Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Loving Contemporary

Loving Contemporary

I am in Dallas Texas this week for the eWomen Network annual conference. I really enjoy this conference because it is all about women entrepreneurs and the unique way women do business. Sandra Yancy, the founder, has a different, more contemporary philosophy about doing business. Sandra's tag line is 'lift as you climb' which resonates with me and the way I live my life and run my classes, workshops and lectures. We can all reach higher and bring others along as we go.

We arrived early enough that we had some free time to head down to the Dallas Museum of Art. Did you know that the DMA is free every day! Is that not cool? I grew up just outside of Washington DC so I always thought museums were free. I had quite the shock when we moved to CO and they wanted me to pay to visit! What is so wonderful about free museums is that they are teaming with energy and life. We could not believe the number of children at the museum! It was wonderful and exciting to see so many people enjoying the art. The Dallas Museum of Art has made a big effort to make kids welcome with a large engaging and interactive area just for them.

How would our world be different if all museums were free??

We didn't have much time for our visit so we concentrated on just a couple exhibits. The first was modernist jewelry by Art Smith. His pieces were beautiful and made from the late 1940's to the 1970's. They are timeless pieces that resonate today as much as they did when they were first created. These two are a couple of my favorite pieces.

art smith exhibit dma 1 of 2   art smith exhibit dma 2 of 2

We spent most of our time in the Contemporary art hall. This exhibit ranged from abstract expressionism through the present in a large exhibit of post 1945 art. I love this period of art. It challenges me and makes me think. There were huge pieces, small pieces, assemblage, performance and even a textile piece. My favorites included the Rothko, Pollock and Jasper Johns pieces. I did have a lot of favorites though. :-) 

contemporary art dma 1 of 4

Portrait and a Dream by Jackson Pollock

contemporary art dma 2 of 4

Orange, Red and Red by Mark Rothko...I never 'got' Rothko until I saw them in person. His work always inspires me. If you are ever in Houston you must go to the Rothko Chapel.

contemporary art dma 3 of 4

I completely forgot to write down the painter of this piece...doesn't Deb Prewitt look perfect in front of it? Very graphic! This piece has so much energy we both liked it.

contemporary art dma 4 of 4

Ivory Spirit by David Hammons. This piece is ethereal and strong at the same time. Unfortunately for me it was in the same gallery as a dual televised performance piece that was disturbing...intentionally so but it seemed so jarring. Perhaps that was the intention of the curator.

contemporary art dma 1 of 1

This piece, Slip Zone by Jack Whitten is my very favorite from the exhibit. The colors and texture, layers and implied aging and sense of history mesmerize me. It was very, very, very difficult not to touch it!!

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Shipwreck Bead Adventure

Shipwreck Bead Adventure

I recently toured Shipwreck beads. This is the largest bead store I have ever been in. Come along and take a peek.

 

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Cooking in Houston

houston skyline

Ruth and I are in Houston for International Quilt Market and Festival.  As we got out of the shuttle from the airport we were stunned to find the sidewalk from the curb up to the front door of the hotel strewn with about a dozen of my postcards. It was as if Houston was expecting me and put out the red carpet! :-) Evidently the UPS delivery person had arrived shortly before us and dropped the box of my postcards and a few had escaped. The postcards were probably so excited to be here they couldn't wait to jump out of the box and tell everyone about my cool new classes that will be on-line soon.

 

This is the first time we arrived well before our first event which isn't until 3pm today (Fri). We got here at noon yesterday and spent the afternoon walking around downtown Houston and grocery shopping. It was fun to explore the 'big' city.

 

One interesting discovery for me on our big walking adventure is that I am not very talented at walking on sidewalks! I realized after the third time I tripped on the little edge of the sidewalk joints that I don't normally walk on sidewalks. At home I am walk on the edge of the street or on a trail. It was very funny. I am sure it didn't help that I was looking up most of the time.

 

houston reflections

 

We enjoyed the architecture of this busy city, counted the number of oil company buildings and spent a lot of time looking at the ever changing reflections in the windows. We found a beautiful garden around the Public Library that was a quiet magical oasis in the city.

 

 

houston construction
 

We haven't stayed downtown for a few years so it was fun to see all the changes. Our room faces Macy's. Well it used to be Macy's but now it is a pile of rubble...a very big pile. I am totally fascinated watching the big diggers moving all the rubble. They look like giant dinosaurs. It is a bit noisy but most mornings we will be up well before the construction starts.

 

We always stay at a Residence Inn so we have a kitchen. With our food allergies it is so much simpler not to mention cheaper, to have access to a kitchen. Traveling with allergies can sometimes be difficult so we were thrilled to find that a wonderful gourmet market had opened not too far from the hotel. We were like kids in a candy store looking at all the amazing foods and taking in the fantastic smells.

 

We found a fig preserve that we couldn't resist so we put our heads together to come up with a meal around it. We decided on sauteed acorn squash, mushrooms and onions with a wonderful garlic infused olive oil. To that we added sauteed pork chops with a balsamic glaze. Not too shabby for hotel room cooking!

 

Some of our followers have mentioned how fun it is to go to the quilt shows we go to and it is a lot of fun hanging out with people who love the same things we do. However, the travel part is not so much fun. After so many years we have it down to a pretty good science. Our bags are packed precisely to 49.5lbs We always forget the same things (coffee filters) and generally remember to pack the most important cooking tools: a large Teflon skillet, sharp knives, cutting boards, Serranos coffee from Monument CO, Ruth's home made salsa and baggies. We almost always have a TSA search love note in our suitcases.

 

Let me tell you, it isn't easy getting all our teaching supplies in as well as our kitchen essentials. Sometimes clothing must be sacrificed but we figure no one is paying that much attention to how many times we have worn that same tee shirt. Fortunately, the Residence Inn has a laundry room too.

 

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Jumping Back into Art

A sneak peek inside my book



I have just sent in the final samples for my newest book about beading on fabric! I am excited that it is finished except for the dotting of the 'i's and crossing of the 't's. It will be making its debut at Quilt Market in Houston this October. When I am writing and creating a book I am a bit prone to hyper-focusing. Everything that is not 'beading' gets less of my attention. Beading took over my life. How fun is that? I especially loved the part where I took over the entire kitchen table because it was too chilly in my studio to bead for hours on end. The family is happy I am finished too!!

Anyone else see strands of beads here?



When I come out of that hyper-focus mode I have a difficult time transitioning back into my art...my art that isn't beading. Somehow it seems easier to stick with the left brain tasks on my computer than head down to the studio to begin a new project.Fortunately my friend Jill Berry suggested a sketching date at the Denver Botanic Gardens! It is unusual for us to both be at home the same week so we were thrilled to easily find a day we could meet up.

The weather was perfect and the wave after wave of garden color was delicious. We were more than delighted to find an incredible installation in bamboo. Words are not adequate to describe the intricate weavings and sculptures created by artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. Jill and I sketched their amazing forms and wondered for hours soaking up their shapes.

I left the Botanic Gardens full of art inspiration and color excitement. I will be diving into the studio this weekend refreshed and ready to create. What do you do to get your creative mojo flowing?

 
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Jumping Back into Art

 

I have just sent in the final samples for my newest book about beading on fabric! I am excited that it is finished except for the dotting of the 'i's and crossing of the 't's. It will be making its debut at Quilt Market in Houston this October. When I am writing and creating a book I am a bit prone to hyper-focusing. Everything that is not 'beading' gets less of my attention. Beading took over my life. How fun is that? I especially loved the part where I took over the entire kitchen table because it was too chilly in my studio to bead for hours on end. The family is happy I am finished too!!

 

When I come out of that hyper-focus mode I have a difficult time transitioning back into my art...my art that isn't beading. Somehow it seems easier to stick with the left brain tasks on my computer than head down to the studio to begin a new project.Fortunately my friend Jill Berry suggested a sketching date at the Denver Botanic Gardens! It is unusual for us to both be at home the same week so we were thrilled to easily find a day we could meet up.

The weather was perfect and the wave after wave of garden color was delicious. We were more than delighted to find an incredible installation in bamboo. Words are not adequate to describe the intricate weavings and sculptures created by artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. Jill and I sketched their amazing forms and wondered for hours soaking up their shapes.

I left the Botanic Gardens full of art inspiration and color excitement. I will be diving into the studio this weekend refreshed and ready to create. What do you do to get your creative mojo flowing?  

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ATC Swap for December

We had a big group at the monthly ATC meet-up in Monument last weekend. This was our no theme month but so many of us made something reflecting Christmas that it became our de facto theme. As usual, the variety of trading cards was amazing. We even had a ceramic one (the yellow, blue and red one), a cross stitched one and one that turns into a Christmas ornament (the ice skates detach from their backing). I am always inspired by this group of creative women. If you are in the local area (Monument, CO) come join us!

I am happy with the way mine turned out. I wove the background (check out more weaving techniques in the Fabric Embellishing book study in the forum) with two different green fabrics  or an assortment of aqua blues from Art Gallery Fabrics-love those fabrics! My trees are simple triangles fused to the woven base with Misty Fuse and stitched with a silver metallic thread. Next, I added some 'snow' with silver foil. Finally, I stamped the word believe on a piece of twill tape and stitched that down as well.

I hope you have some time to create something during this busy holiday season. It will save your sanity you know! I am off to bead!
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Exploring Oregon

In between teaching classes at Art and Soul my husband and I explored Portland and even got to the coast one day. We spent one wonderful afternoon at the Hoyt Arboretum. This huge tree museum is located right off the train line and very close to down town. We were amazed at the wide variety of trees from all over the world. We only had a few hours so we barely made a dent in the number of trails to explore.  We have tall trees in Colorado but nothing like these! Some of the oldest trees in Colorado are actually scrawny because the growing conditions are so rugged.

Big Spruce on Meares Cape



This spruce tree is 15feet in diameter...impossible to imagine how huge it is! I  look like a little kid...ok, not that I am all that tall but I am 5'4".

Octopus tree Meares Park



I love trees in case you didn't get the idea already! Given the choice to explore the city or the country I will pick country every time.

huge sand dunes and pines



I am accustomed to massive sand dunes. We have them in Colorado and I regularly visit White Sands in NM. These however are different because the dunes are nestled among the pine trees...a bit surreal...they look more like ski runs. My son informed me that most sand is made up of gypsum. Colorado sand is quartz...this is why our windshields get so pitted during the winter.

The Pacific



Towards the end of our cape tour I did actually get my toes into the sand and water...it was dang cold! I have a huge inventory of great tree, leaf and nature photos from the trip. I can't wait to grab some art time and create a journal about this trip.
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