Friday, October 8, 2010

SCQ Fall Retreat 2010

A group of quilting buddies and my bested quilting buddy Donnamo and I attended South Carolina Quilting Guild Fall Retreat. We all shared quilting, friendship and fellowship.

Our new program chairwoman 2011 Carolyn was one of the stars of the quilting retreat evening festivities. She had the dubious honor of turning a bag of truly ugly fabrics into something. She received a standing ovation for her incredible beautiful quilt honoring the ravaging of the Gulf Coast . The beautiful art quilt had a mask decorated with beautiful cowrie shell and beads from Africa and this country as well.

Carolyn is explaining how it was difficult it was to come up with what she was going to do and her son encouraged her and said "Do what you always do, Mom" The result was a masterpiece honoring the suffering of the people and land in the ecological tragedy of the Gulf States this past year.

The dark area behind the Mask is the gulf oil spill.
Carolyn Received a Standing Ovation.

Each year a person is chosen to receive a bag of Ugly Fabric and create something with in. It is really a dubious honor bestowed on one chagrined quilter by the Self-Proclaimed Queen of SC Quilting Pricilla Harris -  an amazing teacher who encourages quilters of all ages and teaches the most beautiful techniques. She is quite hilarious as well.

This year Queen Pricilla retired her lady- in - waiting seen her dressed in her shower curtain royal robes of state.  Apparently she had enough of the monthly weekend visits to the country, the toting of the royal bags and the coffee and obligatory scones.  Carolyn did make a pocket book for the Queen's Costume, her cape and spectre is also made from past un-fortunates. However Carolyn overdyed all the other fabric for her art quilt.

I took the Dancing Cat Doll class from Karen Preston who is also in our guild. She was a fabulous teacher and I really loved the class and am hoping to take a Jacket Class from her when she offers it next time.

These are a small sample of Karen's Fabulous Art Dolls. An Art Doll is a soft-sculpture doll that is not meant to be played with.  I love the art dolls and I think they are so beautiful.

This is Karen in her Teaching Mode  -  very kind, very encouraging and very sharing.
Francis and Harry Sue were in the class. Here Francis is painting her granddaughters Peace Cat Dancing Doll. Francis got such a kick out of her granddaughter thinking that the peace sign was something new and original to her generation and had never had heard of the Sixties. ( Did you know that if John Lennon has lived - he would have celebrated his 70th birthday on October 8th).  Mea Culpa, I did not take a picture of her doll, I will do better next time, Francis, I promise.
The inspiration for my doll came from the Avatar Movie that I saw with my oldest granddaughter Gabba. Here is the inspiration from my art doll: 



I would love for you to share pictures of your art dolls with me if you are an art doll maker.

On The Big River at the Little Theatre

I sold pictures one night at the new Florence Little Theatre in Florence SC. We were selling raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt that our guild made which you can see behind us. The newly built theatre replaces the old one and is quite spectacular. 

This theatre was built in a part of Florence that is undergoing a renovation. Adjacent to the Florence Little Theatre is a spectacular Library a la Greek Revival that would fit into any street in Washington DC and Francis Marion University is building a huge theatre complex within a block as well. 

A lifetime ago my children went to the children's theatre and took classes and performed in a play with Eva Hoff a pottery buddy of mine from way back when. Eva gave me children a scholarship to the Little Theatre Children's Program and I made all the costumes for the play. I don't remember the play, but I remember the cloud costumes which had lots of cotton balls --lots and lots of cotton balls. I am sure generations of women have thought of creative use of cotton balls. Since the packages never had any instructions or warning labels, the sky was the limit. My children loved being in the play and now my daughter has her daughter in a Children Theatre group in West Virginia.

Quilts made by our guild members, Swamp Fox Quilters hung in the modern theatre lobby. These quilts were "Old Timey" patterns handed down by generations to match the Play "Big River" , the story of Huck Finn and his adventures on the Mississippi by Mark Twain and it was a musical.  I not sure what Mark Twain would have thought about turning his commentary on American Life into a musical, but one thing I am sure of, Mark Twain would not have been surprised at anything. 

We got to talk to many interesting people and charming gentlemen who were absolutely delighted to purchase the 6 for 5 ticket deal.

My Favorite personality of the night was "Kimberly" or "Mattie Jarrett" depending on what time of the day it was. Kimberly or Mattie actually made her living have multiple personalities even though her boss only paid her for one brain. Actually Kimberly is a radio personality for Quantum of Florence and you can hear her voice on Eagle 92.9 Morning Drive. She also is Kimberly at 103 X Middays.  She gave me her card and I really had a wonderful time talking to many different people and I never embarrassed my children once.
The  New Little Theatre is has exactly the same amount of seats the old theatre did. It is purposely smaller hence its name of Little. This is because Theatres are pro rated on the amount of royalties based on the amount of seats they have to pay for the use of the play rights. I also was gifted with a ticket by the Director of the Theatre - for any Swamp Fox Quilter that came to sell tickets which was his way of thanking us for taking the time and the trouble to hang the quilts for the show. The play "Big River" an adaptation of Broadway Musical was really really good, as good as any Broadway musical I ever saw in New York. The props and antique furniture came from the Thieves Gallery in Florence and the costumes were lent by the Re-enactment Civil War Women - remember I had an interest in costumes and props from way back when. Huck Finn was really incredible. The singers were beautiful including a lovely black woman classically trained who played a slave. Mark Twain loved his river, his cigar and his scoundrels. There was a pair of scoundrels so scoundrelly that they made me cringe and want to shout out, Huck watch out for those two scoundrels.
So along with a look in Middle America along the Mississippi, there was a poignant look at the realities of slavery and rendering apart of family life. I hope to go back again to the theatre.

Japanese Fairy Tale Quilt

What is in the gift box?  What lurks in the shadows? Whose soul will be captured?
I grew up reading Fairy Tales. When I discovered Andrew Lang's Coloured Fairy Tale Books. I was hooked. I spent many happy hours hidden away in my room reading the tales.

This is my Japanese Fairy Tale Quilt.

The quilt tells the following story beginning with the center panel which in seen from far away. You are peering through a privacy screen of an Oriental Court and into gardens where members of the court are seen sitting near a stream or walking the beautiful paths filled with cherry blossoms, dogwoods and chrysamums. The cross hatched quilting hides your prying eyes from the women.

You can see the deep blue streams with rocks along the banks.

The surrounding panels show what we could not have imagined. The stream not peaceful at all is a torrent of waterfalls and rushing waters. The quilting echos the rounded torrents and the shape of the fans which seen to create the wind which causes even more waves.

The blue flowered panels give you a botany lesson in which you can identify the beautiful flowers that grace the gardens. Sprays of water are now adorning the sprays of cherry blossoms, dogwoods and chrysamums.


The flowers again repeat the motifs in the fans and the delicate quilting in gold rayon satin thread create the delicate hand holds of the fans and flowers on the deep blue fabric.

Now we get a closeup of the women adorning the garden. One is identifying a quilted flower she holds in her hand. Another is reading a scroll, perhaps of poety or letter from a lover.

This is panel that holds my heart. We see three generations of women, Mother, Daughter and Granddaugher. The little is being discussed. Grandmother listens while her daughter relates the tale.

 Flowers, fans, ribbons, and the questions of contemplations are everywhere.  So here is the Fairy Tale. Fairy Tales are teaching stories for children and the parents that read them as well. Even today we watch Fairy Tale movies of all kinds, its not the happy ending we remember in the end, but the journey through life the characters are faced with. Here we are looking at the Fairy Tale of Family. It may not have a happy ending but the journey has been enlightening.

The corner panels are the trees filled with cranes. Cranes have a special place in Japanese Culture carrying the banner of honor and loyalty. The treetops echo quilted in the mirroring images of the fans and waterfalls throughout the quilt.
What more would you use to describe the women who have held this to be true for the men they loved? Is this not the Fairy Tale of the women you have known?