Posts Tagged ‘floral arrangement’

Where I’m From, Where I’m Going

November 6, 2013

In an attempt to wrench myself away from the rest of my Halloween fabric, I decided to make one more project and then reassess the sewing room. Since I can make tote bags in my sleep, that’s the project I chose.

 

The side with the crows

The side with the ravens

 

This is a very simple bag – no pockets, no zippers, no embellishments – just an enjoyment of fabric.

 

The side with the bats

The side with the bats

 

The reassessment took a bit more effort. While I was stacking up fabric for future consideration, I noticed some of the inspiration objects I have in the room.

 

My grandparents creations

My grandparents’ creations

 

This vase and the plastic flowers were made by my grandparents, Fred and Luba Rezansoff. They were multi-talented people who sang (click here to see the album of Russian songs they made with close friends), served their community, gardened and made art.

 

That desire to make beautiful things filtered through the generations. My mother made a flower arrangement from one of the miniature pitchers that my grandfather carved.

 

From my grandfather to my mother to me

From my grandfather to my mother to me

 

It’s kind of thrilling to think about the genetic contribution to who I am as an artist (instead of obsessing about the genetic contribution to my expanding waistline). That’s where I’m from. The question before me is where am I going?

 

Once again, family came up with the answer. My brother mentioned that Karen Nyberg, now on the International Space Station, put out a call for star blocks. Click here for a link to the NASA website or here for information on the star block challenge.

 

I met another quilting astronaut on the set of Simply Quilts. Jan Davis doesn’t mention quilting in her official NASA biography, but she appeared on a show in 2000 and demonstrated hand applique. She designed a pattern based on the NASA astronaut pin that was available free on the Simply Quilts website.

 

(Shameless self promotion – I was also a guest on Simply Quilts. Alex Anderson‘s producers wanted to do a show on quilting in non-traditional venues. Alex and I are both members of Amador Valley Quilters, so she knew about the prison project and asked if I would mind her passing my contact information to the producers. Mind? Mind?!! I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Taping the show was a joy, and then to be allowed to watch the taping of Jan Davis and meet her afterwards – one of the best days in my life.)

 

Davis flew on three space shuttle missions. Like Nyberg, she also brought fabric into space. While I’m sad that this connection between quilting and NASA isn’t (yet) in the official history, at least Nyberg’s art is being recognized.

 

I don’t know if Davis or Nyberg or even my grandfather identify themselves as artists, but I do. Making something beautiful is as much a gift to the community as it is to the artist/crafter/hobbyist/human being expressing joy or pain or amazement at life itself. And yes, I’m including art that challenges or disturbs in the category of “something beautiful” because there can be a beauty about truthful emotion that transcends any ugliness in the piece.

 

My first impressions of Northern California in 1983 were not those of beauty. My husband and I were driving down I-5 in mid-summer, the last leg on our move from Boston. Every mile we drove south, more green disappeared from the landscape. By the time we hit Redding I accused him of taking me to Mars. This quilt is based on that memory. With a little bit of luck and a lot of perseverance, I hope to find some beauty in there.

 

To Mars, via California

To Mars, via California

 

 

The Accidental Halloween

October 23, 2013

The Christmas project schedule is progressing so well I forgot that Halloween comes first. I nearly tripped over the bag of Halloween fabric, which is how I remembered. Those goblins don’t like to be overlooked.

 

My Halloween collection tucked in a tote

My Halloween collection tucked in a tote

 

While unpacking my collection, I realized that I haven’t made anything with it because I don’t want to cut it up.

 

Too cute to cut

Too cute to cut

 

When I have a creative problem that is turning into a fur ball, I try solving it by the Wandering Method. Amble aimlessly about the house and see what leaps out at you. Usually what leaps out at me is the box of cookies I tried hiding on the shelf, but this time I was lucky. First, I noticed my collection of picture frames.

 

Lani Longshore picture frames

 

Then I noticed my collection of Halloween flowers, feathers and stuff on sticks.

 

The little arrangement that grew

The little arrangement that grew

 

For the past few years, I’ve decorated the table with a small Halloween- or harvest-themed centerpiece. I folded the small centerpiece into a larger floral arrangement in the living room when it was time to decorate for Christmas. As you can see, that arrangement is spreading out from its vase like the monster that ate Cleveland. “Self,” I said, “it is time to do something different.”

 

Lani Longshore Halloween decoration

 

This is only a prototype of a fabric collage. I wanted to see how much space I really have between the back and the frame. The next step will be to experiment with wrapping the back with fabric and placing other fabrics and embellishments only in the area that clears the edges of the frame. While I would prefer to use the glass to protect the piece, it is designed to go over a photograph, not a three-dimensional collage. Of course, I could try gluing things to the glass to get a floating effect . . .

 

Excuse me, but I think it is time to wander around the house again, this time in costume –

 

Boo!

Boo!