Saturday, January 24, 2015

New York inspiration

The Calmady Children, Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1823
Metropolitan Museum of Art

My friend Heather and I went to New York City for a long weekend to explore museums. The Brooklyn Museum and MoMA Friday, and the Met Saturday.

I was just thrilled to find Sir Thomas Lawrence's The Calmady Children when I entered one of the galleries in the vast Met. It's the cover image of my sewing kit, inherited from my mom (blogged in the last post, about my studio)!

Another panel of my sewing kit, Degas' green dancers were nearby in another gallery.

Dancers Practicing at the Barre, 1877, Edgar Degas
mixed media on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The main event we went for was the Matisse Cut-Outs at the MoMA. I was moved beyond my ability to express it. I know that I will be inspired for a long time by his simple graphic use of color and design. Because the Met didn't allow photographs to be taken of pieces they don't own, I don't have my own images. I'll share a couple from their site so you can view more if you want to explore.

This is my phone pic of a Matisse painting from the MoMA's permanent collection.
Dance, oil, 1910
I bought the catalog of the exhibit and have begun reading the stories behind the cut-outs and the exhibition.

Unfortunately, the book was in my carry-on bag, which stood on the baggage cart in the rain for some time. I think I may need to invest in a water-proof carry-on.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The living room is now the studio

One of the prettiest rooms in the house was rarely used, except as a walk-through. We had it set up as a living room with pieces of furniture I'd inherited from my parents and grandparents, as well as Lesley's piano. The light has always been just beautiful here, with windows that face both the rising and setting sun.

So when I set up my new sewing machine in this room last year on a folding utility table, we started making plans to turn the room into a studio. We took Grandma Olive's beautiful sofa to my sister Nancy. We moved the piano to a bedroom. And we moved in a harvest table Don had "slapped" together a few years ago for eating al fresco to be a dining / project table. (He sanded it thoroughly to remove glue and other unsightlies.)

We don't have a dining room, so when holidays come, now we can clear off sewing stuff and set the table for dinner. We used it for the food when the kids came for Christmas.

Don picked up a bulletin board via Craig's List for $10;
it's now my design board.
On it is the top of a shelter quilt ready to assemble.

Don plans to put "real" table legs on, probably using porch posts. But if you ask me, these saw horses work fine. I suppose they are not terribly elegant, but they are very sturdy.

This was my mom's waste basket in her study.

Two pin cushions are indispensable; my daughter-in-law Andrea made me this argyle one.

A collection of baskets for storage;
the tin on the right was my mom's sewing kit,
and it may have been her mom's too, I don't know.

I only just noticed after loading this photo of Mom's sewing kit that it has Degas' dancers;
I'm sure I had seen it but had forgotten; I've been inspired by Degas' dancers
for the past week, imagining a quilt in his soft shades of turquoise and orange.

I remember the inside looking very much like this when it was Mom's.

stash of homemade binding

for Christmas I got a new quilt book:
Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000, by Roderick Kirakofe;
the turquoise with brown dots is tissue paper for wrapping products before shipping;
oh! and you can see I have fabrics out in turquoise and tan dreaming about Degas dancers.

Peter made Santa in school one year.

It was fun choosing just what to keep in the studio, and no doubt this will evolve over time. Don picked up this old wooden desk and chair at a yard sale. He is the absolute king of yard sales. The spool rack was a gift from Don's sister, from her MIL's farmhouse in Pennsylvania. I did not notice "Honor Student" until I took this photo.

A box from my box collection, with sewing feet and tools

Don found three, three of these caddies that he'd gotten
from my dad's garage when we cleaned out their house;
Dad seems to have made them from an old dresser.

I put out the Radko ornaments this year for the first time in a very long time.

The design board with a shelter quilt top ready to assemble

This barrister had classics in it in the family room,
books we've already read; so we packed them up
to pass on to the kids, and we moved it in for my first fabric storage unit;
I'll show you the one at the other end of the room
when it's empty of dishes.

Another of Dad's tool caddies, with fabric scraps;
I'd like to think he would be tickled pink if he knew I was using these.

Soon I have to put away Christmas. Don's mom died Saturday after a six-month illness, and we are mourning the loss of a sweet, kind, gentle woman. When I met her in the mid-1970s I was just about to join the quilting revival that was going on, though I didn't know that's what was happening at the time. I read about it in my new book, Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000, by Roderick Kirakofe.