I was fortunate to attend an extraordinary art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in early September. This was hugely popular and my first attempt to get in failed after I queued for two and a half hours and it was sold out. On my second attempt, I went with a friend who had a membership for two at the museum and we were fast tracked to the ticket booth and given a time to attend later in the day. The exhibit, with works dating from 1965-2017, Infinity Mirrors, by Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist, was unlike anything I’d seen before. There were six small rooms to enter, just two people at a time, for 20-30 seconds. In these rooms were objects, for example yellow pumpkins with black spots, pink balls with black spots, colored lights, and a series of mirrors to make the objects or lights repeat themselves giving the illusion of infinitely. It was amazing and mind-boggling. The first picture shows my favorite, the Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever. There were two peep-holes to look into the room and the lights constantly changed colors. The center mirror shows my hands holding my cell phone to take the picture.
Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots was multiple pink balls covered in black dots. The picture on the left shows the outside and the one on the right, is inside the largest ball with the mirrors and infinity effect.
Yayoi Kusama is indeed obsessed by dots. Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, consists of white stuffed fabric tubers covered in red dots. The other picture shows me in The Obliteration Room, an interactive environment where everyone was given three colored dots to stick anywhere in this room that was originally totally white. Since I attended the exhibit close to its closing after it had been running for three months, it was hard to find a space that was still white and not covered in colored dots.
Here are a couple of shots of sculptures by this incredible artist. Notice the use of dots again!
The next pictures are snaps I took during a video of the artist talking about her work. I love what she says: “I take each day as a test for how much I can contribute to society and increase peace and love around the world” and “I’m always thinking about how I can make something that people will enjoy and be moved by.” I found this exhibit so inspiring and creative. The bold use of dots, bright colors and lights, and the illusion of space generated by the use of the mirrors were fantastic.
I’m continuing from last week when I wrote about the exhibition of quilts in the barn at Cowslip Workshops, near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. The featured quilt today warrants a blog on its own so that you can enjoy the detailed photographs of this stunning piece. Quilters were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view through a window. Kay Vanstowe depicted her own house and garden with colorful flowers and figures in the window observing the view. This quilt, (actually a pair of quilts), is entitled Raffi and his Grandad Looking Through the Window at Coombe: The Effects of Light On and Through Windows.
Kay writes, “I was inspired by this picture of Raffi looking out of the bedroom window. I also wanted to use this lovely piece of Liberty print material (The Garden Flowers) which I bought in Liberty’s, London a few years ago. I was also intrigued by the way the light had different effects on the various windows and glass door and I have tried to replicate this.” Check out the detailed shots to see the intricacies and how the quilting helps to pop highlight all the beautiful floors. I love the blackbird and birdhouse too! This is a charming work of art.
See my blogs from the last two weeks for more on the quilt shop, cafe and classes at Cowslip Workshops. Store owner Jo Colwill recently appropriated one of the large barns at the farm to use as an exhibition space for quilt shows. The inside is freshly painted and the walls were adorned with quilts made by Jo, local teachers and students. Most of Jo’s quilts are quilted by long-arm machine quilter, Sandy Chandler. Quilters in the area were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view from a window. Some of these quilts will be highlighted in detail in my next two blogs. Here’s a sampling from this barn quilt show.
The row of the pictorial quilts are part of the View from a Window exhibit. The others above were all made by Jo.
The lovely antique-style medallion quilt, Cowslip Perrencombe, was machine pieced and hand appliqued by Anne Payne and machine quilted by Sandy Chandler. The pieced borders add so much to set off the delicate tree in the center. The quilt on the right is a delightful summery beach sampler made by teacher, Helen Brookham as a workshop sample.
Do visit Cowslip Workshops if you are in the Launceston area, (Cornwall, UK).
Last week’s blog introduced you to Cowslip Workshops, a wonderful quilting destination near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. There is a delightful quilting store and a cafe (see last blog). Here I highlight the classroom and the beautiful quilt hanging on the classroom wall. A variety of classes are offered throughout the year including patchwork and quilting, felting, knitting, embroidery, and willow animal sculptures. Usually the maximum number of students is eight to allow enough space for everyone and plenty of individual attention. Jo Colwill, the store owner, teaches many of the patchwork classes and also brings in regional and national teachers. Jo is on the right in the photo in a second, smaller classroom with a student. Here she demos the Bernina sewing machines that she sells.
The beautiful quilt hanging on the back wall of the classroom was made by Jo and she regards it as one of her best works. The applique and hand quilting are exquisite on this gorgeous piece. Here’s a full frontal and a couple of close-ups.
During my recent trip to Cornwall, UK, I had an unexpected treat after my UK quilting friend, Lesley Coles, told me about Cowslips Workshops. My sister and I went there, and oh, what a gem of a place! This Patchwork store, classrooms, cafe and exhibit space are located on a picturesque farm a couple of miles outside Launceston. Store owner, Jo Colwill resides at the farm and has turned the place into a regional patchwork destination infusing her love of fabric and sewing as well as running a fantastic cafe serving delicious teas and lunches. Here’s a visual tour of the store and cafe. In next week’s blog I’ll illustrate the classroom and the current exhibit in the converted barn.
The store is small but the space is well used. There is a wide selection of fabric, quilting notions, books and patterns. The attractive quilt samples hang from the irregularly shaped walls and ceilings. There’s also delightful whimsical pottery for sale.
Here’s the popular cafe, where the fare is all locally baked and the produce locally grown as much as possible. They even have their own garden growing fresh vegetables.
The lovely quilt on the wall of the cafe, depicting the local church, St. Stephen’s, was made by the store owner, Jo Colwell.
Corona II: Solar Eclipse by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Port Townsend, WA was named one of the 100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century. I had the good fortune to see this amazing quilt in a display at Houston in which those top quilts were featured and again in Paducah. The rich colors and composition are fantastic. It is now center stage at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, which is located in the path of totality for the national solar eclipse. At 1:22PM tomorrow, August 21st, Paducah will experience over two minutes of darkness in the middle of the day as the shadow of the moon passes across the sun.
Here in Western Washington, we will have 92% of totality around 10 a.m. I’m planning on observing it from the top of a mountain ridge in the Olympic Mountains and have my viewing glasses ready to go. Wherever you are, I hope that if you are experiencing this natural wonder, you will wear safety glasses to view it and enjoy it. If you aren’t in the appropriate geographical zone, you can at least appreciate Caryl’s spectacular quilt!
I’ve just returned home after a vacation in Italy and UK. In Italy, where the weather was sunny every day, the colors were so rich and vibrant with heavy saturation. In Tuscany we stopped by this beautiful field of sunflowers to take photos. I love the yellow against the the blue-blue sky and the way the sun shines through the upper petals of the flowers.
I stayed with friends in Northwestern Italy in the Piedmont area. We visited the nearest market town, Aqui Terme, and enjoyed the abundance in the local farmers’ market. The produce was so fresh and delicious. These colorful peppers are very inviting and when looking at the composition of the photo, I like the contrast of the striped coverings over the stalls.
In the UK, the hydrangeas were in full bloom and spectacular in the West Country. This one was at my niece’s farm in Dorset. Look at all the different shades in a continuum from blue to pink.
As a quilter, I feel inspired by array of natural colors in these flowers and vegetables, and I’m sure that this adds to the store on which I draw when designing my quilts.
In May, when I took a road trip to Northeastern Oregon, I went on a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mill. I’ve always admired the Pendleton products and was interested to go there to see how it’s all done. Check out this video to see the process.
The mill was founded in 1863, over 150 years ago. I was impressed by the scale and the rate of production from what is now a highly mechanized mill. The woolen fleeces are dyed, carded, roved, spun and wound onto bobbins. White yarn is also dyed into over 500 different colors. All of this takes place, before you even get into the weaving of the blankets in beautiful intricate patterns, many of which are inspired by Navajo and other Native American patterns. These designs really appeal to quilters like me and are inspriing!
The machines are huge, make a lot of noise and are incredibly fast.4.25 million pounds of raw wool is processed every year. The looms are computer programmed and automated to make these complex designs, but set up requires skilled labor and all the blankets and rugs are manually checked for flaws.
After touring the mill, I perused the “seconds” room where wonderful bargains may be found. I succumbed and bought a beautiful blue blanket which was half-price, like the ones in the stack in the photo. The only thing wrong with it was that it was made 4″ too short.
I recently visited the newly opened BARN facility at 8890 Three Tree Lane, Bainbridge Island, and was very impressed. BARN’s mission is to build and support an open, inter-generational community of artisans and makers who are dedicated to learning, teaching, sharing, and inspiring each other with creativity, craftsmanship and community service.
Their goal is to create a true community center, using craft as a magnet to bring together people who would not normally know one another or have opportunities to collaborate. They want to connect seniors eager to pass on skills they spent decades learning with young people just starting out, and longtime islanders with people who have just moved here. Working side-by-side, participants will share tips, ask questions, and lend a hand when needed, gradually building trust and new friendships. Community service projects done in BARN’s workshops will widen the circle of connections even more. The result will be a more resilient community—one where people have hands-on skills and are committed to helping one another.
Years of planning and fundraising went into BARN. The project was initiated by a group of woodworkers who wanted to share studio space, tools and expertise. The woodworkers have spent hundreds of hours making all the cabinets, tables and more. BARN has 25,000 square feet of space including 11 studios: Woodworking and Boat Building, Metalwork, Welding and Sheet Metal, Jewelry and Fine Metals, Glass Arts, Fiber Arts, Printmaking, Book Art, Writers, Kitchen Arts, and Electronic and Technical Arts. Members may use the studio space and the equipment. Classes are open to members and non-members and various organizations, such as the Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild, can meet there. This is an awesome place! Here’s a picture of the Textile Arts studio, mostly focused on weaving with several looms available for use. There are one or two sewing machines, but so far, the space is not really set up for quilters and there is no work wall. It’s early days and quilting is not currently a priority, but who knows, one day they might get a long-arm sewing machine.
My good friend and long-arm machine quilter, Wanda Rains, recently completed this delightful elephant quilt. This appliqué pattern is by Edyta Sitar, Laundry Basket Quilts. Wanda hand-appliquéd the elephants and just for fun, turned one elephant facing the opposite way from all of the others.
Check out these detailed shots of some of the elephants. I love Wanda’s choice of fabrics and all the elephants have eyes. The checked corners in the blocks and border and the dark sashing strips make a pleasing setting for this herd.