Archive for the ‘Be Happy!’ Category

Koi at the Whistler Museum of Art–Viewer’s Choice!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

OMG! Koi won Viewer’s Choice! Earlier this year, I was elated when I learned that two of my art quilts, Clothed in Color and Koi, had been juried in to the Out of the Blue art quilt exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, Massachusetts.  I was even more tickled when I learned that Koi would be the publicity image for the show (blogpost Koi on the publicity card, Whistler).  The Artists’ Reception was yesterday, August 15, and I was so happy to see the beautiful quilts and meet many of the artists and  I was even more thrilled with the award.  I’m honored to be in such elite company.

After winning Viewer's Choice for Koi at the Out of the Blue exhibit, Whistler House Museum of Art

After winning Viewer’s Choice for Koi at the Out of the Blue exhibit, Whistler House Museum of Art

When I first moved to Maine, I visited a show at the Whistler and thought “if I can ever get in to this exhibit, I will know my skill level has reached where I want it to be.”  So I feel grateful and rewarded that a decade of learning, working hard and creating art has raised the quality of my work to be worthy of being included here.

View of the exhibit

View of the exhibit

I took many photos of the Out of the Blue exhibit, but realize I totally forgot to get one of Clothed in Color and its neighbors.  The photographer for the event got one, though, so I may be able to share that.  Apparently there is a cash award that comes with the prize–my second cash award (other one, Fields of Gold,  was in Houston a few years back), and my second Viewer’s Choice (the other was for Bijagos Warrior, many years ago at the San Juan County Fair).  Needless to say, I’m thrilled and honored.

Betty Busby won two awards, The Whistler House Award and Juror's Award.  One was for this stunning southwest landscape (sorry I don't have a non-blocked-by-person image!)

Betty Busby won two awards, The Whistler House Award and Juror’s Award. One was for this stunning southwest landscape (sorry I don’t have a non-blocked-by-person image!)

Then, there is Betty’s dramatic Willow Revisited:

This large quilt by Betty Busby won the other award.  It is quite large and very stunning.

Willow Revisited, 66 x51 inches.  This large quilt by Betty Busby won the other award. It is quite large and very stunning.

Jill Kerttula also had two breathtaking pieces in the show.  I kept going back to look at VA Beach.

I was absolutely enchanted by Jill Kerttula's two quilts.  She described how she loves photography, and makes works where the photo is enriched by the stitching, and the stitching is supported by the photography.   This piece is

I was absolutely enchanted by Jill Kerttula’s two quilts. She described how she loves photography, and makes works where the photo is enriched by the stitching, and the stitching is supported by the photography. This piece is VA Beach.

Blue Brush by Jill Kerttula also won a Whistler House award and was impeccably designed and created.

Blue Brush by Jill Kerttula also won a Whistler House award and was impeccably designed and created.

The level of excellence of the selected works was tops.

Viewers looking at Koi.

Viewers looking at Koi.

Here are a few other of the many good pieces, art quilts that struck me:

 is made by  and has wonderful quilting.

Volta #4:  Confrontation, by Sandra Palmer Ciolino,  has wonderful quilting.

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Ovum Blocks #2 by Valerie Maser-Flanagan; lots of great surface design.

Two small works.

Two small works. Top:  Circle the Block by Deborah Babin.   Bottom:  The Threaded Cat Blues By Rita Daley Hannifin

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Zakim on the Charles and Blue Abstract by Lori Kay

Wen Redmond's

Wen Redmond’s Trees Singing

Your view as you walked into the gallery.

Your view as you walked into the gallery, which was set with tables for the reception.

 

 

Out of the Blue at the Whistler House Museum of Art

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Well that was FUN!  Got home yesterday from errands, gathered up the mail from the box, and found this in the pile!

Publicity card for the Out of the Blue exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, Mass.  Yep, that's MY quilt!  SQUEEE!

Publicity card for the Out of the Blue exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, Mass. Yep, that’s MY quilt! SQUEEE!

I just checked, and apparently I forgot to announce here (as opposed to over on Facebook) that TWO of my works have been accepted into the Out of the Blue art quilt exhibit this summer at the Whistler House Museum of Art.  (If you click on that link you’ll see a thumbnail of my quilt; click on that for more information.) Yes, that Whistler, James McNeill Whistler, the one who painted Arrangement in Gray and Black, No. 1, better known as “Whistler’s Mother.”  Can you say GIDDY!   When I first moved to Maine, I learned about the Lowell Quilt Festival and the exhibits in town at the Whistler and the Brush Gallery.  So I went and thought:  I’ll know I’m making it if I can ever get in there.   Well, early this summer (I had signed up eons ago to be on the email list) I received a call for entry.  I thought:  why not!   All I can do is send the entry fee, and it will support art quilts no matter what.  Imagine my delight when I got in!

Yep, my art quilt Koi is the publicity image for a museum show!  My self-portrait “Clothed in Color” is also in the exhibit.  Here’s the back side of the card (minus my home address because this is the internet):

The exhibit will be open Aug. 12 to Sept. 19th of this year.  The Reception is Saturday, Aug. 15th from 2-4.

The exhibit will be open Aug. 12 to Sept. 19th of this year. The Reception is Saturday, Aug. 15th from 2-4. I love that they included the materials, including MistyFuse! 

And here is Clothed in Color:

A self-portrait --hmm.... just occurs to me there is some symmetry of a sort here, as Whistler is famous for his portraits--

A self-portrait –hmm…. just occurs to me there is some symmetry of a sort here, as Whistler is famous for his portraits– anyway, a self-portrait in no natural colors (well, other than the blue of my eyes, but my eyes are a bit more blue gray than blue….)

That weekend is also the Mancuso show in Manchester, NH.  It will be a VERY LONG day, but I’m thinking I will try to drive to Manchester (several hours away), spend a couple hours at the Mancuso show, then about 1 pm get on the road to Lowell to arrive shortly after 2 for the reception, then begin the trek home (about 4 1/2 – 5 hours).

Congratulations to the other artists in the ehxibit–I hope to see  some of you there!  And thank you to the jurors for accepting my works and to all those involved in the decision to select the publicity image!

And to round things up, here is the back side of Koi!

Koi is actually a two-sided quilt.  This photo was taken before adding the hanging sleeve to the top of the back (imagine lying on the bottom of the koi pond looking up at the fish bellies and the trees above)

Koi is actually a two-sided quilt. This photo was taken before adding the hanging sleeve to the top of the back (imagine lying on the bottom of the koi pond looking up at the fish bellies and the trees above).  I made the top facing so that if anyone were to purchase it and wanted to hang it so you could see both sides, you can insert a metal slat and have it hidden.  Then I had to add the requisite 4″ hanging sleeve for standard display.

 

Re-Entry!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

As usual, re-entry to home life after Houston is a whirlwind, as you might gather by the absence of posts here!  Joshua’s birthday is always just a few days after my return, so usually the suitcases aren’t emptied and put away before I’m shopping for birthday dinner and so on.  Life was complicated by the snowstorm which cancelled my flight from Boston, causing me to drive home in the snow in the dark in a rental car.   At least they cancelled flights early, so I got home not much later than I would have had I waited in  Boston for my connecting flight.  In the next few posts I’ll share International Quilt Market and Festival, but first, a little bit of home.  Since US Thanksgiving is in two days, and since there is nothing I am more thankful for than my family and home, let’s start here.

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining.  Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow.  I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house.  But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining. Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow. I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house. But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

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Aren’t those colors fantastic?

Guess we should have taken the settee and rockers in a bit earlier.  They are now stashed in the garage!

The snowy front porch.

The snowy front porch.

Then, pumpkin pie.  The shopping list for Joshua’s birthday always begins with fixings for his birthday pie, which is what he has wanted since he was about 10.  We’ve kept the “year” / age candles as the boys grew, and keep re-using them.  Joshua is now starting his third decade—how can he be 21????????

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot--mama delivers the pie.  Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot–mama delivers the pie. Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.  Notice he’s wearing the sweater Eli and I bought him in England?

Then I was sneak-attack with the camera.  None of them were thrilled, but what the heck.  I’m Mama, and I want pictures!

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Eli, muttering because he knows I'm taking a picture, but I love this one!

Eli, muttering because he knows I’m taking a picture, but I love this one!

And the next day, three fourths of the feline contingent:

L to R:  Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

L to R: Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

I’ll have a new post tomorrow starting with International Quilt Market.

 

Daffodils and tulips, oh my!

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Well… the garden sure doesn’t LOOK like it has had work done.  As a matter of fact, it looks like we’ve done nothing.  But there are 86 tulip bulbs and 300 daffodil bulbs in the ground!

Planting daffodil bulbs on our "meadow" (i.e. a place we don't mow).  I told Eli, Paul, Joshua and Ashley they looked like a road crew:  standing around looking at a hole, holding tools, one maybe working....

Planting daffodil bulbs on our “meadow” (i.e. a place we don’t mow). I told Eli, Paul, Joshua and Ashley they looked like a road crew: standing around looking at a hole, holding tools, one maybe working….

On Saturday I started in on planting the tulip bulbs near the house.  All the bulbs in fact are fragrant.  I picked Angelique, Tacoma and another variety that is a pale yellow peony style (12 of each) and in landscape (ie smaller, less expensive) 50 (!!!) Orange Princess, this incredible orange with pink and green stripes.  I figure I can get some help deterring the deer from walking Widgeon nearby.  Ahem.

That comment galvanized them (Laughing here!)--they were a huge help.  With my arthritis in my wrists and hands it would have taken me forever rather than 90 minutes to plant 260 bulbs!  THANK YOU family dears!

That comment galvanized them (Laughing here!)–they were a huge help. With my arthritis in my wrists and hands it would have taken me forever rather than 90 minutes to plant 260 bulbs! THANK YOU family dears!

Then Joshua and Ashley came over and we had a belated b-day celebration for me (we had to wait for the bulbs to arrive) and planted daffodil bulbs.  Joshua, Paul and Eli dug about 17 holes; Ashley and I planted.   Then, Joshua fixed an awesome mac and cheese with about six kinds of cheese, oven-roasted grape tomatoes, fresh basil, bacon….can you say heavenly?  Finally, I had fixed sticky toffee pudding, which is this delectable English cake-like dessert with sauce, served with vanilla ice cream.  SLURP.  A lovely family day.

Now every spring when I look out on our hill and see the bulbs, I will remember this day.  Of course, the bulbs are on about 1/9 of the meadow, so I’m thinking we may need to make this an annual event for several years.  I’ve always dreamed of having an entire field of daffs–how happy can a garden get, to be filled with daffodils?

Eli brought Widgeon out, so I decided to get down on the ground and take a photo from pug's-eye-level of him and the view.  Except he immediate galumphed over to me....

Eli brought Widgeon out, so I decided to get down on the ground and take a photo from pug’s-eye-level of him and the view. Except he immediately galumphed over to me….

and this is the shot I ended up with!

A happy, wild-eyed pug ready to smooch his mama (that would be me)

A happy, wild-eyed pug ready to smooch his mama (that would be me)

Then today I planted the last of the daffodil bulbs, 25 for near the deck/entry, and transplanted a peony.  We tried to kill a baptisia plant near the peony  so that we could SEE the peony and deal with the VW-Beetle-sized baptisia shrub and failed spectacularly, so I’ve decided if you can’t conquer it, move the peony!

Widgeon looking regal and dignified.  Well, he thinks so.  Then we all crack up because he is so funny!

Widgeon looking regal and dignified. Well, he thinks so. Then we all crack up because he is so funny! Can you say LOVE THE PUG!

Now to enjoy the winter blizzards and blinding beauty of snow, then endure mud season, and finally wait for spring to spring and see how the bulbs look and smell.  Joshua and Ashley will be receiving a fragrant bouquet (provided they bloom!).  And I can tell you if those Orange Princess tulips are as glorious as they looked in the photo, there WILL be dyeing of fabric and a quilt of ginormous tulips!  I promise I’ll share garden photos in spring!

England 2014: the 13th, Stonehenge

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

This late afternoon visit is one of the memorable moments of my life.   If you stick with me and go through this post, you’ll not only see photos, but two short videos I took while walking inside, so you get to walk along with me!

On the perimeter path at Stonehenge at about 7 pm

On the perimeter path at Stonehenge at about 7 pm.  On a typical summer’s day, some 3000 tourists visit Stonehenge, which is located on the Salisbury Plain.  They must keep to this walkway around the stones because they were being loved to death, with folks compacting the soil so much it was disturbing the structures.  But with our after-hours tour, we got to go inside.

The tour Eli and I took, with Premium Tours and here, visited Bath, Lacock and Stonehenge (first part of the day blogged about here).  For a considerable (but worth it!) sum, a few companies are allowed to bring a tour bus in at either sunrise or sunset, before or after the general public is allowed in, so you have the grounds to yourself.  Since at least when I was in school in England in 1978, you couldn’t walk near to the stones but on a path a distance away (where I took this first photo).  Now, these groups are allowed (in groups of 25) INSIDE the CIRCLE!  Keep reading…the best, longest video is toward the end of the post in sequence.

The Salisbury Plain as seen from the grounds at Stonehenge.

The Salisbury Plain as seen from the grounds at Stonehenge.

Eli on the approach road toward the stones, which are to the left of his face.  The new wonderful visitor's center is some distance removed so you get a feeling for the vastness of the plain and the size of the stones as you approach the circle, as people would have eons ago.

Eli on the approach road toward the stones, which are to the left of his face. The new wonderful visitor’s center is some distance removed so you get a feeling for the vastness of the plain and the size of the stones as you approach the circle, as people would have eons ago. Just to the left of Eli’s head, about the level of his chin, you can see a structure beyond the fence post…that’s it.  Seems small on the broad horizon.  Just wait!

The official sign near the visitor's center

The official sign near the visitor’s center

From that perimeter pathway.  As the sun began to set and the clouds began to disperse, a rainbow appeared!

From that perimeter pathway. As the sun began to set and the clouds began to disperse, a rainbow appeared!

I moved a bit around the path so that it looks like the end of the rainbow is in the middle of the stone.  Just looking at this I am transported to the cool evening air, the rustling of the strong breeze....

I moved a bit around the path so that it looks like the end of the rainbow is in the middle of the stone. Just looking at this I am transported to the cool evening air, the rustling of the strong breeze….the hush as we all stood looking.  There were the 50 people on the bus, our tour guide and two security guards.  LOTS better than a throng of thousands like during the day!

The site allows only 25 persons at a time inside the circle, and you are not allowed to touch the stones.  Luckily, Eli and I got ourselves into the second group.

At one of the signs on the perimeter path--yes, we were really there!

At one of the signs on the perimeter path–yes, we were really there!

Even a teenager could be impressed, getting out his camera and checking the photo.

Even a teenager could be impressed, getting out his camera and checking the photo.

Metering the camera on the sky led to this stunning silhouette as the sun started to go down.

Metering the camera on the sky led to this stunning silhouette as the sun started to go down. Notice the guard on the left, to give a sense of how BIG these stones are!

And Eli, moving away from the path and the circle to get a wide angle shot.

And Eli, moving away from the path and the circle to get a wide angle shot. Just by the trees on his right is a major road, the equivalent of a US interstate.  They are working on relocating that major road farther away from the site.

After the first group, it was our turn to go inside.  The guide (the guy in black pants and white shirt on the left) had the kids go first and pretend to push the stones apart.

After the first group, it was our turn to go inside. The guide (the guy in black pants and white shirt on the left) had the kids go first and pretend to push the stones apart.

From inside the circle.

From inside the circle.  That tallest stone in the center has a nipple on top:  at the top of each of the standing stones is a nipple with a corresponding divot on the under side of the lintel / cross-piece.  Amazing to think considering what tools they had when this was built.  

At the top, where the cross beam rests atop a post, a bird's nest.

At the top, where the cross beam rests atop a post, a bird’s nest.

And about five feet above my head, a stray bit of wool blown from a sheep somewhere, stuck on the lichens.

And about five feet above my head, a stray bit of wool blown from a sheep somewhere, stuck on the lichens.

Here’s the first video, me turning around inside the circle; if you click on the four arrows at the bottom of the screen it will go full-screen (then press escape to go back to regular view):

Stonehenge 1-Inside the Circle from Sarah Ann Smith on Vimeo.

 

Decided to lay down on the grounds--no, didn't feel any deep vibrations or c ommunication from the other side!

Decided to lay down on the grounds–no, didn’t feel any deep vibrations or communication from the other side!

Eli at Stonehenge.

Eli at Stonehenge.

And me, carefully NOT touching the rock!

And me, carefully NOT touching the rock!

The sun begins to set on the Salisbury Plain.

The sun begins to set on the Salisbury Plain.

And the second video, walking around the stone circle.  Remember, if you click on the four arrows at the bottom of the screen it will go full-screen (then press escape to go back to regular view).  Come walk with me and listen to the wind and sigh:

Stonehenge 2–Outside the Circle from Sarah Ann Smith on Vimeo.

 

Then the sunset began to glow…OH MY!

Sunset at Stonehenge, August 13, 2014.   SIGH.  Contentment.

Sunset at Stonehenge, August 13, 2014. SIGH. Contentment.

Sunset, again, at Stonehenge, August 2014.

Sunset, again, at Stonehenge, August 2014.

And it seemed the horizon was ablaze...Stonehenge, August 2014.

And it seemed the horizon was ablaze…Stonehenge, August 2014.

Everyone was just awed–we were all walking around smiling and awed from ear to ear.   It was a long day, and at about 8 pm we began the trip back to London and our hotels.  Worth.  Every.  Penny.   Expensive, but worth it.   A memory for a lifetime, and so glad I got to share it with Eli.  SIGH.   Contentment.