Visions Art Museum and More!

I simply had to go! The traveling SAQA exhibit Art Meets Science opened on February 3rd at Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA. My quilt Nature’s Fractal is a part of this traveling exhibition and this is the only West Coast venue.  (See the sidebar for an explanation of the exhibit and where it goes next.)

Fellow Postmark’d Art buddy Kay Laboda laid out and hung the exhibit and invited me to stay with her during my visit. I hopped on a plane Tuesday morning and Kay met me at the airport. Here’s how I spotted Kay

We drove straight to the museum

I wish I could have been there February 3rd when the museum was buzzing for the opening of the current exhibits. The announcement of the naming of their large gallery space as the Del Thomas Gallery also occurred during the opening celebration. Del is an avid collector of art quilts who established the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection in 1985. I lingered over two exhibits hung as you enter the museum. The first features 40 twelve-inch square quilts from the TCQC. A return engagement for TCQC is scheduled for the summer of 2013 as New Quilts from the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection and will feature works acquired since a summer 2007 exhibit at the Museum.

The other exhibit features fourteen-inch-square quilts from the Canyon Quilters Guild challenge Magical Mystery Tour: Homage to the Beatles. Here is Kay with her entry Baby, You Can Drive My Car (top, left)

Next I took in the Art Meets Science exhibit which filled the rest of the museum. Here I am with Nature’s Fractal

This is a sun print of two woodwardia fern leaves on cotton fabric. It is heavily quilted using silk, metallic and rayon threads; painted and hand beaded. The woodwardia fern is one example of the quasi-self-similar fractal as defined by mathematicians. Leaves repeat — though not exactly — in ever-smaller forms.

I completed this work in 2009 and almost immediately sent it off for this traveling tour which will be completed late this year. Everyone I spoke with at the VAM indicated that the exhibit has been very popular and they received lots of positive comments. They sold out of the exhibit catalogue within the first week. It was quite a thrill to see the entire exhibit.

This is the first time Kay and I have met in person, though we’ve communicated on-line for several years now. We enjoyed the opportunity to get to know one another more intimately. Kay is an avid giraffe collector. I had a hint of that before I even entered her home.

Her golden lab Casey made me feel right at home.

On Wednesday Kay shared a few of her favorite places with me. We drove to La Jolla to enjoy the Bay. First stop: Seal Beach.

I don’t have to tell you that it was a day far more beautiful than most expect during the winter! It was the stuff picture postcards are made of. We walked a large circle around a beautiful park following the water and animals. There seemed to be something interesting and fun every few feet — I couldn’t stop clicking the camera!

We encountered wildlife at our feet, in the air and in the water. Brown Pelicans are native to California. They are an endangered species so it was wonderful to see so many in one place. On the sides of cliffs

and in flight

Then there was Tristan, the seven-year-old Toy Pomeranian. He and his human companion enjoy a walk by the water every day. She told us that Tristan would soon have his own page on Facebook.

The lifeguard box, tightly locked, was intriguing

For lunch we drove near the airport with its spectacular views.

We still had about an hour before I needed to be at the airport so we went back to the VAM. Just down the hall from the Visions exhibits is the home of the San Diego Watercolor Society. We toured their current exhibit A Match Made in Heaven. It was wonderful.

In the hallway between the two exhibit venues were some incredible benches

Just outside the museum, in a covered walkway were more benches

So much art . . . so little time. Thank you Kay for sharing your beautiful city with me!

Maple Print

I played with quite a few possibilities for thread painting the final maple leaf prints. I wanted a clear contrast to the weight and value thread I had used the first time around. I chose two threads:  a dark navy and a 1960’s green (think Laugh In, mini skirts and Goldie Hawn), both 60 wt. cotton.  Both go through the same needle.

I’m happy with the level of contrast.

I also like the way the two threads pile up on the surface of the fabric, more like the thick work of hand embroidery than the fine line of the varigated thread. I’m not sure how I’ll use this print but I like what has happened to it so far.

Slow Down

I’m hearing this from several sources — Simon Sinek recently posted an article entitled “Go Slow” and Jenny Lyon talked about slowing down in a class I hosted recently. Simon addressed the subject as a life-style issue. Jenny was referring to the peddle-to-the-metal approach for quilting. Her experience has taught her that if she wants precision, beautiful work when she quilts, she has to slow down. Why do so many of us believe that life needs to be lived at the speed of sound?

I thoroughly enjoy what I do. In fact, I enjoy each step in the process of creating something new — enough that I want to savor the doing. My recent distraction with the lint trap of my dryer tells me just how much I want to slow down, be aware of the moment and act on what comes up. Acting against my normal focused practice, I did just that and it was so satisfying!

Now I am back to work on the sun print I started last week. I thread painted the first batch of leaves with a Rainbow thread by Superior.

It’s back on my design wall while I decide on the thread for the remaining leaves. Patience. This is good for me.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty to do… creating some fun boxes for my dinner table Christmas day. I learned how to make these little gems from my friend Aileyn several years ago. I used greeting cards from last year. The boxes measure 1 3/4″ square by 3/4″ deep and they hold one piece of candy. They are utterly charming on the table.

Here’s to being in the moment.

Sun Print – Work in Progress

When the paint has dried — I use Setacolor Transparent paint — the fun begins. This print is 17″ x 22″.

I always enjoy the surprises:  the effect of the rock salt, my last-minute decision to add some muddy brown paint here and there, the variation of the blue.

When my friend Jennifer saw it on Monday her comments were “Oh, I like the colors.” And then, “And it’s not ginkgos!” Well, yes, another little surprise.

Atmospheric Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
but this blog is sooo delightful
Until the internet gets slow,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

No, it isn’t actually snowing in Oakland, CA. I couldn’t resist sharing a bit of holiday cheer thanks to the clever folks at WordPress. They even supplied the poem.

In fact, it’s such a beautiful day here that when I came across some still-supple leaves on my walk this morning I gathered them to create a small print.

This is still quite wet but it will dry quickly in the dry air conditions we have right now. Stay tuned.

And if you’re in snow country, stay warm!