Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Bagels, Deer, Quilts, and Color

5 November 2019

Life in Bellingham continues.  Sometimes fun, sometimes just a series of medical stuff.  What can I say, we're trying to age gracefully but it takes some effort, LOL!

We have a deer family living near our hotel on the northern outskirts of Bellingham.  We've seen this doe and her two fawns over the summer, and now in autumn the babies are almost the size of mom.  Our neighborhood has development on one side, and forest on the other, with random meadows and pastures inbetween.  The deer like the pastures or meadows, as well as the large lawn directly in back of our hotel.  Mama deer kept an eye on me as her children grazed, but she seemed okay with a few photographs.

I've had to stop for the occasional deer who chooses to cross the street.  Everyone around here stops to allow the deer across, with no horns honking, everyone waiting patiently.

One morning, I even saw a young stag, with medium sized antlers, trotting down the grassy verge between the street and sidewalk.  Really, he was stepping along, ignoring traffic as we all stopped to watch him.  A grandmother and child stopped as well, and he just walked past them and turned into someone's yard to munch flowers or fallen fruit.  I was too amazed to take my camera out - this young stag was so unexpected, and so beautiful, I could only sit and watch!

It was a rather cool summer - so when temperatures warmed up in early autumn, flowers started to bloom.  Whole azalea and rhododendron bushes flowered, some roses blossomed, and in general it just makes a pretty town more colorful. 

And then, suddenly, cold.  Bellingham is 48.75 degrees north, so things cool off rapidly in autumn.  Occasional blasts of Arctic air swoop down unexpectedly.  We seem to have had a sudden frost because the trees all at once went from lush green to varying shades of yellow, gold, amber, orange, red, and even maroon.  The scenery really has turned into a deep green and fiery landscape, with fog shrouded hills and mountains fading into the distance.  Just a gorgeous season!

This has been a really good year for leaf color, partly due to those polar waves.  The other reason is that many businesses have started landscaping with deciduous trees and bushes that are known for their autumn leaves.  Oak, maple, and beech trees abound, as well as what I think might be called a burning bush - a roundish shrub with leaves that turn a brilliant red each fall.

I've had fun walking around on some of our windy days, looking at the leaves and the patterns they make against the sky, or fallen leaves on pavement making borders in parking lots and lawns.  The bright leaves contrast well with sunny blue skies, or look mysterious against stormy grey clouds.  It has been a really wonderful autumn for color!

In keeping with seasonal color, I drove down to Everett, roughly 60 miles south of Bellingham (or 100 km) to meet up with some Seattle friends.  We spent the day at the annual quilt show - not a traditional quilt show, but part of the International Quilt and Fiber Arts Festival.  This exhibit showed quilts from quilt artists around the world, and some of the pieces were phenomenal.  I took photos of a few, to share here.  And keep in mind, these really are QUILTS.  All fabric, some hand-painted or hand-dyed, but some cut from fabric to make the image.  Appliquéd, pieces, embroidered, embellished - and then the quilt top, batting (filling), and a backing are quilted together.  Really, some of the pieces look like intricately woven rugs.  Or high contrast photographs.  It always is inspiring to see what people are doing with quilts these days.  (And these definitely are not our grandmother's quilts!)

So, the quilts (usually I include a photo of the entire quilt, and then a detail photo or two). 

This first quilt is titled "Islamic Art" and is by Faiza Elmayergi from White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.  The quilt is appliqué, and is 59 x 59 inches.  Her artist's statement says:  "When I was travelling in the Middle East and North Africa I was fascinated by the Islamic designs everywhere from buildings, mosques, furniture and even pottery - which inspired me to try that design on a quilt, and here it is!  It turned out to my satisfaction."

Not only are all those colorful pieces individually cut out, edges folded under, and then they are sewed onto the blue background, the solid blue sections have designs quilted to add more depth and interest!!!  SO amazing!!!

"Red Poppy" is by Susan Nylander (and a quilting group), of Sequim, Washington, USA.  This is a pictorial quilt, 43 x 57 inches.  The statement says: "Piece entered by Sun Bonnet Sue Quilt Club.  A photo of an Oriental poppy was enlarged and divided into nine sections, which were given to artists to interpret without knowledge of the whole image or the work of each other."

This is a common art exercise, and quilting groups often will do this to create a larger quilt.  The results are somehow always greater and more interesting than if just one person made the entire quilt! 

"Dance Break Oaxaca" by Linda Anderson, La Mesa, California, USA.  This pictorial quilt is 61 x 64 inches.  "This young girl, at a Christmas festival in Oaxaca, is beguiling in her flouncy costume, innocently drinking horchata, while she takes a break from dancing.  The sunlight strikes only her as she is surrounded by dark shadows.  The juxtaposition of her innocence with the unexplained shadows added an element of possible menace.  This is what compelled me to tell this momentary story.  Raw edge appliqué, all hand painted fabric, free motion stitched, cottons, bamboo batting."

(Doesn't this look like a beautiful watercolor painting rather than a quilt?  Just wonderful!) 

"A New Phase"  by Sarah Richmond, Beaverton, Oregon, USA.  This quilt is considered to be abstract, and measures 90 x 89 inches.  "Argyle Bargello color wave was inspired by my daughter's love of red, black, and white."

This is an incredible piece of mathematical planning!  Just look at the individual pieces of fabric and how they change size to create this design!

"Crazy Eights" by Nancy Turbitt, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA.  This fantasy quilt is 46 x 36 inches.  "The fun thing about artwork depicting a mythical figure such as a dragon is that you can be completely creative with it.  Tapping into my imagination, I created a serpent-like dragon in flight which resembles a figure eight.  From this imagery, I coined its name.  I used my skills as a doll maker to range in type, in order to add to the unusual nature of the subject matter.  And example of this thought process is the use of the border, an orange silk lining with strips of cut silk chiffon fringe sewn to it, to emulate fire.  The dragon becomes contained by his own fire."

I want to add that parts of this dragon are fabric sculpture extending from beyond the quilt!  Look at the wing and the end of the tail to see what I mean!

"Commertown" is a pictorial quilt by Margie Kennard, Camano Island, Washington, USA.  42 x 49 inches.  "A memory of my grandmother's homestead in eastern Montana, 1900."

Not only is the piecing and quilting wonderful in creating the landscape, but the actual cabin and fence look like they are made of weathered wood, not strips of fabric!

"Z is For Zinnia, C is For Cosmos" is a pictorial quilt by Kathie Kerler of Portland, Oregon, USA.  Size is 40 x 30 inches.  "My goal in designing the quilt was to give the viewer the feeling of gazing into a lush garden.  What I enjoyed about creating this quilt was that it brought together my skills and knowledge beginning with designing stylized flowers for an original design then bringing it to life with machine and hand embroidery, hand-twisted cords, and machine quilting."

"Fantasia" is a fantasy quilt by Geraldine Warner, Wenatchee, Washington, USA, size 32 x 29 inches.  "This floral fantasy with its flame-like petals was pieced from commercial and hand-dyed silk fabrics and free-motion quilted using silk threads."

For people who don't quilt, the term "free-motion quilting" means the quilting is done on a regular sewing machine, rather than either hand-quilting or using a long-arm sewing machine which is designed especially for quilting large items.  Special "feet" can be used to hold and "walk" the fabric through the feed, and the quilter needs to turn and twist the entire quilt to create the quilting in whatever design they envision.  This process is nowhere as simple or easy as it sounds!

Last quilt!  "Klimt Nouveau" is by Susan Nylander and the Sun Bonnet Sue Quilt Club of Sequim, Washington, USA.  This quilt was labelled as abstract, and is 62 x 75 inches.  "Entered by Sun Bonnet Sue Quilt Club.  Seven quilt artists each selected a favorite painting created by Gustav Klimt from which each chose the design motif as the source to create her section of the quilt.  After the sections were assembled the tree was designed in Klimt's style to integrate the quilt."

I don't know if you can see in my photos, but to replicate Klimt's use of gold, some of the quilt artists used zippers to add a metallic edge detail.  Just so creative!

I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to the quilt show.  We had a great time - one friend had a piece in the show, another also quilts, and a third is a weaver.  So we all had fun looking at the details, musing about how the quilt was created, and what we might have done differently had we been the quilter.  Basically analyzing and critiquing each quilt.  

I also spent a day in Seattle having coffee with an author who was visiting the area, and had pre-arranged coffee meetups with groups of her readers (and fans).  And brunch with a friend prior to that, just to catch up on their travels.

In between all of this, we're making vague travel plans and getting together what we need, or think we'll need.  Dealing with the whole confusing issue of Medicare supplement plans, and trying to figure out if the insurance companies deliberately made this more confusing for those of us over 65, or what.  

So in a few days, I may share what clothes I'm planning to pack.  I've improved from my first packing venture seven or so years ago, and have downsized tremendously.  I now manage to pack a capsule wardrobe of about 24-25 items of clothing (not including outerwear, underwear, shoes, and swimwear) for 8 to 10 months of travel.  I'll explain how I do this for a variety of climates and adventures in one small rolling duffel.  Stay tuned!

As always, more photos to enjoy!