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.

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!

We Visit Longwood Gardens

Back in the winter I won free tickets to this local attraction, Longwood Gardens, in a raffle at my library. Their expiration date was 9/30/21, and I realized recently that we’d better get in a visit or else miss the chance. So a week or so ago my husband and I traveled down to Kennett Square, PA, to check things out.

I have visited here before – it’s a must on the Philadelphia tourist attractions list – but it has been decades. I admit that if not for the free tickets I would not have made the trip. I don’t find large formal gardens interesting and my previous trips had not given me the desire to return. But…the tickets were free. We were saving $44 (senior discount price) and it was a nice day. Motivation enough.

We arrived and ate lunch in the picnic site. It’s free, and shady, and quiet. It is supposed to be open only to ticket holders, but…I think if you are in the area you could slip in and eat lunch here. Note: it’s not open year round. Check the website.

After lunch we drove over to the parking lot and joined the hordes of people streaming into the admission area. As I said, this is a major tourist attraction. It was crowded. Lots of people. Everywhere.

I’m going to gloss over the visit. I enjoyed walking around in the sunshine. The gardens, to me, were ho-hum. We did a short tour of Pierre DuPont’s house on the grounds – I forgot to mention this place was developed by him over the first part of the 20th century. (If you want to know more about the history and general info about the gardens, look here). But I feel I’ve seen these scenes in a lot of different places.

We walked through the meadow area and a small forested area – more interesting to me, but once again, I have seen these scenes – for free, along the Skippack Trail in Montgomery County, for instance. And once again, the hordes of people made it less enjoyable.

What sticks in my mind from this visit are three things:

  • All those people. (Bad)
  • A number of beech trees with graffiti – their smooth bark makes them every-popular for the person with a sharp instrument and a timeless message to record. (Good but I do understand this kind of treatment is not good for the trees)
  • And, the picnic grounds. (The most enjoyable part of the experience.)

Here’s my summary: We had a nice afternoon. I don’t have the urge to visit again. I think there are plenty more places around here that are more interesting to me, and the costs for visiting here can mount up fast. But, as I said…we had free tickets. Overall, it turned out fine. That was enough for that day at that time.

Traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike

I took a very short trip to Pittsburgh, PA, June 16 and 17. My husband was going there for the week for work. I decided to ride out there with him and come back the next day on the train. I’ll do a few posts on the trip – there are some things that interested me and maybe you will feel the same.

I’ll describe the drive to Pittsburgh from the Philadelphia area – it takes about 5 hours, and we took the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a limited access toll highway that crosses the state east-west, connecting the two cities. Built in the 1930’s-40’s and improved in different ways over the years, the route takes the driver through the farmlands of eastern and central Pennsylvania through the mountains in the center-west part of the state, and so on into Pittsburgh.

I’ve made lots of trips on the turnpike over the four decades I have lived in Pennsylvania and I’ve visited Pittsburgh in particular several times. This trip, I was just enjoying the drive and the train ride, no touring of the city anticipated.

OK. Let’s get things started. We headed out very early, about 7 AM. The turnpike is a limited access toll road, as I said. So your rest stops have to be planned, and I naturally don’t want to get off the highway at the exit and get back on – I think this is a throwback to when they only accepted cash at the booths and it was an ordeal to wait in line to pay, etc., only to get back on the highway and do it all over again. Now we have credit cards and EZ Pass and it doesn’t really matter, but – it’s still in my head – do not get off the highway.

But you don’t have to. The turnpike people have provided a lot of rest stops instead. You zip in, get gas, visit the bathroom, buy postcards, eat lunch, whatever.

Here I am at one of the stops. It’s not that far down the road. (The red star marks where we are – we started over on the right side and are heading to the left.)

I require a lot of rest stops. And I have had my picture made here quite a few times over the years. It’s become a tradition.

This is the Lawn stop, near Harrisburg, PA. We got back on the road.

Now we get to a feature of the drive that’s always highlighted in my mind. The tunnels. As you drive west, you encounter mountains, very steep ones, not the kind of terrain that’s a natural for a highway. There is a lot of navigating the elevation changes and working your way around and through the landscape. Sometimes it is easier to go through the mountain than around it.Once again the turnpike people have taken care of this problem. That is where the tunnels come in. There are four, the first three being pretty close together:

Blue Mountain:

Kittatinny Mountain:

Tuscarora Mountain:

and then there is a gap. Look at the scenery right after the Tuscarora tunnel.

Just when you are feeling disappointed that the tunnel experience is over, you find out that it is not. Here is Allegheny Mountain:

You may be saying, the interiors of those tunnels sure do look alike. And I would say, you are correct. If I hadn’t kept the photos in order I could not have told one tunnel from another. The turnpike is very consistent.

Well, from this point we drove into Pittsburgh without further incident. It was a pleasant and easy drive and I enjoyed revisiting areas of the state I have not seen in some years.

Bears at the Pennypack Trail

On Saturday morning, May 11, yes, I saw bears at the trail.

We parked the car at the upper parking lot off Byberry Road. My attention was caught by the info kiosk (currently undergoing an update – it’s supposed to have more to show than a set of vertical bars…)

Pennypack trail 5-11-19 (3)

I went closer, very cautiously, of course…

Pennypack trail 5-11-19 (1)

and finally dared to draw near the two pink bears sitting on the ledge.

Pennypack trail 5-11-19 (2)

I have no idea why they are there. I notice they are wearing little scarves with a snowflake symbol and 2018 – I think they might be somehow associated with the Olympics.

Well, that raises even more questions, and the bears were not talking.


As a note, in the second picture you might have noticed the sign “Stop This Invader”. It refers to the spotted lanternfly, which is a beautiful insect that does bad things to trees and crops – it’s an invasive pest from Southeast Asia that’s recently made its way to our neck of the woods. It’s easily transported on vehicles, for one thing, and causes a great deal of damage quickly wherever it next takes up residence. I have seen them myself, not at this location, but at another park not too far away.

There have been educational meetings and notices in parks everywhere around us, reminding us to check for the pest as we go in or out. And if you see it or its eggs, kill them and then report the location to the state. More info here, if you are in an infested area, and if you are not, I hope it does not make its way to you.

Non-Art-Drop-Off, 4/21/19

Another non-art drop-off day. I meant to grab something as we left the house, but I forgot. Well, all right. Next time.

Anyway, on Sunday, April 21, my husband and I took a short drive up to Chalfont, PA, to check out Lake Galena in Peace Valley Park. It’s not far from home, but it’s not on my regular route. It’s been a very long time, in fact, since we’ve been here.

We wanted an easy walk and one that was not familiar to us. This location came to mind and I have no idea why.

Lake Galena is a man-made body of water, a reservoir for the local water authority created in the 1970’s. Interesting history: lead mining was done on the site in the 1800’s (hence the name of the area, Galena for lead). A village, New Galena, and a series of mines occupied the land until the defunct mines were filled with concrete and the remains of the village flooded by a dam. (Source: New Britain Township).

There is a path all around the lake. We parked at the boat rental area (closed right now, open later in the season). It was a nice morning for a walk.Lake Galena 4-21-19 (3)

The pier leads out from the dam to the water outlet. I wished we could have walked out on it but it was gated off.

Lake Galena 4-21-19 (2)

We walked along the top of the dam. To our right the lake, to our left the anticlimax of the outflow – a nondescript creek, that blends into the landscape in the middle of the photo.

Lake Galena 4-21-19 (4)

After we crossed the dam we walked back on the lower road. Here’s a closer look at the outflow. You see what I mean about anticlimax – that huge body of water held back by the earthen dam, and then…this is it?

Lake Galena 4-21-19 (6)

From below, the dam is impressive, though. A mountain that hides a lake. Little teeny people walking along the top of it.

The grounds around the lake are open and of not much interest – mowed areas of lawn, much of it. All right. A nice walk. I can’t say I’d rush back here – it’s a pretty bland experience. But, let’s face it, it’s a drinking water reservoir. A different kind of lake from the ones that form naturally. And, there is the drowned village to imagine underneath the water…that does give me the shivers, a little…

Lake Galena 4-21-19 (1)

Art-Drop Off Update – August 27

I’ve been all over the place, trail-travel-wise, and leaving evidence of my passing as I’ve gone along. I’ll do a few quick posts over the next few days to catch you up.

On August 27, I left two sgraffito tiles along the Pennypack Trail in Lorimer Park. The two tiles are set about two miles apart.

This one is on a bench that is very popular – it seems to be the right distance from the parking lot for a rest, or for people to choose when they want to sit and talk to each other.

This tile is in a spot I’ve used several times over the years – near one of the bridges over the Pennypack Creek. I do not know why that pen is there. I think it stopped for a rest and got left behind, maybe?

A Story Without (Very Many) Words

Take a look atĀ  yesterday’s post, and then this story will make sense to you…

Chapter One.

Chapter Two.

Wed 8-22 #303


Chapter Three.

The End. For now.

Art Drop-Off Roundup – Recent Activity

I’ve got some catching up to do as far as what’s been going on with art drop offs. I’ve scattered quite a few tiles around recently, and so, without further ado, take a look. And as a note, all this activity took place along the Pennypack Trail in Lorimer Park, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. I’ve written lots of posts about my doings here, over the years – just search Pennypack Trail or Lorimer Park, if you want to see more.

On Friday, August 17, I put this tile on the info kiosk at the Moredon Road intersection. Notice it is a repurposed train control box. Remember, this trail is on the site of a former rail line. You may be interested to know that much of the trail conversion was paid for by the sale of the metal train tracks for scrap.

(As a note, this tile was gone when I stopped by on August 21…)

And here is another tile set along the trail. Pay attention to this location…


On Sunday, August 19, I was back. Remember this location? I added another tile.

About 2 miles away, I set this tile on the bridge. It’s to the left, below the weight limit sign.


On Monday, August 20, back again. And I added a third tile to the group…

And for good measure I left this one in another box, just a small bit up the trail.


Today, Tuesday, August 21, I was once again walking along the trail. On earlier trips I had noticed that someone had lined up stones inside this old train control box. I added a sgraffito tile to the mix.

You can see very clearly what a wet summer we have had. Look at that crazy green overgrowth around this box.

I wonder if anyone has taken any of the threesome tiles – but I was not in that area of the trail today. Maybe next time…

Happy Tired Feet

I’m writing this post to commemorate the longest walk I’ve ever taken.

Background: once a month I try to take a ten-mile walk. I go the length of the Pennypack Trail, familiar to you from many earlier posts.

Actually, the trail is about 10.75 miles, round trip, Byberry Road to Rockledge Park and back, but I usually stop at the 5 miles out mark to make it an even ten miles.

Today I did the whole thing, added another quarter mileĀ  – and presto! an eleven mile walk.

Now, I’ve run a half marathon (13.1 miles). I have also run the (Philadelphia) Broad Street Ten-Mile run twice. All of these were done 7 years ago or so. After that my various health issues sidetracked me for a long time, and I’m not really running any more. But walking – well, let’s get going!

If you want to know, it took me 3 hours 2 minutes to do the route. I started at the mid-point of the trail, Welsh Road – down to Rockledge, back to Welsh Road, up to Byberry Road, and back to Welsh, plus about another 1/4 mile barely out of the parking lot, and…done.

Here are pictures. I take them as I go along and send them to my husband to keep him up on where I am. He sends messages back to encourage me. I appreciate that.

It’s not a visually thrilling set of photos, these you see here, but – they represent a lot of footsteps!

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