Last post, I wrote about Ann Brauer‘s use of gray tones with flashes of color, and her post, Why Grey? I came across this trivet I made, which I photographed and then forgot about. I love these tiles with the flashes of gray, taupe. They are subtle and ever-changing in the light. Then it’s even more fun to add the orange, coral and tea rose tones, with the pop of red-orange dichroic in the center.
I love when quilters come into my booth, as at the 2012 PA Guild Show in Wilmington. They come closer and are happy to find that the mosaics that looked familiar are indeed based on quilt patterns. I had a conversation with a woman who loved the colors in my work, and that she feels the way about colors in fabric. I won the Adele Swenson award for excellence in Home Economics in the 9th grade.
It took me awhile to figure out that the allure of Home Economics was that I liked choosing fabric, not the actual sewing. I still remember the colors and textures of fabric I chose in junior high: nubby linen in red with black flowers, brown plaid with gold threads, cream cotton with a tiny strawberry print, maroon fine wale corduroy(which apparently I was spelling the Canadian way, cordouroy, which the spellchecker took issue with), and black cotton with shimmering gold flowers for a blouse with gold piping.
I am glad that I can interpret quilt patterns in glass, keeping the color, and the thread connecting me to my younger self.
Fall is my favorite season, in part because there’s so much orange in the landscape. I finished this Orange and Copper Patchwork Tile, and was happy to finally find a use for a couple strips of fusible glass in a cool leopard-like pattern that a friend gave me when I first started making mosaics. It’s always been a challenge for me to use something I really love, as if saving it in a drawer is safer than risking ruining it, but making art has helped me see the joy in using what delights my eye, and it’s worth the risk. Making my patchworks feels like a special treat, as I get out dishes and dishes of tesserae, and improvise.
What are you holding onto?
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and I wanted to make a special mosaic in honor of my sister-in-law Gail and my friend Lynn Lunger, who are both Ovarian Cancer Survivors. Teal is the color of Ovarian Cancer Awareness, and it is an apt color, since it changes from blue to green depending on the shade, and can be elusive to pin down, as can be the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, which can be vague like abdominal pain and bloating. I get overwhelmed by awareness months sometimes, but what I take from this particular one is the sharing of a larger pattern and persistence of symptoms, which in relation to each other might mean something different, and particularly important for a form of cancer that does not have an early screening test or method of detection.
I was impressed by the work of Gail MacNeil and her Turn the Towns Teal Campaign.
Turn The Towns Teal® was was founded by Gail MacNeil of Chatham, NJ, who was inspired by her own experiences. . . She wanted to spare others what she and her family endured. Gail was fastidious about her health and went to her gynecologist on three separate occasions complaining of classic symptoms; however, her doctor dismissed these symptoms as merely the onset of middle age. On December 23, 1997 Gail was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. There is NO early detection test for ovarian cancer which is why this campaign is so very, very critical in fighting the disease.
Team Etsy Project Embrace was started in honor of Laura Slocum, Etsy crafter, who was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, as a way to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. I am a member of this team, and 50% of the proceeds of the Teal Patchwork Mosaic Trivet will go to the American Cancer Society. [I am pleased to say that the teal mosaic sold!]
The first MCPL Poetry Noir Event, featuring Sunset Boulevard at the Ambler Theater, was a hit, and now the second event will Wednesday, March 30th, at 7:30 featuring The Narrow Margin with Charles McGraw as a hard boiled(is there any other kind in Film Noir?)escorting a mob wife from Chicago to LA by train, to testify against her mobster husband.
Come see this short and dramatic film, clocking in at 71 minutes, followed by a reading of poems inspired by a clip from the film, as part of the Poetry Noir program, and my black and silver mosaics in the lobby, and Stratoz’s Film Noir stained glass, for purchase. It’s going to be an enjoyable evening.
Kickstarter has gotten my imagination, with the possibility of helping living artists create their work. Stratoz and I contributed to The Triangle Shirtwaist Jazz Project, by composer Jim Kuemmerle. As he says in describing his project:
Next March 25th is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, a horrific tragedy that inspired a wave of governmental and workplace reform.
For this past year, I’ve been composing and arranging a series of instrumental jazz pieces that together honor and reinterpret the story of the Triangle factory. They incorporate influences from traditional East European, Jewish, and Italian folk and sacred music, as well as influences from across the spectrum of jazz.
146 people died in the fire, mostly young immigrant women, because the all the doors were locked at closing time because the owners wanted to search the workers as they left. Ironically, the shirtwaist was an article of clothing that many women found a relief, because it was much more comfortable than corsets and hoop skirts, and in my post about Tiffany glass artist Clara Driscoll, she is shown wearing a shirtwaist blouse.
When I was an undergraduate, I took a class in the history of the labor movement in the United States, and was very moved by the account of this fire, as well as the story of the Lawrence textile workers'(mostly women and girls)strike of 1912, and wrote a series of poems for my MFA in creative writing on women workers. Triangles have been a favorite motif in my mosaics, especially those from quilt blocks like “Spinning Pinwheel” and “Broken Dishes” and remind me of how quilts were usually the work of women’s hands.
In 2007, Kuemmerle wrote a composition entitled “Kolmio,” which means ‘triangle’ in Finnish. This piece was written for a modern dance project at Arizona State University.
Over at Stratoz’s Blog:
UPDATE: Goal was met, and we received our CD and have listened to it with pleasure. Review of Jim Kuemmerle Triangle Shirtwaist Jazz Project.
I am pleased to be part of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen’s In the Kitchen: Where Fine Food and Fine Craft Gather Together. Come check out an array of 8″ mosaic trivets, inspired by quilt patterns, and the newly rechristened 6″ “coasters.” I have been calling the smaller ones trivets, but a recent customer bought one as a “permanent coaster” to have by her chair in the living room, and at this weekend’s craft fair, a young woman informed me that if she could buy one it would be her most favorite coaster ever. So whether you have a wedding, housewarming, or a kitchen to transform, In the Kitchen will be the place to be.
250+ unique works from 25+ craftsmen. Cutting boards, wooden spoons, mugs, and of course, mosaic coasters and trivets.
I am always looking for new tesserae to create mosaics with, and when I saw the Calliope Series of Recycled Glass Tile I was hooked! The variegation is especially enticing, allowing for visual texture, and giving a lively feeling, in motion with swirls. The sheen is lightly iridized. According to Hakatai, the Oregon Importer of these tiles, they are 50% recycled glass, 90% of which is post-consumer. As soon as they arrived, I was in the studio experimenting.
I also have a sheet of Garden, in shades of blue and green.
At a craft show, a woman came up to me and said “Ohio Star.” At first I didn’t know what she was talking about, but then she said that Ohio Star would be well suited to my mosaics. I finally had the chance to try this pattern out, and it was indeed an enjoyable one!
From my research into the origins of this pattern, Ohio Star became popular in the mid-19th century, and is of the genre of variable stars, which take any number of configurations of squares and triangles. But like many quilt patterns, any more exact history is difficult to find. Marsha McCloskey’s book, Variable Star Quilts and How to Make Them, notes that “Variable Star” is an astronomy term, and means a star that varies greatly in its brightness, depending on its surroundings, and that it is a fitting name for a quilt block that varies in its coloration depending on the colors of the the surrounding blocks.
Check out this cool variable star from Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, V838 Monocerotis(which means unicorn).