ON THE WAY TO THE GRAVEYARD

Mexico never passes up a chance to make a buck. On the road heading into the graveyard there were vendors of all sorts.
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These sweethearts selling fake flowers and my sweet vender gal from the Tiangis, the Tuesday market was there with her flowers:

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Always a chance to feed people if there is a crowd, the pop up cafe.

street chef I bought a cross from this kid to put on a grave.

kid selling crossesI never really understood what the plaster of paris stauary is about but you do see it everywhere.

photo-14I love the color the tarps add to the street.

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It is solemn in the graveyard with families fluffing up the dirt and adding flowers.

first graveMarigolds and red coxcombs are the flowers specific to the day.

photo-11Some graves are more elaborate in structure.

day of the dead graveThere are walls also for burial above the ground reminding me of the graveyard in my native New Orleans.

grave wallHere’s the detail that I liked so much:

photo-9You could see the Parrocia in the distance. MY iphone wasn’t quite up to  the long shot.

Church seen from GraveyardAnd finally some flowers that were being sold, just another pretty face.  If you have a chance to visit Mexico for the Day of the Dead, November 1-2 you better get down here!

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OFFRENDAS Altars for Day of the Dead in San Miguel

photo-11The night before the Day of the dead is an amazing time to walk in San Miguel.  Thousands of folks head to the Jardin to view the Offrendas honoring and remembering those who have passed.  The scene was filled with creatures from the dead.

photoAltars surrounded the square and even entry ways to the Parrochia were decorated.

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I love the image of this goulish nun and her special altar.

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On the altar are special food and drinks the departed enjoyed.  Images, candles funny sugar beasts that the children eat afterwards.  I returned the next morning on my way to the graveyards for another viewing.

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This is one of my favorite traditions here in San Miguel.

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The flowers traditional to this day are marigolds and red coxcombs.  Farmers grow fields and fields of them.

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My Mexican sister Chole has an agreement with farmers that was set up by her parents and theirs. She buys the seeds and sells the flowers and splits the profits with them. I expect it will also pass to the next generation.  Here is her son-in-law and grandson also working the market.

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This is a magical time to be in San Miguel: to participate, to share. I made an offrenda in my front room and spent time thinking about my beloved friends who have left the body.  Dennis Leon, Vardo Steven Kreider, and Mr. Hackenberger whom I have never met, the father of my tenant Christian who was killed on a motorcycle last month. It is a mixed blessing to remain in rememberance. Bittersweet. and I am so glad I was here to share this.

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ALL HALLOW’S EVE SAN MIGUEL 2013

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Halloween is for the children and seems to last through All Saints day at least and I recall being trick or treated even on the Day of the Dead.

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There are no happy princesses, cute punkins, charming dogs.

photo-4It’s all darkness.  Of Pirates there are plenty and that’s about the most benign of the forces at work. My friend Lisa dressed baby Allejandro as a hippie which was swell but not really Mexican.

photo-7This family is more typical:

photo-5You don’t have to go door to door either. Gringos sit in the square, the Jardin with bags of candy handing out the loot.  It’s all about the children.

photo-9There is a tradition of katrinas, skeletal men and women dressed in very fancy, old fashioned  clothes and big hats.

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I am not sure what this chick with the purple hair was up to, but isn’t she sweet?

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Building an Offrenda (Altar) for Day of the Dead

I had a few losses this year and last. My friend Vardo left the body in Maui a few months back. and Dennis Leon last May, and the father of my tenant Christian Hackenberger was killed in a motorcycle accident in Florida last month.   I came to San Miguel de Allende especially at this time to remember them and bless them.  The city is full of folks selling “alfeniques” sugar skulls and fruits and coffins that are used to adorn offrendas. Here are a few market stalls.

photo-2 Mexico is being corrupted by Halloween which is tonight.

photo-4This is chole’s daughter, Manuella’s offerings.

alfeniques in San MiguelGenerally the persons favorite foods are placed on the altar, and water and tequilla.  Here is the beginning of my offrenda.  Tomorrow I will add pictures and flowers so stay tuned.

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SMALL CONSTRUCTIONS FROM THE RAG BAG

Continuing on with the making of small constructions and preparing them for framing I quilted 3 this morning.  The first with  bits from Svaha Woodward’s curtains as predominant elements.

construct 3

I have been using a lot of pinky coral lately it seems.  The next construct came right out of  the building the first set of curtains and I set it aside thinking it would be a good unit to stand on it’s own.

construction from curtain project

I took this picture with my iphone and am not sure why it looks soooo unsquare. It really is square.  The last little thought form really did come out of the ragbag.  These small bits 12×18″ really are like thought forms…. not full expressions, just playing with colors, shapes and form.

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The funny thing about this little bit is that part of the construction was started in Nancy Crow’s class at QSDS many years ago… I have cut and restructured those bits so many times. I think I am about done with all of the stuff I did there. At last!

FINISHING A COMMISSION

It’s so interesting doing commission work. How do you make the client happy while staying true to yourself and making yourself happy?  It’s a big job.  This quilt began with a call from my friend Renee Knight to make a quilt for her son Xai.  They came to the studio and looked at everything (I do mean EVERYTHING) I had prepared and decided to commission one.  They chose a stack of colors and a Gee’s Bend like pattern I had made for the front.  Renee helped me paint the back which is based on an African pattern from the fantastic book: “African Canvas”  Images from east African women’s houses. Here’s the picture:

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and here’s the backside of the quilt:

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And here are a few views of the top of the quilt, taken by Anette Hansen in her large beautiful bedroom, on her queen sized bed.

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It changes a lot depending on the  way it is placed.

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It was quilted by Cheryl Payne at the Patchwork Peddlar. She is an enormously talented quilter!

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I happen to love that red and yellow Potato Dextrin rrsist piece I made one summer in my neighbors back yard.  That split showing yellow is from a fold in the fabric.  I knocked out 50 or so yards of  that gorgeous cloth in a few weeks time. It was an amazing wild creative week!  Sometimes I make cloth and it takes years, decades even to find a place for it.

 

MINING THE UFO BOX

At times when I am stuck or blocked or just uncertain about where to go next with my art, I return to the UFO (unfinished objects) box and go through it and fold and refold all the thought forms that I have started and discarded. Sometimes it brings about inspiration.  Yesterday I decided to make a few baby blankets from the odds and ends in there.  It does seem like  there are a lot of babies being born right now.  I started with this one.

blankie 1

This center block came from a little teaching  by my friend Leslie Bixel about how to make a block from an african american quilt in the book Signs and Symbols by Maude Southwell Waldman.

African American cross quilt

So last winter in San Miguel de Allende I asked,  how do I make this block? and she showed me.  That Leslie is one smart gal and she started making a bunch of these blocks also with polka dot centers, you should see them, wowzle!   Me I made one big fat one and said that’s enough.  So it sat in the UFO box since last winter.  The great thing about baby blankets is who cares? It’s for a baby whose gonna barf on it and pee on it and it’s going to get washed 10 million times.  For me it is sort of like back art, extremely freeing… oh it’s just the back, do whatever you want. Corners don’t match, so what?  I put some commercial cloth made by Caryl Fallert in it! So what.  I whooped three of them out in a day… well ok!

The second one was going to be the back of a quilt for Jeremy Kagan’s grandbaby but some judgement got stuck on it and I lost my heart for it, so the top went back into the ufo box and I made the back which was an extra block from the quilt I made for the bed on my newest airbnb rental.  Here’s that top:

queen quilt

It looks great quilted. Of course I don’t have a picture of it. So here’s the blankie I made from the left over block.   Leslie again pointed out as I was struggling with the big one that it wanted to be a 9 patch… Isn’t she always right?

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and finally this evening I found this silly bit that I had put some borders on a zillion years ago. A fragment of a flower, with some crazy meaningless writing and a lot of purple. This was done WAY before I became a purple-a-phobe, obviously. I do like the way I completed the flower with the quilting.  I didn’t realize I was going to do that when I started quilting it.

blankie3It’s always an adventure when you have no idea what you are doing and just begin fumbling around making stuff.  I saw a button that said: “Just go in your studio and make stuff.”  That’s my motto.  Also another key:  “If you fuck up, RECOVER.”

 

 

 

 

 

BEGINNING A NEW SERIES (AGAIN AND AGAIN)

I finally got the last commissioned quilt off to the quilter and am waiting for my silk velvet to arrive and decided (art making is decision making) to go through my basket of little stuff and clean it up: refold, reassign, reorder.  Then I decided to make a few small quilts for framing for my holiday show and am calling the series: SMALL CONSTRUCTIONS FROM THE RAG BAG.  This is how  I begin.

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I have 2 bits beings sewn together here and that heap of rags… I used to call this container “great bits” but lately its just the rag bag.  There are some nice pieces hiding in there.  My framer gave me a fab frame she had misordered the size and I made this little construction to fit in it.

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I just finished this second little piece and am ready more or less to quilt them and emerge from my basement studio.

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It is always interesting to see how these bits from other projects recombine and make a life of their own.

WORKING IN A SERIES

I received a commission from Integrated Art LLC to make a series based on this small 15×19″ wall piece.

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Of course I had no more of the fab polka dot fabric although I did spend an hour looking for it. so I made this series. The first a gallant attempt to copy the original.

photo-8Not too shabby as we say here in Wisconsin.  Then this one came through. I added a painted striped element and lost the roundness of the inner shapes.

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and then I got bold and daring with a blue scratched taro root resist border:

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I love the clamped black stripe. I made it with clips from Bed bath and beyond that have a round shape at the end… love those marks! and Finally I forgot about the lower stripe and added this discharge shibori bottom.  This cloth was possibly made by Nancy Davis.  At least I can’t remember making it.photo-6

The funky brown upper border was made by clamping caps from dye bottles into a rust colored fabric and overdyed it brown.  All in all the series is moderately successful.  None of the centers have the same free vibrant cuts of the originals… Thats what happen when one is in the flow, picking fabric up off the floor to find it is the perfect piece that one needs right now… Copying, it lacks inspiration.

 

THE CHILDREN’S SPRING PARADE IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, MEXICO

As a native of New Orlean’s I am usually up for a parade! Especially when I am just bopping around downtown doing my life, paying bills, going to the bank, you know… LIFE!  I happened upon the kids spring parade and got to use my iphone to snap a few pictures.

princess of the dayThe happy princess riding on her float …AAAHHHHH, so like home!  And the happy children dressed like animals and fairy tales.

skunky

This guy is pretty cute, and these cards from Alice in Wonderland.

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then I began to notice not everyone was having the time of their lives!

flores

Some of the looks I got, jihole’!!!!!  (that means son of a…)

suspicion, too

When a prince is not the best match for a princess…

yes, prince

and sometimes it was easy to see why the child was not exactly happy!

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Life is such a mixed bag, some kids are pretty in pink.

pinkgirl

And others are waiting for the kiss from that special someone to be all that they can become!

froggy