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Inspiring Quilting: Elly's blog to boost your creative IQ

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Holland! aka Philadelphia Flower Show ’17 (Part 1)

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The best Flower Show ever! Which could be because it featured tulips, windmills, bicycles, wooden shoes, canals, tiles, and art. Could also be because there were NO crowds—snow, sleet, and ice kept them away.

Here’s the entranceway:

Bikes were EVERYWHERE, as they are in the Netherlands. We learned on a recent trip that in Amsterdam, if not all of Holland, there are 1.8 bikes to every human. They are so eco-smart. And the air is  oh-so clean. And the use of bike parts was oh-so clever.

Y Inspiration

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Why inspiration?

Inspiration is food for the soul. And everyone has her own personal tastes in what appeals and satisfies.

We quilters go to guild meetings, quilt shows, and look at books and magazines for inspiration.

We art quilters are often inspired by the work of other quilters.

I confess, I am so NOT inspired by art quilts that are jaw-dropping stunning, and look like they took hundreds of hours. I gaze lovingly at those but they just make me want to “close up shop” and get back to guaranteed productivity like weeding and scouring bathrooms.

Nope, I’m inspired by work that simply charms. I feel very lucky when I find such a maker who teaches and thereby generously shares her ideas and techniques.

Like Deborah boscherteveningclimb-3Boschert. She hasn’t been quilting forever, but she’s constantly pursuing her craft, and yet her work never looks labored. Or overly complicated. It hits you where you live: in the worlds of nature and of small, domestic comforts. I so enjoy her website: http://deborahsstudio.com/.  There, you can sign up for her delicious newsletter, Three Bits of Inspiration. Additionally (a 4th bit?) I just ordered Deborah’s new book, Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint & Stitch, which is sure to provide me with lots of inspiration, and as many at-home workshops as I sit down to do. Deborah uses trees, flowers, skies, circles, and ladders frequently in her work–all aspirational symbolism, right? She also returns frequently to those embroidered strokes she has called her beloved Ys.

 

As I traveled through Europe last month, I kept recalling her art quilts. Why do you think that is?

A very old building in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

A very old building in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

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Wind turbines in Jutland, in Denmark

I really don’t understand why the Y element resonates. Maybe it calls to mind Yearnings. Or, on the bright side, Yes, Yaaay, Yipee, Yummy, and Young-at heart. And I don’t really get just why a multiplicity of Ys, wisely positioned, add texture and balance so enchantingly.  But they do!

Under the influence, I found myself borrowing Deborah’s motif to the current work, a little quilt art postcard:

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Here’s the piece, called Middle Earth Mother, in a shadowbox frame, for a show called Understory, opening at the Da Vinci Art Alliance, in South Philly tomorrow.

Pssst— Here’s a link to my free how-to’s for mounting art quilt postcards.

Here’s my artist’s statement:

Fingerprint, X-ray, and strata–cutwork through quilted layers: we are in, of, and on the earth to do good.

Which brings me back to the why–and the importance of inspiration. Because it goes hand in hand with aspiration. The wish to be better, to do better, to create better. Yes? What inspires YOU? How does such inspiration transpire into your work? Do leave a comment before I expire!

 

I really don’t do “pretty”

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

As usual, it was a class–long ago–that started me on a new art quilt. In Lesson 2 of About Style, Pamela Allen assigned us online students to “cut various long skinny shapes out of different fabrics and ‘grow’ your plant in the same way Nature does.”

Rather than “grow” a tree from my imagination, as Pamela does, I relied on photos I took on a trip to Lisbon, when the jacarandas were blooming gorgeous.

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Started with a background on a quilt sandwich, anticipating a small art quilt:

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Next, I brought in the trunk for a pretzel-like tree, with a bunch of lavender prints:

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“Grew” the tree with other, similarly colored fabrics in various shades and tints:

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Oh, this could be a really pretty picture, a la my photo. I could balance the lower left side with flowering shrubbery.

But then I remembered: I don’t really do “pretty.”

#1, there are so many fabulous art quilters who take “pretty” to levels I could never dream of.

#2, “pretty” can be pretty boring.

Around this time, my sister Carolyn was shopping for a new car. As a wife, she had always deferred to her husband’s choices in this department. As a widow with a new-found sense of her capabilities for research and decision-making, and within short order, she she walked into her local Honda dealership, test-drove, and bought a Honda Accord.

So, in accordance with those trees that grew in a high-trafficked, urban setting, and with tremendous pride in my sister’s taste and independence, I slapped a Honda under the jacaranda. And made my getaway from “pretty.”

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Stay tuned to see how this art quilt is going, and growing. As always, comments are much appreciated.

 

Diaspora in 3-D

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

It took a phenomenal exhibit to move me back to blogging mode–after months of merely Facebooking (sigh).

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Out of Africa: Primal Diaspora, by Buff McAllister; Crossings II, by Sandy Gregg; and Generation 2500, by Barbara Schneider

 

Stories of Migration is a joint venture by SAQA–Studio Art Quilters Assoc. and the Textile Museum, now housed at GW University in DC.  It takes the concept of diaspora, and moves it far beyond the traditional dispersal of Jews following the destruction of the Temple. From the Greek–a scattering or sowing of seeds, it now covers any body of people living outside their homeland. Psychological and evocative reactions and political ramifications are powerful. But because movement and geography, or space, are inherent to this theme, I am moved to share with you just a few pieces that go beyond the art quilt on the wall and take less usual positions.

Above, that big ball is a rolled up strip, 300 yards long, with overlapping hand-prints to depict the people and the journey of homo sapiens over 2500 generations.

Below are three shots of an installation piece by Sara P. Rockinger. She is interested in how “global social issues intersect, overlap, and become stitched together through shared human experience.” Handmade clothing from different cultures are molded and stiffened. Video projections allow the viewer (i.e., me) to become part of the experience, called In/Visible.

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Jane Dunnewold is a favorite artist of mine, working in fabric, paper, and lots of surface treatments. Taking a vintage quilt and handmade and vintage papers, she has used collage and weaving, added spackle and gold leaf to rework the idea of a soft covering for a bed into a symbol of transition and paradox. The title, “Receptacles of Memory,” can be applied to a great number of the pieces in this exhibit.

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I’ve also followed the evolution of Susan Else from quilter of bed quilts to art quilts to fabric sculpture. Above and below is her “Crossing Points.” She explains that decades of injury and counter-injury and outside interests catch people up in a web where they have nothing to lose by leaving.

This piece sits beneath a site-specific installation by Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, called “Undocumented Border Flowers.” Underwood was invited to submit work, as were other celebrated artists (Faith Ringgold is another one). The rest of the artists were juried in.
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More human-scaled, and perhaps more accessible, is this wonderful evocation of what it is to be an urban nomad. Kristin La Flamme has made a shopping cart over into a village, using fabrics from army uniforms, yarn, floss, and bungie cords. It’s called, “Home is Where the Army Sends Us.”

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Hoping this blog post sends YOU to see this exhibit before it closes Sept. 4. And, if you’re still reading, I have a copy of the exhibit catalog to send to someone. Share your personal migration story in the comment box below. Not much room, I know, so try to use fewer than 50 words.  I’ll pick one that particularly inspires me and mail you out this full-color collection showing all the pieces in the exhibit.

Iceland Rocks!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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In a trip to Iceland this past August, the husband and I took mini-bus tours out to the rocky coasts, where cliffs, hillsides, and beaches bore the vestiges of  volcanic and glacial upheaval.

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I’m so lichen this interplay of ground and sky.

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Landscape or still life?

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Like a man-made mesa, with a walking path high up just on the other side of this wall.

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If I were a rock climber with all the right equipment, if I were not so scared of heights, if I never had to descend, and if I never looked down, then maybe…

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Green green, grows the grass on the far side of the hill. Which is why the names for Iceland and Greenland should be switched.

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Rocks + water = Gorgeousness, no?

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Arc-i-texture! (with a tip of the cap to Carol Taylor for the caption title word-play)

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Gully, but this cliff is terrif.

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Natural stadium seating.

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Don’t mind taking a seat myself.

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Patch of colorful life.

 

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Wildlife sighting: a colony of puffins.

 

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Don’t mind saying that while life has its ups and downs, our marriage has never been what I would call rocky. The husband is my rock, and a rolling stone who propels us on these adventures.

 

Out of the Dark, Esterita

A favorite quilt artist who really rocks the heck out of color, shade, and perspective. “Out of the Dark,” by Esterita Austin.

Into the Light, Esterita

“Into the Light,” by Esterita Austin. Check out her workshops! http://esteritaaustin.com

I confess, these days I’ve hit rock bottom in terms of time, energy and motivation for creative fabric play that’s just for fun and personal enrichment. However, as far as seeking inspiration and dreaming about quilt projects to come, I’m leaving no stone unturned! How do you rock your quilts…or your quiltmaking regimen?