Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Good Vibrations and Happy Easter

(Above:  Girl Scouts at Mouse House ... working on their textile arts merit badge.  Click on any image in this post for an enlargement.)

One good deed deserves another!  Serendipity is in the air!  Maybe good vibes are simply blossoming with spring and in celebration of Easter.  I'd like to think so!

It all started last week with a visit from a local Girl Scout troop.  One of the members, Emily Oliver, wrote a poem that was included in Marked By the Water, a book published in conjunction with a Jasper Arts Project commemorating the first anniversary of the historic flooding in our town. For the visual arts exhibition, I created The Clothesline (which was later accepted into the Studio Art Quilt Associates' national juried H2Oh! show opening in June at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY before traveling all over the country through 2019).  I also selected three poems to stitch on layers of plastic, ribbon, snippets of chiffon and miles of metallic thread.  One of the poems I selected was called Self Portrait with Twelve Mile Creek.  I did not know that the poet was a teenager or a Girl Scout.  (I blogged about my Flood Poems HERE ... including various images of Emily's poem in stitches.)  Emily did not know me either ... or that I had been a Girl Scout all through high school.

One thing led to another ... and Emily's troop came to interview me for their textile arts badge. It was a great way to spend time sharing inspiration, a way to "give back".  The next morning, I was "giving back" in another way ... donating platelets at the American Red Cross.  I've been donating for years.  My blood type is O positive.  More importantly, my blood is CMV negative which means I've never had the flu and my blood can go to premature babies and others with immune deficiencies.  

(Above:  The Key to the Acadia Flower Shop.  10 1/2" x 8 1/2" framed.  Tagged key from the actual flower shop on a ground made from donated materials:  pink acrylic felt and an old pansy crocheted doily.  The embellished leather flowers were once a bracelet ... and also a donation to my unique stash.)

Over the weekend, I worked on a large commission (which I hope to blog later in the week) but I also found an on-line article for ArtFields, a nine-day art competition in Lake City, South Carolina where my installation Threads: Gathering My Thoughts is on display.  (I blogged about installing it with assistance from Kiwi the Art Cat HERE.)  Adam Parker wrote the article for Charleston's Post and Courier.  There's a nice section on my work and a color image.  On-line articles come and go.  I wanted to get a print copy ... and asked on Facebook if anyone knew where to acquire one.  Lo and behold, a friend saw my request and simply brought me a copy!  Thank you, Gina! 

 (Above:  The Key to the Acadia Flower Shop, detail before framing.)

But the serendipitous moments continued!  Steve and I hadn't seen Jenny in years ... at least a decade.  Once upon a time, Jenny and a friend created a unique transition in our living room ... after I removed a wall that separated the hardwood floor of the hallway from the tiled floor of the living room.   Earlier this month, Jenny came to Open Studios ... walked right into the house as Steve and I were bragging about the living room transition!

  (Above:  The living room transition.)

The two floors are not level with one another.  The two different materials made a traditional transition problematic.  Creativity was needed to make it work, look right, and blend the colors.  The transition was made to look like flowing water ...

(Above:  The living room transition.)

... complete with a brass faucet from which strings of golden beads flow!  Lots of people think I dreamed this up.  I didn't.  Jenny did.  Well ... Jenny was quite impressed that we were still bragging about her work.  She returned with a large assortment of "treasures" and more chocolate than any house really ought to have at one time.  One of the treasures was a grouping of keys ... all the past keys to her family's Acacia Flower Shop, the oldest family owned shop in the USA.  Jenny gave me all these things as a "thank you" gift, but it was just too much ... unless I had a "thank you" gift in return.  The Key to the Acacia Flower Shop was my gift. 

 (Above:  The Key to the Acacia Flower Shop, detail in the frame ... to show the marbleized paper "walls" that hold the glass away from the artwork.)

I had everything I needed.  The background was made on my dry felting machine from a scrap of a pink felt and a snippet of a vintage crocheted doily.  The doily's center was green; the edges were yellow and purple pansies.  One of the dealers I know from Bill Mishoe's auction gave me a large bag of vintage textiles.  This doily was in it.  I added little leather flower buds that had once been a bracelet given to me from a friend's daughter.  Wouldn't you know it!  The lady who donated the doily came to Mouse House with another stash of fabric at the exact time that Jenny came to get the framed key!  Serendipity!

 (Above:  Florence ... the Duomo and Campanile ... as seen from the Palazzo Vecchio.)

A week or so ago I promised to sprinkle out some of my photos from a recent trip to Florence, Italy.  I'll not share many like the one above.  They are too typical, too much like every other tourist snapshot.  Instead, I'll share just a few of "off the beaten path" things I saw ...

(Above:  The mosaic ceiling in the Duomo's Baptistry.)

... like the incredible mosaic dome of the baptistry.  It was hard to know where to look first.  The tiled floor is just as fantastic.

 (Above: 17th century multi-barrel pistol.)

I generally don't spend too much time looking at weapons and armor ... but I couldn't help but think of a hilarious advertising line for this multi-barrel pistol.

When precise aim isn't important! LOL!

The pistol was very near these falcon blinds.  They sort of reminded me of contemporary fiber art I've seen!  Yet the antique embroidered banner in the Chapelle Medici took my breathe away!

(Above:  The Bandinella, a gift from Leo X to the basilica of San Lorenzo.  Made in either 1516 when the pope returned to Florence or in 1521 at the time of his death.  The fabric design is known as "griccia" and includes pomegranates.  The embroidery includes the papal tiara, coat-of-arms, and other Medici symbols.)

Lots of people ask me how many hours are spent on one of my large works.  I don't really know.  I don't count ... but I can bet that the hours I put in are but a fraction when compared to the time for this masterpiece!

The raised surfaces, tiny stitches, and combination of metallic threads is incredible.

To think that this banner is five hundred years old is incredible.

The temperature and LED lit case built for it was also incredible!

Finally, the Chapelle de Medici also has a vast collection of reliquaries ... including this really eerie one!  I have other photos from Italy to share ... including some amazing lace in the Palazzo Davanzati collection.  I'll save them for another day!

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