Skip to content

Tall Woman aka Matchstick Man

December 22, 2022

Last week was a busy week; at long last the front hallway ceiling repair was completed—a leaking sieve like piece of copper plumbing led to necessary plumbing repairs and an open ceiling.

But I also had two doctor appointments in Houston.

Since husband had to stay at home to allow access to the front hallway, that meant I took myself to Houston—


treated myself to an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.

One of my favorite aritsts is Giacometi, a Swiss born artist. One of his pieces was what I learned last week was titled Tall Woman–I called Matchstick Man. It is tall, thin, spare, but incredibly textured. That sculpture was in the Cullen Sculpture Garden and along with Matisse’s ‘ Four Backs was always something I visited.

Then the sculpture was moved in-doors—and then it disappeared.

But an entire exhibit of his work including Tall Woman was on display.

Here are two postcards I picked up that give a bit of the flavor of the show.

There was movie showing him working in his studio…it was not much more than a roof with walls. He drew on the walls making them his sketchbook for ideas.

His drawings reflected his spare approach to imagery—he also drew on newspapers and exhibit catalogs–his lithographs were landscapes but still spare.

Best of all–I had that entire exhibit totally to myself. It was such a wonderful treat to stand for long moments in front of a particular piece without noting someone else waiting for their turn—or listening to an expert telling them what they were looking at.

It was a wonderful exhibit–and since the show is up until sometime in February and I have one ticket left, I might indulge myself again—but this time take my camera.

Block printing with a stamp pad and printer Ink

December 21,2022

Many years ago I took a printing course at the local university and worked on many variations of printmaking. We had the luxury of a lovely large electric printing press—most colleges have hand-cranked ones.

One process used etching ink.

I remember it being messy—particularly when late teen-age/early twenties college students were involved. I spent a significant amount of time cleaning up after them—if I wanted to make my prints properly to my satisfaction.

I was lucky enough to take another class through Winslow Art Center with Mollie Hashimoto. She uses etching ink for her prints along with a soft rubbery substance for her carvings.

I was not so lucky—that substance was all on back order and so I had to settle for linocuts and also a bizare dark gray very thin substrate that was difficult to mark and so thin I thought I might carve through to the other side.

However, I persisted and here is a conglomerate of my work.

I think I might get some acrylic paint and try printing them again. The owls might need to be re-done on a better substrate.

And if you are wondergin what these are for—-I’m illustrating a short story I wrote about the screech owl that lived in the mulberry tree in our back yard.

The story is written–obviously I will refine it a bit more—but then I need the illustrations to complete it.

Writing and illustrating my own books has been in the back of my mind for a long time—and now I have the time to make it work.

A Leaf and a Book

What is the most logical thing for someone with lots of projects partially completed, too many plans for others, and a work room bulging with supplies?

Why of course you take a class to learn something new!

Sort of new.

In years past I took a class in printmaking where I learned a lot of different techniques. I have always been especially fond of wood-cuts. In addition to trying to learn water color painting–I also took several classes in that–but to my now chagrin, learned very little.

The class I took last Saturday was with Winslow Art Center in Seattle and featured Mollie Hashimoto. We were supposed to carve soft stamp–but I could only find linocuts. It is much more difficult and the size was too small for my fumbly fingers but the above is my first attempt on regular paper–not the nice water color paper which would allow me to color in some of the areas.

I used stamp pad ink, not etching ink–it also was not available–so I used what I had.

Heree is my second print. I don’t know why it is so light–I will have to do some experimenting with another ink pad perhaps.

And just to show I have multiple projects underway, here is the Handmade Book Club November book–diamond binding. The cover was made in a conference at Camp Allen near Navasota Texas. It is house paint applied with scrapers, twigs, and pine needles.

I f you are thinking my photos aren’t the best–you are quite correct. The graphic on the right is from an old calendar printed by a local mortuary and distributed annually to our local Episcopal Church—it isn’t glued on yet—and might have something else substituted.

Three Pies and Forty Days of Rain or so it seemed

Thanksgiving is past but we have leftovers in the refrigerator—-so no cooking or much thought about evening meals for several days.

Thanksgiving is always a time of excess—so much food, so many special treats, and cherished time with family.

My mother always made several pies–pumpkin, blueberry, apple. Olives were a special treat for us. And then there were the butter mints and Spanish peanuts served in a divided pressed glass dish—I have that dish and bring it out for special meals. My aunt made a cake–putting a cake made in an angel food cake pan on top of a regular cake—it was my grandparents’ birthday—no candles—but we all knew it was for them.

There was always the argument over who got the stuffing from inside the bird versus outside– and the long discussion about seating arrangements—several smaller people had to sit on the piano bench while chairs were brought from other rooms and put into use.

My husband’s family served up an elegant meal with my mother-in-law hand-washing the crystal chandelier. His father carved the turkey with great ceremony with elk horn knife and fork from Scotland; raw cranberry sauce made the day before was traditional. The molded lime green jello salad with cottage cheese and pineapple was stored on top of the car in the garage.

But that is all past—and now we are the older generation.

Thanksgiving day was really dreadful–rain, cold—and we opted to not drive in that weather. It is not unusual for us to alter the celebration of a holiday—my work usually involved working holidays.

We had made our pies and stored them in the oven–safe from Toby and Dora.

We had also been invited to youngest son’s in-laws—and thought we would deliver our pies and make new ones—–again we were deterred by rain—pouring rain of Tropical Storm Harvey/Imelda quality.

Rain, rain, rain!!!!! Cold and dreary!

Sunday was an absolute gorgeous day with sun and warm temperatures.

We made our way to middle son’s home where we got to spend time with grandsons.

If you think Oliver is a ham–the one on the far right–you are absolutely correct. Drama is his middle name but he is so adorable it is hard not to overlook some of his theatrics. Yes, that is a scrape on his face—he ran his motorcycle into a tree–thought it was a disaster until he realized it gave him some serious street cred at his school.

They were quite pleased to leave their homework assignments for fun with Grandpa.

Of course there was more than enough food, food to be packed into containers and brought home, pies to be split up.

We watched the final half of the soccer match between Germany and Spain–such cheering!!!

Driving home, husband decided to drive down I-45 instead of east on I-10. It took a bit for us (mostly me…as I have driven more in Houston) to figure out how to get back to I-10…the traffic designers did not think Houston would grow as it did–it is very congested and everyone drives 15 miles over the speed limit—with entries on the right and exits on the left. We made it back to I-10 and a welcome stop at Bucky’s SuperCharger.

Our dogs were thrilled to see us–checked us quite thoroughly to see if we had been unfaitherful to them and interacted with other dogs.

It was a good weekend.

Sort of a Leather Journal but Not Really

One of the recent project posted was a long stitch journal with a cut-out in the spine.

Trying to use what I have….I have a vast supply of nearly everything craft-wise, I chose to try a fabric journal.

I had made three fabric collages on ticking fabric that was about the right size for the paper I had.

I stabilized the fabric and sewed on an inside fabric to hide the wrong side of the collage.

Then I used my new tool–a Crop-a=Gater….a huge hole punch to place three holes; and then used eyelets to stabilize them,

I ended up sewing the signatures in twice—paper is much more forgiving than I had ever thought–being much more accustomes to fabric.

Figuring out a closure was challenging, and I used two buttons/buttonholes.

And here is the spine. Getting those holes lined up is tricky and I didn’t do the best job of it—but practice as they say may change that.

Thje cord is hemp found in the jewelry section. I used beeswax on it—that makes a huge difference in how easy the knotting and handling of the stitching.

Next week starts another hand made book challenge. I am trying to finish up some of the half done projects before it starts.

Finishing Up Projects

As noted earlier this week, I am always full of enthusiasm in January for new projects and just new stuff.

But then the fall comes and it seems to be time to finish some of them up so as to start the new year fresh.

I finished a quilt top that was a challenge issued by a Louisiana Quilt Guild. But it needs to be quilted and to be quilted it needs a backing.

I have a wealth of fabric and have rarely purchased new fabric in the past few years—-I became interested in hand-made books and water color painting and spent my money on THOSE things that are fabric/thread equivalents.

I measure what I have left and then draw out a diagram of how I think I can put it together.

I piece the backing with an eye to the fewest seams on the exterior of the backing.

next I fold it up and label it so I know which side is the ‘top’ side. I can unfold it and see when I am loading it into the Gammill but it’s really easy when I have all the information right there.

The backing and quilt are then folded up together.

I use the small bits and pieces to make the label.

I iron a piece of freezer paper to stabilize the center writing area—everything gets folded up together and transported to my Gammill where it needs to wait in line for the next opening.

There are three ahead of it and one in the frame–so it may be a bit.

Carrots and Radishes

There is just something about vegetables and food you have grown yourself.

I pulled the carrots several weeks ago.

I did not realize there were so many varieties of carrots. Here mine are next to the commercial ones.

My intended project that day was carrot cake.

And then there are radishes.

I pulled these last weeks. Radishes are not my favorite vegetable but I grown them every year. One of my brothers liked them and so does my husband. They are easy to grow and don’t mind our cool fall weather.

Hoping I will see lettuce sprouting up soon.

Have I Run out of Oomph?

Every January I start the new BOM offered by the Quilt Show with enthusisasm.

I pull fabrics and this year I bought backing fabric–a lovely printed linen. It is not a fiber I have used often in the past…mostly hemming napkins.

Each month part of the project is posted and I work away at it.

Usually I get behind in late summer—hard to be enthusiastic about sewing when it is 100 plus and I’m looking at hurricane warnings/tropical storms predictions of rainfall.

But late fall I get it together and finish up the blocks.

Here was the last block I needed to finish.

As this is nearly all applique….not my expertise; I decided to do this via machine applique. The block bases are cut too large and then after the applique is completed, trimmed to the proper size.

Here is the quilt top completed.

That block on the top right with the urn is not completed.

I needed a lot more leaves.

I am working on finishing the corner blocks. Because it is so large, it is hand-work project.

I have the backing selected—but have no idea of how I am going to quilt it.

I am ready for a new project!!

Garden Party

Each year The Quilt Show features a Block of the Month. It is an exclusive pattern available only to those of us who pay the annual subscription of $49. This is the third one I have worked on. thinking to give them as wedding quilts to my grandchildren—plenty of time–the oldest is not yet 12.

This year I chose a printed linen as the background fabric. It is wobbly and ravels easily, making it a significant challenge to work with. I opted to not do any of the pieced blocks, focusing just on the applqiue.

Applique is not my forte—but I decided to try machine applique with turned edges.

This is the center.

You can also see the rest of my messy work area.

There were more blocks on the right and left side; those are done–a few more berries to add to one of them. After looking at this for several days, I decided I did not like those top and bottom middle blocks, replaced them with the printed linen. I’m contemplating adding some applique to those blocks.

The border is on. and I’m pleased with what I see.

I don’t have a large enough space to show the entire top until after I have quilted it. That will be a challenge as custom quilting is not my forte either. The intended grand-daughter is just 5 so no rush!

Tomorrow the 2023 Block of the Month will be revealed; I’ve seen a tiny image of it and a few detail photos but I’m eager to see it.

Final Impressions

Quilt Festival Houston 2022 was considerably smaller than 2019.

There were fewer students taking workshops.

The vendor market was much smaller.

The number of exhibits was half.

In many ways I thought this was a better show. With fewer quilts/exhibits I could concentrate on each grouping. There weren’t so many people that I couldn’t get a good view of each piece. And this year, the brochure contained photos of the winners in each of the categories.

I attended two lectures…one by Juditth Baker Montano on her journey as an artist with stitching: and Jill Kertulla on the value and manner of visiting an art museum.

Both were well attended and offered the following take-aways.

Judith started small (only two students in her first class—her best friend and her best friend’s mother), She works hard to develop her work improving—and interestingly getting more detailed with finer and finer thread. Her Silk Embrodiery book sold more copies than Stephen King for three months in a row.

Jill Kertulla started as a graphic designer in the days of cut and paste–physically and began using technology in the form of photographs printed on cloth but with additions of multiple layers, cutting down to some but always building. Focusing on a particular aspect whether it be design or color or image makes a museum visit valuable in advancing personal artwork.

I was fortunate to stay in the Hyatt Regency–a very nice hotel with bus service to the George R Brown Convention Center, I did a lot of walking on all three days and had the luxury of Starbucks coffee on two of them.

My husband dropped me off on Wednesday and picket me up on Saturday. I’m already dreaming of next year—but I have a lot of ideas and things to work on—and perhaps next year I’ll have several pieces in the show.