Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Killing yourself quilting

Earlier this week Maria Shell had a post on her blog called "Killing myself with deadlines" in which she discussed the toll on the body from quilting many hours to get ready for a show.  I can sympathize, remembering vividly the aches in the back and shoulders, and one that surprised me -- the disabled knee from the sewing machine pedal once when I had to sew the last 15% of the quilt with the left foot.  (Amazing how difficult that is -- like writing with your wrong hand.)

But yesterday I almost killed myself not with repetitive stress injuries but a more direct form of suicide.  I had to assemble a bunch of quilts to take to a guild lecture, and located one roll on a bed in the guest room, way over in the corner.  I reached over awkwardly to grab it and discovered that it was a lot heavier than I was anticipating.  I got off balance and started going over backwards.

In that endless moment when you realize you're doomed but the axe hasn't fallen yet, I looked around and tried to find something I could hang on to.  Grabbed onto a chest of drawers, which turned out to be a really bad decision.  Instead of the chest providing me with support, it seized the opportunity to fall down too.  Since it was full of fabric, it had lots of weight behind it to knock me down and keep me pinned there.

Fortunately my husband was at home and heard the crash, then my call for help.  He got the chest off me and set it upright, then spent ten minutes picking up pieces of broken glass from my shirt and hair while I lay in place, because there had been a set of my grandmother's lead-crystal glasses decoratively arranged on top of the chest.  Finally I managed to get up, and spent most of an hour dealing with broken glass in the rest of the room.

It could have been worse, of course, had my head or neck hit the wooden chair behind me instead of just going down onto the floor, or had the heavy chest caught my leg in a slightly worse position.  And if my husband had been out, I might have had to lie there until he got back.

When I tally the ways quilting has tried to kill me, this probably is number three on the hit parade.  One and two were the times I sliced the edge of my thumb with the rotary cutter and ran a sewing machine needle into my finger.  More blood with number one, but considerable pain from both.  I got off easy this time.  

What's the worst you've ever done to yourself in the name of quilting??

Monday, October 5, 2015

I can't believe what the Internet can do for you

Last week I posted a panel in the International Honor Quilt project, made in northern Quebec, that celebrated Inuit culture.  I asked whether anybody knew anybody who could help me type in and/or translate the writing.

To my utter amazement, I got four responses from people who said they could help!  Thank you so much to all of you -- I am so appreciative that you responded and offered.

First to write me was Judy Martin, my longtime internet friend whose work and blog I love.  She volunteered her brother, who has worked with Canadian aboriginal languages, and in a couple of hours he wrote me back with the text typed in:

ᒣᓇᕿᓗᑭ    mainiqiluki
ᐳᕕᕐᓂᑐ     puvirnitu
ᑯᐯ           kupai

Apparently "Mainiqiluki" is the woman being honored in the panel, "Puvirnitu" is a variant of Puvirnituq, the town where the panel was made, and "Kupai" is the abbreviation for Quebec.  And the name of the language is not "Inuit" but "Inuktitut."

Here's where Puvirnituq is:

As it turns out, there's a second bunch of Inuktitut that we may want to have translated, a piece of paper that presumably explains more of who made the panel (we know it was a sewing class) and who Mainiqiluki is.  But that would require higher-level translation that Judy's brother can provide.  If the project director wants to go that far, I may be calling on the other three comment posters for their help after all.

Meanwhile, let's take a minute to contemplate how impossible such a transaction would have been in the days before the Internet.  What took less than a day to accomplish would have taken weeks, maybe months.  And I marvel at how I've had the privilege, through the Internet, to build such a wonderful network of friends and connections.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Photo suite 197 -- jumbo cones

In Japan it's common for restaurants to display plastic food to entice diners inside, but usually it's life size.  When it comes to ice cream, however, bigger is better.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

An old friend gets a big prize

I'm always interested when they announce the MacArthur "genius grants" because the recipients are such an interesting and unconventional cross-section of accomplishment.  When the 2015 list came out earlier this week, I knew a few of the names, but Nicole Eisenman wasn't really one of them.  I knew she was a painter, and that she's hot in the art world these days, but I couldn't have picked her work out of an array unless everybody else in the array was Monet.

But yesterday's New York Times had an interview with her, and there on the front page of the Arts section was somebody I recognized instantly:

Nicole Eisenman, Breaking Up

Let me explain.  In 2012 when I was doing hand stitching as my daily art, I went through a stage of appropriating images from famous artists.  Among them was this unhappy dumpee, who just got the bad news via text message.

Here's how I rendered him:

I had found the picture in an ArtForum magazine and I'm sure it had Eisenman's name on it, but that never stuck in my memory.  I just liked the image and thought it would be a good inspiration for a day's stitching (check out all my daily stitching here).

I think I did a good job of replicating the unhappy guy, even if I did a bad job of remembering whose work I had copied.

Anyway, now I have made the connection and from now on I will follow Eisenman's career with a more proprietary attitude.