Civil War era quilts

A chance to see Civil War era quilts in two different venues. Well, there were some pre-war and post war. Just saying 19th c. quilts doesn’t sound right.

On Saturday I was at the Huntington Library for an amazing tour. More on that later. Usually when I go, I’m walking around the gardens, at a friends suggestion I went into the American Art Gallery, boy am I happy I did.

I went to see the exhibit Becoming America, Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding collection. Some paintings, a lot of crafts and of course quilts.The background of this Bethlehem star is really a lovely blue not grey. What can I do, the camera sees what it sees. Since it is made from solids, I’m going to guess it was from the south. Look at those feathers!!  A flying geese quilt.Here is an incredible quilt. Bethlehem stars, Broderie Perse – this is where one cuts motif out of chintz fabric and appliqués them, a way of stretching out that very expensive chintz that came from Europe. Then we have smaller pieced stars as well as very accurate saw-tooth borders.

This is attributed to Mary Seeds Moon, made in Baltimore around 1840.A detail of the quilting, OMG. This quilt is in phenomenal shape, which means it probably wasn’t used much. One of many painted boxes. This is a quilt pattern, so I have to share.On to the Valley Quiltmakers guild meeting with Arlene Arnold. She farms up in Colusa CA and she loves and collects these wonderful old quilts. Here she is in all her glory in her Civil War garb. She bought this when she was sharing her quilts with Civil War reenactors a number of years ago. Got to get as much use out of it as possible. Her she is showing her version of a quilt that is similar to Mary Seed Moon’s. Unlike most of her collection, this was purchased from a museum that was liquidating it’s textile dept.

The larger pieces of chintz in this quilt look very similar to the border in the Fielding collection. Unlike today, where we have so many options in fabric, there was less choices in those days. An Expensive Chintz could very easily have found it’s way to two quilters.The lecture started with us saying the pledge of allegiance, how refreshing. The first quilt Arlene showed is this Seven Sisters quilt.  This pattern was developed in the south to represent the first 7 states to secede from the Union. The North forbad flying the Stars and Bars, so intrepid women made this quilt pattern over and over and displayed it in the window, on railings.  At some point Northern soldiers may have caught on, but they never bothered the women or their quilts

Southern quilts were usually made with solid fabrics and northern quilts had many more prints. Look at the effort that went into this baby quilt.Nine patch with prints. Two quilts made by the same quilter. No, she didn’t sign her quilt, but she did include hearts in her quilt. Here is a quilter who makes sure that her signature block be large and noticeable!Front of the quilt, from the north, see all the prints. But…Here is back. I have been known to use orphan blocks on the backs of my quilts. Look at how many this quilter has. I think most of us today prefer the back to the front.Another kind of signature, quilting in the quilters scissors!

I am very fortunate to be able to see these wonderful quilts, made by women over 150 years ago.


Stitches show

Stitches used to be all about the yarn. They are trying to expand, they are still mostly about the yarn. I have been knitting less, so really wasn’t interested in buying yarn. I did see two things I really like.40 years ago I made a sweater with this stitch pattern. I created it myself, not finding a pattern around. So I have a soft spot for this.  This would not be heard to duplicate and I might try, although probably not in these colors.I should have snapped more pictures of this shawl. Many booths had it in different color ways. I know the pattern is available on Revelry. I don’t want to make it, but I really liked the graphic aspect of this one.

Not much sewing or quilting. One big show was Cherrywood design challenge – purple for Prince.In these challenges one has to buy the package of fabric from Cherrywood, I think they can add other Cherrywood fabrics as well. To me and my friend, this just looked too dark.I am extremely impressed with the quality of work! I guess it’s just all that dark purple that really dominates. This was my favorite, I don’t think First place was in this show. I love it for the brightness, the design, the quilting and the bling. Two other ones I really liked also had bling. Bling isn’t my thing, but here it was necessary.So what did I buy? A grab bag of Cherrywood fabrics of course! Then on a Sunday walk I came across this harlequin house in Santa Monica. LOVE IT!Speaking of color and creativity, what is better than a fundraising event that includes painting a bus?? Nothing, nothing is better.Except for a very happy grandpa and grandsons.


The 12th Outstanding art of Television costume

I had hardly gotten over jetlag and it was off to FIDM with friends to see this exhibit. There is a reason why it’s in the dog days of summer. There was plenty of outstanding workmanship, but it doesn’t have the grand feeling of the winter exhibit that shares costumes from movies.This is from The Crown, probably season two, since everything was more subdued. Yes, it’s lovely, but nothing here screamed best costumes from the show.I very much enjoy the hand embroidery here. A lot of sparkle so this shows up well on screen. High Definition means the costume department has to work harder. And yet, they need to hit that mark, of having garments really pop on screen.Here is a dress from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. I LOVE this and am seriously thinking of knocking it off, probably without the bow. The costumes on this show are so exuberant! They used a lot of color to really catch your eye. This is one of the quieter pieces. I’m itching to go get some wool crepe and some heavy satin. I know I have a pattern I can hack. I’m no good at drafting my own. The centerpiece show was Glow, not a show I’ve seen. It’s about women wrestlers in the 1980s, and Irene tells me her daughter, who was a child then loves this show. I simply love this dress. Actually, it isn’t a dress, she is wearing the leotard she will wrestle in and instead of a robe, this wonderful high-low skirt. I do appreciate how much fun the designers can have.This outfit is from the Alienist, I watched a few episodes. I’m squeamish, going into details about the murder and mutilation of young boys in late 19th c. NY.  It was too much for me, even though it was very well done.

So here we have a classic looking outfit, but let’s take a close look.Look at how the lines match!! Not just on the skirt, but the lines on the cuff perfectly match the lines on the sleeve! I want to shake the hands of both the designer and the person who sewed this!!!  This is why I come to these exhibits, to see incredible workmanship and design. I don’t care how good your TV is, you simply aren’t going to see these details. To be honest, if I were standing talking to a model wearing this outfit, I’m not sure I’d see it. There is something about a still manikin that really draws my eyes to the details.From Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, fun, fun, fun!! Later we went to Michael Levines, where they have a great selection of boiled wool. I’m thinking this jacket might have been made from that. Unlike boiled wool from years ago, today it is much thinner and more pliable. I’m seriously trying to figure out what jacket to make for myself since I fell in love with a gorgeous purple. No, I didn’t buy it, and it could be that by the time I figure out a pattern, that fabric may be gone. There was a large selection of colors, I’ll be alright.From Schitts Creek, who doesn’t love a very well made crochet dress?? It is so hard to make a good crochet dress, the fabric is much stiffer than a knit dress. And yes, I’d have a full slip, but I am not an actress on a very quirky show. I get what they are doing here with the black underwear. I also see the placement of the band of circles, but because it’s a whole band not just two circles, it is classically suggestive, instead of being in your face suggestive. There were shows I had never heard of, these days, with broadcast TV as well as streaming services, it makes sense. I don’t watch TV all the time. So, I don’t know what these are from, they are just cool boots. The red pair is a costume, I really want the brown pair. Even though I don’t wear heels much, I think I could wear these.

So if you have a chance, this exhibit runs through Oct. 6th. It is free, the Scholarship store at FIDM is always fun and a few blocks further into the the garment district is a must!


Surface Art Association Fiber Stories

I’m trying to get out more to these kind of exhibits, they happen all over the city, I just need a kick in the butt to go. Luckily The Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center in Burbank is close to my home. Which begs the question. Why has it taken me so long to get here???First of all, I listened to my own advice and I looked up. What an interesting building!Not part of the exhibit, I’m guessing this is Betsy Lueke. Her image is made out of buttons, and all kinds of art tools form the frame.

Sherry Davis Kleinman, Serene Reflections

I was greeted by two pieces of work from Maureen Cox. I’ve sort of lost touch with her, we met years ago at a quilt show. She was a fabric designer and I was just starting school in that field. For years we both belonged to the Wearable Art Connection, but as friendships do, this one faded away. No hard feelings, just life. So I always enjoy seeing her work pop up. The top piece is clearly utilizing rust as a design element. I remember when we were first introduced to that via Japanese textile art. Maureen has never let go. Needless to say, I really like her owl.Linda Stone. In Memory of the Thomas Fire. This occurred less than a year ago and now so much more of California is burning. 

Sherry Davis Kleinman, Serene Reflections

Most of the works are Art Quilts, I do enjoy these very much, but this style of Art Quilt hasn’t changed in over 20 years. I think that was my problem with this exhibit, I’ve seen it before. Some of the pieces were in other shows that this Association has put on. I love seeing women working with fiber, but to me, these are lovely craft pieces. This is an expression of these women, of their work. Art? I don’t know, if they want to call it art, that is fine. This artist whos’ name I didn’t get, also has a similar quilt with pears. What can I say, I’m drawn to pomegranates.This was called an inside-out quilt.  Definitely one of the more original works.Fun three D. Reminds me of my doll making days.Smadar Knobler had a number of three D silk pieces. I met her 20 years ago and bought a ruana from her. It is beautiful, I really should use this more often!


Quilt con 2018

Back in my backyard so it was easy to go! I only signed up for a few lectures, I spent most of my time walking around, seeing quilts, reconnecting with people and giving my business to vendors. Got to keep the vendors happy and in business!Being a modern quilt show, there were a lot of different styles. Simply because there is no real definition of modern, it’s all about the committee and judges choices.This was no surprise to me that my favorites were old art quilts from the 1980s-90s. This one is an original by Michael James. I bought both of his books early on, the photos were black and white. So to get up close and see the accuracy, the use of whatever cotton fabric he could get his hands on – was exhilarating. A true master.I wasn’t looking at the names of every maker. These are more of the old quilts, often a visual show is about what you see, not about who made what.I spent a few hours with my son in law Yoch, needless to say, Ma Ru was his favorite. It is very well done and fun! Modern and wonderful. Three years ago, everyone was doing straight line quilting with the walking foot. This year many people sent their quilts out to professional longarm quilters. That is fine, except I do remember when two years ago people complained that Luke Haynes created a show with 50 logcabin quilts and hired other people to make the quilts. But then clearly those people were either jealous or have no idea how the art world works. After a while, I realized that what interests me is the close up of some of the work.   A lot of it was really amazing. Great craftsmanship out there.People from Craftsy were there filming.Just because I really like this.Jen made this coat herself! There is no wearable category  in modern quilting, there should be.Sometimes the ‘mistake’ photos tell so much more of the story.

One thing I have to say here. I HATE all the angry, mean political quilts that were on display. I am so sick and tired of politics invading everything, and by politics I mean lefty angry hateful politics. There wasn’t a single patriotic quilt (well, there was one in the Bernina booth). Nary a quilt about Make America Great Again. I get it, modern quilters are in their tiny little bubble, they don’t think anyone could possibly Republican, or a gun owner or heaven forbid – even vote for Donald Trump and be grateful he is president.

I didn’t want my blog to be about politics, and in general it isn’t. But being slammed from every side (yes also in the lectures) with one-sided hate, I’ve had enough. For years I’ve sat silently with women who are ‘kind’, ‘open-minded’, ‘accepting’ as they have said the vilest things about people they don’t agree with politically. I haven’t argued, I and many others like me, just sit there and take it.  After this show, I felt that once, just once I need to publically state that not all of us buy into the left-wing narrative of how things should be. Yes, I heard people with a product to sell saying that don’t care – if these messages offend people – let them be offended. You better believe they are on my private boycott list.

I don’t think we all need to agree, I think different beliefs and opinions are a good thing. But when civility is gone and at least 5 quilts have the F word on them or other derogatory messages about white people, the Potus, or the awful state America is in. (go live in Iran or Saudi Arabia if you hate it here so much).  I know, woke people feel they have the right to take over everything and spew their garbage, I’m old enough that I want my quilting world to be about quilting, keep your politics out of my creative world, because I never inflict mine on the quilt world.


Road to California

Another year, another show.With the holidays over, it’s fun to have shows and events popping up. Every year it is fun to drive down to Ontario and see the quilts as well as enjoy a great shopping experience. I have to say, I often find the booths and vendors more enticing than the quilts.This quilt grabbed my attention. Because with all the hatred of Israel it’s nice to find a little piece of love. I didn’t take down the names of the quiltmakers, I was running around enjoying the show. I know, everyone wants recognition, but I’m not publishing a book, just a blog.

My family moved to Israel in 1967, Golda Meir was my prime minister during my childhood. Then came the Yom Kippur War, and yes, it was mishaps on her part that led to the war being such a surprise. Unlike most politicians today, she took responsibility and resigned. By the time I was in high school, she was a private citizen. One year on election day, she showed up to vote at my school, that is where her polling place was. A small little woman. She stopped to talk to us. I think it was a year later that she died.

So yeah, anything that celebrates Israel and Golda these days is a winner in my book.The Ventura modern quilt guild is collecting blocks to make quilts for the victims of the Thomas fire. My guild is making quilts as well, I was happy to bring some blocks here. They have already given out 40 quilts to displaced foster children. Nothing warms a heart like a handmade quilt.Had to get a picture with Latifah, she started the modern quilt movement and now is busy making a living with her own products. More power to her!Red and white, right after I shot this picture I was told, no pictures. In this day and age, I don’t get that. If you don’t want images shown, then don’t put your work in shows. I understand a vendor saying no photography, they are selling items, and often taking a picture of something will mean you won’t buy the product. But a show is a show. Here I am trying to figure out how the designer made the overlay image fit perfectly into the background. I think it’s easiest to see with the giraffe, it’s all the same pattern, but the colors are different. I didn’t read the label, just stood and admired.

I also bumped into a lot of people, which is so much fun. Later, on Instagram I saw others I would have loved to see in person, but I missed. As I mentioned, fun, fun, fun.What I love, take a pattern, and make it different ways. Combine the idea of a woven coverlet and yet make sure that it looks like a quilt.I’m pretty sure that most years the winner of the big award has applique. Yes, I am impressed with the workmanship here. Color, design and quilting are also exquisite. English paper piecing, I’ve seen this quilt done before, but usually have only seen a picture. Nice to see one IRL. Nothing in particular about these quilts, I just liked them. There were many others I liked just as well, but I didn’t take pictures of everything.

I did some shopping, actually bought knives from Kai – I have their scissors and another knife, so why not? Got some more wool batting, that is all I want to use these days. Also, a few more tools.

Next show, Quiltcon!




After a Hanukkah post, it’s time for Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but boy do I love all the trappings of the season. I was visiting my friend in Irvine, one of our stops was Rogers Gardens, a lovely nursery – so festive!I couldn’t stop taking pictures of ornaments. Love the shades of green here. Also, nice that it became something of a selfie.The trees were done up in color schemes.  This Turquoise one popped out among the darker ornaments.Pantone has chosen ultraviolet as their color of the year. I will be working with all kinds of purple, not necessarily this one. I think this is about as ultraviolet as one can get.A hot air balloon in honor of my friend Clayton.Love these Chinese jars! The key was on the gold tree.Ahhh! Can’t get over the opulence and festivity of it.This is the white and pale pastels.Love the paper bird and flower.Red is a must, Candy stripes even more so.How about pink? Yes, there is another ultraviolet one as well.The embroidered look.

Along with the lights that shine so bright on the homes around me, I just love the exuberance of Christmas decorations.


Valley Relics museum

Last year I visited  Tommy’s print plant – where he prints t-shirts. I took to long to go out and visit his museum, Valley Relics.

What a treat, this is a labor of love from someone who grew up here and wants to preserve as much as he can of our history.Every city has it’s area that people love to look down on. In LA, it’s the valley, so be it, those people have no idea what they are missing. I wish this had a year attached, because there are at least a million people living here now, if not more.Drexlers’ Deli was the first kosher deli in the valley. It closed 20 years ago, and the couple have since passed away. Their son is a friend, and he was thrilled to know that the sign is safe and sound.Henry’s Tacos lost their lease a few years ago. They moved to a smaller location down the street. I have to say that Cactus Taqueria, that took over the space is better food. At least the sign with the original prices is preserved.Bob’s in Toluca Lake still stands, but the one on Van Nuys is long gone.Don’t know which location this is from, but I bet it’s very valuable. I wonder if the  Museum of Neon Art would have wanted to get their hands on some of these signs. Maybe they are just happy they are being preserved and seen.Don’t know this place at all, but then I only got here 27 years ago. But look at those prices!The site of one of the first big malls in the valley, soon to be completely overhauled into a large mixed use complex.Remember when all restaurants gave out matchbooks?I love these old packing labels. I really love that this one is from North Hollywood. These peaches were probably shipped east from the depot that now holds a coffee shop. Is that an old fashioned can opener?Memorabilia from the old Southern Pacific railroad.  Both passengers and frieght used the rails.When Aerospace was a big industry here.

Then there is Nudie Cohn tailor to stars, who really embelished everthing he touched.

There is a ton of his memorabilia here, these are just a few examples of his clothes, and not even the most elaborate. They have his Bonneville, the decorations and embelishments are legendary.

The place was full of people who loved jogging their memories. Thank you Tommy and I will be back, with others who need to experience this.









Japanese cultural village

Have I mentioned how much I love LA? Always something new to discover, often with the help of the Atlas Obscura.

On a gloomy Sunday in June, I went off the the Arts District downtown for an adventure.Waiting for everyone to arrive, I started taking pictures of the surrounding buildings. The Arts District is famous for it’s murals and street art. Little did I know that we were headed inside this building... to be greeted by 5000 square feet of this.Since this was an industrial building with high ceilings, Peter built an interior roof.Now we get to why I love cultural appropriation – as it is called today. (in my youth we just called it the melting pot and celebrated the fact that we were all welcome to share in one another’s culture). Peter Lai is a Chinese man from Hong Kong. For many years he was quite the flamboyant designer, once here in America, he left his family tradition of designing for Chinese theater and TV and designed high-end couture for a clientele in San Marino. He also developed a love for everything Japanese, especially the Kabuki theater.  So he built a miniature Japanese village in his loft. He is an avid collector, here showing us an old store register, listing the inventory and what has sold.Everywhere one looks there is stuff! I realized quickly that his inspiration is Japanese theater – not the sparse simple design we associate with Japan. In the fall he is going to take a practical exam to become an official Kabuki dancer. He has been dancing for 17 years, his Mentor is 95 years old, if he is going to pass his exam, he has to do it soon.A Temari ball caught my eye. He tends to collect many items, this was the only such ball that I saw.He did have a basket full of Darumas.  A few words about Kabuki, traditionally it was performed only by men, in the early 20th century it opened to women as well. Guess what happened? The men left, today there are hardly any male Kabuki dancers, so when Peter becomes official, he will be the first male Kabuki dancer in his studio in a very long time.

A few words about Kabuki, traditionally it was performed only by men, in the early 20th century it opened to women as well. Guess what happened? The men left, today there are hardly any male Kabuki dancers, so when Peter becomes official, he will be the first male Kabuki dancer in his studio in a very long time.In this space there is of course, a theater for performances, I think it can hold 45 people. In front of some of the seating cushions, were bento boxes wrapped in the Furoshiki technique, a delight for the textile crafter in me.Peter isn’t a purist, he is theatrical! Behind him is a Chinese opium bed. He is holding the original high heel shoe – for a man! Next to him is a Chinese garment, turns out he found the skirt but couldn’t find a matching top, so he removed the bands off the back of the skirt and incorporated them into a matching jacket. A purist would cringe, but for Peter, unless he is taking the Kabuki exam, anything goes. He has performed his dances for local audiences here, and as long as he doesn’t call it pure Kabuki, he feels he combine what he wants. I like his attitude!There is a dressing and makeup room, full of wigs, hair ornaments and face makeup. I zoomed in on the many combs used for the wigs. He even modeled a young man’s wig as well as an older mans’ wig. This one was gray and had a large bald spot on the top!I think Betty Boop loves her new costume!  Most of the kimonos he owns are for the theater, not street wear or even wedding kimonos. I could tell because of the garish colors and the heavy use of gold and silver thread. All this is very necessary on stage, but would be considered gauche in everyday life.From early teens until late 20s’ Peter worked in the family theatrical costume workshop. It was then sold and went out of business, so Peter has had to buy back costumes the family made. He should be a consultant on any production of Chinese movie made here in America, he knows the difference between all the dynasties and what they wore. While he still had his clothing store in San Marino, he would often remove such a dragon and put in on a lovely evening jacket.What a workroom! For him this is small, he no longer is making clothes but is still updating items and making a new costume here and there. He is selling off fabric, buttons, and trims.It was so nice to see a solid industrial Juki still at work.Anyone who visits the studio is welcome to buy one of his creations for a very steep discount.Just to show you how eclectic he is, this steampunk mask would sell for a very nice price!  I don’t think this was for sale.





Busy Weekend

It’s amazing how much there is to do here every weekend. I set out on Saturday to see a small California Pottery show.It really wasn’t very large. Mostly antiques with a very big emphasis on Bower Pottery. I was immediately informed that what I’ve been buying is a new iteration, new owners, even if many of the designs are similar.I’m not a collector, so although I enjoyed looking, I wasn’t buying.I’m glad I can share a picture of this rabbit with my friend. She does the rabbit-rabbit thing at the beginning of each month. At $600, a picture will suffice.For me, an owl, I’m wondering if that deep green turquoise is one of the glazes that is too toxic to make today?How about this crude unglazed owl?There were a few contemporary artists, I would have loved to buy this totem pole.Instead, all I could afford was a nice new coffee mug.

If you think Pasadena was a quiet, sleepy town on that Saturday morning, think again.Although it was 90 degrees, all the cyclists were out, Green street was blocked to traffic, clearly, some people came prepared.I’m amazed that I caught this shot.Oh, and inside the convention center, there was a girls’ dancecompetitionn. On the convention center floor, where I’m used to seeing vendor booth there was a stage and lights. It was fun seeing the girls in their shiny costumes.

Then On Sunday, it was time for a belated mother’s day hike with my boys.There was construction on Sunset Blvd. so we couldn’t go up Kenter Ave, we went up Mandeville Canyon instead and entered the fire road from here.Very helpful people on this trail.Three miles up and we are looking over at the Nike Missle site on dirt Mulholland, you can’t drive there, it’s a hike.Ok, I was using my telephoto lens in the previous picture. It’s not that close. But one of these days it would be worthwhile to hike from the valley to the city and Uber back. The reason I’d go that direction is because it is downhill most of the way.