“Outsider” Art

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I like the two shows at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art this fall.  Today we went to hear Collections Curator Jonathan Bucci talk about the Russell Childers show of wood carvings that Bucci curated and that is on view at the Museum until the end of October.  If you haven’t seen the Childers yet show I highly recommend it…the work is beautiful and poignant, the narrative almost filmic.  Childers was sent to the “Fairview Home for the Feeble Minded” by court order in 1925 when he was 10…removed from his mother who did not wish him to go.  Childers was deaf and could not speak, possibly was what we now call autistic, but was decidedly not feeble minded.  His mother died 4 years later, and with no advocate, Childers spent the next 38 years institutionalized.  The happy part of his story is that people recognized his talent and intellect, he was released at age 48, hearing aids worked for him and at age 50 he learned to speak.  He was able to spend the last 3 decades of his life making art among sympathetic people.  He had gallery representation (Jamison Thomas Gallery) his work toured the region and was collected.  It ended well.  I wrote about that show in early August and hope you’ll go see the show this next month.

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The other show, in the big galleries and up until January is:

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It has elements I LOVE…interesting narratives (here is “Woman With Bird and Flashlight”  Whaaat????)hfma-4-woman-with-bird-and-fklashlight

“Red Girl”

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“Big Cat”

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all by Alma Dexhimer.   And then the writing.  I’m partial to words appearing in work and have my own “font” (thanks Sloy) which I use in quilts and paintings and drawing books….here are three details from Jesse Howard paintings…

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(now I’m wondering what DID become of John the Baptist’s head…?)

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Zebedee Armstrong’s “Three Calendars”

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…a couple from Howard Finster…

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Benjamin Perkins’ terrific map…

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(I mislaid the note with the artist’s name on this one…)

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W.J.Blackmon’s “God’s House”…(think Giotto here…)

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and very sadly only one quilt…quilts being perhaps one of the most vibrant of “folk art” forms…Sarah Mary Taylor”s quilt…sarah-mary-taylor

Andrew Johnson immigrated from Copenhagen, Denmark in 1865 and wound up in Montana where this was painted with barn paint on wallboard…”Tornado”

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These artists are people from what we now call “the margins”.  People from institutions, people of color who lack a formal art education, people who work a day job and then make art on top of that. Looking at all this work, at other examples in the Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. , I long for a re-imagining of descriptors for art made by Americans, for an art world that is more inclusive of good work, no matter where it came from regionally and no matter what the race, gender or educational level of the maker.

In any case, go take a look and think about it, and while you are there…in these last few days of Barack Obama’s presidency, take note of this quote on the wall…

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And here is the quandry I’m in….”outsider art” …”folk art”…a

Pacific Northwest Artists Archive

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For longer than 40 years Roger Hull has been thinking about and writing about art made here in the Pacific Northwest, most especially in Oregon.  Since the inception of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in 1998 he has been curating exhibits of regional work and writing monographs about artists.  This has resulted in a mountain of ephemera at our house (show cards, posters, correspondence) much of which has come in very handy in research and writing.

As he thought his way forward after 1998, he became convinced of the value of archiving regional art in general, and of our region in particular…and he knew that these artists all had papers and drawing books that would need a permanent home.  VOILA!  The idea was born for the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive.  Museum Director John Olbrantz immediately understood the value of such collections, but knew the Museum itself could not house them.  The University was lucky enough to hire the archivist Mary McRobinson, principally to deal with the vast political archival papers that are housed at Willamette (think Mark Hatfield, etc.)  Mary saw immediately that Roger’s vision of an artists archive was an excellent fit for the University Archive/Hallie Ford Museum connection, and the PNAA was born…

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For the past ten years the collection has been building and now includes the papers of Rick Bartow, Tom Cramer, Jack Eyerly, Carl Hall, Henk Pander, Eunice Parsons, Harry Widman, Jan Zach and many many others.  There are drawing books, letters, show cards, photos, small art works and the PNAA has put together a fascinating exhibit of a smattering of items from the archive.  This show, curated by librarian Shanel Parette, is on the second floor of the library and will be there for two years…please DO come look and if you come before the end of October you’ll also have a chance to see the work of some Salem artists in an elegant small exhibit, “Insight and Imagination” curated by artist and former librarian Dayna Davidson Collins.  Below are Roger Hull and Mardy Widman looking at the Salem show with the PNAA show in the background.

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Let’s take a look…PNAA first:

Henk Panderpnaa-henk

Tom Cramerpnaa-tom

Ruth Dennis Groverpnaa-ruith-1

Robert Hesspnaa-robert

Rob Bibler and Carol Hausser’s collection of the work of Nicandsloypnaa-robcarol

Myra Wigginspnaa-myra-1

Kathleen Gemberling Adkinsonpnaa-kathleen

Jeanne Momentpnaa-jeanne-moment

Harry Widmanpnaa-harry

Claudia Cavepnaa-claudia

Carl Hallpnaa-car

Glenn Alpspnaa-alps

and the PNAA show includes this nice shout-out.  Though the bulk of the work has been Roger Hull’s…I have gotten interested in including non-Portland local artists…”valley artists” as it were.  Plus I’ve even wielded a video camera on occasion!

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But on to the Salem show as curated by Dayna Davidson Collins…(with apologies to the artists for my terrible photographs)

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Kay Worthingtonii-kay-2

Nancy Lindburgii-nancy

Elizabeth Baumanii-elizabeth

James O’Sheaii-james

Jed Thomasii-jed-thomas

Charles Hanneganii-charles

Kristin Kuhnsii-kristin

Dave Nichols (Nic)ii-nic

Ann Kresgeii-ann

Alexandra Opieii-alexandra

Sandra Loy Nichols (Sloy)ii-sloy

Kathryn Cellerini Mooreii-kmoo

Mary Lou Zeekii-mary-lou

Laura Mackii-laura

Carol Hausser ii-carol-tory

Tory Brokenshireii-tory

Rob Biblerii-rob-1

Cynthia Herron

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Rebecca Rigsbyii-rebecca

Bonnie Hullii-me

Susan Trueblood Stuartii-susan

Heidi Preuss Grewii-heidi

John Van Drealii-john-van-dreal-1

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Improv Quilting

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I don’t teach this Improv Quilt class to show people how to make quilts like mine, I do it to explain that there are no mistakes in quilting, that finding something unexpected is always best, and that the work and concentration of quilting transports us to “another land” like making music or art of any sort.  They begin with my idea but at the end of six hours they have a fistful of their own ideas…and what fun it is to see it happen right in front of your eyes.  Today was no exception.  We began with mine…

Quilt 2 Quilt 1

and moved right along.  I think really the pictures speak for themselves with only this one explanation.  They begin slowly, ask some questions and then…they are off and running.  They don’t know each other, but by the end they are friends and are giving each other valuable critical advice.  The biggest winner of the day was most certainly me…I got some great ideas from these intrepid nine workers….take a look:

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q12

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q10

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Thanks you guys…it was fun!

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Caramelized Corn with Fresh Mint

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Friday morning I was flitting through emails…including the NYTimes “What to Cook This Weekend” and I saw this recipe which looked super easy and super delicious…and it IS both of those.  I had to pass it on…the recipe is for “Caramelized Corn with Fresh Mint” and gives directions for using frozen corn, but NO…you must use fresh corn this time of year!  I won’t even give you those directions…

We were heading to the MIG (Minto Island Growers) food cart for lunch, so IF they had corn it was a go (we have mint in the garden).  Yay they had corn (and radishes too…not in the recipe, but irresistible to some of us…)

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Caramelized Corn with Fresh Mint (New York Times)

4-5 cups fresh corn cut off the cob (they said 12 ears, but I used three ears and it was almost 4 cups…maybe the corn is dinkier in NYC?!)

1 stick of butter (I used less…maybe 3/4 of a stick of butter)

1/2 cup chopped mint leaves

salt

Basically you melt half of the butter in a large flat pan over high heat until melted but not browned…add half the corn and cook until it begins to brown (and some will POP!) then add the mint leaves and salt and put in a bowl.  Add the second half of the butter, repeat the whole process…serve.  No kidding this is one of those dishes that is  totally simple, fresh, sweet/savory and delicious.  It looked like this…

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(Hey check out the poppy seed cake R made for my quilt class…what a guy…and he can make orchids re-bloom too…)

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…waiting for the salmon off the grill…TRY THIS…no kidding.

 

 

The Cruise Interval

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In the midst of the very busiest week of the summer we headed to Portland, met up with the art group members and mates, jumped onto Dayna and Howard’s boat “Rapture”, and headed out onto the Columbia River, heading west.  When we first arrived at the slip though, I thought it might be the nightmare cruise for me, one who doesn’t like to be photographed…

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and there were plenty of photo ops…here our hostess Dayna snapping Katy and Jim…

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and here the agile Leo getting a group shot…

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but things calmed and once we got out onto the River the cameras turned outward…

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cruise

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the day was perfect, there was not much wind, the temperature was neither hot nor cold…Howard was at the wheel and we proceeded from the Columbia into the Willamette and decided to go see some of Portland’s bridges.  Most of us had never been on the river and were pretty much amazed every minute of our four hours on the water.  Howard was at the helm the whole time…but he did get some dinner…

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a LITTLE hi-jinks (the female members of the group are all artists and recognized the interesting shadow possibilities…)

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We headed west under the Interstate bridge across the Columbia…

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then under the St John’s Bridge…

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the Fremont bridge…

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the Broadway bridge…delightfully red…

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and then headed for the Steel bridge…the end of the line for us…

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It’s just a little too low and the boat is a little too tall…it can just squeak under but it takes a slow half hour to do it…

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Before we turned around we saw the Burnside bridge in the distance and noticed that as the river turns the bridges open out like a fan.  By now it was rush hour but the river was serene and quiet…time to eat…

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…hey, what’s Katy doing?

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“writing” in the guest book…Jim memorialized…

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R contemplating…bridges I think…

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and on the way back to the dock we headed east…toward the airport…and watched one plane after another take off up over the river…

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And then the truly amazing part to me…how was Howard EVER going to put this huge boat into that little slip???

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YAY!  We burst into spontaneous applause…(Nancy, Kathy, Howard and Calvin on the bridge) cruisevyay-howard

We jumped into our cars and headed home…with a more standard view of the Burnside bridge…

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Thanks Dayna and Howard for a fantastic and memorable voyage…

 

 

The Proofs Arrived!

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Roger Hull has been researching, writing, interviewing and thinking about the Portland modernist painter Louis Bunce for 3 years, at least.  As usual I’ve had the most interesting time tagging along to lenders, archives, museums and galleries as Roger pulled together the story of Bunce’s life and work…a VERY fascinating story.  The book, “Louis Bunce: Dialogue with Modernism” is written, and yesterday the proofs arrived from the designer.  As many times as this has happened, and this is the ninth book about regional art and artists that he has written, this moment of the box arriving (nowadays from Fed-ex) is always exciting.  Of course these days there’s a PDF but Roger always prefers to have one hard copy for a final edit.  Here’s a sneak preview….

Bunce 1

Bunce 2

Bunce 4 (1)

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Bunce 5

Bunce 6

The big painting show will open in January with the work on paper opening on November 5th…more specifics as we get closer…this calls for a toast!!

Bunce 7

Off the Grid

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I like the Internet, (even as I’ve come to believe the constant and instant sharing of information has not been good for our politics) and I like the easy access to images.  Sometimes though it is sensational to leave all the voices behind and return to the world of living in the moment, thinking and doing, reading.  Books.

And so, in the midst of a busy summer for me, I headed over the mountains with Katy and Nancy for four days of art making, laughing, talking, art making.  Salads.  Our destination was Katy’s family’s cabin on the Metolius River at Camp Sherman…a place I have really come to love.  We went there last summer and it looked like this.  Not a McMansion in sight.  The US Forest service owns and leases the land to the residents and there are strict restrictions on what you can do and build (just about nothing at all).  Katy’s family couldn’t replace the footbridge leading to an island in the river when it was washed away in a storm.  They were asked to remove a big bell they used to call themselves for dinner.

But there we sat for four days.  I chose the picnic table station on the deck where the strong lullaby of the river kept me company, and the birds.  I made a workbook called “three Things”, Katy put out the hummingbird feeder and the hummingbirds were my constant companions.  Katy and Nancy moved around in the sun, seeking shade and space, but I just could not budge from the deck over the river.  One day we went to the Camp Sherman store and all of our phones lit up…we admit to a beer and a moment of connecting with loved ones, but not for long.  We had a Sisters “retail moment” and a coffee for me…but otherwise we drew, painted, quilted…we found three dead things and drew them, we drew our cups of coffee in the morning, we made stamps…it was fun.

So that’s my description…I’ll let you review the images and contemplate getting off the grids yourselves for a bit.

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AC42

AC6

AC3

AC15

AC13

AC16

AC10

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AC22

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AC27

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AC30

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AC23

AC26

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and then it was time to head home, to pack up, to say goodbye to the cabin by the river and head to the dump to recycle and where we were serenaded by the dump attendant …on the trombone…

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See you next summer!

 

 

Art Laundry and Where Art Comes From

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This week of working in the backyard studio with Carolyn Schneider, somebody I’ve known since the 7th grade when we met in an art class, has been fun.  Interesting.  Poignant.  Hilarious.  Sad.  Our own work, our dead mothers and fathers, our family dynamics, aging, our own work…all this talk whirling around while we have worked has brought feelings, ideas and thoughts to our dialog beyond just what the art project of the moment might be.   Depth of feeling and meaning in work have been our topics…

studio

sorrowsturbulencemeaning

and everything we have talked of and thought of was brought to the fore when we visited the Hallie Ford Museum today to see the wood carvings of Russell Childers.  Beautifully curated by Jonathan Bucci the show “Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider” is up at the museum until October 23rd, giving you LOTS  of time to see it.

A victim of the Eugenics movement (removing the “damaged” from society) the deaf and dumb Childers was placed by a judge in Salem’s state facility “Fairview Training Center for the Feeble Minded” (as it was then called) when he was aged 10, over the objections of his mother…and he spent the next 38 years of his life at Fairview.  He began to carve wooden pieces while there and it was his talent as a carver that eventually gained his release.  This work embodies all that Carolyn and I talked of this week and much more…feelings, memories, the desire to make…it’s all here in this beautiful work.  I’m not going to label each piece but reading the informative labels will deepen your feeling for the show I think, as it did ours.

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boys lining up for showers

they took his shoes at night

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tool chest

Also on view at the museum in another nice show curated by Bucci, are the drawings of sculptor Jan Zach…Zach and a student of his “discovered” Childers and his work, giving him some years of acclaim and inspired working.  The Judith and Jan Zach Archive is part of the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive of the papers of regional artists, and many of the drawings are from the archive.

Zach 1

Zach 3

Zach 2

In the “on-loan” section of the museum just now is a nice Milton Avery painting

Avery

…and then I visited my family blanket in the Marie Watt piece…

Marie Watt (1)

before we headed off for a restorative coffee…

coffee for three

Two more days of “Art Laundry” before Carolyn goes home and the Compass Gallery returns to a gallery…laundry no more.  1313 SE Mill Street…11:00-3:00.  Tomorrow Carol Green will be with us sewing bags.  Come on down.

Art Laundry card piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Laundry, III

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Carolyn Schneider and I met in a 7th grade art class.  Our first forays into the art world were on the subway into the city to go to the Art Institute of Chicago when we were 13.  We’ve been looking at art, thinking about art and making art ever since.  For the last decade we’ve had an annual studio event either in her California studio, or in mine…more talking, more looking, more art-making, some writing.

In 2012 we had a gallery show in Fort Bragg, California which we called “Art Laundry” and it looked like this. 

Art LAundry 1, Lost Coast Culture MAchine

Art Laundry 1

Drawings, quilts, mending, sewing, prints…it even included my little “Gallery of Plaid”

art laundry 3

and then in 2015 Carolyn and ART LAUNDRY came to Salem…and it looked like this:

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Peggy ironing

C ironing, 2015

Carolyn and Q, Art LAundry 2

Sue and HaroldJo and JimDave and San

Carolyn, 2015

me-art laundry selfies

birds, Art Laundry 2015, Roger Hull and friend

Art Laundry card piece

It was drawing, it was quilts, it was talking and masks and thinking of that interface between making art and doing routine work and domestic work, it was fun and serious.

This year Art Laundry III comes to the Compass Gallery at the Willamette Heritage Center, 1313 Mill Street SE.  August 3 the gallery will be hung with Carolyn Schneider’s drawings, my quilts and monoprints.  Beginning Monday August 8 Carolyn and I will be in the gallery for 4 days, 11-3 daily.  Carolyn will be performing public ironing and talking about work of all kinds.  The “opening” will be Thursday night     August 11th at the gallery, from 5-7.  We urge you to come see us, bring some ironing, sit and talk about the work you are making, the work we are making, or how you learned to iron a shirt…see you very soon!

how to iron a shirt

detail how to iron

Ross Sutherland, 2015

The Melange That is July…This Year

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What a crazy mixed-up fun month this has been…so far.  Possibly there is a limit to how much fun you can actually have in one calendar month, but I haven’t maxed out yet.   The fourth of July of course (see below).  Then visitors…

How and Amy came and we looked at the bridge progress..

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How pointed out the end-of-the-day routine the workers have for the crane…

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we checked the local architecture…

examining architecture

went to the MIG farm cart and had a coffee at Archive…

coffee

MIG lunch

We drew…

THE LAST DRAWING

we hugged…

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Martha and I headed up to Yale Union to see the last day of the Susan Cianciolo show and to attend a “workshop” (we had no clear idea of what we’d be doing…but what the heck…).  Yale Union is just a beautiful space in an old garment factory/warehouse…you must go and take a look as it is now one huge open space with a running ribbon of windows…well, you just want to move in and start working.

Kimono 1

First we look at Susan Cianciolo’s work…I was especially interested in the idea of “kits”…of her mixture of fabric/quilted pieces and narrative and collections and the stuff of everyday life…the evidence of children and their ideas was engaging to me.

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kit 8

kit 7

kit 6

kit 5

kit 4

kit 3

kit 2

kit 1

kit 11

and now it was time for the workshop…

workshop 1

Susan Cianciolo

and the task at hand was to make a kimono.  I was more interested in her ideas of making notational books, and began to develop the idea of “workbooks” as I slouch toward “Art Laundry” (stay tuned for that one…) and so…voila, the kimono work book was the end result of my 2 1/2 hours of work…

Kimono workbook

Many people there though really did make kimonos, and it looked like this…

Kimono 7

Kimono 6

Kimono 4

Kimono 2

with three young designers, former students of Susan Cianciolo’s, there to help…

Kimono 3

Kimono 5

Ellen and Larry were here for a few days of total relaxation and I obliged by NOT photographing them…

“Waterlines” went up at the Compass Gallery and here I meanly only photographed my own work, but Dayna Davidson Collins has a bunch of lovely paintings…come take a look…up til August 1st.

waterlines

Quilt group met at our house this week for the “reveal”…all the things we made from Kate’s “ugly fabric” give-away last December (the fabric she gave us wasn’t ugly really…it was the color of a mouse)…true to form the projects were as different as the makers…and just as nice…

Berniece

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Eve

Deanna

Kate (1)

Kathleen (1)

Lynda

Olga 2Olga 1

Ethelwyne

We exchanged more uglies to be revealed next December…ate some yummy salads…

Salads

and then Deann’s homemade cheesecakes nicely presented (and yummy)…

D's dessert

and today I cleaned the sewing “cottage” and sewed all day…

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SEWING COTTAGE 2

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The framer called and they found How’s little piece that was having a frame repair and then got lost…

How's piece back home

SO, what next?  There are some “workbooks” all ready for “ART Laundry”…

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Art Laundry card piece

More info coming on that one…but now maybe the beach?  Drawing for sure, sewing for sure…there are still 10 more days…!