Monday, February 15, 2010

Street Art

There's nothing like looking through my photo stash to inspire me to get moving with my sewing machine.  Today we are enjoying a mild President's Day and thought I'd share a few Street Art memories.  In the fall of 2008 I took a cruise with friends to Boston and points north.  I had never been to this part of the east coast and it was fabulous.  Wandering around Boston I was taken with the beautiful doors and the profusion of flowers in window boxes.  It is my plan to use these images to create colorful Portal quilts in the future.

This elegant doorway as you can see has beautiful stonework at several levels.

While this shows a more expansive entrance with a interesting set of windows, a sub-entrance and the metal railing.  The warm color mix probably helps during the cold, snowy winter season.


The wood and glass entrance set back from the street is welcoming yet private.


These entrances are all on one street and the variations were delightful to see and photograph. My gardening instincts were aroused when I saw this profusion of green around the dark door.  The metal fencing is so contemporary and complementary.

The stonework at this entrance showcases the glass and wood of the entryway while the flower boxes and the tree bring green to the urban landscape.

The entry arches with the brick sidewalk and building are established features on the east coast but we Californians don't see them.  We call it earthquake avoidance.

To close the door on Boston we can enjoy this forged metal grating.

In contrast Quebec presented its own unique styling of doors that are individual and colorful.


There is this extra tall red door surrounded by stone and white bordered windows.


How about this white double door surrounded with multiple size windows  both high and low.

Then there is a patch of blue.  Now when I uploaded these I really hadn't planned to do red, white and blue but it works out just fine.


This was available once who knows by now.  As you can see I am steadily going up hill from the slanted sidewalks.  Collecting art inspiration has been strenuous yet invigorating work.


The color combination of stoneware and brown is calm and earthy.


Ok, who remembers "Green Door--what's that secret you're keeping?"  In this case probably a peaceful and colorful life.  


These red doors round out my collection.  I hope to create work in the near future as I look at this artful architecture.  I'll keep you posted.  If you have created door inspired art let's share ideas.

I'll be continuing Street Art imagery this week by sharing my fascination with utility covers and urban landscape utilitarian art.  See you next time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Countdown Olympics

In celebration of Black History Month I have created a group of teaching quilts to honor African American women Olympians.  I hope to develop this project and expand the works to showcase forerunners in the movement.  Of course this would include tennis great Althea Gibson, runner Wilma Rudolph, rower and IOC (International Olympic Committee) member Anita DeFranz and Alice Coachman, the first African American woman to win a gold medal.

But in the meantime here are samples of the art studies.

Annet Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordon

Sharon Monplaisir

Vonetta Flowers and Jill Bakken.  Vonneta Flowers is the first African American to win a gold medal in the winter games.

If you are in the Bay Area stop by the Castro Valley Library and see my exhibits in the main entry showcase and the Children's showcase thas has work for Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and other February holidays.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Skate Fever

Lutz, loops, lace, lifts, Lycra and lots of fun only partly describe 10 days I recently spent in Spokane, Washington, the self proclaimed Skate City USA.  This was my third trip to Spokane to see figure skating since 2002.  The organizers have done an excellent job each time and have broken attendance records during the last two National Figure Skating Championships. We were very lucky this trip since it didn't snow once during our visit and the weather was generally balmy for January.    For this trip, my travel companion Loretta and I watched attentively as championship skaters vied for places on the Olympic team.  The first weekend began with pairs and men skaters.  Anyone watching TV probably knows who won in those events.

I'm always excited about Nationals because I get to see the next generation of skaters.  This time our hearts were won over with the Novice Men who skated with energy, skill and age appropriate music.  This group had the speedball charmer Nathan Chen, age 10 who performed  "Kung Fu Panda" and "Peter and the Wolf" to win the championship.  Right behind him was Emmanuel Savary age 12 who performed to "Super Marion Bros." and selections from "The Simpsons".


Rounding out the field were Timothy Dolensky and Phillip Warren.  We look forward to following the progress of these young skaters at future events.  As you can see their costume were youthful and just right for their programs.  We had a chance to speak with Phillip Warren's parents and the conversation confirmed the hard work and dedication these youngsters bring to their sport.  Were you ready to get up early to practice before going to school daily?  But we know there's nothing like having a dream and working to make it come true.

Junior Men skaters brought in a new cast of performers. Rumor has it that the father of the winner, Jason Brown, was speechless.  Silver Medalist Joshua Farris' dyed and crystal laden top is beautiful.  

Novice Champions Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton  had beautiful costumes made from  velvet, sheers and braid.  I was not a happy fan when I discovered this smudge on my photo but what can you do.  

The second place winners are a brother and sister team Danvi and Vu Pham, ages 10 and 12.  Joylyn Yang and Jean Luc Baker were right behind them winning third.

Of course we weren't always in the arena.  Spokane is a scenic city and is said to be the largest between Seattle and Minneapolis.  The Spokane River runs through the city and has a range of shops and restaurants that kept us busy when we needed a skate break. I even tried a bison burger that was delicious.  There are several bridges crossing the river and a beautiful park adjacent to it allows for strolling and biking.  Public art is readily viewable in and near the park.

This is one of my favorites of metal marathon runners.

If you ever wanted a big red wagon this should do the job.

This is a jewel of a project that allows the goat to vacuum paper that you feed to it by pushing a button the side.

This playful blue spider will happily guard your bike if you need to take a quick stroll.

 There were these women enticing us to health as we walked daily to the arena.

So the fun side of skating include Snowplow Sam.  We had to do it.

Loretta and I also have large pin collections.  Loretta is wearing her Ode to the Olympics hat.  We were both featured on local television sporting our pin collections while were were visiting SkateFest at the downtown mall. 

This is a link to the television interview

These pins have gotten us lots of press attention.  We were also featured in a Calgary newspaper article when we went to World Figure Skating several years ago.  The whole point for us is to trade as much as we can.  Luckily for us lots of skaters, coaches and sponsors see we love them and happy add to them without a word from us.  Of we know how to beg too.  This time a nice gentleman gave me a Los Angeles World's pin.     Our friend Marg from our previous visit also gave each of a sponsor pin.  She was a dedicated volunteer at both Nationals.

As with most arena events there are always lines to accommodate our personal safety.  So we make a point of talking with folks while we wait.  This time we met a skater and her coach with her cool skate bag.

Did I mention that the Spokane River has several falls.  We took a Skytram ride over them and the view was great.  I was too busy looking to take photos.  These are taken while safely on land.


The city also has an antiques district that I had to visit in pursuit of old aprons, hankies and anything else I could pack in my already crowded bag.  I found a wonderful old bonnet, a great 20's era hat and gloves, gloves, gloves.  All will be happily used in my ongoing documentation of women from our collective past.

Of course with skating you expect the ladies outfits to grand as well as the dancers.  These are my favorites.

 Junior Lady Champion Agnes Zawadski in her "Chicago" costume.

Junior Lady Bronze Winner Lindsay Davis in her "Cirque du Soliel" costume.

Novice Lady Gold Winner Leah Keiser in her "Carmen" outfit.

Novice Lady Bronze Winner  Katarina Kulgeyko.  I spoke with her father while riding the shuttle.  He spoke of her dedication and determination.  Her final program was to "The Adams Family", hence the cool spider outfit.


Folk Dance was the original dance this year.

 Junior Dance Champions, brother and sister Maia and Alex Shibutani. All Junior Champions.

Pewter medal winners  Isabella Cannuscioand Ian Lorello.  This is detail of the back of your dress.

Junior Dance Bronze Winners  

All of the skaters are to be commended for their dedication and hard work.  Behind the scenes are all the parents, coaches, choreographers, costume designers and fabricators who made the week wonderful.  I mustn't forget the young women who dressed beautifully to present flowers, awards, medals and good cheer to the skaters as they enjoyed their moments of success.  Way to go skaters and thank you Spokane organizers, fans,volunteers, sweepers, Zamboni operators, sponsors anyone else who help make these events happen .