Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Travels, art and textiles : Seattle

I've been home about 2 weeks after spending 7 weeks away in the U.S and Europe. It has taken a while to recover, fix up the garden and catch up with projects. Now I'm going to do a bit of a catch up of our trip over the next few days with an emphasis on art and textiles. However, I didn't see a huge amount of textile art while I was away and a lot of my photos are of the wonderful architecture of Prague and Copenhagen. Maybe something will result from that 'research' later.

I started in Seattle. There is a reason for Seattle.
In 1992 I had my first child and was completely wiped out by the birth and the disruption to my creative life. My husband took paternity leave but  went into his study one day. leaving me to wrangle the unsettled and constantly hungry baby. He came out  later that evening and said he had set up the internet. I wasn't particularly interested, had never heard of the internet and anyway I was tired, so I perhaps wasn't as enthusiastic as I should have been.

 After a few weeks things were different, I was very glad of the lifeline that the internet turned out to be. I joined QuiltNet and was only the second New Zealander to join. I later met the only other New Zealand member of QuiltNet, she lived in Wanganui (about 4 hours North of here) then, but now lives in our street in Wellington. Its a small place, New Zealand!

Through the internet I also met an art quilter called Carol Castaldi who lives in Seattle.  I was a complete novice to quilting but Carol was very encouraging. One of the projects we were involved with was 'The Difference Project'. We felt our 'point of difference' was that we were on different sides of the world. We each started with fabric from our own country and we posted 2 partially-made quilts back and forwards across the world until we were finished or they were too heavy to post any more.

After 22 years we finally met in person and it was fantastic to catch up. Carol is a quilter who used beading in a way that I had never seen before, where the beads are not just embellishment on the surface but become part of the whole design. She uses beads the way I would use machine quilting to add a whole extra layer to the image.

While I was in Seattle we were able to go to the Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass
 which was fantastic. How important it is to have great lighting!

The cafeteria was where Dale Chihuly's extensive collection of accordions is displayed, suspended from the ceiling. Other collections are displayed under the glass topped tables and in cabinets around the cafe. While we were eating lunch, Mr Chihuly himself came in, he was wearing his trademark black eyepatch and painted sneakers.

Another highlight of the Seattle part of my trip was the Pike Place market. One of the fish market stalls is very entertaining as the fishmongers throw packaged fish from one side of the stall to the other.

 The crabs made a nice repetitive pattern all stacked in rows on the stalls, and they taste nice too.
 I was fascinated by the squirrels and birds which Carol and her husband feed from the verandah at the back of the house.

Something we don't see in New Zealand, full size plastic skeletons on sale in the grocery store just before halloween.

Lastly - I eventually left QuiltNet which became so busy that I couldn't keep up with the messages. I became a founding member of QuiltArt. I left that to become a member of a smaller group called Notrad (non traditional quilters) and joined Southern Cross Quilters. Then moved to even smaller groups which peak and wane.

Tomorrow on the grand tour - San Francisco and Boston

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