Archive for the ‘France’ Category

sometimes my work gets out more than i do…

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
Awakening from Tall Girl Series

Awakening from Tall Girl Series

Last year I was presented with an opportunity to submit work to an international exhibit. Ségolène Diamant-Berger  had recently returned home to France after living in Louisiana and was curating an exhibit on the theme of freedom. She had personally invited several members of African-American quilt guilds, one of whom sent me the prospectus.

At first I had reservation about sending my work abroad as shipping can be astronomical and often one has to pay duty on their own work returning home. Was it worth it? I agonized. After listening to those who had shipped work abroad with success I eventually decided to enter the exhibit. Awakening from my Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work was chosen as it best fit the theme of Liberte! 

I shipped the work to France last spring. Since then this piece has been in four different exhibits throughout France. This is far more exposure than I could have hoped for and certainly more than the work would have had, had I given into the fear and not entered the exhibit initially.

Now I wish I had grabbed my passport and gone with the work!  This is where it has been:

U.S.A. Foundation, International University Campus, Paris, FR 2015
American Foundation for Arts & Sciences, Paris, FR 2015
Angers Catholic University, Angers, FR 2014
Université Catholique de l’Ouest, Library, Angers, FR 2014
Saint Eloi chapel, Angers, FR 2014

on a roll…

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Once I got past the terror of the MRI I seem to be on a roll. I am actually looking forward to surgery mid-October, getting it past me and on to the next trip, art quilt, surgery, GF cinnamon roll, commission or whatever life holds for me.

I just put Upheaval #10 up on my website. This includes more of the wonderful soy wax batik that I designed last year. And it is a tad bigger than other work which is made possible by working in sections.  I could get a long arm for stitching but since I already have long arms I am sticking with what mother nature gave me!

And I keep thinking of more things I can do in my now ‘free time’. I am entrenched in what was to be the post-op time of my previously scheduled surgery. It is quite delightful to have days and days wide open for studio time.

That includes painting a boring ‘brand name’ raincoat I bought for France in the spring. I didn’t paint it then because I didn’t want to risk ruining it. Now I don’t care. If I ruin it I will just add more paint! Another task is to design a pattern from a well-loved shirt and then cut/design a new shirt from same pattern from two old shirts. (lost yet?) And of course there are more linens to dye and paint.

And so…off I go…

back on the hamster wheel…

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Years ago a favorite yoga teacher said it takes as long as an event to recover from said event. At the time it applied to my physical recovery from being primary caregiver to a dying friend for 20 months. Of course months passed and eventually I felt like myself again. And then I forgot about it…

Until I came home from 11 glorious days in France.  I figured it would take me about 9 days to adjust to the 9 hour time difference. And it was a true nine days before I was not falling asleep at 8:30 pm. But  it was exactly 11 days from when I arrived home when I felt the vacation calm leave my body. It was both weird and wonderful.

It was weird as I actually felt the change in my energy.  And it was wonderful because I was conscious enough to notice it.

So now 19 days after I came home from a glorious relaxing trip to France I am back on the hamster wheel.  I am no longer waking up when it is still dark and  drifting off at dusk.  Suddenly I have too many things to do in a short amount of time.

Truth be known I knew this was coming. I had seen it on the calendar since January. And I was prepared in many ways and yet one more thing was tossed into the mix and soon I was back on the hamster wheel.  Relief is in sight… well really around a corner and down the bend but close enough to be serenading me.

Until then I am unpacking and repacking the Tall Girl exhibit to ship to its next venue, the Park National Bank Gallery at UCClermont College in Batavia Township, OH.    I am packing Upheaval #4 to ship next week to the Arvada Arts & Humanities Center in Arvada, CO for the first of 3 exhibits in the next year.    

I have finished rehearsing my lecture which I give 4 times next weekend at the SAQA conference in Denver.    I have figured out what clothes to take and made a last minute run to the cleaners.   

I continue to do my 5 knee exercises, 10 reps, 3 times a day before I see the surgeon when I get back from Denver.     I am processing work to take to a new gallery this weekend.    And I managed to cram 30 minutes of backstroke and cardio into this  morning.    Oh and I have an artists’ reception for the 2011 fiber show in Berkeley this evening at ACCI.    As well as a half-stitched piece on the machine which I would like to finish this weekend so the remaining stitches resemble the first  half.  When I finish that I can pack!

Remind me next time I take a wonderful vacation to schedule it during a time of year when nothing else is happening so I can enjoy the afterglow a bit longer…

The top image is a detail of papier mache piece  from the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris.

france…the final chapter

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Now that I have been home from France as long as I was  there I am ready to close the chapter on the blog posts about it! So today I share the final chapter… 

On nature…potted plants outside a shop on the streets of Conflans.

The following were all taken in Giverny at Monet’s garden. It was both calming and striking despite the droves of people passing through.

and of course the famous water lilies and weeping willows … 

Several days into the trip it occurred to me that I should photograph text as I like to use it in my work. So I began …mostly what I saw was graffiti…. 

and my two personal favorites…spiritual love

 and a portion of patisserie/boulangerie..

graffiti also makes for a wonderful reflection…all the Parisian graffiti was contained to the walls along the river.

Also I decided while there that I would like to take my sewing machine and my dog and go live on a houseboat on the Seine. My husband thought it far too spontaneous and stupid an idea; so he could stay home and live the  practical  life.

Any one of these houseboats and barges would work for Millie and me just fine.

Since our return I have been in the studio designing new work and prepping for a lecture I am presenting soon at a conference in Denver. France is but a memory but a really awesome one at that…

france…part quatre

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Patterns, shapes and textures are primarily what inspires my art. I see composition everywhere I look and have spent many a trip shooting just

that. My late boss used to ask…who was on this trip? when I showed up with dozens & dozens of prints of  texture and pattern.

While most people want to wait in line for hours to go up the Eiffel Tower I was much more interested in the architecture. Would you ever know this was the Eiffel Tower?!!!

Cruising along the Seine the ship went through 6 locks coming and going which held a treasure trove of inspiration. This is a reflection of the retaining wall leading into a lock.

Algae along the wall of the lock after the water receded.

Lichen growing on a wall in another lock. This shot was taken from inside our cabin as the water receded giving me a macro view.

Resist on a steel structure surrounding the last lock the ship traversed sailing back into Paris from Normandy.

I was sitting with another artist…a jewelry designer from AZ. We were two obsessed souls shooting images of everything that wasn’t nailed down.

The trellis in Monet’s garden at Giverny


Ever wonder how they grow canola? Kilometers and kilometers of what we call mustard at home.

A stone path beneath a bench at the American Cemetary near Omaha Beach in Normandy.

Cargo containers on a ship sailing by..

The interior roof @ Charles De Gaulle Intl Airport.

Magazine stand on Paris’ Left Bank…and this is just a dent in the pile of patterns and textures I captured…

Next: (are we done yet?)

nature, text, houseboats…

part trois…architecture

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Considering every reasonably sized city in America looks identical with miles of strip malls, big box stores (many vacant) and subdivisions, European architecture still rocks my world. At least there is character and imagination.

The Eiffel Tower of course is stunning from any angle, any time of day. I took probably 50 images  in the daylight, at night and at a distance and distilled it down to just a few:

I also shot a number of classic French architectural gems including many side streets, passageways and the view from Montmarte

and Notre Dame..

As we moved further out of Paris the architecture became much more intriguing.

Rommel’s command center along the Seine


the half timbered houses of Vernon…

and the many styles of homes along the river

the charm of Giverny…

and then at the edge of the old city stood the ultra modern artistic skyscrapers …in what seemed a competition as to which one could be more outrageous.

This one had overlaid thin vertical columns which twisted like ribbons

This one was oval

while this Novotel was built with right angles

and this one seemingly built of legos…

The pièce d’résistance goes to this gorgeous building. The embellishments looked like glass shards while the entire structure reflected the clouds above…spectacular!

so much for looking like every other city!

Next: patterns & textures

part deux…the food!

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Honestly I could not imagine a trip to France without their fabulous pastry so I was a tad nervous about  my wheat gluten and dairy intolerances. Knowing that butter, cheese and flour are staples of the French diet I loaded my luggage with bags of raw almonds, cans of pop-top tuna, pitted dates, dried apples, and LARABARS. Most of  it returned home with me, a little worse for wear.

The first few days in Paris I ate a high protein breakfast from the huge buffet in the hotel and often a salad nicoise for lunch. By dinner time we were too weary to dine so  instead went to sleep.

In Montmarte these sandwiches were sold on the street. They looked like grilled cheese which would be double verboten so I only took a photo.

We met Dutch friends  for kaffe at our hotel in Paris. After lazing over capucchino my friend asked the waiter if they had any pastry?  He said no, they only had chocolate cake. Only chocolate cake? she said and then ordered three as I was  abstaining. The cake arrived and it was a work of art…a volcano with vanilla sauce, a lace cookie and a dollop of ice cream…triple WOW! 

Once we boarded ship, I met daily with the hot young  Portuguese maitre’d to go over my food options for the day. Every day I mentioned it was  just too much food as they served 4 and 5 course lunches and dinners.  Soon I was skipping breakfast entirely, just eating the salad for lunch and eating dinner. My new friend would not allow me one iota of anything with flour or butter as he clearly did not want it on his conscience should I have a reaction. The chef was very cooperative but when they gave me a piece of gluten free bread that both looked like and tasted like cardboard I knew I needed a croissant and soon!

So when the ship docked I managed to slip  into the village and ferret out a patiserrie-boulangerie to snag some pastry to reward myself for eating all that lamb, veal, beef and heavy meat that I avoid at home.  It worked just fine until the 3rd try when I got sick.  I ate NO cheese however!!! (cue the halo)

Each bakery wraps their treasure like a work of art. There were two apple tartins in this parcel…and yes I did share!

Word on the street was this bakery in Conflans made  the best pastry in France. I was there drooling at the window the day before Easter. It was enormously busy and I just decided a photo was far better than humiliating myself with my broken French on this very busy pastry buying day.

Monday at home I popped into Starbucks for some capucchino to offset the jet-lag and saw they were selling pain au chocolat. I decided to not even go there. I am no longer on vacation…and really how can a croissant from Starbucks even compare to that of France?

Even doggies in France love the smell of the boulangerie!

Up next…architecture

reflections on trip to France…

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

We have just returned from a fabulous vacation in France … in celebration of our recent 40th anniversary. We chose France because the flight was shorter than Oz…which remains on the bucket list.

We spent 4 days exploring Paris. We did not see nor do everything everyone said we should, but rather enjoyed our time at our own pace with accommodation to my weak knees. We did the hop on-hop off tour bus for two days and saw a lot.

On the 4th day we boarded the Viking Spirit and cruised a week on the river Seine to Normandy and back. Hubby crossed Omaha Beach off his bucket list as did many others. As for me I found the incredible beach sculpture and the one art gallery!

As an artist on vacation I did go a little nuts with the photography. So much so that I came home with over 1000 images on the camera and iphone combined. Ack!

Since I want to retain what morsel of vacation creativity is left I will not be resizing and uploading 1000 images anywhere! Instead I will post to this blog some of the best according to subject matter.  Today it’s reflections.

The reflection from the water of the Seine was awesome. Nearly every shot of homes, bridges, wildlife and nature contains a reflection.

As an artist I have always been drawn to reflection, but not quite sure how to create it. Now I see it is simply a matter of positive-negative, light and dark.

There were a number of homes we shot as we sailed both directions including this one. My hubby might have captured one from the sundeck while I got it from the room coming back a few days later!

A fellow passenger who was also a shooting fool suggested we capture our reflections in the water! Clearly we had too much time on our hands.

We saw so many swans-a-swimming. They seemed to be like the seagulls at home… scavengers of the sea. I love this Rorschach swan.

In Paris we stood in line for well over an hour on a Sunday morn to get into the Georges Pompidou Centre where they house the modern art. The controversial architecture of that building reflects in the windows across the street.

After we got into the museum we learned we had stood in the wrong line for an hour…we were in the line for the library!!! There was no line at the entrance.  So much for my minimal French.

And the final reflection for today is the interior of this incredible sculpture in the Pompidou. It was constructed of a film material with all sorts of foil and punched out dots. I wish I knew the artist. I neglected to note it as I was so captivated by the reflection.