Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heart Season

Is your fancy turning to love, hearts and Valentine's Day? Want a little something to remind you of romance, something that won't give you thunder-thighs or kick up your allergies? Well, diamonds would certainly fill the bill, but if you're minding your budget after the holidays, maybe a sweet flowery watercolor quilt will make your heart flip. And yes, speaking of hearts, why not create a heart design such as the one on this little quilt, similar to what D. Pappas features on the front of her Quick Watercolor Quilts book?

Of course there is always the log cabin heart quilt -- not too difficult. The foundation pieced heart....well all of these ideas are compiled on a hearts on quilts website.

Down here in Florida and I suppose elsewhere, there is a delightful vine -- well an insidious vine if left unattended -- but it has the most perfect heart-shaped leaves. Whenever I envision hearts on quilts, I see this vine. Hearts twining everywhich way, clinging, blowing in the breeze, embracing.

For a more formal arrangement of hearts and romance, I discovered C. Jean Horst's "Heart of Roses" quilt book. It is such a delightful change from the usual Valentine or heart fare, yet so traditional and reflects on the Amish techniques of the author's Lancaster County.

Of course there is a different kind of heart quilt -- those made for charities that help adults and children dealing with loss, grief, illness, heart disease, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, etc. Google heart quilts and you'll find these groups in the mix. Or maybe get a few friends together and make a quilt for an organization or someone near and dear to your heart who is having a hard time of it.

In 2008, we can make a difference. We MUST make a difference. Just look into your heart and find what it is you should be doing to help yourself and your fellow man. Giving to others -- now that's what I call true love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When we create our fabric art -- are we reproducing the things we see around us or inside of us? Jeff W. Lichtman, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, has won an art award while finding a way to map the brain through florescence. He has named the technique for staining cells and then fluorescing them as 'brainbow' -- a rainbow of the brain kind of concept.

You can listen to an audio recording of a Science Friday program where Dr. Lichtman discusses the process.

Not only is this a beautiful process, it could also be a useful tool in untangling the problems that motor neuron diseases cause in the human brain and cells. For years the researchers have been able to follow one nerve connection, for example, but everything was stained the same color so following multiple connections became difficult. With this multi-colored approach, the entire structure can be seen in its individual parts via colorization.

So the next time you close your eyes and visualize some strange terrain to incorporate into your next fabric creation -- think about it -- are you seeing something external or truly internal structure. Perhaps there is a corollary between what we see in the world and what is inside of us as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Update on Valerie White

Has anyone seen the latest issue of Quilters World?

If so, you will see the article about Louisville, KY quilt artist Valerie C. White. It was a fun article to write and it is a privilege to have had the opportunity to talk with her and get acquainted. Her creations fill me with delight and always make me smile, then I have to look closer and examine the symbolism that she incorporates in each quilt.

I like the colors, the imagination, the art of course, but the purity with which she views our world. No one can create such totally fun projects and not have the heart of a kid still beating inside her somewhere. But these are not frivolous, there's a depth that keeps you returning to her images and seeing something more each time.

I'm not alone in these observations and her successes are building one atop the other. She's making waves in the quilting community. Surf's up!

In a recent email, Valerie updated what's happening with her and her art:

  • The River City Fiber Artists, of which Valerie is a member, hung the Form not Function exhibit at the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany IN. They chose 43 pieces to exhibit out of 300 submissions.
  • Then onto the Shawnee Library to give a lecture about the Gee's Bends Quilts at the Speed Museum. The exhibit opened January 2, 2008.
  • Quilt African American Women's History: Our Challenges Creativity and Champions will be published January, 2008. This is a traveling exhibition held in honor of the 20th anniversary of the National Afr0-American Museum and Cultural Center in historic Wilberforce University, home of the first African American institution of higher learning. The Ohio Historical Society sponsors the exhibit. The opening is January 5 and runs through May 31, 2008.
Valerie's piece: The Guardian, was chosen as the cover art for the Quilting African American Women's History exhibit. The Guardian is the first in a series of angels that Valerie will exhibit with famed fiber artist Penny Sisto. A date and location for that to be announced later.

Valerie's quilt based upon Bobby McFerrin will be included in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum titled "Sisters In Cloth" The show runs from May - August.

Her work is getting out there! It is so creative, imaginative and unique -- check out her work featured on the Internet. Here's one reference from Smith Kramer: Museum Traveling Exhibitions.