Sunday, June 27, 2010

T Shirt Family

The Washington Nationals are not a very good baseball team. They are the newest team in the Major Leagues. We have learned not to expect them to win many games. We go to enjoy baseball in person: pitchers keeping an eye on the runner on first, batters warming up, swinging their bats in big circles, beer sellers running up and down the steps in a display of unrecognized aerobic athleticism. We have a new pitcher, just brought up after a short stint in the minor leagues. Almost overnight, Nats T shirts with Stephen Strasburg's name sprouted like dandelions in an untended lawn. I chuckled at this family, in their matching Strasbug shirts. It's a reminder that baseball thrives on hope.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Basic Black

Stopping along I-68, we noticed that everyone riding a motorcycle wanted to turn into the gas station. Correction: they wanted to turn into the Harley Davidson dealership behind the gas station. The chugging pump hoses and smell of gasoline were overpowered by the steady bass of rock music and the aroma of barbecue. A row of lovingly polished cycles lined the shady side of the building. Many were as shiny and brightly colored as the coating on an M & M. But there is something about a black Harley. Even with fringes, studs and extra bits of chrome, a black Harley says "I am loud and serious. Don’t you wish you were riding me? Now get out of my way." This is true, even if we know the Harley's owner is probably a podiatrist.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Five Buckets

For the second week, I have chosen a photo in which buckets are featured. Buckets are an important part of a surface designer's life. Last week, Sue Cavanaugh's shibori class used these buckets to soak their stitched and gathered fabrics in soda ash solution or to rinse out the dye. A sixth-floor conference center is not the easiest place to conduct a "wet class." It leads to unexpected opportunities for photos. I like the lines created by the duct tape on the plastic protecting the floor. There is something both arresting and mysterious about the buckets. Their careful, even spacing moves my eyes down the row. They sit on chairs like speakers waiting for their turn at the podium. If they each had a chance at the microphone, what do you think they would say?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Surface Designers

We are at the midway point of the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus Ohio. Artists grab fabrics from the piles on the tables and sewing machines hum. Earlier in the week there was an outbreak of fantastically elaborate beaded jewelry. The screen printers have assembled fabric books and the collagers have melded paper and fabric into intriguing compositions. Today, the loading dock became a studio for students experimenting with discharging---removing color from dark fabrics. The afternoon light flooded the dock as the students stirred the fabrics in the buckets. Suddenly I felt as if I was in a modern-day version of a Vermeer painting. For a moment or two, the grungy loading dock seemed romantic and beautiful.