Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Critter Quilt

Here's how the little critter quilt came out--a gift for a precious little boy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A little traditional sewing

 Pine Belt Quilters makes children's quilts all year long. We also make isolette covers for the NICU at Forrest General Hospital. The bright flannel prints are cheerful for the families and nursing staff. The underside is light gray, which allows the nurses to see the baby's true skin color.  We also make walker totes (which can be used as catheter bag covers). After being so involved with my art quilts, it was time to do some traditional sewing, and these projects fit the bill.  Placemats can be repurposed to make these totes, or almost any leftover fabric can be used.

Walker totes
I had some wild fat quarter packets that are perfect for a bright and happy child's quilt. I think I will add strips of black/white prints for sashing. Easy cutting into 4" strips and fast sewing. I wonder if a baby can sleep under all these bugs and other critters!

Monday, April 8, 2013

After China

Mike Peters, writer for China Daily
I was interviewed by Mike Peters, writer for China Daily Sunday edition and European Weekly.  A reporter for NetEase, China's Leading Internet Technology Company, also conducted an interview at the US Embassy, after providing me with a list of topics and questions to be discussed.

The Chinese have a flair for design. Presentation is all-important, as shown by the displays in a grocery store.

I wish I knew what kind of trees these are. I first thought that woodpeckers had marked them as they searched for bugs under the bark, but the little holes opened up in a diamond shape. US Embassy Cultural Affairs Specialist Xiaotao Song (call him XT) and assistant Laurel Menser are shown on the left as we arrived at the next site for my quilt presentation.
XT Song and Laurel Menser, Embassy staff
Flying home: It was interesting to follow our plane's path from Beijing to Seattle on the screen on the back of the seats. Also watching three movies in a row helped with the long flight. We flew over Russia and the Bering Strait, even capturing the ice-covered sea and the moon over the plane's wing.
What a memorable trip! After letting my body and brain adjust from the effects of what is called jetlag, it's time to get back to more unexciting and mundane tasks. But I'll be glad to get away from the computer and back into the studio, even if it is for mundane tasks. My cat Bigboy has needed lots of lap time, making the finishing of this piece of fiber art challenging.
I wish I could share all the pictures and experiences of this trip with my many friends who have wished us well, and I hope seeing these have allowed you to share in the excitement and joy. Having Linda with me was an added blessing! Thanks for reading and following along with us.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Home from China, part 8

There were wonderful sights everywhere. The buildings were interesting, and in a variety of architectural designs.
The white domed building is the Dalian Modern Museum

In front of Beijing East Hotel

Sculpture in Beijing East Hotel, representing wine poured into a glass
The sculpture is made up of thousands of Chinese characters
U. S. Embassy
 The little children looked like dolls, and the parents enjoyed having them photographed.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Home from China, part 7

It was my pleasure to donate Butterfly Crossing to the Dalian Modern Museum. There are thread-painted butterflies and quilted ghost butterflies flying between the yellow/black fan shapes, and it will be a tribute to the beautiful and colorful people I met! The museum is free to the people, and the directors and staff are proud to inform the people of China's rich cultural history.
Dalian Modern Museum Director Liu Guang Tang receiving Butterfly Crossing
with Linda Ginn, Scott Macintosh, and Assistant Director
The audience members at the museum talk were very interested and appreciative of being able to examine the pieces up close. They were curious about techniques and took lots of pictures.

In a hands-on demonstration with a sewing machine set up in the hallway after the lecture, it was a privilege to get to see some works by local quilters. These pieces were made by young women and they were skillfully done.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Home from China, part 6

Katie Zahn below wall quilt
I was delighted to find the Slow Life Patchwork Quilt Shop in Beijing, run by Ms. Katie Zhan. She teaches quilting and has fabric and tools that quilters need. About 15 women (and one man) brought their sewing machines and supplies for my Ghost Quilting Class. Although we had the interpreter with us, many English sewing terms--stitch, fabric, binding, machine, rotary cutter, mat, straight grain--were familiar and did not have a Chinese translation; they knew what the feed dogs were but not the name we use (feed dogs), so this was a lightbulb moment! The interpreter explained the process along with my demonstration and hand signals. The students had their center focus fabric and solid background and most brought fusible. After we adhered the center square to the background, I demonstrated how to continue an object (flower, fruit, leaf, etc.) out into the border with Neocolor II crayons. We passed crayons back and forth among the students until everyone had their piece ready to layer and begin quilting. I showed them how to start and stop the quilting stitch and how to bury the thread tails and how to add thread painting to enhance their design. Most had done some free-motion quilting before and made excellent progress.
Close examination of facing method
We discussed various edge treatments for their work--rat-tail cording, single- or double-fold binding, and facing, as well as adding a sleeve to the back to make it ready for hanging. Notice that the students are all wearing coats to be more comfortable in the unheated room.

Interpreter Describing Process

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Home from China, part 5

In Beijing we attended the Graduation Fashion Show at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. Amazing and innovative designs were presented by models who could have been on a New York runway.

 The next day I gave a presentation to students, thinking, "What am I going to tell these students about color and design?" I focused on the creative and originality aspects of my material, and they responded with great curiosity and interest.
At each venue I began with "who I am and what I do," which showed pictures of my map location, home, yard, and studio, and the thought of living among trees and a grassy yard was appealing, since most of their experience is in high-rise apartment living. I told the Rise and Shine, Inner City story about how the arrangement of colors creates "neighborhoods" which have to touch and merge and interact to become a successful city, which is also a metaphor for countries in our world. It was rewarding to see smiles of recognition and agreement on many faces as they understood the message the quilt portrays.

We were fortunate to see Beijing on a relatively clear day but also saw the frighteningly sad smog on other days. There were trees planted along most of the streets we were driven through, but they were still bare from winter. I can just imagine how different these streets will look when all these trees are fully leafed out!
Sidewalk in Beijing

On a clear day

Same view from hotel window on smoggy day


Monday, April 1, 2013

Home from China, part 4

Linda and Martha in library lobby
The Dalian Municipal Library is a beautiful building four stories tall and is free for the residents. There are branches, but no system for borrowing from other branches. They use the card catalog and there were large tables set up for people to use while reading books, magazines, and newspapers. We saw many students studying.
I had a copy of The Llama's Pajamas, written by a good friend, Carol Vickers, with me in case any of my talks involved young children. It's about a boy who didn't look after his quilt as he should have, and had it borrowed by a bear, a monkey, and a llama. I gave it to the children's librarian after I showed it to her and briefly told her the story; she was delighted to add it to their collection.
The Llama's Pajamas
Dr. Seuss books in Chinese

MEANWHILE, back in Mississippi, the azaleas were blooming, as well as my healthy geranium plants on my front porch. The temperatures in Dalian were in the 30s and 40s, sometimes quite windy when we were near the water. When we left home the flowers were barely beginning to bloom, so this was a happy surprise to see when we got back.

Home from China, part 3

Dalian is a beautiful city, situated near the rocky coastline, with hills and mountains surrounding the heavily populated city. Traffic in Dalian and Beijing was very busy, with pedestrians and bicyclists moving in and out of traffic as they could make their way. Changing lanes was a daring act, often accompanied by a beep-beep as the car moved over, trusting that the oncoming vehicles would yield. Turning at intersections sometimes resulted in traffic jams when cars would head in the direction they wanted to go and others were turning other ways. We don't have any photos of these scenes, because Linda and I often had our eyes closed. The only way this could work is because the traffic was moving much slower than we are used to here.

Mr. Wong and Linda

The temperatures were in the 30s F, and the wind could be quite chilling. Our guide (Nancy) from the Dalian Modern Museum took us to the Museum of Natural History and a large aquarium. We ate lunch at a place called "Barbecue Meat in Wang Mazi," selecting food by looking at pictures of dishes posted on the wall. Mr. Wong, our driver, tried to teach Linda to use chopsticks, but forks were always provided when they saw how inept we were. We enjoyed and were brave about trying new dishes . . . well, a little brave.

Martha and Nancy

We toured the Dalian Polytechnic University and visited with Professor Ren Wendong, a famous Chinese Brush artist, who shared his book of paintings with us. After my lecture, we visited classrooms where students were working on weaving, interior design, and clothing construction.

Professor Ren Wendong and staff

From window of Dalian Polytechnic University
From window of Dalian Polytechnic University