Archive for May, 2009

Inspirational fiber Artist Karin Franzen

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Man, do I love this woman’s art quilts.    As someone who has made an attempt myself to capture birds in fabric, I am awed by the creativity and skill Karin uses to create her “bird” pieces.   She seems to share my love/obsession with cranes.  Check out her work.  It is amazing!  http://www.karinfranzen.com/wp/ 

 

I’m off to Scotland today-first to Paisley (a burb of Glasgow) and then off to the Isle of Bute. I hope to post again in a day or two.

Imperfect Action-a great post on Christine Kane’s blog

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I have been trying to get a post of my own done this week (and some artwork, for that matter), but have had a boatload of things to do to get ready to leave on holiday and neither has really happened :-).  My husband and I leave for our trip to the Isle of Bute tomorrow.  I will be posting from Scotland with pretty pictures of the island.

 

In the meantime, Christine Kane posted a wonderful piece that really hit home with me this morning.  Hopefully, it will for you, too:  http://christinekane.com/blog/why-taking-imperfect-action-is-the-perfect-action-to-take/ 

If I didn’t take imperfect action, I would never do anything!

Garden Design Eye Candy

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
Visitor to my garden (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Visitor to my garden (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

The weather in Chicago is finally nice-just in time for me to leave for Scotland!  Anyway, my mind has turned to gardening.   The dragonflies are starting to hunt around my pond (one is pictured above) and my iris and azalea are about to bloom.  I am a happy camper.

 I will be working in my own garden tomorrow and will, hopefully have some interesting pictures to post.  In the meantime, here are some gorgeous, award winning gardens posted on the beautiful blog International Design Awards.

Chicago Fiber Workshops

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

 

"Ammonite" by Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Ammonite" by Tracy McCabe Stewart

I belong to a fantastic Needle Arts Guild in the Chicago area.  This year my friend Shelley and I planned the guild workshops for the fall of 2009 through May 2010.  We have some truly excellent teachers coming to teach and I am really excited about the workshops they are offering.  The workshops are open to non-guild members (Add $20 to each class as a non-member or join the guild for $40 and get the workshops for the member price listed below).  If you are going to be in the Chicago area, take advantage of them.  All are 2 day workshops from 9-4pm.   Here is the line up.  Click on artist’s name for their websites and click on North Suburban Needle Arts Guild  for complete workshop descriptions and information about the guild.  I hope to meet some blog people there!  If you have any questions, put it in the comment section.  I’ll answer them as best I can.

 

September 2-3, 2009

Jeanne Beck:

 

Building Textural Surfaces

 

 

Workshop fee $110 Supply fee $35

 

Total $145

 ______

 October 7-8, 2009

 Laura Cater Woods:

 Inspiration of the Elements,

 Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

 Workshop fee $130 Supply fee TBD

Total $130+supply fee 

________

  January 6-7, 2010

 Katie Pasquini Masopust:

 Abstract Quilt Design

 Workshop fee $130 Supply fee $20

 Total $150

 __________

February 3-4, 2010

 Mary Hettsmansperger:

 Mixed Media Quilts

 Workshop fee $115

 Total $115+supply fee 

 ________

  March 3-4, 2010

 Barbara Schneider:

 Improvisational Fabric Working

 Workshop fee $120 Supply fee $20

 Total $140

________

 April 7-8, 2010

Carol Owen:

 Personal Spirit Houses/Shrines

Workshop fee $115 Supply fee $5

 Total $120

________

May 5-6, 2010

Mickey Lawler:

 Painting Landscape FabricsWorkshop fee $120 Supply fee $25

 Total $145

________

The Wonderful Spectacle of Eurovision

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I discovered Eurovision a few years ago, when Ken and I were traveling to Scotland.  We had just made the trip over, and spent some time puttering around during the day.  When the evening rolled around, we were both still feeling pretty jet lagged and decided to have a quiet evening in the hotel pub, rather than go out.  The pub television was showing the fantastically horrible extravaganza called Eurovision.  I was immediately and forever hooked!  There is simply no American equivalent to this annual event.

Eurovision is a yearly contest of “talent” acts.  Each European country (and some non-European countries like Israel) have a group of performers put up an act to represent their countries. 

Let me repeat that these acts represent the TALENT of  the participating country. 

The results are addictively, brilliantly, wonderfully horrible examples of kitsch and melodrama and I LOVE THEM!  There are some genuinely talented performers in the show, but nobody really watches it for them.  For a bit of perspective an all of this, this is where ABBA was first discovered.  Enough said. 

Though I sadly missed the show this year, I have found a few gem performances on YouTube for your enjoyment.  Here’s a fine selection from the Czech Republic-love that cape:

Eurovision Czech Republic 

and some fine singing and gyrating from Sweden:

Sweden-Love those outfits

True weirdness from Serbia:

What the heck is going on in Serbia?

Armenia had the best costumes:

Armenia!

This one from Iceland was, scarily, the winner:

Iceland Yikes!

Enjoy!

Bonny Scotland continued-The Isle of Bute

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

The Free Motions had an absolutely crap workday, so there aren’t really any pictures to show you.  Sometimes there is just too much personal stuff going on with all of us to get much work done and this group of friends focuses on personal, rather than artistic support.  This was definitely the case on Tuesday. 

In lieu of art pictures, I thought I’d post about my upcoming trip back to Scotland.  My husband, Ken, and I are going to spend a week on the Isle of Bute to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  

Bute map courtesy of Isle-of-bute.com

Bute map courtesy of Isle-of-bute.com

Here’s a few highlights from the wedding.    Though he’s from the Glasgow area, my husband’s family has a long history with Bute.  His paternal grandfather was the head gardener at Kames Castle and Ken spent quite a bit of time there as a child roaming around the castle grounds. 

Kames Castle-photo from wikipedia.com

Kames Castle-photo from wikipedia.com

  

When we decided to get married, my mother-in-law Agnes did the majority of planning for the wedding.  Bute was the perfect place.  We got married  in the ruins of Rothesay Castle.  

Rothesay Castle-photo from bestofbute.co.uk

Rothesay Castle-photo from bestofbute.co.uk

As an American unfamiliar with Scottish custom, this was an entire day of not knowing what the heck was coming next.  The Scots have many traditions that Americans don’t and the entire day I would here things like, “This is the part where you…….”.   I just rode along and had a marvelous time.  My mother-in-law planned the most beautiful and fun wedding I could have imagined.  

Some highlights of the day included:

Kilts!!!!!!:  God, I love a man in a kilt!  We had about 20 of them, including my handsome husband.

Bagpipes.  Wow.  I happen to really like the pipes, but they are LOUD.  Good thing the piper was outside. 

Lucky Horseshoe: my nephew presented this to me as part of the ceremony.  I did not realize that the tradition of this as much about fertility as luck: 

Lucky Horseshoes –Horseshoes have always been associated with luck. There is a nice myth about the devil asking a blacksmith to shoe a single hoof of his horse. When the blacksmith realised who his consumer was, he carried out the job as painfully as he could until the devil roared for mercy. The Blacksmith released the devil on the conditions that he would never enter a place that had a horseshoe on display. When a bride carries a horseshoe it is considered to be a symbol of fertility.-From Hubpages.com-Traditional Scottish Wedding

 

Scottish country dancing:  This is the most fun ever.  We had half Americans who didn’t know anything and half Scots trying to teach them the dances+ plenty of drink.  It was wonderful even though we butchered all of the dances.  I am amazed that there weren’t injuries.  Here’s a picture of some Canadians dancing.  They look much more coordinated than we did!

Picture by Jacques Surveyor-www.pixofcanada.com

Picture by Jacques Surveyor-www.pixofcanada.com

Wedding Scramble: I couldn’t figure out why there were a bunch of local children waiting outside Rothesay Castle for our ceremony to end.  Why would they care about strangers getting married?  It all came clear when I was told about the Wedding Scramble.  This is the scary tradition of throwing coins into the street for kids to gather as you are  leaving.  I am still amazed we didn’t run over everybody.  The kids were running everywhere to get the loot. 

 

Ending the evening with Auld Lang Syne:  This was the pinnacle of strangeness for me.  It’s the end of the evening, everyone has been drinking  and dancing for HOURS, and the guests gather in a circle around us and begin to sing Auld Lang Syne while widening and closing the circle.  Motor accuracy was a bit impaired at this point and I thought we would be crushed by those we love.  It was a perfect Scottish ending.

I am too technically challenged to have scanned and posted MY actual wedding pictures :-).  Maybe another time.

We plan to spend the week hiking and biking around; sitting in the pub if it rains.  I will take plenty of pictures!

I know there are a few of you Scots reading this blog.  Am I missing anthing?

The Free Motions are at it again-Dye Techniques

Monday, May 11th, 2009

My artist group, the Free Motions, is meeting again tomorrow to do more dye techniques.  we are winging it this time because I really didn’t have much planning time.  Personally. I plan to do a bunch of discharge dyeing; both with pole wrapping and screening.  It’s nice enough to work in the yard, finally!  I will post results of my experiments Wednesday.  You may get a few garden and dog shots as a bonus!

Playing For Change-A really great video on Christine Kane’s blog

Friday, May 8th, 2009
"Riverwalk Meditation" (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Riverwalk Meditation" (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

This video made me smile and dance this morning.  Playing for  Change is an incredible organization dedicated to bringing peace through music.   You can hear and read about their projects on their website.   

I saw the video on Christine Kane’s fantastic blog this morning.  Her posts are always inspiring.  I hope this brings a bit of sunshine to your weekend!

Art Chicago-Part Deux

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Here are the rest of the pictures I took at Art Chicago:  CLICK ON PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE!

A lovely paper piece by Amparo Sand.  The design is made by punching holes in the paper from the back.

Paper piece by Amparo Sand

Paper piece by Amparo Sand

This great piece by chad Gerth.  It was so big I couldn’t get all of it in the picture.

Chad Gerth-"Empty Lots"

Chad Gerth-"Empty Lots"

 and a detail of the same piece:

Empty Lots- detail

Empty Lots- detail

Here are a couple by artist Chae Sung Pil:

Che Sung Pil

Che Sung Pil

here’s another in the series:
Chae Sung Pil

Chae Sung Pil

 

And Here are a few from Elling Reitan:

Elling Reitan

Elling Reitan

Some smaller pieces:

Elling Reitan

Elling Reitan

here are some byKim Jong Hak:

Kim Jong Hak-"Grape"

Kim Jong Hak-"Grape"

I loved this plexiglass piece, but neglected to note the artist:

Plexiglass Piece

Plexiglass Piece

these 3D pieces by Ruijien shen were wonderful:

Ruijen Shen "Bubble"

Ruijen Shen "Bubble"Here's another view of the same piece:Bubble by Ruijen Shen

I loved these crow pieces, too:
Mark chatterly-"Crows"

Mark chatterly-"Crows"

 And a wonderful landscape by William Nichols:
William Nichols-"Indian Summer"

William Nichols-"Indian Summer"

these bronze sculptures by Xavier Marin were amazing!  The took up an entire room:

Bronze sculptures by Xavier Marin

Bronze sculptures by Xavier Marin

Detail:

Xavier Marin

Xavier Marin

 Sorry for the lack of narrative!  I hope the pictures entertain enough.

Art Chicago, Part One

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Last Friday, Shelley and I went to Art Chicago at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.  It was heavy on the modern art, which isn’t really my thing, but there were some great artists there, including two or three, depending on how you count them, that I really love:  The Zhou Brothers: painters and sculptors.  One of them was actually in the booth, so I felt weird about taking pictures, but the have an incredible website.  Look at their “in the studio” link  and you can see they amazing scope of their work.  I love their paintings, but am not as moved by their sculpture work.  Their paintings are so reminiscent for me of the cave paintings at Lascaux, France and Altimira, Spain that I am mesmerized by them.   The communication from those early drawings never fails to move me and I get the same feeling looking at these paintings.   The Zhou brothers’ work at this show was much smaller than some of their pieces (they often work on scaffolding because of the size of their work), but was just as powerful for me.  

Loooking at my pictures, just about everything is actually ancient or by an artist that’s work looks ancient.  Leave it to me to find all of that at a modern art show!

CLICK FOR BIG ON ALL PICTURES!

I also saw work by my favorite ceramic artist, Peter Hayes.  Peter also has an ancient feel to his work.  In case you haven’t noticed, that is a strong preference for me!  Look at his website and read about his process.  It is just amazing.  He will create a ceramic piece and throw it in the water for a few years to create and “aged” look about it, among other things.  The dedicated process really shows.

peter-hayes-raku-disc-with-blue-wave

Peter Hayes-Raku Disc with Blue Wave

 Here’s a detail of that piece:

Peter Hayes Raku Disc Detail

Peter Hayes Raku Disc Detail

and a final Peter Hayes piece:

peter-hayes

Peter Hayes

There was a gorgeous booth with lots of ancient textiles.  They were truly stunning:

Fringed Mantle from north coast of Peru

Fringed Mantle from north coast of Peru

and a detail of the same piece:

fringed-mantle-detail

 

Here are more Peruvian textiles:

Peruvian Textile

Peruvian Textile

This next one looked African to me, but I neglected to take a photo of the information plaque, so don’t really know:

 

Ethnic textile

Ethnic textile

Here is a great piece by Deborah Butterfield:

deborah-butterfield

Here are more antiquities:

All of these below were used for currency:

Anklet Currencies

Anklet Currencies

and these are beatiful currencies from Liberia:

Liberian currencies

Liberian currencies

and a truly beautiful bust.  I neglected to record where this was from:

antiquity-edited

I really loved these fetish dolls from Cameroon as well:

fetish-dolls-from-cameroon

Here is a pic of a beautiful Ancient  Bi disc.  I think they are still Bi disc even though not Chinese-anyway, the shape is the same:

bi-disc

 

I DID look at some modern things! 

Here is a contemporary Korean artist working in paper that I thought was brilliant.  These pieces hung togther, but apparently, I didn’t shoot them together.  Use your imagination!:

Sup Ham Daydream 4026

Sup Ham Daydream 4026

and the companion it was shown with:

 

sup-ham-2

Here’s a detail:

sup-ham-detail

I also really loved this painting by Brian Rutenburg:

Brian rutenburg-The Fading 3

Brian rutenburg-The Fading 3

and these photos by Doug and Mike Starn:

doug-and-mike-starn

Doug and mIke Starn-Black Pulse

Doug and Mike Starn-Black Pulse

I spent lots of time looking at this luscious landscape by Eric Aho:
Eric Aho-Southern Sky

Eric Aho-Southern Sky

I adored this plexiglass piece by Palomas Navares:

Paloma Navares

Paloma Navares

Check out the detail of this gorgeous piece:
Cantos Rodados By Paloma Rodados-Detail

Cantos Rodados By Paloma Rodados-Detail

These are my pictures of the city to and from the show as I look at them, they echo the very things that drew me to most of the pieces:  texture, color and visible marks left from one’s journey through the world; one;s passage through time:

this junk hauling truck had a great bed:

Junk truck (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Junk truck (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

As did this overpass:

overpass

and the mineral deposits left on the under side of the parking structure:

Mineral Deposits I (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Mineral Deposits I (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

and these:

Mineral Deposits II

Mineral Deposits II

and some great reflections in a parking lot puddle:

Parking Lot Reflections (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Parking Lot Reflections (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

More pictures tomorrow!