Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Photo's that take you other places

Steve McCurry is a photojournalist who I have admired for many years. His images are always impeccably composed, and he uses light to the fullest extent possible. He recently posted about how where you are born influences your life. Using photo's and quotes, the importance of place is shown to be paramount in our lives. It is a good reminder of how fickle fate can be. For those of us born into a family who always had enough, it's a good reminder that many don't have that fate.

Please take a look at his blog post and give yourself a thoughtful few minutes. If you're a photographer, you will also be in awe at his skill. Let me know what you think if you have time. His post made me want to travel to so many places, and reminds me to be thankful for my family and for being born into one that always had enough of everything to sustain us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Abstraction, Reality and Feeling

"Nothing is less real than realism...Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things." Georgia O'Keefe

Georgia O'Keefe is a favorite artist of mine - as much for her work as for her struggle to be able to do the work. Her life was not easy. Her flowers and landscapes represent how she feels about them. She was a friend of Arthur Dove, who shared her goal . O'Keefe wrote that she wanted to paint how she felt about flowers. Agnes Martin also wrote about making art about feelings as have other artists.

I thought I was going to begin a series about the way birds make me feel. The coloration of feathers, beak, eyes and feet are so full of variety and beauty that they bring a sense of awe. An Audubon book of birds shows the different species but can't bring the quick intake of breathe when you observe a bird in it's natural habitat and feel total wonder at the very fact of it!

I have made one quilt about the Magpie, a common bird in Ireland. They are white and black with markings like tuxedo jackets. When they lift off to fly, you see that their open black wings are iridescent. It was a wonderful treat for me every time I was close enough to see their wings.

I'm not sure if this quilt is successful. I'd appreciate any critiques. 

The quilt below is titled "Magpie". It is made with Shibori pole wrapped fabric. 
I have shown it to a few people whose judgement I value, and there has not been an "Ah!" One instructor recommended cutting it to the composition below. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Edith Head exhibit in Lancaster, Ohio

Edith Head (1897-1981) was a costume designer in Hollywood who won 8 Academy Awards, and was nominated for 35. She worked for Paramount films for 43 years before leaving to work with Alfred Hitchcock at Universal Pictures. "The Sting" was one of the films. She also designed the costumes for "Rear Window", one of my favorite films. Remember the beautiful dress that Grace Kelly wears when she's trying to get Jimmy Stewart to go to a fancy society party with her?

While I was in at the Crow Barn, we took a field trip to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, in Lancaster to see the exhibit including a tour with Randall Thropp, the curator of the show. He knew the history of the dresses, which he explained had been rented out for costume parties over the years.

Mae West is quoted as telling Edith Head:
"My dresses should be loose enough to prove I'm a lady but tight enough to show 'em I'm a woman." The last film Edith Head worked on was "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid".

In each room there was an IPad on a stand. You could click on a dress and it would show you a clip from the film with the actor wearing it. It was an effective way to see the dress being part of the directors vision for the narrative.

This is the front of the building.

Below is my favorite dress. Look at the details in the dress. Wow!

These 3 dresses were in the beginning of the exhibit. She could design sexy, over the top feminine and elegant. 

Most of the dresses were filmed in black and white. Although the dresses above were in taupe or gold, they look great in black and white.

Check out the soutache on this coat. It's really pretty and dramatic. The photo below shows it on Una Merkel, the actress it was made for the film "Summer and Smoke".

This was Roy Rogers jacket. I was most excited about seeing this - he was my hero when I was little. Beautifully made and he was so accessible to children - nothing scary like some of the superheroes. 
In February 2003, Edith Head was featured on a U.S. Postal Stamp. What a career!
If you can get to the exhibit, it is worth seeing. I found that the dresses looked very different on the mannequins  than when you saw them moving with the actress in the film. The building is beautiful as well.