Sunday, July 05, 2015

Remembering Allen

Wanted to share one of my favorite shots from when my late husband and I were "courting" in college. This was taken in probably 1974, and as he started jokingly to flail in a half-hearted attempt to escape my grasp, our friend Jean snapped this photo. Yeah - not letting this one get away! But he did get away from me through circumstances of an accident 15 years ago today. I still find myself getting weepy and out of sorts leading up to this anniversary without understanding why until I look at the calendar. Funny how our subconscious minds track these things. I used to go through the same thing leading up to Easter after my mother died, eventually making the connection that it was the special memories of her attached to that holiday that brought the emotional upheaval.

If I had not loved and been loved, I'd have no reason to weep. I'll take the tears that only come occasionally now, but I'll also laugh and smile at the memory of times like these, goofing off in a dorm room, holding on tight to a guy who had no intention of running, and who gave me and others so much during his time on this earth.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Last week, I noticed that these beautiful sweet peas were blooming at that same abandoned house where I snagged some lilacs blooms back in May. Couldn't resist bringing some home, then couldn't resist taking some pictures.

I'm always fascinated with the delicate veining that shows up in some petals like these.

Today, I received this lovely notice from the Sacred Threads people:

Dear Sacred Threads Artist,

All of the artwork is arriving at the venue. It's exciting days for us as we see your artwork in person! Today, your artwork was received and logged in. All is well with your beloved work and we promise to take very good care of it while it is in our hands. Thank you for sharing it with us and our visitors.

I had checked yesterday and saw that it had made it Maryland - how nice that I got this confirmation from the recipient that my quilts had arrived safely at their destination.

Monday, I made an appearance in the studio - one can arrive there for many reason, but on that day I decided to attend to a little mending and hemming. I'd found three items folded on the floor in front of my bookcase and realized they were clothes I'd started working on last summer and never took the last step. Embarrassing how I can put things off, but it feels so good when I finally tend to these small things. Apologies to to my "artist tool" which became a utilitarian machine for a day.

Once again I have some room on my work table and today arrived in the studio ready to tackle the beading on Masks. This is going to take awhile, but I think it's going to do exactly what is needed. Here I'm stretching the blue seed beads I had on hand by adding two of the new delica beads (which are slightly darker and smaller) between each one. I like the affect.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Introducing Agnes Herczeg

Needlelace & wood wall sculpture by Agnes Herczeg
Thanks to the Textile Arts group on Facebook, I have discovered Agnes Herczeg whose work I have fallen in love with. I've seen nothing quite like it, and it has totally transformed my idea of what lacework can be - truly an art form, not just decorative. 

Needlelace and ceramic wall sculpture by Agnes Herczeg

This Hungarian artist has a most interesting background of textile conservation, traditional handicraft techniques, and use of natural materials.  She couples her lacework with wood, bark, coconut, and ceramics that she molds herself.

Needlelace and coconut shell by Agnes Herczeg

From her "about me" page:

"Design is a significant part of the creative process because I have to think through not only the visual appearance of the work but its overall structure and the order of the individual steps. Lace-making is an extremely time consuming occupation; it takes several days just to complete a small piece." 

A peek into Agnes Herczeg's process

Indeed, it is obvious that a lot of thought goes into each work, a form she calls "wall sculpture". All of her work is intriguing but it is what she does with faces that truly captivates me.

A recent wall sculpture by Agnes Herczeg

For a long time now, I've felt that a true artist must have a vision; everyone else is just dabbling. Agnes Herczeg is an artist in my eyes, with a vision that really appeals to me. Thanks to Agnes for giving me permission to post pictures of her work here. Check out her website, Wall Decoration With Lace or her Facebook page and be amazed!

Needlelace and bark by Agnes Herczeg

Friday, June 26, 2015

Off to Virginia...

...that is, my quilts are off to Virginia, due next week at the location of the Sacred Threads Exhibit. It's easily been 10 years since I've shipped a quilt to a show, especially to one so far away - essentially from one coast to the other, thousands of miles away. I had such a sinking feeling as I handed the package over to begin its trek, not wanting to let go of the box, not wanting to leave the shipping store, staring (I'm sure balefully) at the box as the shipper sealed it up and slapped on the label. They are just quilts, I tried to convince myself. Just trust and let it go. But it was hard! I get a similar feeling when I drop quilts off for my local exhibits but at least they are minutes away and I can go check on them.

But out of sight, out of mind just a bit as I've busied myself with other things. Today I decided to check the tracking to see where they were and was delighted to find this map showing the route thus far, with flapping wings on my package! Ok - It made me laugh and I'm fine now, feeling like they are in good hands and turning my attention back to the next things I need to do here.

If you will be in the D.C. area during the run of the exhibit, please consider stopping by to take in the quilts and their wonderful stories. And let mine know how worried I am about them. ;-)

The Sacred Threads Exhibit is Opening Soon

Exhibit Dates: July 10 - 26
Monday - Saturday, 11:00 - 5:00
Sundays, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
$5.00 for seniors (65+) and Children (7-12)
Children 6 and under are free
$20 for 3-day pass
To purchase tickets in advance 
click here to go to our store.

Location: Floris United Methodist Church, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, VA 20171

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

The Mahanke brood - June 1959
One of the major but worthy diversions keeping me out of the studio lately has been a concentrated effort to get the "family archives" in order. I am the keeper of old photos and photograph albums plus various newspaper clippings, letters and heirlooms my mother saved/collected and passed on to me. I've been a fairly good steward of these items, except that much about them is not really written down, too many oral stories bantered about by relatives, and bits and pieces stuffed in files to be left unconnected. I've said for years that, if nothing else, I'd like to get the pictures and letters scanned, then get what I know written down. I'm finally devoting significant time to this.

And I am loving it. I am a researcher at heart, and love history of all kinds. I love to tell a good story (you may have noticed), and I love to make connections that help me understand the bigger picture. It hadn't occurred to me, though, just how time consuming this would be. Nor just how much stuff I have that needs to be scanned and coordinated. I've set myself a monumental task that I now see will take longer than I thought. Yesterday, I pretty much removed everything from the two file cabinet drawers where most of this is kept, suddenly realizing what a daunting task this is. But it is an important task, and I owe it to my brothers and the next generations that are showing an interest.

So this accounts for some of the lags in posting here, though it doesn't mean I'm not going to be spending time in the studio too. Just that the way I divvy up my time has temporarily changed, weighted a bit more to family history than the creative journey. Today is a good case in point. My dad died back in the 1990's so normally I let father's day come and go without much thought. And if I did think about it, I'd be thinking about our personal relationship, looking for photos of the two of us. 

But today, I found myself wanting to find a different sort of picture, probably because I've been working with letters my oldest brother wrote back in 1956 and searching the family photo album for pictures from that time period. What I needed today was a picture of dad with all of his kids - there are so few of them because the age difference between the first and last child is 15 years and that oldest brother died about 5 months after the picture at the top of the post was taken.

I look at that picture, dad and his brood, see and feel the responsibility on his shoulders. Gosh, he was a hard worker all his life, and with this many mouths to feed, it was always a strain to make ends meet. He worked in the silver mines, rarely taking a sick day since it meant losing a day's pay. When the mines went on strike, he found jobs elsewhere to keep food on the table until the strike was resolved. He never wanted to be pitied and he certainly never wanted charity. He was a tough old bird, sometimes hard to love, but always doing what he needed to do no matter how hard. Happy Father's Day and rest in peace, dad. You deserve it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Proof of Progress

I finished the last bit on the 5 padfolios from the covers printed out so long ago. After applying closures (sometimes velcro, sometimes magnets, sometimes a tie or elastic), I always treat them with a UV/stain protectant which needs to dry overnight. Then I can take pictures and announce to the world, "I'm done!" Well - I AM done!

You've seen the insides of most of these so will not repeat that here. You've also seen the frog before (see this post) and a similar woodgrain one (see this post). The orange flower one was the first of the group to be completed which you saw on this post. But the moose is new. This pic shows the front and back - the front works nicely but the back, well, it was the position of the moose behinds that I failed to envision on the computer screen that caused me to work up what I think is a better design, and one that allowed a little more stitching on the cover (see this post). Still, I'm guessing there will be those out there thinking the backsides on the backside is a hoot. 

And now - I suppose there aren't many excuses left for getting on with that beading. What? Me intimidated by the next step on Masks? Um...well yes, just a little. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Good Karma

The gods must be smiling down on me this week. To my great relief, the two quilts I'll be sending off next week to the Sacred Threads Exhibit will not need new hanging sleeves attached. Those in place are the proper width. To my further relief, I will not have to make the required cloth bags to put them in. The old pillowcases I have on hand are big enough. And finally, the box I'd been eying out in the garage has proven to be big enough accommodate the one quilt that needs to be shipped flat. The only thing left to find are plastic bags...and that should not be a problem.