As summer winds to a close and I get ready to go back to school (work) I will miss the life I lead when I am at Lake Winnipesaukee. It always seems like the sunsets the last few nights are the best of the season, making it even more difficult to leave.
Sue and I have our own 2 person quilt camp (well, 3 of us if you count mom who sews but doesn’t participate in all the other messy stuff). We use our garage here at mom’s summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee and set it up as a dye/paint/stencil/gelli printing/paintstick/stamping/other messy creative wanderings mini factory. We play around with yardage adding layers using different art techniques until we come up with some cool fabric or run out of time, whichever comes first. We pin things up on a design wall (which could also be called the back of a flannel backed plastic table cloth thumbtacked to the wall) and admire our creations, give each other feedback and Sue even completes things.
This year we started our quilt camp off in Virginia by taking a one day workshop with Jaime Malden on stamping with carved wooden stamps from India. We followed her techniques by making an apron as a practice piece and then took off with paint as well as discharge (removing dye) using the vast selection of wood blocks she had available. Then we drove up the next day. It was a great way to get a creative muse going and all the way to New Hampshire we talked about what we would (or could) do the next few weeks in the garage.
My mother, my friend, Sue and I went to Lowell Massachusetts to see The New England Quilt Museum and their exhibit called “Silk”, because it was closing at the end of the weekend. It had been a few years since we went to the museum and we enjoyed the exhibit and the expanded gift shop. Sadly, because of the museum photo policy I can not show you any of the beautiful quilts which were on display. Many were log cabins, a few were crazy quilts, including one which had spectacular embroidery work on it, and a few were contemporary in design. Most were very old, ranging from the 1700s to one’s created within the last decade.
In my opinion the best part of the show were six modern quilts which had been transformed by the Luminarium Dance Company to “take on the concept of threading motion” where dancers interacted with each quilt projected on to a backdrop. It is rather hard to explain, but the videos were very creative and I do hope this group continues to create this innovative art to highlight quilting with such a spectacular display of videography. My favorite was a quilt that included a vertical line with short horizontal lines projected onto the dancers back. As the dancer moved the quilt moved just like a spinal cord would move. It was fantastic to watch. The director’s portfolio can be viewed at: http://www.merliguerra.com/HOME-bio.html
The museum includes a quilt research library as well as a lending library for quilt books. With membership you can use the library database and the librarian will send you any book they have in the lending library via the US mail, no matter where in the US you live. Check it out! http://nequiltmuseum.org/neqm-library.html
Lowell was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and the US Park Service has incorporated a major section of the city into a national park. My quilting friends, who visit Lowell, should not just go the quilt museum but explore this mill town’s history for a full understanding of how women and technology made this historic change happen in America.
Today I went with my friend Sue to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds. It was a glorious weather day and the fairgrounds were very crowded. If you have never gone but are interested in knitting, crocheting, felting, dyeing, farming, or anything else related to sheep or wool from the beginning of the process to a finished product, including eating lamb, this festival is well worth your time. Both parking and admittance are free. It seems I took most of the photos of sheep even though we spent about 15 minutes with sheep and 6 hours on shopping!
Last night Bob and I stopped at the Lyndon Johnson Memorial Grove. I had been there once before to watch fourth of July fireworks launched from the grounds of the Washington Monument but that was around 1978. Ever since then I thought I had been to Lady Byrd Johnson Park but I was wrong. The two parks adjoin each other on the opposite side of the Potomac River between the Pentagon and the West Potomac Park which butts up against the Tidal Basin. From LBJ Memorial Grove Park you have nice views of the monuments in DC as well as Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon. I can see why the Johnsons stopped there to look out on the city whenever they returned from Texas to Washington. I am sure when they were living in Washington all the tall buildings beyond the Jefferson and the Lincoln memorials were not there and the view was better than it is today. While not tall enough to totally obstruct views they certainly give it a cluttered feeling.
We parked in the lot overlooking the Pentagon and used the walking bridge across Boundary Channel to access the park. So, in effect we parked in Virginia and walked into DC.
The Smithsonian Institution maintains some lovely gardens and grounds around their museums. Yesterday, Bob and I visited two of them; the Ripley Garden- a narrow garden with a pathway that winds between the Arts and Industry Building and the Hirschhorn Museum and the Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Castle Building. Walkers can easily cut through to the mall from Independence Avenue by walking along the pathway of the Ripley Garden. It is narrow but filled with mostly small scaled plants, many of which were in bloom after a very cool March. It also has benches so you can sit and rest those tired sightseer feet.
The Haupt Garden is on the Independence Avenue side of the Smithsonian Castle building. Even though it is on ground level it is really a rooftop garden since several different museum buildings are under the garden and have entrances among the plantings. The Saucer Magnolias were in bloom along with one weeping cherry (I think). The surrounding buildings and the underground warmth of this rooftop garden make this ecosystem different from the general area around DC. This makes it possible to plant varieties that otherwise might find it too cold.
The exhibit at the Piedmont Arts Musueum included some pieces of three dimensional work. Our friend, Elaine had an accordian “book” of small quilts made from silk. We had seen it displayed on a table a few years ago at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, VA but this time it was hanging on the wall.
Another interesting display was this circular two sided quilt which was hung so you could walk around it for a complete view.