Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dotty Beads

It's almost impossible for me to resist the urge to paw through a cache of beads. Becky Hancock, proprietor of Saint Theresa’s Textile Trove, has uncounted numbers of beads. She knows where they came from and how each type was made. This box is my current favorite. Most of the beads sport dots; vibrant little punctuation marks that encourage me to keep looking and touching their cool, bumpy surfaces. Some are eye beads, thought in many cultures to help ward off bad luck. No bad luck here, just joy in a box of beads.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fireworks Over the Potomac

Alexandria, Virginia celebrates its founding with fireworks on the Saturday after the Fourth of July. A riverside patio is an ideal viewpoint. Years of mixed success have taught me to spend only a small portion of the show shooting a few photographs. I want to enjoy the evening breezes, the flashes of color, the whizzes, bangs and pops. Last July, I came home with just a few images, all underwhelming. For fun, I experimented with filters and tried balancing the light this way or that. Surprise! My image suddenly looked the way it felt to be there! I try to adhere to reality in the photos I post, but perhaps, sometimes, it takes more than that to capture an experience. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Really Big Dandelion

This is the largest dandelion plant I've ever seen. Three feet high and an arm spread wide, it managed to take hold in almost no soil and has flourished along the front of an otherwise tidy building. If the wall was painted a nice shade of blue or green, it might  look more decorative or even artistic, but against a sickly red, the plant is impressive mainly for its size and sheer determination. Something to think about, the next time you dig a dandelion out of your lawn...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Glasgow School of Art

On June 15, a fire all but destroyed the most important building in Glasgow. The school was in the final stage of renovation after a fire in 2014 decimated the library. Why is the GSA so important and why is it worth saving---somehow, some way? This is a detail of the north facade. If you had no hint as to when it was built or who designed it, would you guess that it was completed in 1909? We do not usually connect such simplicity with Edwardian-era architecture. I have been lucky enough to stand in the street and admire those dramatically graceful railings and how they contrast with the windows. I have experienced those interior spaces. And somehow, future generations should be able to experience it as well.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Roses On a Stone Wall

There are flowers assigned to each month, just as there are birthstones. The rose is the flower for June. Although roses now have a reputation for being high maintenance floral divas, anyone who has seen a rose flourishing along the edge of a neglected parking lot or in front of an abandoned house knows that roses have perseverance. Their ancestors spread from the inhospitable heights of far eastern mountainsides all the way to the half-wild hedgerows of the British Isles. This fine specimen climbs up a wall in the Oxford Botanical Gardens. The stone wall is a textural counterpoint to its flamboyantly colored blooms. It’s easy to see why roses are one of the world’s most popular flowers.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Flower Power

Diane Muse has lots of responsibilities making sure that things run smoothly at the Quilt & Surface Design Symposium. If you are surrounded by students making various forms of fiber art, the urge to do something creative cannot be denied. In her little bits of free time, Diane tore apart bunches of fabric flowers, reassembled them into new, much more fabulous button-centered flowers. They are destined to end up on costumes for her daughter’s band. So what have the rest of us done with our bits of free time this week?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

One Section of the Color Wheel

At the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus Ohio, one group of students are  working together under the tutelage of master dyer and art quilter Heide Stoll Weber to create hundreds of dyed swatches. This exacting and laborious process results in mixes of complementary colors and runs from light to dark. I took this photo as Heide was laying out the groups, preparing to cut them. Each student will end up with a set of swatches that can go in a notebook, an invaluable tool for future dye sessions. By the time you read this, all the swatches will have been finished and everyone will be happily dyeing fabric, T shirts, whatever they please. The rest of us can only covet those swatch books.