Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

A delightful journey full of inspiration!


Just back from a delightful journey full of relaxation and inspiration.  After four days in London we were off via the Chunnel to Brussels.  Thanks to the sage advice of Linda Colsh, we based there for four days.  Above is from the day we spent in Brugge, a very, very beautiful 11th-century town that was splendid along its canals decked out in Fall colors.


We hit all the Belgian foodie highlights in Brugge – a brewery tour, traditional food,


and a stop at Mary’s chocolates:



The main reason for our Brussel’s detour was to visit the Open European Quilt Championships in Maastricht, Netherlands.


My artworks, Shagbark 3 and 4, were being shown there as part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ juried exhibit, Two by Twenty. (GREAT to see the exhibit in person, but if you can’t do that I would urge you to purchase the catalog – its detail photos are superb.)


I made a special effort to make it to this more traditional quilt show because of an exhibit, Eye-Talk by Jette Clove (Belgium) and Katriina Flensburg (Sweden).  I “met” Jette through Fiberart for a Cause and have have long admired her graphic and typographic artwork.


It was a thrill to meet Jette and see so many of her artworks in person.  There was also an exhibit of artwork on the theme of windows from a Masterclass taught by Jette.  I found this the most innovative exhibit at the show with 3-D artworks, artworks using transparency and translucency in new ways, and all the artworks showing great thought.



When we returned to London, the weather has turned to what Joe called the “London-iest” – foggy, a little cold, and rainy. We used our remaining four days to tube here and there and look at exhibits ranging from cosmonauts to bark cloth . . .


to astronomy photos of the year to an unfinished Mark Rothko. In the end, we managed to visit Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Southbank Gallery, Serpentine Gallery (see more on the Jimmie Durham: Various Items and Complaints here.  I veered from liking this exhibit the best to just finding it all too obvious.), Sackler Gallery, the V&A, the British Museum, the Museum of Science, and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

With, of course, our mandatory tea breaks.


I’m always glad to be home, but also feel as if I’m the luckiest person in the world when I can travel to see and experience new things.


11 2015

Inspired by London – 2014

Thamesviewweb If you’ve been following along the last couple of years, you probably guessed that my absence here for a bit meant I was in my fav town: London.  We’ve done most of the “tourist” things, so really we just wandered about looking at things this year.


Two of my fav things – train travel (for a tour of the  Royal Opera House’s Production Studio for their sets and scenery about 20 miles from London) and cheese/pickle sammies. Pickle is really chutney, I think, and this is what I had for lunch EVERY day when we did the Coast-to-Coast across England. Deja vu!


This, however, is our usual way of going about London: The tube system.  We used about 25 stations and passed through another 25 or so.  I love this photo – all gleaming efficiency.  You realize how far down you are under London once you take a couple of these up and up after arriving on a platform.  The topper was a station that said take the elevator or walk up stairs equivalent to a 13 story building.

Below are a few more photos of textures and interesting things that caught my eye:






And, finally, for my fellow foodies:


Do not go here on the weekend – ack! crowds, but always lots to see and eat.


Actually a brewery in Greenwich.  And you can walk up the hill and see the Astronomy Photos of the Year.


Nirvana!  The London Review of BOOKS shop and cafe. That’s their special tea menu on the little clipboard.  I’m sorry I didn’t have a camera the day I had white peony and rose bud tea served in tiny glass teapots on a teak box.




10 2014

24 Moose and a Trip of a Lifetime!

Trip 21 to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with my sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman, was truly the trip of a lifetime.  We survived the worst (and I’m not kidding) bugs EVER as well as what can best be described as variable weather while experiencing the best of what Nature offers in wilderness areas and a whole lot of FUN!


This was one of the nicer portages in and this was before many days of rain.  On the way out long stretches of the portages were basically lakes with running water.


We were overjoyed to find our FAV campsite open – a miracle! This was a base-camp trip as Nancy had knee surgery 10 days before we left.


First order of biz after the tent is up is Nancy’s tarp and bug hut engineering. Note cleverness in putting tarp above bug hut.


Nancy made our custom bug hut and it saved the trip as our cooking/dining hall. This is hash browns with onions and cheese and scrambled eggs for breakfast during a lovely storm. We heard many other paddlers gave it up after a day or two this year because of the bug swarms and rain. I think that’s why it’s so much fun to go adventuring with Nancy; it’s always a great day to be in the BWCA in our world.


We spent many happy hours out canoeing and, despite a few days in camp due to high winds, paddled about 40 miles. The water was so high that no worries about grinders.


Oh, did I mention seeing 24 moose?  Moose and twins, moose with calf, moose charging other moose in the lily pad area, four moose at a time, etc., etc.  This was not just see a moose disappear into the bush; the cows were hungry and in hot competition for the best lily pads.  We would sit and eat dinner with a show of moose coming and going for an hour or more. And it wasn’t just the moose.  We saw otters playing, beaver, eagles, loons, and so much more. (Update:  How could I have forgotten?  I saw a bear.  It and I rapidly retreated in opposite directions from the latrine path!)


We had a five-photo challenge every day with different themes.  This is one of my photos for the theme, “Diagonal Lines.”  Birch is always beautiful.


I am still thinking about the inspiration provided by rocks with moss and engraved ice lines and,


as always, water, water, water. Trip #21 was an amazing ten days of great paddling, sisterly fun, and Nature in all her glory. We felt honored to be able to experience it all once again.



06 2014

In the Studio: How To Stick with the Stitching


I’ve been sitting and handstitching on the same artwork, Shagbark, for a couple of months now.  By nature I’m not a person to sit in one spot and do one thing ad infinitum.  And now the weather is improving and the great outdoor calls.

But I have come to think of stitching as an activity similar to portaging.  If a portage is a boulevard, then you know the lake on the other side is bound to have a lot of people on it.  The slippery, rocky, semi-dangerous portages are the ones that lead to silence and beauty.  Sometimes it is just a matter of hanging in there and keeping your eye on the prize.

So here’s some tip to STICK WITH THE STITCHING:

1.  Make sure your chair and lighting are just right.  It’s worth experimenting to find a chair that won’t harm your body.  I love my WittFitt ball (no affiliation) and have moved my table so I have natural, overhead, and task lighting. Overkill?  Maybe, but too much light is better than too little.


2.  Take a break every hour.  I have my yoga mat standing by for a few downward dogs or I do some little part of the ever-thrilling domestic drudgery that never ends such as run downstairs and throw in a load of laundry, sweep a floor, clean a counter.  The only thing to watch out for is mistaking a break for quitting for the day.  That is why my taking a break does not include taking a walk (15 min. to gear up, 45 min. later I’m still outside :)), but you may be able to take a nice brisk walk and return safely.  In any case, I always leave all my lights on as a visual reminder that there is still stitching to be done.


3. Rejoice in the small triumphs.  Some days I literally only stitch a few square inches, but if they happen to be just right or particularly beautiful, I’m a happy camper.


4.  Give yourself some things to look at that are on a longer view to rest your eyes.  I purposely sit in this spot so a view of the shagbarks is before me.  Nothing like looking directly at the inspiration for the artwork.  You might wonder why I don’t transport the artwork elsewhere, but it has assumed sculptural proportions with layers of upholstery fabric, screenprinted paint, and stitching.  In short, it is HEAVY and it works best to wrestle with it on a table.


5.  Work the psych angle.  That sounds weird, but here are three things on or near the design board where “Shagbark” resides each evening that I can study for inspiration as I stitch.   First, I stitched together the colorful dyed piece of cloth so when Shagbark (in January colors) comes down, it’s Spring in my studio.  Second is a photo pinned to the left corner that isn’t of bark, but reminds me of bark. So something to think about for the future.  Lastly, in the shadow box is a handmade blouse of my Grandma’s.  It is amazing (not only because it is about a size 0), but also because of all the handwork.

6.  Bring the outside in.  These lovely hen and chicks reside in this old enamelware pan on my deck all summer.  But they have been happily multiplying this winter by the window.  I checked the ASPCA toxic list and they are cat-safe.

mugstitching4007.  When all else fails, go for the coffee and/or chocolate!  Seriously.


03 2014

Art, Inspiration, and Food – London



London. Two weeks. I probably need say no more 🙂 for you to know it was both inspirational and ton-o-fun.

I looked at a LOT of art, visited beautiful gardens, walked and walked (including 84 steps to our room), and ate an amazing amount of very good food plus my fair share of perry – a.k.a. pear cider.

London has embraced the farm-to-table, urban farming, and artisan food concepts.  They are working hard to educate Londoners about the value of rural England, including bringing


fiber on the hoof to the city.

We spent a lot of time noshing our way through Borough Market (opening photo) and the Real Food Festival,


and enjoyed the heirloom apple tasting at the Royal Horticultural Society’s autumn show.

Twenty-one tube stations, one boat ride, one train ride, and several bus trips took us to visit old favorites and new discoveries.  The two artists who spoke most directly to me are highlighted below.


First up at the Tate Modern was an exhibit of the work of Mira Schendl.  Do take the time to click the link to see an example of her work.  You will see why I bought the exhibit catalog as she worked a fruitful vein of inspiration frequently utilizing rice paper and many kinds of lettering.


Second, I very much enjoyed the work of Marisa Merz, who works in many media including fiber and wax, at the Serpentine Gallery.  Since we were in the neighborhood, we walked over and stood in line for the opening exhibit of the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery (shown in detail above) designed by Saha Hadid.  The building has taken a bit of a beating in the press, but the interior of the portion shown is like standing inside funnels of light – amazing.


A little more on the fiber side of things were a series of willow sculptures based on fungi by Tom Hare at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Also at Kew Gardens was this whimsical Tea Party installation by Kirsti Davies


with bone china highlighting all the edible plants of a British tea party.


Since I’m an “oh, shiny things” kind of person, we stopped by this little shed at Greenwich (where we had gone to see the Astronomy Photographs of the Year) when I saw something gold and a person working away.   The very kind Nigel Woodford, Specialist Conservator, was working on restoring 18th century Old Royal Navel College lanterns (huge!) and


even gold leafed my thumbnail in 14 carat gold as a demo.


For my geeky birthday, I chose to visit Blectchley Park, the headquarters of codebreaking during WWII.  The reconstructed “bombe” was amazing, but most inspirational was finding that the thousands of young women (75% of the people at Bletchley were women) who worked rotating shifts for up to six years are finally receiving some recognition.  No one broke the silence about Bletchley until 1974!





10 2013