22 Oct

Some Things

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement on my last post. It occurred to me though, that it is OK to feel bad about some things. War, the environment, politics, even aspects of history are all worthy of some doom and gloom. It keeps us from becoming complacent, and it helps us recognize and appreciate the bright spots when we experience them.

On to other things. Natalya has tagged me for the 7 Rand0m Things meme. I could just point her here to the last time I did it, but since she was so generous as to lump me with seven other artist/bloggers whose work I admire, I’ll do my best to play along. Flattery will get you everywhere!
1. I’m an American but I’ve been living in Germany for the better part of the last 11 years.

2. I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t like chocolate.

3. My husband and I send each other snarky email volleys about current events which usually end up disintegrating into pure sillyness. Witness:
Him: (regarding and NYT article: Rebels Storm Peacekeeping Base in Darfur): And why haven’t we just gone in there, locked and loaded and ready to make peace and to stop the killing? Oh, yeah. They are: 1. black 2. oil-free 3. not Jewish.

Me: Not to mention a little tied up at the moment!

Him: I read a screaming-leftish (can’t call them liberal) article today on how the US is soooooooo on the verge of invading Iran. Poorly written, lousy logic, lots of assumptions — and entertaining to no end.

Me: You know, speaking about all of this, I just came to the realization that Kim Jong Il hasn’t blown anyone up with the nuclear weapons he was threatening to use not too long ago. I’m a bit dissapointed in him. If he waits much longer we might get a president who might work to pull soldiers out of Iraq and then they won’t necessarily be too tied up in the middle east to deal with North Korea. Just sayin.’

Him: You know why he hasn’t attacked? He’s so wonewy, so wonewy, oh, so very wonewy…… (Aren’t you glad I made you watch Team America?)

Me: OK, this conversation just turned from snarky to just plain silly!! 🙂

Him: Great, now I have that song stuck in my head

4. You all now know way too much about us, so I’m stopping here. Besides, I actually have to go leave the house now and pick up mail so the military post office doesn’t have me shipped off to the US for the mountain of unclaimed mail I must have.

20 Oct

Blowing Sunshine

I’ve been a bit depressed lately with all the environmental talk. I live in a country which values sustainability (Germany). We use baskets and cloth bags when we shop, recycling is automatic, and I can walk or ride my bike anywhere I need to go in town. I’ve been turning off the water when I brush my teeth for as long as I can remember (who doesn’t? Is it just that I grew up in So Cal that we all turn off the water?). Anyways, I think I’m supposed to feel good about all these little steps. But I don’t.

I still drive my car to pick up our mail, or buy American groceries once a week (and said groceries have been flown across the Atlantic). Our power is “on the grid” and we use too many batteries (though I take them to the recycling point — not the trash). In addition to some locally grown food, I eat meat and packaged food too. And use western medicine — including antibiotics. I don’t compost or use grey water (lack of space and stability). I fly transatlantic annually as well — and if nothing else, that’s got to cancel out any other good I do. Essentially, my mere presence on this planet is making it uninhabitable to humans, and to add insult to injury, I’ve added two more people to a population that is more than our planet can sustain. Not to mention that no matter what we in the West do to lessen our footprint, I can’t help but believe that many developing countries are too desperate to have what we’ve been touting for so long that they will cancel out our efforts.

Harrrrumpf. It’s got me in a funk. I waver between wanting to listen to, or read up on, current events so I can be reasonably intelligent, and then wanting to return to blissful ignorance!

One more thing that we do here is buy our drinks in recyclable plastic bottles, or better — reusable glass ones. There are whole stores dedicated to beverages bought in crates and said crates returned empty to be exchanged for full ones. Of course, the crates are “loaned” on deposit, and if you don’t mind forfeiting your deposit (Pfand) you can do other things with the crates as well:

The kids and I went today to our music school’s open house (Katja sang with her class and I supported the cause with a brownie donation for the ubiquitous cake and coffee table), held in concert with a local elementary school’s Fall Fest with lots of games and activities for the kids. The highlight was this crate-climbing challenge:
Climbing crates

The kids get hooked into a climbing harness and are belayed by one of the guys who runs the attraction. Then they climb onto empty beverage crates as the other guy hands them more to stack and climb (these are from the plastic water, soda and juice bottles, and they are placed upside down to provide better footing for the climbers). Katja made it up eight crates before she tipped over. Zavi made it high enough to honk the horn tied at the top of the structure!
Made it to the top!

The guy at the bottom is himself standing on two crates in order to hand up the next crate. I think the total count for Zavi was about 13 crates! Not many of the kids were able to get this high.

At least this I can feel good about. 😉

P.S: The title? The dutch painter I met last weekend said that they have a saying when someone is telling you things just to make you feel good but they don’t really mean it: “Sticking feathers up your arse.” (Sorry, she didn’t tell it to me in Dutch.) I think the American equivalent would be “Blowing sunshine up your a**.” (I think that’s how it goes, right?)

14 Oct

Villa Meixner Post Show Wrap Up

Now I can add fine craft fair to my list of accomplishments. I had a wonderful weekend at Villa Meixner with a dozen or so other artists. Gudrun Bauer, the show organizer, gave me a whole room to myself. I essentially had a two-day gallery show.

Villa Meixner, Brühl, Germany

On Saturday night, Gudrun invited everyone to her house for dinner and it was a blast. We were of all ages, from many countries, and all worked in different media. Some had been participating in the show for many years (this was it’s seventh year), and many, like me, were new this year. Having had a gallery show last year, I even felt a bit “experienced” next to the one artist for whom this was his maiden voyage. Anyways, dinner was delicious, and the general atmosphere was the wonderful craziness you would expect when mixing good food and wine and an international group of creative people.

The mood at the Villa was enjoyable as well. There was a steady stream of people both days. I think I saw every single member of the Heidelberg Hearts and Castles Quilt Guild. Interestingly, the only member of the American group that I saw is also a member of the  HHCQG. There were many, many other visitors though. Almost everyone who walked into “my” room was blown away. I received so many positive compliments. There wasn’t one person who mistook my work for a bed quilt, or was even surprised by the price tags. Not once did I have the feeling that so many art quilters talk about of not being taken as seriously as other artists. I WAS taken at least as seriously as the other artists there — including the painter and the sculptors.

As expected, I did not sell any big pieces (unfortunately, sales in general were not good for all the artists). My fabric postcards and greeting card sets were a big hit though and I had plenty of sales of those. Of course, once I subtracted the items I bought for the show like tabletop easels and a cash box (not a lot), my share of the cost for the flyers (more than reasonable), and babysitting (quite a lot, but at the same time, not enough), my total profit was less than 10 euro. Oh well, I’m not in this for the money and at least I didn’t come home in the red! (I did sell one house embroidery, but since the sale was online and not from the show, I’m not counting it in my reconciling here. It counts greatly in the grand scheme of things though!!)

I made some new friends and a couple of contacts which have the potential to grow into something. All in all it was a good weekend.

12 Oct

Villa Meixner Show Prep

Framed embroideries

This is what I’ve been filling my time with since about August. When I was invited to participate in the Fine Craft show at Villa Meixner I knew that although my art quilts would set a nice tone, and look lovely hanging in a historic Jugendstil building, they would probably not sell due to their size and price. I decided to bring lots of fabric postcards and then make something in keeping with the cash someone might have handy in their wallet.

Heart Hearth

“Heart Home” 2007, 6 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ framed

I made the frames first, using leftovers from other framing projects that I had around the house. Cleaning and making at the same time — gotta love that.

Rooted III

“Rooted III,” detail 2007 9″ x 18″ framed

Maybe it’s a bit backwards, but with the frames in hand, I then gathered scraps and other material and created the art to fit the frame. IMHO, it was far more efficient than trying to find passable frames for existing art.

Rooted VI

“Rooted VI,” detail 2007 7″ x 11″

I’m off to set up my room in the Villa this afternoon. I’ll try to post the finished display later. If not, I’ll post a post-game wrap up after the weekend. Come to the Villa this weekend if you’re in the BW area of Germany, and say hi!

07 Oct

Looking for us?

One of my SILs called tonight wondering if everything was OK since the blog was awfully quiet. Yes, everything is OK here, just a leeetle bit busy.

Little by little I’ve been crossing off things on the big September/October to-do list. Son’s first day back at school: check. Son’s birthday: check. Einschulung: check. Quilt show in France: check. Daughter’s first day ever at school: check. Get a quilt to the gallery for it’s anniversary show: check. Son’s birthday party at Legoland: check. Quilt workshop at Main Quilt Festival: check. Entertain house guest: check (our new favorite city to visit? Speyer). Daughter’s birthday party: check. Arrange childcare for the kids for next weekend’s craft show at Villa Meixner: check.

Still on the list are preparations for the craft show (in progress), two parent info evenings at school, the 12 x 12 challenge (in progress), a Texies challenge (next on the list), and a class for my quilt guild in November (for which my hubby should be home in time to watch the kids).

So that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to. The picture above was taken at Katja’s party today. One never knows what the weather will be like for October birthdays so I booked a party at a local indoor playground. Well worth every penny I spent and I didn’t have to add cleaning the house to my to-do list!