Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

installing new exhibit…

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

“Forming Our Lives: Three Women, Three Phenomenal Stories” July 26-Sept 14, 2014 San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, CA

I drove down to San Jose Sunday afternoon to be in position for a Monday exhibit install at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. Sadly traffic patterns control my schedule in this part of the world so I knew it wise to position myself outside of my commute zone.

I stayed at a wonderful Air BnB place which was a treat. This cute little house with the beautiful garden is owned by a fun and friendly gal who frequently rents rooms to finance her home improvements. And it was a scant 10 mins from my morning destination.

We arrived just as SAQA regional members deconstructed their beautiful ‘Northern California Expressions’ exhibit (the one for which I made the two Vineyard pieces that sold right off my design wall in spring, so I couldn’t enter the exhibit). We began to unpack and lay out our work on sheets placed on the floor and as soon as they patched and dabbed paint on the walls, we got to work!

Bonnie J. Smith‘s husband was our main ladder man as he has much experience hanging her work.  After a couple OSHA-inspired tool juggling tricks we got down to team-work and in no time had installed the first wall which is a mix of all three women’s work and the artist statement for the exhibit. Forming Our Lives: Three Women, Three Phenomenal Stories was starting to transform the space and in a beautiful way.

This wall shows work from each of us and the artist statement about the exhibit

This wall shows work from each of us and the artist statement about the exhibit


four pieces from Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work

Next we hung work from my Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work













then pieces from Bonnie’s Swimming Upstream series…about her rehabilitation from a debilitating work comp injury.


from Bonnie J. Smith’s ‘Swimming Upstream’ series

and finally five pieces from Cristina Velasquez Dresses series… a fabulous and inventive parody on all the ‘shoulds’ society & culture put on women.

Christina installing her 'Dresses' series

Christina installing her ‘Dresses’ series

We finished early enough that I had time to hit the highway home rather than staying another night. Of course I was in time for the “pre-commute” traffic!

the joys of living in the 'burbs

the joys of living in the ‘burbs


“Forming Our Lives” at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles July 26-Sep 14, 2014 . (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays) Do see it…and while you are there check out the ITAB exhibit.

where i’ve been…

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Where have I been you might ask? Good question! We have been in kitchen chaos for over a month now as we update our mid-century ‘heart of the house.’ It is difficult, anyone will tell you that. I think it is most likely the chaos and unpredictability of many factors that create the stress. Yet I try to keep my eye on the prize, that we are closer to the finale than the beginning and that this too shall pass.. hopefully soon!


metro ceiling, DC

And we just returned from ten days in the Washington DC area. We had last been there over 20 years ago so when the chance came to go to another textile conference we jumped on it. There were new monuments and museums to visit!

We spent five days ‘in the district’ exploring arts, history and botany. From wonderful art collections to great dining finds on Yelp! to drenching monsoons we experienced all DC had to offer. Then we moved on to Alexandria, VA for the conference which was both scenic and enlightening, yet probably not in the way one might assume. Our final day we headed back to a hotel by the airport for an early flight. We took the Metro into DC and visited one more museum and feasted on Russian fare in a fun and quirky restaurant near Dupont Circle. That was such a great reminder to me to honor my heritage more often and go to Russian restaurants locally.

So I share with you some reflections of our DC trip. I did not take my usual hundreds of photos but did find some gems while out and about… public art both authorized and not.  I noticed much less graffiti there. There must be some unwritten code about destroying others’ artwork.


incredible night sky into SF the night before we left, taken on the new bay bridge


view from our room near SFO

intriguing texture at spy museum


this aerial shot looked so much like a stitching pattern…somewhere over the midwest

reflection caught from restaurant window

downtown DC…


national geographic museum


subway art, arlington, VA


subway art, arlington, VA


subway art, arlington, VA


subway art, arlington, VA


mosaic, terminal C, MKE


mosaic, terminal C, MKE


closeup of copper panels at FDR monument


incredible copper inlaid panels at FDR monument, depicting workers in TVA projects


sidewalk in front of gov’t building


FDR’s index well worn index finger, FDR Natl Monument

getting caught up…

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

painted-linens-100811The past month has been a whirlwind!

I finished, sold and installed the two Vineyard pieces with a new collector.  And I designed two other small pieces including Keeping Up Appearances #6 which is a donation to the annual Arts Guild of Sonoma REPO fundraiser. The requirement is all artwork must be made of 75% recycled materials. Since I use vintage linens in much of my work that was not as much of a challenge as it could have been. The background fabric is a vintage handwoven cotton metallic tablecloth upon which I screen-printed text. The piece is 14″ x 14″.

I received word that Morning Smoothie sold through the Tasty! fundraiser at the San Jose Museum of Textiles and Quilts. And Currents #21, 22, 23 have found a new home in Sonoma.

I am about to start another small piece for exhibition while simultaneously reviewing my retrospective lecture for a gig mid-March.  And then (drumroll) I will begin a new exciting and challenging collaborative project. More to come on that…

Meanwhile back at la casa…After procrastinating for well over a year I made a promise to self the end of 2013 to get on with the kitchen remodel. So I have spent most of this month shopping in person and online for appliances, countertops, backsplash materials, paint, etc etc etc.  The decisions have been made, the contractor and subs are all lined up and I am feeling excited.  Before now all I could focus on was the inconvenience yet now I am ready not only for the upgrade but for the clearing of the brain space that this renovation has occupied for far too long.


on the road again…

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Last week hubs and I flew to San Diego to use up a trip credit and ‘relax’ for a few days. I didn’t take a camera as my phone takes such great shots. I did however become a shooting fool, taking over 200 images, few of which are going to have any art value.  Here’s a few…

sf la-bad_day

Taking off from Oakland we flew over San Francisco.

Coming back we flew over LA. I don’t recall EVER seeing LA from the air before. It was literally wall to wall concrete.

Also on the return salt ponds….many images of those!




I am always intrigued by the proximity of the city to the San Diego airport. The city has literally grown around the airport with one runway shared by both inbound and outbound flights.  Coming in we just cleared the Air and Space Museum (ironic) in Balboa Park. I was always checking out the inbound planes.

low-plane-car-rentallow-plane  We toured Little Italy and sampled some wine, cheese and prosciutto! Yum…I loved the old/new contrasts of the buildings,


 the famous sign

famousstruck me as humorous because to some people 1950 is so long ago but it is in my lifetime.

There were chocolate bars


and pastapasta in an old italian grocery store.

muralsWe spent time in the Logan Barrio checking out the Chicano Park murals…gorgeous!

And visited the “Hotel del” (Coronado) for a behind the scenes tour.


We went to the zoo so hubs could take 47 photos of a panda in the same position with a lamp over his head chewing on a bamboo lollipop.


I visited my cousin also that day!


We also went to the aquarium, the Visions Art Museum in search of my work in the Del Thomas Quilt Collection. It wasn’t there but it sure impressed the docents to know my work was in in the collection and there I was in the flesh inquiring about it. That gave me quite a chuckle.

We also took a harbor cruise, went to the firefighters museum where I was captivated by any number of mundane patterns and textures like this fire

We went to Torrey Pines Reserve for an ‘easy’ hike and I found love in the form of gelato in LaJolla.


Now that I am back and pretty much caught up with paperwork I plan to take all this inspiration back to the studio and see what happens!


passive creativity…

Friday, October 11th, 2013

monoprint-circlesIn the past week more art and design have entered my brain than in months! I have been to Portland and back, taken three art classes, shared lunches with longtime art friends, visited an art studio, read two design magazines, unpacked and put away class samples and materials, drafted and sent my quarterly email blast, responded to the respondents of same, met with my art group, shown my work, talked about my work and sketched ideas for new work.

And I feel my cup filling to overflowing.  After months of the Earth Stories project, plus dealing with many heartbreaking health issues of those close to me, my cup has been taxed for awhile.  Now I am so full of ideas and designs, and techniques that I barely know where to start.

So naturally I would add more. I just signed up for another class with Jane Davies…this one online. Hopefully this text class will be the review I need from text/imagery classes I took several years ago. One cannot study with too many gifted artists.

Tomorrow when I most want to get in the studio I gallery sit all day in Sonoma!  It always amuses me how timing factors into this creative life.  Oftentimes when there is studio time the muse has gone fallow. When there is muse there is no availability!


Also peeking around the corner is another short trip to Santa Clara to be on site for my Tall Girl Series exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara. I know from past TallGirl exhibits that it is an extremely validating experience and yet I also expect to be humbled by my spouse & dog as soon as I hit the threshold.   Note to self …live in the moment: always a good idea.

monoprint-metallic blue


done, done and done…

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

It is now official. I have finished not only the two large pieces for Earth Stories, but also the smaller lead in-piece and the accompanying journal so it is soup!  I am so glad I did not wait any later to start as it took me nearly 4 months and the deadline of Nov 1 is rapidly approaching.

The larger diptych added up to 66″ long by 72″ wide with the smaller piece being the requisite 14″ x 12″ . Rather than ferret out a good resting place for it until the debut exhibit next May, I decided to simply cover the jellyroll of rolled work with cloth and let it sit on the top of the guest bedroom sofa. Out of sight, out of mind.

Transfuse, detailThe past few days I’ve been thinking I would finish the ES journal, then press, roll and pack, in a certain order in five tubes the 15 pieces of my Tall Girl Series which is shipping out on October 9th for a special exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival. If you’ve been anxious to see this exhibit en todo this might be your last chance!

The reason for my madness was all about not living in the present moment. My intention was to cut myself some slack after returning from a quick trip just days before the work is to be picked up. Suddenly I realized my hope of relaxing post-trip was interfering with my pre-trip sanity and that if I kept up at this pace I would be exhausted when I got there and defeat the whole purpose of  going! So I’m going to leave the exhibit packing to when I get back trusting it will all work out.  Hooray for 3 days of art and seeing old friends in Portland.

Meanwhile I am slapping random fabrics up on the design wall with the hopes of finding direction for my next project.


a taste of santa fe…

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013


A few years ago I celebrated my 60th birthday in Santa Fe, NM and declared then that it was my last trip to the Land of Enchantment. Truth be told it was my 13th trip and I felt I had been there/done that. That is until SAQA announced their annual conference would be held in Santa Fe, NM. I could not make reservations fast enough!

Initially hubby was going to go along and we were going to drive as the country between here and there is vast and glorious. About a month ago he decided he would rather stay home and plant his summer garden than ‘kill time’ in a place he had been to 5 times. So I booked a flight and have just returned from the most wonderful, relaxing, indulgent, stimulating and soul-enriching week in the city different. It may have been my final trip there or not …

Because I have been so many times before I did not even bother to take a camera. Instead I used my iPhone from which I have learned to embrace Photo Stream…no more tedious downloads. I also did not take an excessive amount of photos which really was a relief as I already have so many. This trip however seemed to carry a central theme and that was… food. Lots of great food!

In an Einstein moment my friends Franki Kohler, Franki’s husband David, Gay Young and I signed up for a three hour molé cooking class at the Santa Fe Cooking School.


We watched with interest and intrigue as the two chefs prepared an entire meal of chocolate & chile delight and then served us the results. Gay quickly became my Lactaid dealer allowing me to fully embrace the NM dairy experience. The warm Mayan chocolate pudding was possibly the best chocolate anything I have ever eaten! We left with full bellies and itemized recipes (which I seldom use but in this case will… at least once). We bought spices in the shop and vowed to take a local culture cooking class wherever we travel from now on. And we jotted down the chef’s recommendations of the best food in SF and managed to get to several before leaving. I felt sad for the conference attendees who dined only at the hotel restaurant. They missed so much!

I indulged in a three-hour spa treatment at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese spa higher up in the mountains. My treatment included a facial and I committed to remembering the names of the 8-9 luxurious organic processes layered onto my skin but alas forgot them! This morning while walking I tried to again remember the names but only came up with it felt just like a PB&J to the face! Ymmm…


We went to Bobcat Bite for the best green chile cheeseburger in the state. As one who seldom eats beef, I decided to go whole hog (or whole steer) and add bacon to my GCCB! Fabulous. On my way to the airport I stopped at the Range Cafe in Albuquerque for a last ditch green chile indulgence of huevos rancheros! Sure beats airport food.


Over the years one thing has been consistent in my Santa Fe photos…lots of doorways and passageways.

sauer-doorsauer-gateIn fact my first award-winning work was inspired by a Santa Fe doorway. I also took a requisite number of texture and pattern shots.


Even the freeways are beautiful in New Mexico!

Beyond the food of course was the conference, a chance to reconnect with peeps who speak my language, perusing galleries, a wonderful art quilt exhibit at the state capitol, wearing my favorite Native American art and the acquisition of more….it’s my birthstone after all!

The best part of this trip for me was a chance to just be myself and relax after a tough two years. I feel grateful that all my post-surgical rehab and hard work enabled my body to function as it should, grateful that my husband gifted me this time to recharge my batteries, grateful for good friends to share this adventure and blessed to be energized to get back to art-making.




we interrupt this drive…

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

tahoe-july 09 041 Yesterday I had a full day in the East Bay. I worked 5 of my co-op hours at ACCI Gallery in Berkeley where I show my work. It was a most rare and unusual chance for me to just unwind, smell the roses, talk to customers & staff and just be. Afterwards I met a good friend for yummy Mexican fare and then we went to an opening reception at another gallery where I also have work. After dropping my friend at her North Berkeley abode I headed home.

It was dusk…and again I was awestruck at the beauty of the bay. Each time I traverse west on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge across the northern end of San Francisco Bay I am mesmerized by the beauty. It is never a take-for-granted view which is gorgeous at any time of day but at dusk becomes magical. Even at freeway speeds one can see the San Francisco skyline, the Bay Bridge, the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge sticking out between the hills, commercial and private ships/boats sailing, glorious Mt. Tam and a wide panorama of extreme gorgeousness!

My innate reaction of course is always to capture it with a camera lens but that is not possible or safe at 55-60 mph so I am forced to just take it in visually.  As if a small child self-soothing to sleep …I think camera, frustration, sigh and then simply enjoy it. And when I allow myself to just fully take it in visually my soul reacts viscerally… a spiritual experience… on the freeway no less.

I’ve traveled most of the US, missing just four states and to Asia, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Mexico. I’ve seen incredible geography, nature and glorious sunsets but nowhere is it more beautiful than here.  Surely it is the reason so many people have migrated here, it’s not just the lack of snow, the delish ethnic food or the high standard of living that draws them! No, it is the exquisite landscape.   Every time I cross that bridge without forcing a camera lens between me and the road I feel so incredibly blessed to live here.

One of my peeves in life is people who photograph everything. They go on a trip and photograph the entire thing without really seeing it while they are present. And the worst offenders videotape the entire trip then watch the video when they are back home on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. Huh? What about living in the moment?!

Of course everyone knows the things that bug us most are often the things we do ourselves. Yes I admit it…I have been the offender taking endless photos ‘to use in my work.’ So once again my trips across the bay remind me about fully experiencing life in the moment.  And I seem to need that reminder as often as possible.

Meanwhile this sunset is from a July evening at Lake Tahoe when I stood on a pier with my camera. And yes I did take far too many photos of it!


lessons learned on vacation…

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

In July as I was headed into surgery for my 2nd knee replacement I booked a trip to Phoenix for New Years. My theory was the trip would serve as a goal and it did. Up until three weeks before departure I was still pondering if I was strong encactus-shadowough yet to travel. Finally I decided there would always be a FIRST trip so why not now? So we went, I did fine physically and learned I was much stronger and had better stamina than I had thought. First lesson.

We took a Road Scholar program which we have done many times before. After 40+ years of marriage we have talked about just about everything and several things many times over. Road Scholar gives us the chance to explore an area, meet interesting people and talk about something other than the economy, the kid, and the dog!

Primarily I chose this program because the activity level was rated EASY. It turned out not to be EASY at all as it required a lot of walking but I did learn that EASY actually means ‘must have a pulse.’  There were many in our huge group who barely qualified and of those nearly every one was a complainer.  Never in my life have I heard so much whining!  A small group of us younger seniors stuck together for stimulation and survival.  Lessons learned: avoid the EASY programs. Also maintaining optimism as we grow is crucial to aging well.

Despite the whining there were wonderful parts to the program. A visit to the desert botanical gardens included two incredible art exhibits amongst the plants.

The Four Seasons bbotanical-facey Philip Haas featured 15′ tall sculptures of fruit, vegetables and plant foliage. Awesome!

Also the innovative sculptures of Carolina Escobar wrapped around and through cactus and other plants  throughout the gardbotanical-scultpureens.




The Phoenix Symphony on NY Eve was such an incredible treat. I was so inspired that I bought tickets for our regional symphony next week. I have been thinking about going to the symphony for a really long time.  I have no idea what stopped me before because the right time is now!

We also sat through two lectures on the anatomy and function of the violin and the trumpet. It was everything I could do to stay awake and having sacrificed the Rose Parade to learn about trumpeting made it all the more painful. Lessflw-homeon learned: I don’t really care how that horn was made just blow it already!

This program like the one last spring in Texas we learned about storytelling. We all have a story. We should all be telling it!  Unforgettable!

We toured the Phoenix Art Museum and the beautiful Heard Museum and again I learned I am a visual learner. I just want to see it with my eyes. I don’t care much to read about it.

Two more great experiences were to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West…aka his home in Scottsdale.  It was a textural and pattern junkie’s delight and I shot many images there. And the fabulous interior of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel with its collection of Navajo rugs…stunning!

While I was very tempted to buy two gorgeousblue-poinsettia art pieces  in Scottsdale I bought nothing but a FLW inspired fridge magnet!  Between cleaning out my father’s things,  having the urge to purge my own and starting a new life chapter I just did not want anything bad enough to bring it home. Lesson learned: I have enough. Possibly the best lesson of all: to experience life without having to possess it.

Got blue poinsettia?

It was good to have a change of scenery and great now to be home and in the studio once again.

hitting the road…

Monday, August 27th, 2012

This weekend two pieces from my Upheaval series are headed off on an exciting trip around the globe to Corsica, an island off the coast of France for an international invitational exhibit.

The exhibit theme “Connexions: California-Corsica is curated and installed by Lisah Horner, executive director of ACCI Gallery in Berkeley, CA, of which I am an artist member.  The Corsica exhibit runs Sept 6-25 at the Casa Agostino Giafferri in Poggio-di-Venaco, Corsica and features the paper and fiber work of 34 Bay Area artists.


In this case it is very true that my art is getting out more than I do. What I would give to go anywhere right now! I continue to heal and rehab from my 2nd knee replacement in 10 months time. My eye is on the prize however, the end goal of being able to move freely in the world once again, to resume art-making and potentially accompany my work to some other exotic locale.