I’m still at it. I felt like mixing things up today, so I used oil pastels, which I haven’t tried in a while.
I think I’ll keep going along this road.
I’m still at it. I felt like mixing things up today, so I used oil pastels, which I haven’t tried in a while.
I think I’ll keep going along this road.
I’ve been to Oregon and back. One of my Army Wife aprons was part of a fantastic show at Hap Gallery in Portland and I wanted to go to the opening reception. I was also curious about the new Quilt!Knit!Stitch! show organized by IQF as a replacement for their Long Beach, CA quilt show. The two events were a week apart and I wasn’t sure I could justify going to one let alone both. But… our family will be moving next summer — to the location of our choice — and the Willamette Valley in Oregon tops our list. So off I went to satisfy my artistic curiosity and to do some location scouting for our next home.
This was my temporary home for the first half of the trip. I stayed with my “Quilt Aunt,” Terry Grant and this is her fantastic little studio/guest bedroom. We had a wonderful visit talking about our art and goals. She was kind enough to drive me around Beaverton so I could get a feel for the area, and in my investigation of potential schools for my kids, Terry got to know more about area high schools than she ever wanted to know!
Together, we enjoyed Portland’s happening First Thursday and went to a reception for Columbia Fiber Arts Guild in which my friends Terry and Gerrie both had artwork, and to “my” reception at Hap Gallery. Fail/Safe is a fabulous show, thoughtfully curated by Marci Rae McDade and reviewed positively in Willamette Week and The Oregonian. I am honored to have been a part of the show, and especially chuffed since this was the first time someone had come to me to ask for specific art to put in a show. I wish I had taken photos of this gem of a show to share, but I just soaked it up instead. Afterwards, Terry, her husband Ray, and I went out to dinner. Lovely evening.
On another day Terry took me to I’ve Been Framed, and electing framing and art supply store on the opposite side of Portland. It’s a warren of papers and paints and who knows what else. We both found treasures we did and didn’t know we needed.
Three days were with my mom, exploring the corridor between Portland and Eugene. I discovered that I’m not at all interested in living in a town smaller than Corvallis (about 55,000 pop) and that I appreciate the influence a large college or university can have on a place like Charlottesville where we live now, and on Corvallis and Eugene, but not necessarily Salem. However, Salem has a fantastic quilt shop!
Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest is a wonderful place, owned by the same family for three generations. It’s up for sale and I wish I was the right person to buy it. It’s a local fixture though and the right person will come along. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and the stock is fresh and interesting. They have a huge range of patterns and books and activities to engage all levels and interests. I broke my nearly year-long vow not to buy any new off-the-bolt fabric and came home with yardage for several projects. Being a forest, Greenbaum’s has a “frog pond” and when you stack up your fabric for consideration a frog guards it so no one else accidentally returns your bolts to the shelves. Adorable.
Back in Eugene, my mom and I stopped at the Eugene Textile Center which I was happy to see is going strong. It is focused mainly on weaving, but stocks other yarn goodness as well. They’ve also got a small gallery which is currently hung with weavings and these subtle stalactites which I quite liked. I’m sorry that I didn’t take note of the artists names.
The latter half of my trip was spent near downtown Portland at “The Congdo” with my quilt mom Gerrie Congdon. One afternoon I walked myself down to the Alphabet and Pearl neighborhoods. I decided that I wouldn’t want to live there, but I would very much like to be close enough to visit often! In my walk, I came across Cargo which I immediately recognized as a must-stop in any Portland visit. It was a trove of color and texture.
The end of my trip had Gerrie and I at the Quilt!Knit!Stitch! show volunteering at the SAQA exhibit area. I quite enjoyed the show. It was similar to the Festival in Houston, but not nearly as large and overwhelming. There’s lots of room for improvement, especially in attendance and inclusion of local talent, but I think that comes with time and the show will definitely be back next year. I’m excited to see how it evolves.
Thank you Oregon, it was a great trip! Perhaps next year I will be attending QKS as a local.
If you missed my Army Wife exhibit last September in Charlottesville, VA, there’s a second chance to see it next summer at the Arts Council of Moore County near Ft Bragg, NC! To make the exhibit even more special, I’ll be teamed up with photographer Hunter Rudd and selected pieces from the Combat Paper Project. It’s going to be a wonderful community event. I’m very excited to be able to share my work again with a larger audience and I’m especially happy that the exhibit will bring together the military and civilian communities in the area.
At this point, the Arts Council need to do some fundraising — mostly to get the Combat Paper pieces (and hopefully a workshop!) on loan, but also to help facilitate getting me and my work to NC. They have come up with a wonderful sponsorship program. I am happy to send specifics to anyone who is interested — please comment or email me if you or someone you know would like to participate and I will email you the PDF that is also attached below plus the other information it references.
HOMEFRONT & DOWNRANGE:Witness the Art in Military Life
June 5-July 10, 2015 | Campbell House Galleries Art Exhibit Description:
Using art as a catalyst for conversation, HOMEFRONT & DOWNRANGE: Witness the Art in Military Life will be an art exhibit that will take a deep and personal look at several aspects of military life: An Army wife’s story through narrative textiles by Kristin La Flamme, a soldier’s story through photographs by Hunter Rudd, and the story of returning home from war through artwork selected from the Combat Papers Collection.
As our first art exhibit specifically focused on military life, the Arts Council of Moore County wishes to share the exhibit with the entire Sandhills community. We also hope the exhibit will honor our military’s sacrifices and service for the freedom we all enjoy.
In order for this exhibit to occur, we need financial support from sponsors. Homefront & Downrange Sponsor (short)
I love a good scrap quilt, and I love the surprises that come along with not knowing exactly how things will look in the end. However, working with lots of pieces and not a lot of planning can create problems of it’s own. When I made my Selfie quilt, I cut strips from every fabric in my stash, thinking that it would be cool to also make a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt that reflected my diverse fabric collection. I should be working on a completely different quilt, but it has problems too, so while I wait for paint to dry and ponder my options, I decided to start on the scrap quilt.
It soon became clear to me both that I had far too many strips for just one quilt and that all the colors together was looking more barfy than beautiful. Quickly, I switched to using mostly blues, with an accent of orange, and a bit of analogous colors for good measure. This is where it stands now and I’m not sure if it’s working or not. There’s still a lot of colors that don’t necessarily play well together, but that’s the charm of a scrap quilt, right?
I’m going to forge ahead, with a little more planning. In addition to blues, I have a lot of browns, so I’m thinking that I need to surround the brighter bluer blocks with predominantly brown blocks (with as many chocolately browns as I can dig up). I also have the same collection of fabrics in thinner strips which could make for a great change of scale in the center, especially if I control the colors even more — maybe the lighter blues, or maybe the oranges. Hmmm, this color combination is sounding vaguely familiar…
As promised, here’s more info on the Fail-Safe show in Portland in which I have one Army Wife Apron. I am particularly excited about being in this show because it’s the first time that a curator has approached me for an artwork. It is very validating as an artist to know that something I have made has caught the attention of someone whose job it is to seek out the best and most interesting works to tell the story they wish to share with a larger public. I have decided to make the trip to Portland, OR to attend the opening reception on August 7th, and Marci’s lecture at Quilt!Knit!Stitch! on the 16th as well as the reception following. So, Portland peeps, I hope to see you at one or the other event!
From the invitation:
Hap Gallery is pleased to present Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home, a group exhibition of contemporary textile and fiber-based art curated by Marci Rae McDade. The opening reception is held in conjunction with Portland’s First Thursday in the Pearl District, August 7, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Exhibiting hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The exhibit will run through August 30, 2014.
Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home features a range of art forms made with seemingly safe and comforting materials from everyday life that are loaded with incendiary content. Each object reflects an aspect of anxiety, discontent, and longing in the 21st century, from poverty and racism to mortality and digital disconnect. These potent works compel viewers to take stock of the world today as we collectively contemplate our futures.
The selection of objects focuses on work made from December 2007, when the U.S. housing bubble first burst, to the present. The sense of uncertainty and loss associated with this period of economic crisis and recovery is a pivotal starting point for the conversations many of these pieces seek to ignite.
Fail-Safe includes work by Andi Arnovitz, Kathryn Clark, Jon Coffelt, Vic De La Rosa, Marc Dombrosky, Robert Fontenot, Carol Jackson, Kristin La Flamme, Jiseon Lee Isbara, Wayne “Skid” Lo, Amanda McCavour, Rachel Meginnes, Mark Newport, Loren Schwerd, Mary Smull, Anna Von Mertens, Jane Waggoner Deschner, and Stacia Yeapanis.
Curator Marci Rae McDade is the editor of Surface Design Journal, a leading textile-arts magazine published quarterly by the Surface Design Association. McDade is also a mentor and instructor with the MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program in Portland, Oregon, a joint program offered through the Oregon
College of Art and Craft and the Pacific Northwest College of Art acd.pnca.edu. She received an MFA in Fiber & Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA in Film and Video Production from Columbia College Chicago.
This traveling exhibition was organized by Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design in St. Louis, Missouri, and first presented at Grand Center Gallery (February 7 – April 20, 2014) as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration programming.
“Fierce Fiber: Curating Textile Art Exhibits with Impact” Gallery talk with Fail-Safe curator Marci Rae McDade Sponsored by the MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program Hap Gallery
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm
“Fierce Fiber: Curating Textile Art Exhibits with Impact” Lecture by Fail-Safe curator Marci Rae McDade Quilt!Knit!Stitch!TM
Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 11am
“Fierce Fiber” Reception
Cosponsored by the Surface Design Association and Quilt!Knit!Stitch!TM Hap Gallery
Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm
As I wind down my Army Wife series, I have been thinking about Security Blankets. I love the play on words, especially since I always strive to make the medium of my work an integral part of the message. I have ideas for at least four textiles that fit under the general umbrella of security. Two are recently finished. The first, I’ve been working on for nearly a year, and posted some peeks along the way, but then removed them as I considered submitting the piece to Quilt National. They have very strict rules about the quilts or any parts being published prior to their unveiling. Anyway, I changed my mind when one of the other artists at McGuffey Art Center proposed a show about Privacy in America which I thought would be a perfect venue for the first of my “blankets.”
“Temporary Safety” is a pixelated image of a security camera in which the pixels contain circles and rectangles (0s and 1s) which spell out in binary Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
It’s true human size in that it’s over 90″ long. When a friend suggested I call it Linus, I came up with a six degrees type description: This is a Security Blanket. It has an image of a security camera and a quote by Benjamin Franklin. The Peanuts character Linus has a Security Blanket. Benjamin Linus is a character on LOST, played by actor Michael Emerson. Emerson also plays a character named Harold Finch on Person of Interest. Person of Interest is about utilizing the spying capabilities of security cameras and other methods of data collection.The show is also about protecting people — like a Security Blanket. Cool, it goes full circle!
You know that feeling that even though you’ve checked your list, you are still forgetting something? I kind of feel that way about my blogging. I should have things to blog about, but I don’t, or can’t. I’ve been doing some follow-up work and thinking on my introspective, three year, planning. Before we went to Germany, we drove up to New Hampshire for a long weekend. Somehow, driving time always get my gears moving and I thought up an idea that may have some worth. It involves custom quilts utilizing military uniforms. Very practical, but also very personal. The idea meets my desire to create something that people actually want or need, while also giving me the space to continue making the work that may not have a place in the larger community. And the two are not mutually exclusive!
While I flesh out that idea, I have a few other things coming up which I will blog about as I get more details. I thick these are the things I think that I’m forgetting about, but I’m not really since the timing isn’t quite right yet.
In August my Army Wife apron, Unraveling, will be part of Fail/Safe at Hap Gallery in Portland, OR, curated by Marci Rae McDade. I’m super excited about this show as it’s the first where the curator has approached me instead of the other way around. I’ll have more details to share soon.
Selfie will be part of the Dinner@8 exhibit, Reflections, at IQF Houston. The curators have been posting artist profiles on the blog. You can read mine here. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll go to the big quilt show in November or not. Maybe I should go to Portland instead. Or to Austin in the Spring for Quilt Con. I’ll be sure to blog about it more as the dates near so as to remind anyone who is going to Houston to be sure to see the exhibit!
And finally, I’ve finished two quilts which I’ve been keeping under wraps as potential submissions to Quilt National. One is still a possibility, but I’ve decided that the other is perfect for a Privacy in America show planned for February at my local McGuffey Art Center. The show will be all media with participating artists working in oil, acrylic, photography, metal, and of course fabric. I’ll save my finished quilt for another post.
It’s been six years since we lived in Germany and high time we went back to visit. Finally living on the right coast, we decided to take advantage of the military’s Space Available option and see if we could fly to Germany on the cheap. We got super lucky and landed the last four seats on this no-name airline taking military families to their new overseas assignments.
We had no specific plans in Germany aside from just spending time with friends and soaking up the atmosphere that we have been missing.
No trip is complete without castles though, so we checked that box. Row 1: Schloss Marksburg, The Rhein River from Marksburg, Idstein. Row 2: Wiesbaden Casino, Burg Hohenzollern, Knights in Hohenzollern. Row 3: Heidelberger Schloss, Heidelberg’s Powder Tower, Bad Dürkheim area from Wachtenburg.
Other architecture is pretty awesome too. I don;t think I’ll ever tire of pretty little German towns. I love the way the Europeans combine ancient and modern as well. Row 1: Idstein, Limburg, a metal covered door in Schloss Marksburg. Wiesbaden, a house in Waldenbuch with decorative slate shingles, The Ritter Sport chocolate factory in Waldenbuch. Row 3: The Ritter Sport museum and shop, the corner in Heidelberg that used to house the gallery where I had my first solo show but is now an apartment, Mannheim market.
I didn’t realize how much I missed the food until we returned to Germany. There are certain things I make at home, but so many others I had forgotten about, or that just aren’t the same out of context. Row 1: Spaghetti Eis (ice cream extruded to look like Spaghetti and topped with strawberry sauce), chocolate and nut ice creams presented to look like a baked potato, Döner Kebap (Turkish fast food). Row 2: Curry Wurst (fest food!), Frühstück (breakfast with eggs, cold cuts, cheese breads, yogurt, coffee, the works!), and Flammkuchen (Alsatian pizza-like tart topped with creme fraische, cheese, bacon and onions). Yeah, we gorged on the Flammkuchen. Row 3: Dampfknödel (steamed bun dipped in vanilla sauce), an assortment of cakes (to be enjoyed with coffee and friends at about 4:00), home made jams and jellies from friends because everyone knows how to make them.
Even with ice cream and Flammkuchen, the kids needed more than castles and charming architecture to keep them happy. So, we entertained ourselves the way locals do. Row 1: Ge-Force roller coaster at Holiday Park, Kettenkarousel at Holiday Park, Fourth of July fireworks at the German American Fest in Wiesbaden. Row 2: Chiseling for fossils at a quarry near Stuttgart, planes, trains and automobiles (with slides) at the Technic Museum in Speyer, rock climbing at an indoor playground in Stuttgart. Row 3: amusement rides at the fair in Speyer, Sommerrödelbahn in the Odenwald (luge on a track).
We also thoroughly enjoyed watching World Cup Fussball. We went with friends to a biergarten in Wiesbaden for the Germany France game, to the local Schützenhaus (gun club) for the Germany Brazil smack down, and with another group of friends to a biergarten in Mannheim for the finale against Argentina. It was so much fun to genuinely join in the camaraderie, national pride, and simple excitement. It reminded us of our fantastic summer living in Germany when they hosted World Cup in 2006, but even better because Germany won for the first time in 24 years (and the first time as a united country). Here’s a bunch of the kids all dressed up at the fest after watching the Germany France game.
Another thing we remember fondly was the small town fests. Germans can celebrate anything. Apparently there’s even a Cesarean fest in the town where the first one (in modern times) was performed. We went to the Radish fest in Glasshütte with our Stuttgart-based friends.
The big draw was the old timer tractors brought out by the local tractor club, called Schlepper Freunde. Two were Porsches and one was a Mercedes.
We took silly selfies as friends often do.
And then my family took more silly photos when I left my phone unattended. They look like they should be on an album cover, don’t they?
This guy regaled us with hours of polka. Very fest-like. Though he stuck to the traditional and didn’t play Country Roads…
Yes, those are ketchup and mustard udders.
Did I mention that one set of friends lives just above the Ritter Sport chocolate factory? The air even smells like chocolate! The factory has a great little museum and shop. We came home with the 2 kilo surprise bag of assorted goodies.
The Germans are nothing if not efficient and organized. Even the trees are numbered (well, not all of them, but the ones that are regularly cared for).
Other trees are cut and stacked for firewood. There’s nothing quite like a perfectly stacked row of German firewood.
And then there’s the truly unexplainable. The town of Bad Dürkheim has a mineral spring where they pump the salty water to the top of a giant loofa wall so that people may enjoy the curative powers of salty air as the wind blows through the wall.
Heidelberg University has the Studenten Karzer where unruly students were incarcerated for infractions such as shouting too loudly at night, or using the familiar instead of formal salutation with a policeman. Students memorialized their time in the prison by painting graffiti on the walls.
And this is the Mephistophemobil at the Technic Museum in Speyer. It’s a wagon adorned with all kinds of things to make a racket as it rolls along. Notice the garden gnome and red antlered antelope.
We had a fantastic time revisiting old stomping grounds as well as exploring new ones. Here we are in the family tree-painted room of hohenzollern castle.
And here I am with the wonderful ladies who I breakfasted and sewed with every other Friday when we lived in Heidelberg.
Two of our neighbors from Heidelberg who now live in Switzerland made the drive up to spend a day with us!
And we spent a super four days with our exchange student and her family (including Oma and the boyfriends).
Sadly, after two and a half weeks, we had to go home. All the flights back to Baltimore on the comfy planes were full, so we hopped on a cargo plane to Dover. It was loud and lacked amenities, but allowed for great legroom and a surprisingly generous box lunch. It was all part of the grand adventure and the kids actually enjoyed it as it’s not every day you get to fly in one of these behemoths with containers and a HMMV in the center aisle!
Tschüss Deutschland, as ever, it was great.
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