17 Jun

Art Girl Posse

Almost exactly three years ago, Natalya, Deborah, Robin, Vivien and I got together for the first time for an arty girl’s week. The photos got lost in my blog update a few years ago, but you can read about it here. Last weekend, we did it again! No Deborah (too far), and only for one day with Robin and two and a half for me, but it was fantastic all the same.

Rear view from the train

I brought my daughter this time, who was excited to take a train to New York. I think it sounded quite adventurous or sophisticated to her. So, we hopped on the train Friday morning and off we went, passing through DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia along the way.

Pink Trees!

Speaking of Philadelphia, this shocking pink grove of trees caught our eye as we sped by. It was followed by a pink bridge section and an orange building. Turns out they are an art intervention titled Phsycylustro, part of a revitalization effort called PlanPhilly (click link for specific info on the project).

In NY, my daughter was amazed at how many people were in Penn Station, and then at how crowded the sidewalks outside were. She’d been to LA on our road trip two summers ago, but it’s a sprawling kind of big, whereas NY is a congested kind of big. We switched transportation modes and took a coach out to Nyack to meet Natalya and her girls at a Russian Fest. If you’ve never seen Russian folk dancing, it’s very athletic and a lot of fun to watch. We also ate a delicious dumpling called pelmeni which I couldn’t pronounce, but was happy to eat.

Saturday was art posse (as another friend dubbed it) day. I’ll save the specifics of the larger exhibits for the next post. We met Vivien at another train station and then Robin in the city at the Museum of Art and Design where we saw two very intriguing shows. From there, we checked out TheĀ City Quilter and the adjoining ArtQuilt Gallery. The shop has their own NY themed fabrics which I eyed, but was quite restrained and didn’t buy. They also have a nice selection of books. In the gallery were quilts by Michael Cummings. They are the kind of bold, fabriholic, statement work that I love. And, I was even bold enough to leave a resume and CD of work (more about the weekend’s conversations in another post too).

After The quilt shop was lunch, and then we searched out The Hudson Guild to see the Urban Fabric Exhibit which was so worth the effort to find it off the beaten track. Serendipitously, that put us right under the High Line, so off we went to stroll NY from a different perspective.

High Line


Did you notice the face in the windows of the building on the right? The whole weekend seemed to have an underlying current of street art, from the view out the train window, to murals and graffiti seen from the High Line, to what we would see on Saturday — a museum worthy installation, and curiously tagged billboards on the BQE (a little Googling revealed they were by RAMBO).


Rubber Sentinels


Not too far away, on Broadway, are the Rubber Sentinels by artist Chakaia Booker. Interspersed with cafe tables and chairs in the pedestrian zone, this was the perfect time to take a cupcake pause and placate the tweens.


Me and my art posse


At this point we said goodbye to Robin who had evening plans, and returned to Grand Central Station where we had just enough time for a quick look at the Centennial Quilt show organized by The City Quilter and displayed at the Transportation Museum.


Yarn trees

On Saturday, Natalya took me and my girl to Brooklyn. First stop was the Textile Arts Center. It is such a great looking resource, with looms, sewing machines, dye space, a small gallery, and little studios for visiting artists. The class schedule makes me wish I lived near Brooklyn! In the gallery, I recognized work by Joetta Maue, who I’ve admired, and weaver Erin Riley.


Street art Brooklyn



More street art along the way. I like the way the Bananaman ties together the yellow and the black in the building.

After TAC, we went to see Kara Walker’s installation at the soon to be demolished Domino sugar factory. Impressive! That in itself was worth the trip. We lunched nearby and then, on a whim, decided to visit the Brooklyn Museum to see Submerged Motherlands and Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party. While the Dinner Party was a huge influence in the feminist movement, and have most certainly paved the way for my friends and I, it was interesting to see it as very in-your-face and almost crass, despite the gild and shine and fine workmanship. I know that’s all part of it’s power, but at the same time, I was surprised at how far we seem to have moved in the time since. My peers can be so much more subtle about our subject matter and message, and we definitely take a lot of things for granted which Chicago and her peers had to grapple with. In contrast was Submerged Motherlands, which was also very feminine, but in a softer way. That’s the one that just blew me away. Loved, loved, loved it.

Sunday, we met Vivien again for a quick dog walk on an old Rockefeller estate overlooking the Hudson (lovely!), and then Natalya took my daughter and I back to Penn Station for our train ride home.

Bridge, NY

I don’t remember which bridge this is, but it’s for Natalya. It was a great, inspiring and invigorating weekend and we have pledged to do it again in a few years. I can’t wait!


04 Nov


The downside of being the mom is that I generally am the last one to get access to the computer (even though we currently have two). The upside is that both Robin and Mr. Incredible have already blogged about our weekend, so I could just leave this post with their links and go to bed.

Naw, you’ll get my take as well. But you do have to check out their blogs too because the photos are different.

Robin and I met and clicked at Art Quilt Tahoe in 2005 and have kept up with each other through our blogs since then. When my family moved to Oahu this summer Robin invited us to come visit. I doubt she expected us to take her up on it so soon, but Mr. Incredible wanted a Hawaiian adventure before he deploys.

I am so glad we did this. It was wonderful to get to know Robin and her family better, see a bit of Maui from a local’s view, and be a bit touristy ourselves. We had a long list of things we could do, but, as is my favorite way to travel, we only did what seemed right on each day. I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity in the next few years to go back and do a few more things from our list.

I’m still not tired of seeing rainbows — sometimes when you least expect them — like from the deck of the Super Ferry.

At Paia Bay we got pounded in the surf, but enjoyed it anyway. Boogie boarding changed to skim boards, which changed to digging holes in the sand. Moms talked.

Day two took us on the Swinging Bridges hike. Robin and Mr. Incredible have better pictures, but as he said he expected to see dinosaurs on Moloka’i, I expected to either be chased across the bridges by spear wielding natives, or sacrificed to a gargantuan gorilla here.

They say that between all the Hawaiian islands and all their elevations, one can experience all climates. Here’s a rather tropical looking tree from our morning hike…

…to be contrasted with the scrubby, near lunar landscape at the top of Haleakala that evening. We didn’t go all the way to the edge of this volcanic crater, but near enough that we witnessed a magnificent mountaintop sunset above the clouds. Maui reminded me a lot of California (the drought of the past several years probably helps the comparison), but in the Sierras, you see other peaks around you. Here, it was us and nothing else. If there had been no clouds we could have seen how small we are out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Rather humbling.

In between our outings, Robin and I talked. Talked about motherhood, artist-hood, goals, ideas, favorite blogs, cool things we’ve found online, stuff. As she says, although quilting brought us together, we don’t need it to keep the conversation going. And Robin, anytime you want to hang out on my island, you guys are welcome to come!

Say what you will about the dangers of the internet, but I have met so many creative, intelligent, interesting people via the internet whom I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise and I have learned so much from them and the parts of their life they share.