Sunday afternoon in Akaroa NZ

We left Christchurch, fortified with breakfast and a look at the Postcards from Antartica exhibit and started down the road to Akaroa. We stopped at Birdlings Flat after having had views of Lake Ellesmere. Quick stopat Little River (Gateway to Banks Peninsula) for a shop and lunch and at Barry’s Bay Cheese and and we were to Akaroa in no time.

Map showing birdlings flat and Akaroa.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Looks like the drizzling is about stopped. We walked down in the rain to check out shops and maybe get a few groceries, but we found a good place to head tonight for fish and chips so we’ll put off shopping til tomorrow. Also on the agenda for tomorrow – The Giant’s House (The Happiest Garden on Earth)

The Pacific, Birdlings Flat//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Finally, anyone who’s ever been to an event, quilt show or otherwise can attest to this bit of wisdom from the quote box:

There’s nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head. — Thornton Wilder

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Friday in New Zealand

Sort of squeaking this one in under the wire but hey, it was a pretty busy day! Got up and figured out a bus to take downtown. The bus ended at a terminal building where you can change buses but I started walking. It was only a few blocks and most of the morning commute was over. Saw some interesting things, new things, old things being fixed, and finally the Art Gallery. Went there because they had Matisse’s Jazz on display.

The lady who stowed my backpack said – oh yes but do see the other exhibits too. I did and it was great. Len Lye: Stopped by Wonder really did make me feel sometimes like a small child gaping up at the stars or a tree or something wonderful.

Upstairs there were wonderful paintings and sketches about landscape and place as well as another exhibit about sunlight.

Then it was off to the Canterbury Museum to hear Guy Fredericks speak about his work and his recent project, Postcards to Antarctica. I went to look at part of the exhibit afterwards and ended up chatting with his mother-in-law. Lovely woman. She sends a message out to the rest of the world: stop being in such a hurry. Slow down and be aware of what your actions do. Choose better.

Time to see some quilts and there were some in the area. How handy is that? There are quilt exhibits spread all over the city because the large convention center isn’t ready yet.

Spent some time afterwards in the Christchurch Botanial Gardens in the bedding area. So beautiful with so many types of flowers: tulips, oriental poppies, lilacs, azaleas, pansies, all sorts of bulbs. Lots and lots of forget-me-nots underneath classic red tulips.

Tonight dinner with other quilters at an excellent italian restaurant. Yummy!

We get to do it all again tomorrow.

IMG_3251//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Long ago, in a tiny galaxy far far away…

Many many years ago, at some quilt-related something or other, this appeared amongst a set of blocks on display.

It wasn’t originally crumpled. I think I did that as a gut reaction when it was brought to me. I may have tossed it over my shoulder at the time. I have never much liked the notion of “the quilt police” and I sure as hell don’t like sneaky little people who leave anonymous mean remarks about someone else’s work. I didn’t much like the willingness of AQS to roll over for a woman who complained about male genitalia on a quilt that contained no such thing.

When I was a quilt show bureaucrat I often said that while I carefully read all comments and suggestions about our show, the rage-filled and non-constructive ones which were anonymous got put on the bottom of the pile. I feel strongly that if you have something to say, you should be willing to put your name on it, if only so someone can follow up with you, get the rest of the story, give you more info etc. Start a dialogue. Maybe sign you up to help improve things.

As I recall we didn’t tell anyone about this little note but I fished it out of the trash and it went home with me. See the little dot at the top of it? That sucker has been pinned to a little bulletin board in my workroom doorway ever since. Geesh, you’re thinking, that’s sort of grim. Why be reminded of stuff like that?

I kept it there – and look at it regularly – as a reminder that people of all walks of life act this way. Quilters aren’t some special lovey-dovey society that is uber sharing and kind and respectful. All the little sub-genres grumble and laugh and point at all the others that don’t follow their interests and “rules”. Quilters are just people, like you find everywhere else, good and bad, and all the rest of it. They fear things they don’t understand. They try to make themselves feel better by putting others down.

This week there’s been chatter on the web about other people in the quilting world, small as it is, using social media to ostracize and bully others who aren’t like them in any number of ways. Secret facebook groups make it easy to get people talking about other people. Remember that old cartoon – on the internet no one knows you’re a dog? Well eventually, if you’re hateful and mean, the truth comes out. Doesn’t matter what circle you’re traveling in, there are mean people who try to control with rules and bullying everywhere.

I don’t like their behavior. Sometimes I spare some pity in their direction, that their whole life is so fear-filled, so control-lacking that they will do anything to anyone else to try to gain an upper hand and a sense of superiority. Sometimes. Other times I can convince myself to ignore them.

These days I don’t think that ignoring bullies is the right thing to do. If you choose to wear an offensive shirt or hat I will try very hard to converse with you as a human and I hope you will do the same. If you are rude to me or someone nearby or generally offensive in your comments I’m going to tell you to stop. Gently at first but firmly. I will not give you the satisfaction of whatever it is you’re trying to do. Hate is wrong but frankly I think you’re mostly full of fear – fear of difference, fear of failure, fear of being outside. Ignorance and fear, the great instigators of hate-behavior. I’m sad your life is full of all that garbage but I’m not stepping in it.

What will you do next time you encounter someone who makes racist or sexist or whatever sort of hurtful, ignorant remarks?

He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing. Let him not be troubled by what seems absurd, but concentrate his energies on the creation of what is good. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, trying. I’m trying. And why

If you recall, my motto is Practice, Persistence, Beauty. In that spirit I got myself out of the house, put a coffee and breakfast sandwich in my hand and splattered paint on paper for a short while before work. My goal – don’t be saying a few years from now – wish I’d used my paints…

When you set a timer because you really need to pack up and leave by a particular time, it puts what you’re doing in a different light – will not be finished, will not be perfect, what am I doing, sketch, darks, shadows, lights, what’s in the frame…

I got a little distracted by an oriole and some territorial canadian geese with a handful of goslings and maybe a fox sparrow and could that be some sort of warbler up there but despite it all some paint ended up on the paper and then I went to the other work.

Here, A Place to Stand

Here, A Place to Stand (More Like a Big Ball) 46 x 65 in, 2016

Here, a place to stand.
One last embrace, earth and sky;
light and dark entwine.

Gratitudes that slipped away, almost.

I almost forgot these two things:

  • By chance I met a woman sculptor, an artist and teacher. I always enjoy meeting her. She was telling me about her current show and asked me what I was doing. For some reason, rather than showing her my finished quilt pictures, I told her about Kathy Nida’s quilt that was pulled by AQS. She was appropriately horrified and sorry that this was going on. What a nice moment. Keep on keeping on you people down in Chattanooga! (and AQS, I’m looking at you – not even a polite email acknowledgement? Really? Lame. Majorly lame.)
  • Heard a great horned owl the other night, the looong hoooooot, lacing through the night. Later on I heard the barred owl
  • Thank you Stewarts! I really needed some olives tonight and you really came through for me.
  • To date: 30 of 31 postcards received plus a bunch of bonus cards! Woot – thanks everyone!
  • Glad to get Verge back from its four year tour. Thanks SAQA for a great run.

September 11, Fifteen Years Later

REMEMBER

Photo by Pearl Yee Wong of the Michigan State University Museum

Last year I wrote:

I’ll be spending today quietly, thinking and doing “normal” things. That’s always the contrast isn’t it, what had been normal and this instant where the world becomes something else, something unknown until now. Something perhaps unimaginable but now sitting quite real in the world, alongside us.

This year I think there is more contrast and need for more reflection and I’m glad to be home for the day, trying to do normal things again.