’s located about a mile from my house and I have been going there for 30 years, ever since we moved to this township.

And so today I went to the library to select the books for my shelves. Since I was selecting only from the books physically on the shelves at the building (we are allowed to borrow books from any library in the county and I usually select from the catalog and have them shipped to Glenside for pick up), I decided that my theme would be – a stroll through the stacks with Claudia. I would choose books in many categories that had some meaning for me.

Emilie, one of the librarians, accompanied me around the stacks. She was patient with my trips down memory lane when I saw familiar titles and of great help in assisting me to make choices that might appeal to readers or introduce them to books unfamiliar to them (these were characteristics I wanted to emphasize in my selections).

It was so much fun to do this!

Well, with no further ado, here are my shelves. This is the main shelf:

This is the side shelf:

Here is a short explanation of why I chose these books with accompanying photos:

I loved The Sentence is Death and I chose it for itself as well as to represent all the books this author has written.

Four Lost Cities focused in-depth on ancient cities and their life cycles. I learned of some places I’d never heard of and this book fed my interest in how people lived in very different times from ours.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is a take-off on the Jane Austen book and I’ve read the print version as well as listened to the audio book. I think it’s hilarious.

Furoshiki and the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping – I haven’t read it but Emilie picked it out and it’s just the kind of book I like to look at even if I will never try any of the processes described.

The City and the City is a book I have read several times. A detective story set in an intriguing world that I wonder how different really it is from our own.

Modern One-Act Plays stood out on the shelf to me because it was clearly not modern anymore and I was curious. The collection is dated 1950, but the plays are classics. It has been a while since I read any plays and I am resolved to do so again.

Art Quilts: Playing With a Full Deck is the record of a project where quilt artists illustrated a playing card in a prescribed quilt form. This book was influential to me just as I was getting started in art in 1994 when it was published, working in fabric myself. Also, there is a local connection – the librarian at my son’s elementary school did one of the artworks.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, I chose because I LOVE fairy tales and guess what? I have this same book at home so I know it’s a great volume for fairy tale readers.

The Woman in Black has long been a favorite of mine – I’ve read the book several times and I have also seen the play. It’s a mystery/ghost story – I need say no more as to why it appeals to me.

The Navigator was chosen to represent all the books by this author I have read or listened to as audio books. Perfect escapist thriller action-oriented adventure.

The other books are a biography of Billie Jean King (I admire her); Hiking Through History: Pennsylvania, which I think explains itself; the Fannie Farmer cookbook (I had one of these when I first left school); a book on grammar, Between You and Me, because I love a diagrammed sentence; and one of my poetry books, Spring Cleaning (the librarians suggested adding one of my own books and this one was my choice because of the seasonal theme).

And…here is the second set of shelves.

Barcelona and Madrid, a travel book – I chose this in memory of a trip to Spain I took 40 years ago in which I visited both cities as part of a 3 week journey that also included England, France, and Germany. This trip was a highlight of my life.

Knitting in Plain English is a book I also own myself, and the kind no-nonsense tone dispensing very clear information in this book helped me become a skilled knitter.

I chose The House on the Strand for itself (I am a fan of any book that involves time travel) and because I love all of this author’s work. I know I’ve read this particular book at least three times.

Peony was chosen because, well, I just think peonies are so beautiful, and this book represents my enjoyment of them and my other favorites, sunflowers, geraniums, and zinnias.

Lost in Translation is another book Emilie showed me and though I haven’t read it, I took a look through it, and it’s captured my interest. I’ve put it on my list to read.

Well, that’s it! Happy Reading, everyone!

Art Drop-off 3/23/22

On a chilly but sunny morning, I headed up the Pennypack Rail Trail for a walk. I had an artwork to leave somewhere along the way, too.

When I came to the first bridge (there are 2) that crosses the Pennypack Creek to the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT) on the other side, I realized I was very near the beaver pond. I haven’t been there in months – and for good reason – the area was very affected by the floods last fall from Hurricane Ida and has been off limits.

Now it looks like it is open, so I crossed and took a look.

The landscape is quite changed – the area around the pond is bare and clear now. Here is how it looked a couple of years ago:

Here it is now.

Yes, I know it is a different season, but still, it’s quite dramatic, I think. The area was completely flooded and wiped clean. Quite a bit of cleanup has been done to get to this point. Here is a shot from the same location, then and now, to give a comparison. (Though the sign is new – I guess the old one washed away, too.)

I left a painting on one of the (new) benches. You may remember the pond is at at crossroads of trails, and I chose a place along the trail heading back away from the creek into the hills.

I decided to walk along the creekside trail up to the next bridge and cross back over. It’s been rehabbed with new gravel. This is an improvement – the old road/trail was very rough with broken up pavement and washouts and drifts of gravel. You can see they are also replacing what remains of the fence.

I couldn’t go very far, though – the trail closed again where it passed through a short paved residential area. I guess the trail up ahead must still be undergoing repairs.

Well, that’s all right, I just turned around and went back over the same way I came. I’ll have to keep an eye on the place as time goes on and see how things progress.

Art Drop-Off 3/21/22

Here is a little 4″ x 4″ painting I left at the gazebo at Rockledge Park in Rockledge.

This park is a tiny community site at the start of the Pennypack Rail Trail. It’s not part of the trail but if you go into the park and head for the blue warehouse building at the back of the park, you will find mile marker 0.0 for the trail. So, this little park gets a lot of foot traffic.

I always like to take a look at this sign. I think it is stating the obvious, and I find it a little bit funny.

All right. Here is the artwork in its location in the gazebo, which is very near the park sign.

OK. That is it for today.

Art Drop-Off 3/20/22

On March 20 my husband and I were walking a section of the Perkiomen Trail, up near Schwenksville. For those of you who may remember, the trail passes by Ott’s Exotic Plants, and that’s the section we took. Although we didn’t stop in for any flowers on this trip.

Anyway, I left a couple of the 4″ x 4″ small paintings I am trying out for drop-off suitability. I left one on top of a vehicle barrier on the trail:

… and I left another one at the base of the railroad bridge. I’m sorry I don’t have a larger photo to show of the art – it’s one of the few pictures that got lost in my previous computer’s amnesia and death. I can and will show you a photo of the creek, though – I really think the Perkiomen should be called a river, not a creek, because it is wide and deep all along its length.

I did check the picnic area where I left a piece some weeks ago. It’s gone. That is a good thing.

As far as my auditioning of these small paintings is going, I am leaning toward the 4″ x 4″ being more attractive to passers-by. I think the larger 6″ x 6″ ones give people the idea that they shouldn’t take it because they aren’t sure it’s not meant to be some kind of an exhibit, maybe. I base this feeling on the fact that the 4×4’s have all gone quickly but the 6×6 seem to have lingered (recently I revisit sites often enough to know this). So if I keep making paintings to drop off, I think I will stick with 4×4.

All right! That’s where things stand right now.

Recent Art Drop-Offs

I’ve got a few drop-offs to show you, quick and simple, from the past week or so.

On February 28 I left this piece

at an info kiosk at the Green Ribbon trail, at the parking lot near the country club in Flourtown.

On March 6 I was at the Power Line Trail in Horsham and I left this painting

here at the concession stand at the ballfields at the Cedar Road entrance.

And on March 6 we were in Ardmore, PA, to stop in at my husband’s office and left this image

on a bench on the street that runs along by his building. As you can see it was raining so I put it in a plastic bag.

Now you are all caught up on art drop-offs!

Art Drop-Off and Flowers, 2/26/22

On Saturday February 26, my husband and I made a visit to Ott’s Exotic Flowers, prompted by a visit some friends had made to this same place earlier in the week. Once the idea of seeing a whole lot of greenery in winter is in your head, you have to go and find it, and give yourself a little taste of spring, don’t you?

But before we stopped in, we decided to do an art drop-off in the nearby Plank Road trailhead park area of the Perkiomen Trail. The trail passes by right in front of Ott’s. I decided to leave a flower painting in honor of spring and flowers:

We decided to set it on a picnic table under the shelter.

All right. Let’s hope someone in need of bright colors and a flower burst will come upon it and take it home.

Next, we went right over to visit with the flowers. At this time of year, there isn’t a lot of bright color from spring and summer flowers; we are a little early for that.

We did see this nice display of cyclamens. They are a winter indoor flower and popular for those gray months.

We did see these lemons. Yes, they are lemons, and they are called Ponderosa. Not surprising, that name, is it?

There were a lot of cacti to look at. I think there are no more of these than usual, but without the more showy and colorful summer annuals and perennials to compete with, they really stand out. I like the look of the individual plants and also how the rows of pots made patterns.

I also liked this airy starburst:

And I also enjoyed this display of purply plants. I like their look, and I also like that they remind me of our neighbors in our previous house, who had a plant like this in their kitchen window.

And, to top off the visit, we saw the resident cat!

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