Sunday, June 26, 2022

Alley With Daylilies

 A system of alleys starts and stops, offering a quiet place to walk on a summer day. The alleys offer a quieter place to mosey along, with a peek into back yard gardens. Flowers spill over fences and birds chirp on low branches. When the sun is out and the daylilies are in bloom, I can almost trick myself into believing that I am on a country lane.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

June Garden

 Every neighborhood has one: a favorite garden that encourages you to walk that extra block or two. Stop for a few minutes and enjoy the colors and textures. Notice the birds and butterflies that have also found it. Gardens such as this are nurtured by people with the greenest of thumbs, earned through trial and error, careful research, and the diligence of daily weeding. This particular gardener has the eye of an artist, mixing colors, considering the height and foliage of each plant, carefully planning for a succession of blooms. Right now, her front yard is a painting by Monet come to life, a source of beauty and inspiration.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Mother Nature's Cloth

 There are many methods for dyeing and printing fabric. Most people use procion dyes that allow you to achieve bright colors. Lisa Binkley is an expert in the ancient ways, dyeing and printing with colors drawn from roots, bark, flowers and even insects. This week, her students at the Quilt & Surface Design Symposium soaked cloth in mordants, then dyed with madder, weld, cutch, and logwood. They wrapped and steamed fabric "burritos" that held fillings of foraged leaves and seed heads. Each unwrapping was a delightful surprise: subtle, sometimes unexpected  colors, leaf silhouettes, delicate patterning. The old ways may be labor-intensive but the results can be elegant and dramatic.. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Plate Installation

 Finally, we are all gathered in Columbus for the Quilt & Surface Design Symposium. When we arrived to set up at the Columbus College of Art & Design, we found this strangely ethereal sculpture hanging in one of the larger class spaces. Dozens of paper plates move and sway as people walk by. The piece changes as the sun rises and sets. Who would imagine that paper plates could be transformed into an enchanting installation? Art students, of course. For me, the recycling bin that stands right there next to it is the icing on this proverbial cake.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Parking Lot Marks

 I do like a good set of marks. And there they were, laid out before us as we crossed the empty lot. Artists learn all sorts of techniques for making marks. They are the basis of a good design. They can create texture and are useful for drawing your eye from one place to another. These marks definitely do that, with the added bonus of just enough wonkiness to be lively. Mark making is a skill, but sometimes all you need to do is recognize it when a great set appears right there in front of you.

Sunday, May 22, 2022


 Let's all get out our color wheels. What do you see, directly across from red-violet? Yellow-green, of course. Mother Nature doesn't need to consult a color wheel. She knows to choose a lively shade of almost-chartreuse to set off the petals of this particular clematis. Look closely and marvel at how each petal has three distinct members of the purple family, but not the three that most of us would put together for a painting or a quilt. Add the drama of a deeply shaded background and you’ve got yourself a real color story.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Venetian Glass

 The exhibit featured examples of the most exquisitely done Venetian glass arts. I peered into the vitrine displaying a trio of perfectly-blown wine goblets.  Enameled birds and hunting dogs chase in and out of colorful vines. They are as crisp and perfect as the day the master craftsperson painted them and set them in the glass oven to bake. The shadow of each goblet spreads across the base of the vitrine, a replica in light and shade that makes it easy to appreciate the designs. It takes great skill for museum lighting experts to illuminate an object so beautifully. They do their jobs, then leave it to us to enjoy and appreciate their addition to the art.