Friday, February 15, 2008

Beading with Deana Hartman

Today I took a beading class taught by Deana Hartman and sponsored by Coastal Quilters Guild of Santa Barbara and Goleta. It was well attended and so much fun. I have a gazillion beads, picked up at various quilt shows and at bead shops I have visited under the influence of friends but, until now, I have scattered beads here and there on the occasional quilt, without understanding the true value of the little glass treasures. I'm a changed woman, now! Deana is a talented and organized teacher and taught many stitches, simple and advanced, but I was so fascinated with the effects of the bead collage that it was all I did. Here is a detail of the area I spend the majority of my time today:

Wolf Moon is a small quilt that I made several years ago when I was making a series of quilts based on names of the full moons from various folk or Native American traditions. I liked it before, but it is really turning into something special now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Great Day

Yesterday was such a great day! When I list things in my life to be grateful for, every factor of my day yesterday will be included. My two wonderful friends took me to Empress Pavillion in Los Angeles for dim sum brunch, followed by a trip to FIDM to see the exhibition of costumes from about a dozen movies made in 2007.

I'd never been to a restaurant that specializes in dim sum like the Empress Pavillion and was it an adventure. Bear with me if you already know the drill - huge room, at least one hundred tables, servers and bus boys dashing everywhere, and, best of all, the dim sum women and their carts trundling around, dispensing the goodies. It took us a bit to get the hang of it, but we soon discovered that if we wanted the attention of the cart-bearer, we had best raise our hands and wave for all we were worth, because she who hesitates is lost in obtaining the best dim sum. We learned our favorites of the day and, personally, I feel ready to return soon to get the best again, and try some new dish.

Then we inched our way throught the traffic for the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rat parade for a very long time to get a few blocks over to FIDM for the costumes. We stopped for coffee and since it was warm and gorgeous in Los Angeles, we sat out in the little park at FIDM while I opened my birthday gifts. My friends are women of amazing generosity and taste, so I received wonderful things from Linda including earrings and special soap from Kauai and this:

Doesn't everybody need a peeler with a monkey handle?


Handmade by Mary.

Am I not one of the luckiest people in the world?

The costumes at FIDM were fascinating, though we agreed, not quite as intriguing as in years past. One again, the favorites included the things that had the most texture, a couple of pieces from The Golden Compass, the wicked queen costume from Enchanted, and an amazing and understated black dress from La Vie En Rose. There was a dress from 3:10 To Yuma that could be overlooked due to the dull and faded colors, but it was a masterpiece of detail.

All in all, a beautiful winter day in Southern California, good food, and good friends. I have so much to be grateful for.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Yes We Can

In this new year, I do believe we can.....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Symbolism in Chinese Textiles at SBMA

This afternoon, my friend, fiber artist Mary Norton, and I went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to see Everyday Luxury: Chinese Silks of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). We also attended a lecture entitled Hidden Meanings in Chinese Costumes and Textiles by Terese Tse Bartholomew, recently retired Curator of Chinese Decorative Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

The textiles are rich and intriguing on their own (I was especially fascinated with the silk gauze robes), but to then learn of the symbolism encompassed in the decorations was to add another dimension to the appreciation of these complex and beautiful garments. Of course, the symbolism was so many-layered and extensive that keeping track of it all was impossible, but much of it related to prosperity, longevity, and especially the hopes and wishes for a happy marriage in order to produce many male children, wishes for the male child to go far in life and reflect well on the the parents, and to have his own male children. There was not one symbol for women except as a marriage partner to provide male children. While the women's robes in the exhibit were beautiful, the lecture really drove home, to me, how little value was placed on women during the Qing Dynasty in China.

My favorite symbols were the wish-granting clouds, wish-granting mushrooms and wish-granting sticks. I would very much like to get my hands on some of those!

The exhibit runs through February 17, 2008. I encourage my local readers to make a point of seeing it before it closes, it is well worth a winter's afternoon.