This weeks photo assignment was Levitation. Photoshop manipulations is just not something I am good at and I’m not sure I really want to spend that much time in front of a computer screen. However, I wanted to give it a try.
An exhibit of Calder’s work in Houston with all of his wonderful mobiles suggested this possibility.
This is Hercules and the Lion. I did some photoshop work on it make it look like was floating but the other students in the group did floating slices of lemons and people and flowers and….all beyond my skill level.
Each year I think about what I want to accomplish. What groups do I find valuable and interesting? What things do I want to do? What unfinished projects are staring me accusingly in the face? What friendships do I want to cultivate? And what do I need to let go?
Last year was full of health challenges—far too many. I am trying hard to excuse myself for not getting done what I had hoped for. That is a hard task for someone who is goal-oriented.
But this year I am planning on doing—whether it is just reading, or classes via internet or physical travel to places new or familiar. I plan to have fun and adventure.
Every Sunday morning a prompt for the 52 week Photo Challenge appears in my mailbox. Some of the challenges involve fancy photo or photo processing techniques—and I am more of a no-crop multiple photos of the same thing from many angles and choosing what I think is the best one.
This week’s prompt was they lyrics sung by Sting “Walk with Me”. It is introspective and thoughtful—and while I’ve seen a few photos referencing the fields of gold, I focused on the shoes.
My husband loves shoes.
He has an army of shoes; a squadron, a fleet.
In the past, I had just two pairs of shoes—one for casual wear and one for work. Probably this reflects my school years in which I got a new pair each August for school and then a pair for gym class.
Now I have a few more pairs, hiking boots, sandals, sneakers, water shoes, church shoes, ‘work’ shoes but still not nearly the number as my husband has.
When I read through the lyrics and then watched the video, I thought of all the miles my husband has walked—with me and for me.
When we moved some decades ago into our current home we did not realize the presence of the train switching yard just five blocks away. The cars bumping against each other sounded like explosions at first—and still do on occasion but we have grown accustomed to hearing the start of the railroad day at 5 AM. Too often traffic is stopped with a train over the main road to downtown–and always it seems when I am hurrying to church—and then the late night whistle that might be appreciated if it were a tune of some sort or many decibels softer.
Despite all this annoyance, the announcement of Big Boy coming through Beaumont and staying overnight was met with a great deal of interest and enthusiasm.
The railroad mowed the marshy area for its visitors—and people parked along the road and walked through the mud to gape at this huge train engine.
I asked a boy standing by to serve as a model/comparison in size for me—and a few others ducked under the caution tape to take a photo.
It is hard to properly photograph the immensity of this huge engine. Here is a fuel truck next to it.
Most of us were standing behind the caution tape in the marsh—until the guy with the orange safety vest took pity on us and moved the tape up so we could stand on sand instead of mud.
Rain was threatening but it did not stop a steady stream of on-lookers.
And just because I like the imagery of mechanical things.
Big Boy made a circular route through several states returning to its home in Cheyenne Wyoming. Taking time to wade through mud and chance a drenching was definitely rewarding—just the delight of something fun for all of those who came–instead of the daily grind of unpleasant news reports. This event was sensational—but in the best way.
This week’s assignment was ‘chair’. Given all the images appearing featuring a certain older gentleman from the Northeast wearing mittens and seated in a chair, I suppose the topic was inevitable.
I like to think about the topic during the week and consider various options. I thought about what makes a seating area a ‘chair’ versus a bench or a stool or a couch. And then there is the ‘chair’ of a department or committee.
In the end I found this chair sitting on a neighbor’s front porch. In this area chairs are put next to the front door to allow a setting place for bags of groceries or a purse while opening the front door.
Several years ago–I would guess it was with the cell phones that could take fairly nice photos, there was a fad of posting a photo of your meal–particularly if you were at a restaurant or if the meal was special.
The past week’s assignment of flat lay means placing the camera directly overhead to take a photo of an assortment of objects–frequently food or maybe collections of things.
I had missed the previous week’s assignment of ‘long exposure’—I tried several option but got some lovely blank images and a blurry moon photo—gave it a try but not successful.
Flat lay usually requires good direct natural light for the best results; however, we have had intermittent rain and fog and overall dreariness to match the frustration of the COVID vaccine situation.
I did manage to get this image.
For those of you who have read a few books, you may recognize the reference—-and no, it doesn’t spell out anything at all–it was a group of figures I thought were fun and fairly easy to reproduce.
Living in an old house on the Texas Gulf Coast where houses are not designed for cold weather and freezing temperatures……let’s just say the house is charming but challenging at times. I had noticed a black spot appearing on the hallway ceiling over the front door. We speculated replacing the front pillars some years ago–they were rotting with some plastic ones had altered the roof just enough to permit water to run in; then we also thought perhaps the shower pan was no longer functional and discovered a place where the grout had fallen out on the side of the walk-in shower.
Husband crawled up there on our ladder and after some poking and sawing away of the drywall we had put up instead of the plaster in repairing the shower pan leakage incident, found a hole in a pipe—a pipe that ran underneath an electric wire. That repair necessitated turning off the power and the water to the house while a patch was attempted.
I repaired to the shop where I started quilting a surprise for my oldest son—well, maybe not a surprise if he reads this; and after rethreading the Gammill twice and taking out some bad stitches, I called to inquire about the status of the repair.
I will spare you the images of the hole in the front hallway ceiling but instead end with this photo taken of the Anahuac Wildlife Refuge and direct you to my gallery featuring more photos of the afternoon. Coots were in great abundance and I took dozens of photos but they do not pose as nicely as do the marsh reeds and other vegetation.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Marco was responsible for the last minute wobble in Laura’s path to deviate into Louisiana instead of here in Beaumont Texas. Just east of us in Orange County and I’m told they had significant damage. We were on the ‘clean’ side of the hurricane and outside of a lot of small twigs and a carpet of crepe myrtle leaves on our lawn escaped most of the damage.
However, our power went out and some neighborhoods will not have power until sometime this next week. Our internet which is quixotic in the best of times is even less reliable.
Friends and family have called to see if we are okay….now that we are in the ‘feeble three legged cane’ age group—although neither of us possesses such a thing. Running a generator to power our refrigerator, a box fan and our freezer took some doing including dismantling my pantry shelves to get at the plug for the refrigerator—why don’t appliance people put an accessory plug somewhere near the front of the machine?
We have power now and we are trying to clear up some of the trash left behind. I took a few photos around the neighborhood—while I could focus on the things that have destroyed or the boarded up buildings, there are plenty of those photos taken by others.
It is hard to get back to ‘normal’ whatever that is in these days. I decided I would clean out my sewing machine desk drawers—what a wealth of useless stuff I found! Instruction manuals for a DVD player long consigned to the trash as non-functional, several packages of rotary cutter blades–like most I use mine until they cut like I am chewing on the fabric instead of cutting it cleanly.
Yesterday I brought back an unused cart from the shop to see if I could put the bits and pieces of fabric—too big and good to toss—seems I am related to my grandmother who lived through the Depression and World War II rationing. Today I might do some sorting and see if I can use that new saw I bought to cut up some of the larger limbs so I can haul them to the side for big trash pickup day.
Tomorrow is a new day—we have tonight’s meal planned—pizza from the freezer.
Finding a good way to take photos of quilts and other fiber artwork is challenging. I have set up a small photo studio in my shop for formal photos of pieces hopefully destined for shows and exhibitions. Some are far too large and I’ve set up an alternative on the side of the shed with a black drape and poles—a big project to hang the quilt and then photo as it seems a bit of wind always starts the minute I climb up on a ladder to take the formal photo.
And then there are the pieces I do more for fun and maybe as a gift. I’d like a record of them but doesn’t need to be fancy; doesn’t need to document stitching–just an overall photo.
I’ve looked at photos of quilts draped over fences and porch railings. I didn’t have those but I did have two hooks on the front porch originally used to hang flower pots; I got some clothesline, strung it up, got out the plastic clothespins from surface design days and tried this method out.
I probably should re-organize the items on the porch to be a bit more photogenic and maybe take the time to climb into the bed of my truck for a straight shot—but in general, these photos are good enough for what I want.
The first one is one I made from a pattern under the tutelage of Alex Anderson of the Quilt Show. It is the first time I have made something quite like this–it was surprisingly fun.
And this one is one I started while I was at home with my oldest son. It is all hand-pieced and needle-turned applique. I blanket-stitched around each bird; did straight line quilting, turning it sideways for more straight-line quilting. It took me quite some time to finish it but I”m pleased.
Blogging is a natural progression for someone who enjoys the written word and beautiful imagery. My photographs are hosted at sylviaweir.smugmug.com. I am slowly transitioning all my photographs to this site and will hopefully edit them to a manageable number. In the meantime, I have organized my blog photos by year and so you may wish to merely sample the blog photos
Feel free to contact me for any questions. My website here has not been fully populated but as I work on my smugmug site, I will update these pages.
My work begins with a word, a thought, an idea, or a bit of a poem. I search through my library of images mostly on Smugmug or sometimes I go out and photograph new images. A pieced quilt pattern is sometimes chosen, sometimes I use a piece of fabric I have altered in the past. The imagery is added on using hand applique and then thread is used to add details.
Each piece is meant to draw the viewer inward providing them with ample opportunities to add their own story to the piece. If the piece evokes the emotion or thought I wished conveyed, then I consider the piece successful.
Sometimes I play 'what if' with fabric and paint and imagery. These might be considered equivalent to scale work in music--something I always enjoyed.