Posts Tagged With: wearable art



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After a gorgeous sunrise in Superior…one of the loveliest things about living on the road, we see the sun go down each night and the sun rise each morning. We left Superior, WI about nine, crossed this unique curving bridge into the State of Minnesota right at Duluth, and parked practically in an alley in Grand Rapids, MN.  In fact, we are parked between signs, one reads, No Overnight Parking and another Overnight Parking Violators will be towed at owners expense.  We actually got permission from a bank manager to park here in our constant hunt for free parking.  Thank you Wells Fargo.

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We are parked in “Old Town” Grand Rapids. Old fashioned light posts, beautifully festooned with flower baskets so full I could reach then with my nose,though petunias are not particularly fragrant. To the left of this photo is an open lot with a farmers market just closing up as I started my walk about town. I bought delicious cherry tomatoes of every color. My goal was to visit Central School on the corner of 169 South and 2 West. We are beelining for Washington State and sticking tight to Highway 2.

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Central School is on the National Register of Historical Places. The wooden central stairway and hardwood floors, are a thing of beauty. Four classrooms upstairs, four downstairs and a basement that once held offices and a cafeteria. The building now rents to shopkeepers, with a bakery, a quilt shop, antiques, quality wood work and jewelry and unique gifts. A lovely stop.

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No matter how many times I see this sign, it brings me a chuckle. The other one I like is: “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” I guess you can tell I’m a quilter.

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I’d never seen this pattern before. It is called stepping stones. ABC’s of Quilting carries some neat quilt kits along with the usual fabrics and quilting supplies.

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The owner of Whispering Woods Gallery displays the work of many artists. These lovely items above are placed on a basswood plinth. He makes furniture, beds, desks, benches and uses various woods including basswood, which is unfamiliar to me.

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He demonstrated the cambium layer of bark of the basswood tree because it is known for its strength. He uses it for bucket handles, it can provide rope for a bunk bed, or braided   hanging ornaments or lamps. The wood is soft like pine but very strong.

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I loved that you can stop here for a game of checkers, another little area is set aside with floor pillows and a children’s reading library. Too fun.  You can sit and enjoy a treat from the bakery. Gifts, antiques, old and new items. A lot to offer.

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I left the school and directly across the side street was a line-up of nice shops, Hopperton’s Moccasins and gifts. Nice stuff.

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MacRostie Art Center where Ashley Kolka was in the process of setting up a new exhibit.

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Fine arts, sculpture, jewelry, fine paintings, multiple medas.  this chair is exquisite with a price tag to match at $6,000.

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Next door, a clothing store with wearable art, bags, shoes, scarves.

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At Stained Glass With Class, I asked, “Are you the glass man?”  George Berkholz answered: look at my hands, I’m always full of cuts.  You really can’t tell, they are more like scratches. He and his wife Lisa work the shop and also host classes. I watched him work for awhile. He cuts glass so fast you can’t get the action with the camera.

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He makes some unusual items.

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Nice Shop, friendly people.

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The Yarn Gallery was my favorite stop, well, a toss up with the wood gallery. The yarns are varied and pretty amazing, but I loved, loved, loved the yarn chair.

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I’m goofy about art chairs. I don’t know quite how or why I’ve come across a bunch of objects turned art with yarn. My photos include a yarn bus, a cab, a bench I think an elephant or a giraffe. Too fun! For a quick stop, this was a nice area of Grand Rapids to be in.

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I’ve become accustomed to people referring to our travels as a trip. Since we live on the road for long periods of time to us, it  seems more a journey than a trip. Probably a meaningless distinction to other than road warriors such as we. Getting ready to leave on any “trip” is a major undertaking and I’ve found that returning home is the same thing. Stuff to unload, and re-orient myself to my “other” kitchen, dresser, and where is my…?  Oh, THAT is in the motorhome…and so on.  But, one thing is certain, there is always a surprise waiting for us when we return to Murphys.On my table was a singing birthday card, tomatoes from sister Karen’s garden, a funny pumpkin,  a bottle of homemade salsa and canned pie apples made by neighbor Jan from my apple trees.  I smiled, knowing, if Jan is afoot, with even a hint of Halloween, something is bound to happen. We went to climb  wearily into bed and.. aha!!   The bed was short-sheeted. I had always heard of short sheeting someone, but didn’t really know what it was.  After fixing the bed,  I went to sleep with a hearty chuckle, and woke minutes later to a ringing phone. How did she know we’d hit the sack so early?  Jan and I shared a good laugh over the phone. She is such a treat to have as a neighbor. Now, I’ve gotta get her back. (This little tit for tat has been going on for years.)

But, I’ve neglected the course of events as we left Fort Bragg and skipped a few short miles south to Mendocino. Even though I dove in these waters, Fort Ross, Pt. Arena in the late 1950’s, I had never hobnobbed about  the town itself.  We started at the Mendocino headlands, Jim particularly looking for telltale signs of the places where The Russians Are Coming was filmed. I was much more interested in a scuba diver just getting outfitted for a dive on the narrow beach below us.The town’s people are friendly, laid back. I knew it was so. In fact, most of the shops here, including the visitor’s center, don’t open until 11:00 a.m.

One of two medical marijuana shops in town and a medical marijuana users patients rights union. And, they need a union. I did a rant awhile back about the Dr. Rosado, in Calaveras County,  who refused people treatment who had used marijuana legally.  The first article I read in my hometown paper on Monday past was the resignation of  Dr. Rafael Rosado, the medical director of five family medical centers associated with Mark Twain Hospital.  I’m glad he is practicing elsewhere.

Since the stores weren’t open, it was a lively scene around Moody’s Coffee shop and internet cafe. Soccer moms, with strollers and kids, meeting for a cuppa at the sidewalk tables outside. I had a delicious almond pastry with cappuccino. Loved their sign:

What I didn’t know about Mendocino was how artsy it is. And, I needed an art fix. Jim kind of groans a bit when I get in the arts mood, ’cause I gotta have my fix. At Prentice Gallery, luscious flower paintings, and the exciting work of Hillary Eddy who is especially talented in her portrayal  glass.

They are stunning.

This Edward Gordon piece looks like a sunny corner of the gallery instead of a painting.

ACM,  Artists Cooperative  Mendocino,  I discovered quality ceramics by Lynne Butler.

Their  theme of Celebrating Botany,  a number of artists featured botanicals, along with jewelry makers and water colorists. Nice show above the Oceans of Quilts store. I was disappointed in the quilts, though beautiful, they are mechanical with the new techniques. They could have been made in a factory.

The shop The Great Put On featuring wearable art I had planned to skip because it was advertised as a place to buy your travel clothes. Huh! This was fantastic, high quality wearable art and I found wonderful stuff in this shop. It may be kitschy for some people, but if you like this sort of stuff, it is thee place to go outside of San Francisco.

There was much to see and do here and I may get to more of it tomorrow, but we  settled into a back street deli and enjoyed a beer and a spinach puff and samosa for me and a sandwich for Jim. I caught my reflection in his sunglasses. Yes, it was a sunny, fun-filled day.





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Some people have a bad hair day. At least, its a temporary condition. 

For me, its bad feet- not temporary. Since enduring an ankle replacement 10 years ago, my feet are very particular about what they are wearing. Friday and Saturday, I visited good friends in the Bay Area and worked a few hours at the Archive. On the way home I bought a pair of shoes. Extreme for me, bright red athletic shoes. Athletic is just an affectation of the ad men. What we used to called tennis shoes or gym shoes,  have become the norm for everyday wear. Truth be told, they are comfortable.

Extreme shoes can be found at Nordstroms and other retailers you wouldn’t expect. Major designers have gotten into extreme shoe designs. Ankle breakers are dangerously  uncomfortable. A pair tossed one model off the runway at a famous fashion show a couple years back.  But they  fascinate me. Here are some I’ve recently found on-line.

These remind me of the Chinese bound feet.

Is there an art shoes trend?

These look more like a deadly weapon, women’s self defense. I would question if a woman could even stand up on these stilettos.

These two pairs were obviously meant to be worn.

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Yesterday, I talked about one very special quilt that hangs each year at the Independence Hall Quilt Faire, the original Bi-centennial quilt.  With more than 100 quilts never before displayed here, I had much to choose from for today’s blog.  Themes change from year to year. Themes develop from popular pattern makers, or new methods, or fabrics that follow pop culture. Quilters present it all. Some quilts use one huge central design with a border to great effect, like the bird above and the star, bear paws and flowers below.

Among the themes I’ve noticed over the years come teddy bears, cats, shoes, trees, and multiple explosions of color and  abstract placement of blocks. Some so complicated they have to be engineered on a computer or placed on a giant, room sized quilt board to make sense of the pattern. It can involve cutting one or two fabrics up, and sewing them back together again. I didn’t see much of that this year, maybe the economy has affected quilting. After all, quilting evolved from hard scrabble times, when people threw nothing out. Every little scrap of fabric was saved and sewed together to make a usable blanket.

I call them rescue quilts. Here this woman lovingly quilts an old quilt top that someone had tossed. Small blocks of every color, pattern and hue. Simple and direct. Scrap quilts are still very popular at the faires I’ve attended, including this one.

Home and family are always subjects for quilts. I didn’t see many baby quilts at this year’s faire, but a new take on homes was this habitat quilt with housing from many countries. A thatched roof…


City dwellers apartments. Different.

Bird houses have been all the rage in the last few years.

Families love to celebrate their loved ones in a quilt as in this 50th anniversary quilt.

Applique is considered a difficult quilt, small pieces, laboriously hand folded narrow edges. Old time appliques were subtle, and beautiful. New methods make applique easier, and new appliques are much more brightly colored with fabrics of great diversity as well.

Below is the whole affect, though not every block shows in the photo.

Pinwheels are an old time pattern. They make a beautiful quilt. The triangles were common scraps when making clothing and women learned to make quilts using pointed scraps.

The faire has many categories, such as wearable quilted pieces, wall hangings, dolls and other needlework. Women who sew, love it all.

This woman’s pants weren’t on display but it is common to find quilters at the faire wearing their own handwork.

This quilter provided a unique way to display buttons she liked.

The category for dolls brought this American Gothic entry.

This little wall hanging reminds me of Amish country, with quilts on the line. Fun!

And this abstract wall hanging is a different form of needlework. Beautiful.
For a look at my quilt photos click on the following link:

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