Rest and Be Thankful

Rest and Be Thankful:  Somewhere in Scotland

Image of Rest and Be Thankful by mike138, via Flickr CC License.
Image of Rest and Be Thankful by mike138, via Flickr CC License.

A place to linger with a spectacular view!

Running up Glen Croe, the road crosses and re-crosses the river in the crag-confined floor of the glen before climbing steadily up the valley flank to its head on the pass between Loch Long and Loch Fyne.

Image of Rest and Be Thankful Argyll Forest Park sign by Steve Zerr, via Flickr CC license.
Image of Rest and Be Thankful Argyll Forest Park sign by Steve Zerr, via Flickr CC license.

Here in the pass is Rest and Be Thankful, at 246m (800ft) where one can stop to enjoy the excellent views of the surrounding countryside and well, rest and be thankful.  For part of the way, the road follows the line of the military road built in 1753: the soldiers who built it gave the pass its name.

Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll and Bute. Image by JD Mathewson, via Flickr CC license
Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll and Bute. Image by JD Mathewson, via Flickr CC license

The ‘Rest’, as it is often called, is a vital travel link for much of mid and south Argyll; it is a way stop for travelers going through to the old county town of Inveraray.

In early days visitors held the area in a kind of fearful awe. Sarah Murray, a bold English traveller from 1799, thought it was “one of the most formidable, as well as most gloomy passes in the Highlands, amongst such black, bare, craggy, tremendous mountains, as must shake the nerves of every timorous person.”

A new road took the terror out of the glen, though landslides from the unstable slopes above frequently occur and can sometimes block the road.

Image of Rest and Be Thankful area by Marc via Flickr CC license.
Image of Rest and Be Thankful area by Marc via Flickr CC license.

A marker stone records the history of the pass at the bottom of the car park, just where the old road comes in. (photo below)  Rest & Be Thankful are the words which are located on this stone near the junction of the A83 and the B828.  A stone was placed there by soldiers who built the original road in 1753, and the road has been known by the same name for centuries. The original stone fell into ruin and was replaced by a commemorative stone on the same site.

CC found through http://www.arrocharheritage.com/HistoryOfRABT.htm
Memorial stone to original road builders, from Jim’s gallery on Picasa.

The inscription on the stone reads:

REST & BE THANKFUL
MILITARY ROAD REPD
BY 93D REGT 1768
TRANSFERRED TO
COMMRS FOR H.R & C.
IN THE YEAR 1814

To find out the complete history of this wonderful spot, plus anecdotes and several photos — follow this link.

To find out more about the Scotland Forestry Park and Rest and Be Thankful in particular — follow this link.

Easan Dubh waterfall near Rest and Be Thankful, image by Tim Haynes via Flickr CC license
Easan Dubh waterfall near Rest and Be Thankful, image by Tim Haynes via Flickr CC license

If you plan to go:

From Glasgow, follow the A82 along Loch Lomond. Then follow the A83 towards Oban, Inveraray and Dunoon. The car park is at grid reference NN 229 074.

G83 7AS is the nearest postcode, a little way down the hill towards Arrochar.

Image of Rest and Be Thankful area by Steven Feather (tubblesnap) via Flickr CC license.
Image of Rest and Be Thankful area by Steven Feather (tubblesnap) via Flickr CC license.

L0bit0

Note from The Tromp Queen:

This topic idea has been languishing in my Drafts for a more than a year.  I think I stumbled upon this idyllic little slice of the world when I was searching for a photo to represent “rest” or “being thankful.”  I search Flickr and the Creative Commons photos using those words and this small roadside park kept popping up.  It looks like such a lovely place; I’d love to visit it sometime.  Whether or not I ever get there, it is good to know there is a place in the world called “Rest and Be Thankful.”  Hopefully people do that there every single day, and may we all take the inspiration to rest and be thankful where we are in our lives every day.

Reconciling the “new” post-Mockingbird world with the old

Mockingbird Image by Mark Moschell via Flickr CC license
Mockingbird Image by Mark Moschell via Flickr CC license

I finished reading “God Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee yesterday afternoon.

I do not think it is impossible to reconcile the two Mockingbird worlds.

This new novel is a “coming home” book. Familiar territory to me, really. I was “born and raised” in a small town in northeastern Indiana. We had 699 people and 1 stoplight. My dad had a barber shop on the main street through town.

image by Randy Von Liski, via Flickr CC Springfield IL - Bob & Gale's Barber Shop
image by Randy Von Liski, via Flickr CC
Springfield IL – Bob & Gale’s Barber Shop

My childhood was similar to Scout’s in that we roamed free from early morning ’til the lightning bugs came out. We played barefoot; swam (mostly unattended) in the lake among the lily pads and fish; and created imaginative scenarios for “play” involving whomever was in the back yard that day.

We had a cement driveway and a basketball goal (regulation height). We had a playhouse and a yard large enough for kick ball. We had a ranch house that we could play “Ollie Ollie Over” around. My mom would make Kool-Aid and cookies. Grass stains, bug bites, sun burn — no problem. Life was good. Days were long. Fights were rare.

Steve Lustig, via Flickr CC Haunted House #2
Steve Lustig, via Flickr CC
Haunted House #2

We even had a “haunted house.” It was an abandoned house just a few blocks away from our neighborhood, and we walked by or rode our bikes by it (never alone, though) whenever we were feeling brave enough. The house was not inhabited (alas, no Boo character for us), but the trepidation we felt and the stories we imagined kept us in a state of fear whenever we were near it. That didn’t stop us, though, from finally gathering courage to explore the house (on one very sunny, bright summer day). The mystery was blown. There was nothing there. It was just an old house, mostly empty of everything — except the faint clues and hints about the lives that had been lived within its walls.

Boo and Scout

Now that I think about it, we did have a kind of Boo Radley character. His name was Slim Miller, and he seemed to live in his car. I don’t know the real story of this poor man’s life, but I imagine it was rough (or possibly a result of mental illness?). He had longish hair, a scraggly beard, and an unkempt appearance (no big surprise since he lived in his car). As far as I know he never did anything illegal and he never said “boo” to me or to any of my friends.

Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Croix des Bouquets, Jumecourt, Inn at Jumecourt, Source de la Grace, Source de la Grace Jumecourt Children's Village, SDLG, The Global Orphan Project, image via Flickr CC license
Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Croix des Bouquets, Jumecourt, Inn at Jumecourt, Source de la Grace, Source de la Grace Jumecourt Children’s Village, SDLG, The Global Orphan Project, image via Flickr CC license

When I turned 18, I went away to college after a summer church youth group trip to Haiti. That trip changed my life. I looked in the mirror at some point during that trip and was surprised to see my white face instead of a dark Haitian one. I could count the number of black people in my home town on one hand, and I believe that moment in the mirror opened my eyes and heart forever.

Movie Marquee, image by Pioneer Library System, via Flickr CC
Movie Marquee, image by Pioneer Library System, via Flickr CC

I attended a large state university for one year and then transferred to a Christian liberal arts college (with an excellent music conservatory). Going home for visits and summers as the college years flew by, brought into focus some of the ways my world views were changing/had changed. Assumptions and beliefs I had never questioned growing up either became stronger and more dearly held or gradually morphed into a larger coherent (to me) framework to include the people, cultures, and experiences of my life — broader and wider than many “back home” might hold with but still centered in Faith and Love.

So, I can relate to Scout trying to make sense of her kin and town folk — Harper Lee’s words ring true.

After reading the new book, I mulled over the troublesome issues trying to understand how to piece these two novels together into one coherent narrative.

Some have thrown up their hands saying, “She never meant for this book to be published” or “She wrote this first, submitted it and then the publisher requested major revisions. Mockingbird is the result.”  I don’t buy either of those.

Mockingbird Morning, image by TDlucas5000 via Flickr CC
Mockingbird Morning, image by TDlucas5000 via Flickr CC

I think it is clear she wrote this as a sequel. However it started out, the version that was published yesterday expects that we have lived through that earlier Maycomb County summer with these characters.

I think it was deemed not publishable for various reasons which might have included fears of inciting violence in the ongoing Civil Rights movement, the fragile state of world politics (Cuban crisis, Vietnam, space race, etc), and (apparently) Harper Lee’s own wishes.

The reconciliation will come in part 2.  I’m still working it out.

Ogling Google Doodles

I use Google every day at least once or more accurately, usually several times a day.

Sometimes, when I need a short mental break, I look through the Google Doodle archives.

Today, I noticed some pretty incredible Google Doodles as I perused the archives.

What are your favorite Google Doodles?  Do you prefer the stills or the videos?

Wassily Kandinsky’s 148th Birthday
126th Anniversary of the public opening of the Eiffel Tower
St. David’s Day 2015
Ofra Haza’s 57th Birthday
Shoen Uemura’s 140th Birthday
Victor Horta’s 154th Birthday
Keith Haring’s 54th Birthday
Brasilia’s Anniversary
Wisława Szymborska’s 90th Birthday
Tanabata (Star Festival)
Niki de Saint Phalle’s 84th Birthday

SEASONS:

First Day of Spring 2015

First Day of Summer 2013

First Day of Autumn 2014

First Day of Winter 2013

First Day of Fall 2012

Zlatko Grgić’s 82nd Birthday

Looking at these wonderfully creative doodles is quite inspiring!

I’m going to make an effort to look at the Google Doodle of the day more often!

The Pages Project

used books
image by Don Shall, via Flickr CC license

Have you ever bought a used book?

I buy them all the time.

I love looking for great books at low prices at places like Goodwill, Thrift shops, and used book stores. I love buying a hard back novel for less than $2 or a recent bestseller paperback for less than a dollar. I also love taking them back to the store again as a donation if I don’t think I will want to ever read that certain book again.

I do not, however, like the fact that I sometimes have to put up with underlined passages, highlighting or even comments written in the margins. Unless it is a book I really, really have been wanting to read for a long time — I usually pass on buying a used book with any markings at all. The marks bother me, probably more than they should.

book ornament

I find myself trying to figure out why someone would underline that particular passage or word. I almost feel like I’m reading someone else’s journal or peeking at their notes or journal without permission.

Imagine my surprise at finding a website called “The Pages Project” that is devoted to preserving specifically this “marginalia.” The “about page” says that “the goal of the project is to demonstrate the layered expansion of meaning and insight that occurs through the marginalia left by ordinary people within printed books.”

photo by Erik Schmitt for The Pages Project

 

This is the article that led to this discovery: The Message Hidden in Classic Literature: How a graphic designer is paying tribute to marginalized marginalia.

Interesting.

If you have pages to share, follow the steps given under the “Submit a Page” tab.

By the way, a great source for buying good quality used books is Thrift Books. Most books are $2.99 or less and shipping is FREE! They have a pretty comprehensive list of search categories, but for some reason one must check “hide out of stock items” when searching. Why show items that are not available? That makes no sense to me.

 

Acquire an odd new hobby. Not on my list, but I did it anyway.

Image by Lynn Friedman via Flickr CC license
Image by Lynn Friedman via Flickr CC license

I’ve been interested in my family history since I did a project long ago in elementary school.

I gathered as much information as I could from my living family, but it was not very comprehensive and didn’t go very far back. I liked knowing how long my ancestors had lived in certain areas of Indiana. I liked knowing the names and connections of family members who lived many, many years before I was born.

Late last summer a friend introduced me to Find a Grave. (Thanks, Janet!)

It is a website that helps any interested person “find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience.” In other words, you can find the burial location of dead relatives. If a photo of the tombstone is not available, there is a method to request a photo (a cadre of willing volunteers provide this wonderful service). The best part is this is all FREE!

You have the ability collect your relatives into a Virtual Cemetery so you can find them easily in the future. Volunteers photograph whole cemeteries and create “memorials” (pages with family connections, tombstone information and photos if available, and obituary information). Family members can leave virtual flowers and messages. If you are within 4 generations of a person you can request that the memorial page for your relative be transferred to you so you can control what is posted. It is quite an elaborate community!

When my friend told me she had gotten involved in this website she warned me that it was “addictive.” Yeah, right — I thought.

But, it is.

I discovered that I enjoy solving the mysteries of birth and death dates, marriage licenses, names of children, and figuring how the various branches of our family tree grew. I couldn’t imagine that sorting out these tangles would interesting but it is!

Another site that I’m using in my research is familysearch.org.
Here, it is possible to quickly and easily locate sources that help clarify connections and family relationships. It is amazing to see electronic versions of actual documents — census records, birth/marriage/death certificates, emigration records, draft registrations, and more. You search for the records in a massive database, then you can attach them as sources for specific relatives.

I quickly learned to be very careful in choosing my sources and in checking dates and locations. As incredible as it sounds, in more than one instance I had more than one couple with identical names and years of birth in the same county married in the same year — but they had divergent records (burial places, children, etc.) that didn’t quite match up.

It is like a scavenger hunt to find sources to verify each child, each marriage, each set of parents — and it all leads backwards and forwards through time.  I particularly enjoy finding out which generation made the voyage across the Atlantic to get to America.

I might have found a connection between my husband’s mothers ancestors possibly marrying a distant relation of mine in my maternal grandmother’s branches. I haven’t found proof but some of the facts I’ve uncovered seem to point to this scenario.

There is a family story that claims we have a relative that was close to Cyrus Hall McCormick (the inventor of the reaper).  My husband’s family has a story that some of his relatives traveled with the ill-fated Donner party.  (Obviously they must have survived the ordeal).  I can find evidence to support neither of these claims at this point, and believe me I’ve tried.

Using these two websites, I discovered a cemetery within just a few miles of my in-law’s house where a dozen of my ancestors (all of whom I had no idea even existed before I started this research) are buried. My maternal grandfather’s grandfather had several brothers and sisters and these are the folks that are in that cemetery.

Marriage Record of Katherine and Leopold
Marriage Record of Katherine and Leopold

One mystery I unraveled involved John Schwob, Katherine Schwob, Leopold Reuf and Adelheid Schwob. I knew John was married to Mary Miller. I couldn’t figure out how Adelheid fit into the Schwob picture. I didn’t have her anywhere on my list but all the other Schwobs in that cemetery had already been established as my relatives. John and Mary were Katherine Schwob’s parents. Adelheid had been married to Friedrich Reuf and their son was Leopold. Mary Miller died and so did Friedrich Reuf.  Katherine Schwob married Leopold Reuf. They are both buried in this cemetery. John Schwob then married Adelheid Reuf and she became Adelheid Schwob.

(This would be like my husband’s mother marrying my dad!)

As confusing as all that sounds, add to the mix misspelled names, errors in birth years, and generally inaccurate cemetery records in that particular cemetery — and you can get a sense of the tangle of mysteries that had to be solved.

Many of my roots are clear back to the late 1700s or early 1800s.  Some lines go much further back — to the early 1500s and a few back to the 1100s.  I’m leary of the accuracy of these lines that far back, but it is fun to look at the names and follow the trail.  One line lists Edward IV, King of England as an ancestor of my husband’s paternal Grandmother’s family.

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.  Beware!  This hobby can be VERY addictive.

100 Peking Opera Portraits

Sometimes when browsing various websites, one comes across beauty that must be shared.

While perusing the Metropolitan Museum of Art website, I stumbled upon “One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters by Unidentified Artist.”

The costumes, masks, and poses are fascinating.  What wonderful fabrics and textures and amazing details!

I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to share here.  If you have a few spare moments, please click the link to see all 101 of these beautiful portraits.  Enjoy!

Now I’m left wondering what the story behind all these characters could be —

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk
Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

Sensory Links

 

photo by TTQ, CC license
photo by TTQ, CC license

My Facebook status a couple of days ago was this:

I’m enjoying the sound of birds singing and the sight of a cozy cat sitting in a sunbeam. Simple joys.

Add in the feel of a cool summer breeze and the smell of a good cup of freshly ground coffee brewing…ahhhh.

I intentionally tried to touch on the various senses.  I could have added that my legs were covered with an incredibly soft and light wool throw (gray and white large plaid with fringe).

Many months ago, I read this wonderful blog post (Sound Memories) on The Glass Bangle.

http://theglassbangle.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/sound-memories/

 

When I read it, I immediately wanted to write about the sensory links in MY past — but I saved the link in my draft posts, time moved inexorably forward, and I let the inspiration slip away.  The idea still interest me, though: What are the sounds, sights, smells, and sensations that remind me of my childhood?

I grew up in a very small town in Northeastern Indiana near a freshwater lake.  Most of our summer days (and winter ones, too, when we weren’t in school) were spent in, on or near the lake.

image by The Tromp Queen, CC license
image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

The sound of lapping waves on a boat or seawall or shore definitely brings me back to my childhood.  The smell of “my lake” does, too.  It isn’t necessarily a “fishy” smell.  To me it smells fresh, fun, summery.

Webster Lake, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Webster Lake, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

I remember the feel of bare feet on a white-painted wooden pier as I walk out over the water, peering down through the slats to catch glimpses of small fish darting every which way in the greenish water.  I see water weeds and lily pads swaying in slow rhythmic movements.

Water lily, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Water lily, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

 

I close my eyes and can still feel the wonderfully warm sensation of “laying out in the sun” on either the pier or on our old pontoon boat.

 

Tan Lines from Typical Summer Activities
Getting Tan; image by Gabriel Jordy via Flickr CC
Getting Tan; image by Gabriel Jordy via Flickr CC

My fingers touch the rough terry texture of the towel beneath me.  I hear WLS or WMEE on the old FM radio (that we once dropped IN the lake, but miraculously is still worked after it dried out!).  Those summer songs!  Any top 40 hit from June, July or August from the mid to late 70’s turns me back to all of these senses as fast as a time warp whenever I hear them.

photo by TTQ, CC license
photo by TTQ, CC license

Since we lived in a tourist area where people came to enjoy the lakes in the summer months, staying in cottages and cabins, I had a summer job every year from the time I was 14 or so. My first job was working on the Dixie Boat.  This paddlewheel boat took hour-long scenic cruises around our lake three times every evening and about 8 times on Saturdays and Sundays.  A man from our church owned and ran the boat and we lived just a couple of blocks away from the dock so it all fell together.  The job was to pop popcorn and sell ice-cold bottles of pop during the hour-long boat ride.  The concession stand was “down below.”

Popcorn Machine, by Adam Jackson via Flickr CC license
Popcorn Machine, by Adam Jackson via Flickr CC license

So not only does the smell of REAL popped corn popping in an old-fashioned machine (as you might see in a movie theater for instance) connect me to this memory, but the sound of a very large diesel engine and a paddle wheel does, too!  It was so loud that it was often hard to decipher what the customer was trying to order!

The Dixie Boat's paddlewheel; image by The Tromp Queen, CC license
The Dixie Boat’s paddlewheel; image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Another sound that reminds me of home is the sound of a pressure cooker!  My mom used this odd appliance to cook meat quite frequently through my childhood years.  Dad was a “meat and potatoes” guy and worked long hours, so Mom always tried to have hearty dinners ready for him when he got home each evening.  I think the idea is to cook the meat faster, keep it more moist and tender — but what I remember is the loud whistle sound and the sound of the chattering top piece when she finally released the pressure.  Do people still use this appliance?  Apparently so!

pressure cooker
pressure cooker
Flickr CC, image by Philip Howard: Childhood Chores.  Doing dishes.
Flickr CC, image by Philip Howard: Childhood Chores. Doing dishes.

Another sound that reminds me of my childhood is the sound of dishes clinking around in dishwater (in a sink) and the sound of silverware, glasses or pots/pans being put away.  My mom always did the dishes by hand (my sister and I often had to help, of course), but she usually ended up putting them away herself. She did it energetically so there was always a lot of collateral noise. Mom was kind of a fanatical housekeeper, too.  She did laundry a LOT (still does when she has the chance, in fact! She LOVES it). She ran the vacuum cleaner nearly every day.  So — the sound of a washing machine or vacuum cleaner can bring me back to childhood, too.  This doesn’t automatically happen, though, because I hear all of these sounds pretty frequently.

My dad used to whistle as he worked out in the garage on his woodworking.  He listened to an old radio tuned to a hard-core old school country station.  He would sometimes sing along with the radio.  I remember hearing “Cool Water” many times.

The smell of sawdust brings me back to all of that, as does the sound of a scroll saw or lathe (which I don’t hear very often).

"Sawdust" by Jen R, via Flickr CC license
“Sawdust” by Jen R, via Flickr CC license

My dad had a Barber shop on the main street of our small town.  He would sometimes send my sister and I “uptown” (a couple of blocks down the street to the local drugstore) to buy an assortment of comic books for the shop.  I pity the poor boys who had to read the comics we bought!

Donald Duck and Robert the Robot, Image by Tom Simpson: via Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0
Donald Duck and Robert the Robot, Image by Tom Simpson: via Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0

We always got Archie, Donald Duck (and the three little ducks), Richie Rich, Casper, and similar titles. We also bought the “boy” ones, but not as many of those.  Maybe Dad bought those himself?  I’m pretty sure we got MAD magazines, too, when we could. Whenever I see or hold a comic book (or smell that newspapery smell they have), I remember these trips “uptown.”

Dum Dums image by Liza Lagman Sperl via Flickr CC license 2.0
Dum Dums image by Liza Lagman Sperl via Flickr CC license 2.0

One of the perks of being the daughters of the Barber was that we got free access to the stash of Dum-Dum lollipops!  He gave these tiny suckers to young customers after their haircuts, of course, but we could have one any time we stopped by.  If I have one of these little lollipops now, I still imagine standing in his shop or sitting in the big barber chair (if he didn’t have a customer at the time).  I always had the sense that I was a visitor there, though.  It was definitely a manly atmosphere there.

Barber Chair, image by Randy von Liski of Bob and Gale's Barber Shop in Springfield, IL via Flickr CC
Barber Chair, image by Randy von Liski of Bob and Gale’s Barber Shop in Springfield, IL via Flickr CC
George's Barber Shop on SR 13 in N. Webster, IN.   Image from a 1991 calendar.
George’s Barber Shop on SR 13 in N. Webster, IN. Image from a 1991 calendar.

 

My memories are not just my hometown, though.  The smell of cinnamon and molasses reminds me of my Grandma Schwob.  She made these delicious baked apples that were topped with little cinnamon red hots AND marshmallows!  They had their own apple trees so that added to the deliciousness, I’m sure.  I will post her recipe on my food blog, The Heat is ON!,  in the near future.

image via Flickr CC by Joey Rozier, photo entitled "naked"
image via Flickr CC by Joey Rozier, photo entitled “naked”

Her molasses cookies were thin, soft and SO good!  We spent many, many holidays there, too, so the smell of turkey and dressing brings back memories of their house and of family get-togethers we had there.

 

Image via Flickr CC, by Jenny Kellerhals
Image via Flickr CC, by Jenny Kellerhals

 

What are your sensory links to your past? to your childhood?  I’d be interested to hear.

 

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Tiananmen Square Photos, Found in a Shoebox

I don’t reblog very often. This set of photos is historic and deserves as wide of an audience as possible, though. I’ll never forget that image of the man standing in front of the tank.

The China Girls

It was a black film canister, rattling around the bottom of an old Naturalizer shoebox labeled “photos.” I opened it, wondering if it was a roll of unused film. Instead, I found a twist of white tissue paper wrapped around tightly rolled black-and-white negatives. I held them up to the light. At first I saw…legs.

Tiananmen legs

Then, people with bicycles.

Tiananmen bicycle people

Wait, that looks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Is that Tiananmen Square? With banners? Tiananmen monument

Next, a white form rising above a crowd, holding…a torch?

Goddess_crowd

Oh man, is this what I think it is?

View original post 677 more words

Who knew? Famous Friendship Series: Cassatt and Degas

Cassatt stated that her first encounter with Degas’s art “changed my life,” while Degas, upon seeing Cassatt’s art for the first time, reputedly remarked, “there is someone who feels as I do.”

NPR recently featured a story about the friendship, mutual admiration, art  — passion? — between Edward Degas and Mary Cassatt.

Read it here.

I am a fan of both painters.  I love the movement, the color, the subjects they chose, and their individual voices.

Knowing of their connection makes me feel that I know them both a little bit better.

Little Girl in a Blue Chair by Mary Cassatt

 

Little Girl in a Blue Armchair is full of Degas’ influence. First of all, he brought the girl to Cassatt — she was the child of his friends. In a pretty dress, she sits slumped in a chair, hand behind her head and legs spread apart. She looks bored, exhausted and not at all dainty or proper. Other big blue chairs and a sofa are in the room — “like bumper cars,” Jones says. A window in the corner may show Degas’ direct influence. 

 

There is an exhibit at the National Gallery featuring the work of both these artists:  It runs May 11 to October 5, 2014.

Quotes from the NPR story and from the exhibit home page.

Who Knew? Ella and Marilyn

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
– Ella Fitzgerald

When I saw this photo, I was immediately interested to find out more about the relationship between these two amazing women.  Then I found this quote from Ella.  What a story!

I see respect and friendship in this photo.  I wonder what they talked about.  To me, it is obvious they enjoyed each other’s company, though.

Quotes from Ella:

“I sing like I feel.”

“I know I’m no glamour girl, and it’s not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I’ve got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing.”

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”

 

 

Quotes from Marilyn:

“A girl doesn’t need anyone who doesn’t need her.”

“Ever notice how ‘What the hell?’ is always the right answer?”

“A wise girl knows her limits.  A smart girl knows she has none.”

“Most importantly, keep smiling — because life is a beautiful thing, and there is so much to smile about.”

“I believe that everything happens for a reason.  People change so you can learn to let go.  Things to wrong so you can appreciate them when they are right.  You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself.  And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Marilyn Monroe in Canada, where they were filming a movie. The image belonged to the magazine Look and was given to the USA Library of Congress in 1971.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.”

 

Other Who Knew? posts I’ve written:

Related articles about Ella and Marilyn from others:

Top Ten: Interesting and Inspiring Finds

I want to share some of my
very favorite websites and pages with you!

1.  That Tree: This project started in the area of my old hometown! Mark Hirsch took a photograph of an old oak tree every day for a year and posted the photos on his Facebook page.  The beauty and artistry (and his perseverance) attracted a wider and wider audience as the year progressed.  The project is now internationally famous.  He has published a beautiful book and has done many national interviews.  He continues to post photos of That Tree frequently, but not every day now.

People gather for the group pic.  photo by quirkyjazz aka Jill
People gather for the group pic. photo by quirkyjazz aka Jill

(Note:  I am actually IN the book!  I was one of the people who gathered in the field on that cold, snowy day last March to celebrate the final day of the year of photographs.  We are all in the book with That Tree.)

2.  Historical Pics:  This site has off-beat photographs of historic events, people, and random things galore.  For instance:

Louis Armstrong plays for his wife in Giza, 1961.

3.  Holstee: “Holstee exists to encourage mindful living. We hope to change the way people look at life by designing unique products and sharing meaningful experiences.”  This is the blurb from their website.  The company is cooler than this blurb sounds.  They have some great free inspirational downloads.

This is your LIFE. Holstee Manisfesto. A longer version of this is printed as a poster and notecards.

4.  Brain Pickings:  This site has a continual stream of quirky, artistic, off-the-beaten-path, intelligent, and inspiring articles and illustrations.  One of my recent favorites is a list of New Year’s resolutions from people like Woody Guthrie and Marilyn Monroe! Read it here.  Take some time to browse their archives, though, if you can.  Enjoy!

5.  Do you know about Humans of New York?  This link takes you to the Facebook page, where a photo is posted every day with a short quote or conversation.  I find it incredibly moving.  I got the book as a Christmas gift and just love it!

6.  Colossal: The tag line says “art and visual culture.”  Their blurb says this:  Each week you’ll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. There are frequently posts about things far out in left field, but generally Colossal is a reminder that in this digital age there are still countless people making incredible work with their bare hands.

You’ll see things like this:

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida: Minimiam, via Colossal

and this:

Martin Hill and Philippa Jones: via Colossal

GORGEOUS and so beautiful!

7.  Another site I can spend quite a while browsing in is:
Laughing Squid. Their website “about” blurb:  Based in New York City, Laughing Squid is a blog featuring compelling art, culture & technology as well as a cloud-based web hosting company with a focus on WordPress hosting. For more info see our FAQ and Wikipedia.

Here are a few very memorable examples of the odd-ball kind of things you’ll find at Laughing Squid.

8. Letters of Note:  This site publishes letters written by various famous and not-so-famous people.  It is intriguing, amazing, engaging, humorous, and full of information.

“In our age of email and texts, letter-writing seems set for extinction. But millions have been flocking to a website to pore over the correspondence collected by blogger Sean Usher.”

Click here for a wonderful example of historic correspondence Letters of Note highlights. (This links to a series of letters between Ford Motor Company and poet Marianne Moore as they discuss various car names).  Here is a link to the Letters of Note “best of 2013” list.  This one is from a Dallas hospital administrator in 1963.  Letters of Note recently published a book as well.

9.  Noisetrade: This site has gobs of free music.  Tag line:  Free music from thousands of artists who would like to meet you. You can sample, listen online and request a download code.  If you like what you hear, you have several opportunities to leave tips for the artists. I have found this a great avenue for discovering new music to get me out of my listening ruts. There is a limit to the number of downloads per day (something like 8 or 10? not very limiting really).

You can get this album free (and choose from thousands more!) at Noisetrade.com

10.  Word Porn:  I love obscure and interesting words.  This site has many that I never heard of or even imagined existed!

I’d love to hear about some of YOUR favorite places to browse around on the web.  Please share!

meraki

from Word Porn’s facebook page

Meraki is one of those words that is difficult to translate.  A story called “Translating the Untranslatable” about the work of Christopher J Moore  aired on Morning Edition (NPR)  way back in 2005 explains it this way: 

This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be.  Meraki is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal, but it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table. 

Passion flower
Passion flower (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

On this day when many Americans (including me) have spent many hours preparing and enjoying delicious food for and with our families — meraki is a handy word to know.

A synonym in English might be “passion” but something definitely gets lost in the translation in this case.

I enjoy meeting people who display meraki and I love spending time with friends who live with meraki.  I strive to live life with meraki — and have been for as long as I can remember — even though I never heard the word til today.  (My apologies if I’m using the word incorrectly!  I abide by the meraki spirit and will continue to do so.  In my opinion, there is no other way to live — no other way to BE.

English: passion flower
English: passion flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Papers from Above

When I removed one of the ceiling tiles during my current creativity room project, (read the blog post here) a couple of old newspapers came floating down on my head. I put them aside until I was finished with that tile, and then I stopped to take a look at what fell out of ceiling. There were two Milwaukee Journal newspaper sections, very yellowed and brittle with age.  One is the Women’s Pages and Society section from Wednesday, August 31, 1966.  The other is a section featuring US national news from Thursday, September 1, 1966. I was pretty amazed at the historic stuff in these two random sections of an old Milwaukee newspaper:  Apollo 1, Minimum wage, Peace corps funding, mine safety bill, mandatory safety features for cars, and more!

This was all reported in one day!! At the end of August!! by a US Congress!! What a concept. (sigh)
This was all reported in one day!! At the end of August!! by a US Congress!! What a concept. (sigh)

’68 Date for $1.60 Wage Floor Set by Conferees, the wage would be boosted from the current $1.25 to $1.40 an hour on Feb. 1, 1967. Peace Corps Gets OK (to operate for its sixth year at a cost of 110 million dollars). Also Food for Peace program got a 2 year extension, and a compromise health and safety standards bill for mines (other than coal mines) was sent to President Johnson.

1965 in-country identification card
1965 in-country identification card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Testing the cabin section of the Apollo spacecraft began Wednesday in the Cape Kennedy (Fla.) moonport.   The craft will carry three astronauts on a two week mission in December.  The Apollo launch will be the first three man flight.
Testing the cabin section of the Apollo spacecraft began Wednesday in the Cape Kennedy (Fla.) moonport. The craft will carry three astronauts on a two week mission in December. The Apollo launch will be the first three man flight.

Caption:  Testing the cabin section of the Apollo spacecraft began Wednesday in the Cape Kennedy (Fla.) moonport. The craft will carry three astronauts on a two week mission in December. The Apollo launch will be the first three man flight. When I checked to see if the mission mentioned here ever flew, I discovered it did not fly in December of 1966.  The testing continued.  Then there was a tragic fire in January of 1967 that killed three astronauts.  THIS is that cabin.  The photo in this old newspaper from the ceiling is of the Apollo 1 capsule.

Astronauts (left to right) Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, pose in front of Launch Complex 34 which is housing their Saturn 1 launch vehicle. The astronauts died ten days later in a fire on the launch pad. (photo: public domain)
Johnson Appoints Negro
Johnson Appoints Negro

Johnson Appoints Negro (sic):  Charles B. Rangel, a Negro (sic) attorney from New York city (sic), was named by President Johnson Wednesday to be general counsel of a national advisory commission reviewing the efficiency and fairness of the selective service system.

Do you watch the Daily Show? Recognize him?
Nixon Blasts Doubling Size of Vietnam Force. He was former Vice-President Nixon at the time.
Nixon Blasts Doubling Size of Vietnam Force. He was former Vice-President Nixon at the time.

Nixon Blasts Doubling Size of Vietnam Force:  “We must help South Vietnam fight the enemy, not fight the war for them.”

President Nguyen Van Thieu (South Vietnam) and...
President Nguyen Van Thieu (South Vietnam) and President Lyndon B. Johnson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Congress Passes Bill Setting Car Safety Standards for '68
Congress Passes Bill Setting Car Safety Standards for ’68

Congress Passes Bill Setting Car Safety Standards for ’68:  Both houses gave unanimous approval!! Safety features we now take for granted were part of this bill including headrests, tires, seat and shoulder belts, dual braking system, retractable steering wheels, safety doors, safer dashboard design, and increased interior padding. It is pretty amazing to me that there were no federal standards for vehicle safety prior to this bill’s enactment.  The goal then and now for the Federal Motor Vehicle and Safety Standards and Regulations is specified “that the public is protected against unreasonable risk of crashes occurring as a result of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles and is also protected against unreasonable risk of death or injury in the event crashes do occur.” Read the whole document here.  The first standard went into effect on March 1, 1967 with the rest being in effect for new vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1968.

Women's Pages and Society: No Stone Unturned. "It takes an imaginative artist to make the most of a plain, ordinary rock."
Women’s Pages and Society: No Stone Unturned. “It takes an imaginative artist to make the most of a plain, ordinary rock.”

The other section was the Women’s Pages and Society section from Wednesday, August 31, 1966.  The cover page features color photos and describes the work of a local artist.  Maybe her work was the inspiration for the “pet rock” phase that came later?  hah!  I doubt it. Fashion and beauty are clearly the focus of this section, however.

1966 Fashions.
1966 Fashions.

“In this new approach, many designers follow a strictly modern mode, inspired by the space age. They like the angular look and they work it out both in silhouette and geometric patterned fabrics. They favor helmets and boots in the astronaut mood. And, of course, they like short skirts and pant suits.”  (Notice the references to space age, astronauts, and such).

Swirling and spinning into the fashion scene in Paris was this red vermillion wool dress, called a "dervish dress" by its creator, Michael Goma of Jean Pitou. Red ribbed knit leotards and knee high glovelike boots were the accessories for this dress.
Swirling and spinning into the fashion scene in Paris was this red vermillion wool dress, called a “dervish dress” by its creator, Michael Goma of Jean Pitou. Red ribbed knit leotards and knee high glovelike boots were the accessories for this dress.
Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin:  Typical of Pierre Cardin’s outer space fashions for fall was this T-shaped tube in a deep red woven wool and acrylic gabardine.  The black ribbed knit sweater worn with it attaches to black lace stockings. Other accessories were a black felt space helmet and square toed shoes.
"Extra young looking" was the tag placed on Yves St. Laurent's collection. In the line was the trouser costume of red, blue and yellow plaid jersey with a matching visor cap, a short, belted wild mink coat, black kid gaucho boots.
“Extra young looking” was the tag placed on Yves St. Laurent’s collection. In the line was the trouser costume of red, blue and yellow plaid jersey with a matching visor cap, a short, belted wild mink coat, black kid gaucho boots.

(I associate Yves St. Laurent with nothing young.  hah!)

Young Fashion Beat Changes Paris Pulse -- better look at the Yves St. Laurent outift, too.
Young Fashion Beat Changes Paris Pulse — better look at the Yves St. Laurent outift, too.
Astro Cut, Comet Curl: Curves are dressed into the hair to give a flowing movement of line and to emphasize a curvy silhouette of the head. Curves are also cut into the hair, particularly for the knacky new bangs, called orbit bangs or the new guiche curls, called comet tails. For added excitement satellite hairpieces are used for special occasions.
Astro Cut, Comet Curl: Curves are dressed into the hair to give a flowing movement of line and to emphasize a curvy silhouette of the head. Curves are also cut into the hair, particularly for the knacky new bangs, called orbit bangs or the new guiche curls, called comet tails. For added excitement satellite hairpieces are used for special occasions.

(Again, notice the references to space — astro, comet, orbit, satellite though my personal favorite is the phrase “knacky new bangs”).

Cats can't resist sitting on newspapers.
Cats can’t resist sitting on newspapers, new or old.

Harriet Powers: Folk Artist and American Quilter

From Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Alamac for October 29 I learned about folk artist and quilt maker, Harriet Powers.  I had never heard of this woman or her quilts until today.  I say “her quilts” literally because there are just two.

Her life must have been an extremely difficult one, but this woman who was born a slave had the heart and eye of an artist.  She most likely created many incredible objects during her lifetime, though maybe not since money was scarce, she had nine (or more) children, and work to care for and feed that many people would be never ending.  I’m thankful to have found out about this woman, her story, and the two quilts she left behind.

Take special note in the back-story below when she sells one of these quilts for $5.  It breaks my heart!  I guess the silver lining in that story is that we have this quilt today, and it might not have survived otherwise.

First, I want to share the section from The Writer’s Almanac about Harriet Powers and her amazing quilts.  This is the first section.  Then I will show you each of the two quilts with some information and descriptions of the quilt blocks for both.  I hope you are soon inspired by Harriet’s story as I am.

Today (October 29) is the birthday of Harriet Powers, born into slavery outside Athens, Georgia (1837). She was married at 18 and gave birth to nine children. She lived most of her life in Clarke County, where in 1897, she began exhibiting her quilts at local cotton fairs. She was believed to have been a house slave and first learned to read with the help of the white children she cared for.

Harriet Powers, slave folk artist.
Harriet Powers, slave folk artist. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Powers’ quilts used a combination of hand and machine stitching along with appliqué to form small detailed panels. She then organized these squares to unfold a larger story, much like a modern graphic novel. This teaching style of quilting has its roots in West African coastal communities, and her uneven edging of panels mirrored the complex rhythms of African-American folk music. Through her quilts, she recorded legends and Biblical tales of patience and divine justice.

Only two pieces of her work have survived: Her Bible quilt of 1886 (see photo below), which she sold for $5 in the aftermath of the war, now hangs in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Her Pictorial quilt of 1888 is displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Powers’ work is now considered among the finest examples of Southern quilting from the 19th century.

English: Photo of Harriet Powers' 1886 bible q...
English: Photo of Harriet Powers’ 1886 Bible quilt by Rhonda Leigh Willers of the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and obtained from African-American Artists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 

1885 – 1886 Harriet Powers’s Bible Quilt (Smithsonian Museum of American History)

Harriet Powers, an African American farm woman of Clarke County, Georgia, made this quilt in about 1886. She exhibited it at the Athens Cotton Fair of 1886 where it captured the imagination of Jennie Smith, a young internationally-trained local artist. Of her discovery, Jennie later wrote: “I have spent my whole life in the South, and am perfectly familiar with thirty patterns of quilts, but I had never seen an original design, and never a living creature portrayed in patchwork, until the year 1886, when there was held in Athens, Georgia, a ‘Cotton-Fair,’ which was on a much larger scale than an ordinary county fair, as there was a ‘Wild West’ show, and Cotton Weddings; and a circus, all at the same time. There was a large accumulation farm products–the largest potatoes, tallest cotton stalk, biggest water-melon! Best display of pickles and preserves made by exhibitor! Best display of seeds &c and all the attractions usual to such occasions, and in one corner there hung a quilt-which ‘captured my eye’ and after much difficulty I found the owner, a negro woman, who lives in the country on a little farm whereon she and husband make a respectable living . . . . The scenes on the quilt were biblical and I was fascinated. I offered to buy it, but it was not for sale at any price.”
Four years later, Mrs. Powers, at the urging of her husband because of hard times, offered to sell the quilt, but Miss Smith’s “financial affairs were at a low ebb and I could not purchase.” Later Jennie sent word that she would buy the quilt if Harriet still wanted to dispose of it. Harriet “arrived one afternoon in front of my door in an ox-cart with the precious burden in her lap encased in a clean flour sack, which was still further enveloped in a crocus sack. She offered it for ten dollars–but–I only had five to give.” Harriet went out to consult her husband and reported that he said she had better take the five dollars.
Mrs. Powers regretfully turned over her precious creation, but only after explaining each of the eleven panels of the design, which Jennie Smith recorded. Briefly, the subjects are Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a continuance of Paradise with Eve and a son, Satan amidst the seven stars, Cain killing his brother Abel, Cain goes into the land of Nod to get a wife, Jacob’s dream, the baptism of Christ, the crucifixion, Judas Iscariot and the thirty pieces of silver, the Last Supper, and the Holy Family.
In her narrative about the quilt, artist Jennie revealed why she was so taken with it: “Her style is bold and rather on the impressionists order while there is a naievete of expression that is delicious.” In recent times, historians have compared Harriet’s work to textiles of Dahomey, West Africa.
The Bible quilt is both hand- and machine-stitched. There is outline quilting around the motifs and random intersecting straight lines in open spaces. A one-inch border of straight-grain printed cotton is folded over the edges and machine-stitched through all layers.
Harriet Powers was born a slave near Athens, Georgia, on October 29, 1837. At a young age, she married Armstead Powers and they had at least nine children. Some time after the Civil War, they became landowners. Eventually, circumstances forced them to sell off part of the land but not their home. The date of Harriet’s death, Jan. 1, 1910, was recently discovered on her gravestone in Athen’s Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery.

Bible Quilt Harriet Powers (reproduction quilt)A brief synopsis of the stories, based on what Powers told the woman who bought her quilt, and preserved in the Smithsonian institution:

First Row
1: the first panel (beginning in the upper left) depicts Adam and Eve in the garden of Paradise, at the moment when the serpent is about to tempt Eve.  As someone in class suggested, this may be why the serpent still has feet–it didn’t lose them until after the fall.
2: Eve has given birth to a son.  Some interpretations see this as a combination nativity/Eve-Abel-Cain, and it seems reasonable to assume that both meanings are intended.
3: Satan and seven stars.

Second Row

Lower left corner of Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt:  Smithsonian Museum
Lower left corner of Harriet Powers’ Bible Quilt: Smithsonian Museum

4: Cain kills his brother, and blood pours from his neck.
5: Cain is looking for a wife.
6: Jacob dreams about the angel on a ladder.
7: The Holy Spirit is present in the brown bird-like object; the scene is the baptism of Christ.

Third Row

The Crucifixion block detail; Harriet Powers Bible Quilt, Smithsonian

8: the crucifixion, with the sun and moon turning into blood.
9: Judas and his silver.  The large star at the bottom refers to a star that was seen in 1886 for the first time in 300 years (according to Powers).
10: the Last Supper, seen from above.  Judas is dressed differently from the others who are all in white.  Not all the disciples are shown.  11: the Holy Family and the star of Bethlehem.

Italicized information above is from the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History website page for Harriet Powers’s Bible quilt.

The only other remaining piece of Harriet Powers’ textile art is her Pictorial quilt of 1888.  It is held by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Powers’ work is considered among the finest examples of Southern quilting from the 19th century.
Neither of Harriet’s historic quilts is currently on display, which I think is a shame.

biblequilt2

Appliqué quilt, dyed and printed cotton fabrics applied to cotton. The quilt is divided into fifteen pictorial rectangles. Worked with pieces of beige, pink, mauve, orange, dark red, gray-green and shades of blue cotton.

Powers is thought to have orally dictated a description of each square of her quilt to Jennie Smith, who had purchased the first quilt Powers made, and arranged for it to be exhibited at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta in 1895. This second quilt is thought to have been commissioned by a group of “faculty ladies” at Atlanta University, and given (together with Powers’s descriptions) as a gift to a retiring trustee. What follows is Powers’ descriptions of all fifteen blocks starting in the upper left and moving to the right. 

FIRST ROW: 
1. Job praying for his enemies. Job crosses. Job’s coffin.
2. The dark day of May 19, 1780. The seven stars were seen at 12 noon in the day. The cattle all went to bed, chickens to roost and the trumpet was blown. The sun went off to a small spot and then to darkness.

mfa Boston
1st sq: Job 2nd sq: The dark day of May 19, 1780.


3. The serpent lifted up by Moses and women bringing their children to look upon it to be healed.
4. Adam and Eve in the garden. Eve tempted by the serpent. Adam’s rib by which Eve was made. The sun and the moon. God’s all-seeing eye and God’s merciful hand.
5. John baptizing Christ and the spirit of God descending and resting upon his shoulder like a dove. 

SECOND ROW: 

Harriet Powers quilt mfa Boston
(L) John goes overboard (R) God created male and female 2 of every kind

6. John cast over board of the ship and swallowed by a whale. Turtles.
7. God created two of every kind, male and female.

Falling Stars of Nov. 1833
Falling Stars of Nov. 1833


8. The falling of the stars on Nov. 13, 1833. The people were frightened and thought that the end had come. God’s hand staid the stars. The varmints rushed out of their beds.
9. Two of every kind of animal continued…camels, elephants, “gheraffs,” lions, etc.
10. The angels of wrath and the seven vials. The blood of fornications. Seven-headed beast and 10 horns which arose of the water. 

THIRD ROW: 

Harriet Powers quilt mfa Boston
(L) Cold Thursday of 1895 (R) Red light night of 1846

11. Cold Thursday, 10 of February, 1895. A woman frozen while at prayer. A woman frozen at a gateway. A man with a sack of meal frozen. Icicles formed from the breath of a mule. All blue birds killed. A man frozen at his jug of liquor.
12. The red light night of 1846. A man tolling the bell to notify the people of the wonder. Women, children and fowls frightened by God’s merciful hand caused no harm to them.

Harriet Powers quilt mfa Boston
(L) The clock and the hog. (R) Creation of animals.

13. Rich people who were taught nothing of God. Bob Johnson and Kate Bell of Virginia. They told their parents to stop the clock at one and tomorrow it would strike one and so it did. This was the signal that they had entered everlasting punishment. The independent hog which ran 500 miles from Georgia to Virginia, her name was Betts.
14. The creation of animals continues.

The Crucifixion

15. The crucifixion of Christ between the two theives. The sun went into darkness. Mary and Martha weeping at his feet. The blood and water run from his right side.

English: Photo of Harriet Powers' 1898 bible q...
English: Photo of Harriet Powers’ 1898 bible quilt by Rhonda Leigh Willers of the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and obtained from African-American Artists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The italicized information above is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Harriet Powers Pictorial Quilt webpage

The History Of Typography

The history of typography told very clearly and artfully with a fantastic little video. This will end my tri-fecta of re-blogging for today. I promise.

101 Books

This might blow your mind.

This is a stop-motion animation exploring the history of typography through 291 cut-paper letters and 2,454 photographs.

If you’re a font nerd, or you just love creative videos, this is for you.

Can you imagine how long this took to create?

View original post 11 more words

Fabulous Fabric Finds

fabric colors
fabric colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been organizing my new “Creativity Room” this week.  A friend and I decided that “Sewing Room” was too narrow a name for this space.  I plan to do scrap-booking, make jewelry, write, sew, quilt, knit, do embroidery — who knows!  I am thrilled to have a whole room in our new house to dedicate to being crafty and creative.  It is one of the big pluses so far from our recent move.

My job for the last couple of days has been to sort ALL of my remaining fabric into categories, find a place to store it (either in a tub, on a shelf, in a cupboard, project envelope, whatever), and then LABEL it clearly so that I will always know where to find what I want.  (hah!)

It has been great fun (and hard work) to get a good close look at and to touch/feel each piece of fabric.  Fortunately I had help from a fabric-loving and hard-working friend as I packed, so some of the sorting was already done!  I have lots of categories: batiks, black and whites, brights, Asian, African, neutrals, solids, red/orange/yellow/green/blue/purple, blue and yellow, florals, holidays, novelty prints, kid prints, Civil War era reproductions, 30’s era reproductions, textures, new and inspiring, and vintage.

The vintage category is the reason for this post.  I found 50s fabrics that I think are too fantastic not to share!  I also found the daffodil crocheted doily that I mentioned in a comment on another post.  (I found it, Theresa!)

Here it is!

 

I love the detail of the daffodils.  I’m sure that someone skilled with an iron and spray starch could get those flowers standing tall.  But since I just dug this out of a rubber-maid tub where it was in exile for several years, I think it looks pretty spectacular after being squished flat for so long!  The colors are still very bright.

I appreciate the handwork that goes into embroidered pillowcases, into crocheted doilies, into tatting, and the like.  I used to gather pieces at these sales, usually spending no more than 25 cents for anything.  I got this wonderful daffodil doily during the Champaign-Urbana era of our lives.

We used to live in Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) in the late 80s and early 90s, while my husband was attending graduate school there.  I held various jobs, but at one point I had three part-time jobs that gave me Friday afternoons off!

C-U has amazing garage sales and estate sales.  There is a large population of students moving in and out every year (because of the University there) as well as the town population of professors and other residents who stay/live there for years and years.  This blend of folks and households yields a wonderful extravaganza of all types of merchandise.  (I haven’t lived there since 1995, so things may have changed — I hope not, though!)

I was relatively new to quilting back then so I often looked for yard or estate sales that mentioned fabric.  I once bought 2 boxes of fabric for about 4 or 5 dollars.  There was more than a hundred yards of fabric in those boxes!  I was thrilled beyond words.

I remember one estate sale that had a whole room full of fabric and this sign:  “All the pretty quilting fabric is gone.”  I found that NOT the case at all!  Even then I had very quirky taste.  I’m sure whatever they meant by “pretty quilting fabric” would not have been my first choice anyway.  In the end, I bought several large pieces of fabric (many were several yards each) — all for 25 cents per piece no matter how large or small.  I’m fairly sure that the fabrics I’m featuring in this post (below) came from that estate sale.  I’m not positive, but I do remember getting a lot of very cool 50s fabric at that house.

Now the fabrics.

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I named these “Atomic Flowers” because I think you can see the influence of the atomic age (all those flying electrons!) here.  My guess is this is 1950s era fabric not only because of the atomic influence, but because of the colors and the stylized design.  There is no information on the selvedge edges.

Here is another vintage fabric.  This one is a border print with black, white, chartreuse and gray.  The images could be interpreted as possibly chickens, some sort of candelabra, and something that looks like a llama with a very bushy tall tail!

The fabric looks like it was previously used in a skirt or possibly as curtains.  There are machine stitching holes and small slits (as would be used to match pattern pieces) along the top and the bottom of the pieces are hemmed in a wide hem.  The sides are raw, but look like they were in a seam at some point.

Ballet, anyone?

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I love the girls and young women on this fabric!  I love the hairdos!  I love the ballet outfits and the little tableaus!  I especially love the pianist!  (I wish I had “That Girl” hair!!  Anyone else out there remember Marlo Thomas?)  The bright red background is still vivid and bright.  The whole thing screams “1950s” to me.  This is yardage; it was never made into anything.

This next item is much older.  I found this darling little 30s era doll dress mixed in with some of my grandmother’s fabrics.

I don’t know if she made it or if maybe one of her sisters or maybe one of my Aunts might have made it.  I’ll probably never know.

The skirt is made from feed sack fabric.  It is pale pink with circus themed characters.  There is a clown with blue polka-dotted clothing and tiny blue monkey riding a white elephant.  I also see several different striped balls and a duck dressed up like a band leader.  I also see several trees that look a lot like Christmas trees… ?  Not sure what that has to do with the circus, but oh well.

The dress is not hemmed because the selvedge of the fabric is there.  The back is open.  I wonder if it was held closed with a safety pin or a few hand stitches?  Or if it was never finished and never used on a doll at all?

My grandma used to tell me stories of going to the feed and flour mill to pick out the prettiest bags to use for her projects. I have a small stash of her fabrics, but not many feed sacks.

The last fabric is a doozy!  This fabric looks like it was once a skirt.  Someone took the time to detach it and to save it, and I’m really thankful they did.

I was immediately struck by the artistic nature of the characters and colors.  My first thought was, “Here is the topic for my next blog post!”  There is something Picasso-ish about it.  I also catch a drift of Don Quixote in there. Whatever the source of the appeal:  I love it!

Maybe it’s just me.  What do you think?  What do you see?

The selvedge on this last fabric is very clear:  A Signature Fabric, “Circus Days” Created by Hans Moller, of Associated American Artists c1953.

I did a quick online search to see what I could find about the artist and the organization.  I found an article by Karen Herbaugh.  Read it here.  The Associated American Artist group was organized in 1934 to try to make fine art more affordable and available to the general public.  Between 1952 and 1957 several well known artists designed fabrics.  The chart in the Herbaugh’s paper lists many fabrics, but Circus Day by Hans Moller is not on the list.  I sent an email to the American Textile History Museum, whose fabric collection is one of the features of the article.  I’ll let you all know if I hear anything!