Thursday, April 12, 2018

At Biennale Internationale d'Art Textile 2018


Spending a week away from home again. I have an exhibition at the Biennale International d’Art Textile in Villefranche-sur-Saone, where I had already been once two years ago with an exhibition for International Threads. Contrary to original plans I had to drive because of the train strikes in France, and although I was a bit non-plussed about that, I was kind of glad I hadn’t bought a ticket earlier because there are no refunds when there are strikes and I would have been rather mad about that. This was I spent two days driving, broke the journey visiting my best friend whom I hadn’t seen in person in a while and listened to several more of the 16 CDs of my favorite audio book while traversing Switzerland.
The exhibition was put up really quickly and I am very pleased at how good it looks. 

Empty walls at 1:30 p.m.

Chrisse Seager lent me her husband for certain
helpful actions, and only a little while...

 I have incorporated one quilt which I made for an International Threads challenge into the text messages series, as I think ‘Girl Power’ has a text message in the broad definition of text as linguists would use it, and I used to be a linguist… so now there are 17 pieces in the whole series, and 14 of these are on display. 

'Girl Power' on the right

It’s good to see many people again, I hope to meet new people, and although I think 4 days with opening hours from 9.30 to 18 o’clock is a bit on the longish side, I am enjoying the show.
Slower hours can be filled with stitching - either adding on to 'A Scrap a Day' (with slightly relaxed rules during these days, I may add more pieces per day for the time being), or continuing on a middling I am making for the 70,273 Project, including teaching myself a new and complicated stitch that I now at least understand, even though I won't claim I have mastered it.


We are staying outside of the village in a holiday apartment with a beautiful courtyard that makes one wish it were just a bit warmer already so we could sit outside in the evening, which is not quite possible yet… 

An inviting courtyard...

Somehow this door reminded me of Georgia O'Keeffe's door

Sunday, April 8, 2018

One thing off my back!


One of the many things I have been doing lately and that has kept me rather busy in combination with all the other things is to study for a Spanish exam. I have been studying Spanish with a private teacher for over four years now. At first we were three ladies going to her class together, then one lost her husband and dropped out shortly after, and the other one kept going with me for about another 9 months. Since then I have been going by myself, sometimes studying more, sometimes studying less. In a desperate attempt to get me to study more my teacher at some point suggested I should take the A2-level exam. Which I put off for a while, but we started using a different book to prepare me for the exam, and finally I plunged in and said I want this over with, so I signed up. Last Friday was the big day, I had been totally stressed out the weeks before because I still could not put aside enough time to study and was absolutely sure I would fail. My wonderful teacher had prepared me very well, though, and given me a few hints as to how to approach those standardized processes of taking such an exam. Of course, I should know, because I teach a language as a foreign language myself… but it is totally different when you are on the other side. In any case, I think I passed, although it will be a while before we get the results as the exams will be corrected in Salamanca.
After the written part of the exam I had to breach a few hours and went shopping, after the oral part a friend came and picked me up and we went for a coffee before I took the train back home. Amazing how much of a relief it is to have that thing off my back! I feel almost relaxed, although there are still many other things going on, I have to pack my bags to leave for France tomorrow, … I will have to decide how to continue with my Spanish. Of course I want to go on, and my dream is to go to Spain for a few weeks, perhaps a language class first, and then woofing, if possible, to actually use it in the real Spanish environment. But I am not certain I will take another exam like that. My friend Kathy rightly asked ‘so what is this credential going to give you?’, and I could not give a satisfying answer. I probably won’t need it to apply for a job anymore, nor do I need to demonstrate that I can do it. It was an interesting experience, though. Of course, I don’t know yet for real whether I passed.

So my thoughts have turned towards preparing the piece I will do at the Art Symposium in May. I have used two of the fabrics I printed when I was staying with Chrisse Seager in January. They are related in that one was the dropcloth under the other and I simply ripped them apart, inserted them into each other and have now prepared a piece that is large enough to get a finished piece of approx. 1,60 in width. 


I am talking to people who will do some of the handwriting that I will then transfer onto the fabric. 

Pragmatic way of determining the actual size of the area in which I will stich:
ironing creases, and these will then be the edges between which I will fold,
to finalize the size of segments

And I have taken decisions as to orientation and arrangement of the text. At first I thought it would be only 12 segments, but this morning I decided it will have to be 16. 

12 ...?

or 16?

And I realized that there is not a whole lot of time left before the beginning of the symposium. I will need to work well ahead because even a whole week of intensive work on site might not be enough time to get everything done there.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Fair and symposium


On Monday I returned from a four-day job at the h&h, the international craft and fabric fair in Cologne. Handi Quilter had asked me to join their staff on the stand for some linguistic input and I gladly accepted because I had always wanted to go to that fair just out of sheer curiosity. It was a very interesting experience, if hard work. Long days, standing on hard floor, demonstrating and explaining - I found it much harder work than standing at the stand with my own fabrics, selling, rearranging the display. I was even more tired after the days in Cologne than I ever was at the consumer fairs I have been to. The ideal package for such a job should include a one hour massage every evening!

Before the opening of the show: two of my own quilts, and one from the
70,273 Project, which I quilted, decorate the stand

Mounting a fabric for demonstration purposes

Negotiations with Chuck Fresina from Handi Quilter

I had a bit of time to look around, too, and was amazed at the importance of knitting yarns at the show. 


From what I saw, you would think everybody in the world is knitting, and a lot. With some of the design pieces I saw 



Detail of the vest above - this is crochet, I assume worked in two steps,
first a black grid, and then an overlaying second pattern.

The edges of the circles are worked with individual threads,
no threads are carried over on the inner side.

Patchwork knitting...

I did wonder who would knit that kind of a project, and even more importantly, who would go around wearing something like that.




But I was very pleased to see so many interesting and high quality yarns around. 



This company became one of my favorites - perhaps because
their stand was just opposite from ours?


Another one I really liked (and got some of their skeins at the end of the show) was  https://cowgirlblues.co.za/. Check them out, their range is marvellous! You just hope that the trend towards knitting does continue, and that these smaller companies can keep it up.

When I returned home I had a rather unpleasant surprise, however. Over the four days at the show I had not really checked my mails on the computer, only on the phone, because in the evenings I was simply too tired to open the mail program. Because of some refugee-mailing-list that I have recently joined, the incoming messages have multiplied and it has become much harder to stay on top of the stream of messages, especially on the phone. So I had missed one message which seemed rather important. The evening before I left for Cologne I had finally sent off my application for the symposium that I had briefly mentioned a while ago. On the evening before the deadline, so almost last minute. Imagine my dismay when I found a message from the organizer could I please resend my attachment because he could not open the file. Monday evening is three full days after the deadline has passed… I did resend my attachment right then and apologized for not doing so earlier, but in my heart I started building a wall against disappointment at probably not being chosen because of late entry.
Waking up on Tuesday morning, however - I slept late, until 7.30! - there was a reply already, “all is good, my wife could open it after all, you’ve been selected, we will be in touch!” What a relief, although it did take a few hours to sink in completely.
By now I have started planning and preparing and am looking forward to the event. Even though it is going to be rather risky thing. We will be working in public, under a tent, yes, but if it is pouring rain, as it can be at that time of year, we are going to be cold and miserable, and how is my machine going to like that…? I will make sure to find out whether there will be a bad-weather-option available that we could relocate to.