Posts Tagged ‘Karen Nyberg’

Surprise

March 19, 2014

I expected to have the Easter Challenge Project finished this week – surprise! It isn’t done, but I made enough progress to solve a problem on the Calendar Project.

 

Eggs and diamonds

Eggs and diamonds

 

I fused the marbled eggs, and discovered there is a thin gold line around each. It is such an elegant touch, I decided I didn’t want to do my usual blanket stitch around the motifs. The blanket stitch is wonderful and versatile, but mine always looks a little folksy. My first plan was to secure the fused pieces with quilting, then add beads. None of the quilting designs I considered made any impact – no announcing, “I’m the one.” After a few days of silence from my quilt top, I decided the blanket stitch would have to do.

 

Lani Longshore Easter project detail

 

Doesn’t look all that folksy, does it? I made smaller stitches than normal, used two strands of floss instead of three, and chose a turquoise that often fades into the marbling. I used the same technique for my calendar block, a May basket.

 

Here's the detail

Here’s the detail

 

Here's the block

Here’s the block

The other great surprise of the week was finding the notes I made for the star block that I will contribute to the quilt NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg is organizing later this year for the fortieth anniversary of the International Quilt Festival in Houston (go to www.nasa.gov/press for the announcement or www.quilts.com for information on the block requirements). The deadline is August 1, which is so far away I’ve forgotten about it twice. This time, I’m making the block then clearing off my work space.

Someday, this will be a star

Someday, this will be a star

 

 

Luck and Wisdom!

 

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