Browsing On Pinterest

May 9th, 2018

My readers know I dip into Pinterest every now and then, sometimes browsing and procrastinating for hours; but this morning I was a little ahead of my loosely imposed daily schedule so took ‘only a few minutes’ …. then felt moved to write a little on this, create and resize a collage pic to illustrate this, and so really, nearly an hour has flown !  But shortly I’ll head back to more quilting on the one I’m half way through.

To me, Pinterest is an ideas source, just like what journalists call a morgue – collection of files and clippings for reference.  I’m so glad I don’t have bulging drawers of paper clippings gathering dust somewhere – thank goodness for computers.  I watch out for interesting edge treatments, presentations, lines and shapes, contemporary hand stitch, holes, and a few other categories for which I have boards.  I just checked and among the 13 boards I have one for recipes – which I really don’t collect at all, hardly ever consult the cookbooks I have, and instead focus either on family favs or on the spot creativity.

With the exception of the broderie lace upper right, included because I own it and it inspires me  (holes) the other sections on this collage are samples I have probably tried out for reference having seen something relating to them on Pinterest.  This morning  I saw and saved some contemporary hand stitch that reminded me of mending, and several  things on paper which took me browsing into a couple of interesting bloggers’ sites that seem to have been abandoned several years ago – that’s always a bit disappointing.  But, hey, Life intervenes at times, and I’ll look further to see if they are still producing, perhaps in another medium.  But my hour’s nearly up, so that’s all for today 🙂

The Chinese Coins Connection

April 29th, 2018

A day or two ago I commented on facebook to Kay Korkos who showed a pic of a vibrant, colourful, bedquilt she made in the traditional Chinese Coins pattern.  I said how that particular pattern had provided ongoing inspiration for many pieces in my Ebb&Flow series which began around 2004.  But then I remembered that I recently fished Green Island out of the cupboard, and it dates from 1996, so I’ve been inspired by C.C. for longer than I had thought !

Green Island 142cm x 104cm, 1996,  photographed against black

I think this is a poor quality DYI scan of a slide, the background was plain black not a dark print as it appears here.  I put it up on the design wall and looked at it for a while, as I hadn’t really looked at it in ages; and it sort of surprised me how much I love it.  I need to put it up somewhere – or perhaps someone else does 🙂  The irregular shaped top is internally reinforced so that the pieces stay upright flat against the wall and don’t flop forward.

Spiritual Offerings, Not On Beaches

April 23rd, 2018

My longer term readers will remember that frequently I have posted pictures of offerings I’ve found principally on the beaches of Uruguay, but also encountered on a visit to Cuba.  Collections of fruit and vegetables, fresh flowers, grains, often coins and candles, and usually with some bird or animal sacrifice, commonly chickens, roosters or doves and sometimes goat limbs or heads.  It has been a while since my last offerings post, though, for reasons I’ll skip here.  I’ve occasionally seen them on roadsides and at traffic intersections, for years in my ignorance believing these were dumped rubbish.  Uruguayans do litter their streets terribly, but these are, well, now I realise, offerings, and whatever they are hoping for is better served by placement where many people will pass by, I’m told.

These offerings relate to the makumba belief system that prevails here, Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay in particular, but also across the Caribbean and other parts of latin America where African people were brought across the Atlantic as captive slaves in the C16-C19.  Links to some of those posts are here,  here and here .

Early last year some Aussie visitors were in port for the day on a cruise ship, and Mike and I took them on a whirlwind tour of Montevideo, concluding with lunch at the port just before their departure.  As we often do, we started with The Cerro – a high hill overlooking the port and city of Montevideo, on which was constructed a spanish fortress in the early 1800s.  I was not entirely surprised to find an offering tucked into forked branches of a tree on the side of the hill, overlooking the harbour and city beyond.  I wouldn’t have said it was a high traffic site, but it does have a view of water – which is another very auspicious factor, apparently.

Offerings in (left) forked tree branches and (right) street intersection

A few weeks ago we were taking some departing friends around a couple of parts of the city they’d never managed to visit in the years they lived here.  After The Cerro fortress we made our way to the northern side of the city where in the barrio of Cerrito de la Vittoria stands the huge magnificent church of the Cerrito de la Vittoria   Right in the middle of the intersection where two  of the surrounding streets meet, was an offering in a cardboard box, including dead chicken, fruit, vegetables, flowers, corn and other stuff.  Nothing had driven over it – such a thing is probably a common sight there.  We’ll be going up there again soon, so maybe there’ll be another.

Repeat Units in Grids

April 22nd, 2018

This morning I was reading a lovely catalogue I bought on Pacific tapa cloth  when I was in Auckland 10+ years ago.  I was shocked to find I’d never even dipped into it, and feel a bit less ignorant now than I was at breakfast time.  Lots of the photos feature designs on grids.  There are hundreds of islands in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia where it is made, and tapas from the main islands show enormous differences in patterning and in painting or printing techniques, sometimes combined. One pattern from the island of Niue caught my eye and I diagrammed the content inside the squares.  The patterning over in adjoining squares is my doodling…

If I have a grid/block unit in mind, I’ll diagram it out on one of the sheets of paper I’ve printed off with approx 5cm squares especially for this, and always have some handy; after all I do love grids and when you look around, so do lots of other people too; the artist Agnes Martin for example, said  ‘When I first made a grid, I happened to be thinking of trees, and then a grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it, and then I was satisfied.  I thought ‘This is my vision’.  I can’t claim to have had such a lightning bolt experience, but I have definitely been influenced by learning traditional American geometric patchwork back in the late 80s, before I veered off into the original and non traditional.  About 20 years ago I was given a catalogue of an Agnes Martin exhibition in Madrid, with text in spanish and english – by someone here in Uruguay who was able to see how important grids were to me.  The paintings in that show included many of her grids and lines, most in the soft colours from the New Mexico desert she favoured, and I fell in love with her work.  

I also diagram out more complex things in the pages of a nice cloth covered sketchbook given me by my creative son many years ago – it’s approaching full, but there is another to hand.  I sometimes go back and carefully look at the pages from years ago – occasionally I have another go at ideas in ways I’d never have done when I first drew them up.  It’s an interesting record – not always dated or strictly chronological either, but today I thought I’d enlarge on the first two diagrams that are top and centre of the page, and did diagram #3 dating it.  I know to ‘do something’ with it I’d need to consider the lines and their shapes more carefully, and I think the resulting units need to be bigger than I’m enjoying working with at the moment (units of ~8cm finished) so scale’s a problem.   So I’ll leave it sitting there on the page – I might never use it, just as I haven’t #2 and #1, but this is definitely not a waste of time as my mind will be on it in the background and something quite unexpected might emerge the next time I look through that book 🙂

 

 

 

Arcs Are Everywhere, Take 2

April 19th, 2018

Yes, they are everywhere around us ,  and I love the technical fit with the freehand cutting and piecing I use in many of my quilted textile statements.

Lately I’ve used strong bright colours with black particularly, and just felt I needed to go into something soft and neutral – signifying mood change or looking for balance, perhaps?   And lo and behold, last month New Zealand friend Doris MacGibbon arrived with a gift of some lovely fabrics I might very well have chosen myself if I’d been anywhere near a fabric shop that stocks such things – not in Montevideo in a million years, I think.  Several fabrics made me think of wintery beaches in various places – too cold for sunbathers and swimmers, and perhaps windy, like lots of memories of Greens Beach, northern Tasmania, or this selection from the Falkland Islands trip I took a few years back:

Confession: I did not realise I had ‘breaking wave action’ until I took these photos of the pieced top!

 

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