Friday, January 30, 2009

A visit to the sailors' mission

Today I spent a few hours in the house of the Christian Sailors' Mission. I did that because I applied for another job: Making a website for this institution. They have one, but they want to modernize it. The directress of the house was a very friendly lady, very active and to-the-point kind of person. We had a great conversation from the first moment on. She has done a tremendous lot to create a lovely place for these hard working people (she called the circumstances on some freight ships "slavery")

The first picture shows the view from one of the rooms in the sailors' accomodation. The second is some art out of found objects, decorating the dining room.
I am rather positive that I will get the job, but I have to wait for a decision from the executive committee of the association.
Funny, now they are coming all at a time!

Then I will do some sewing for a friend of mine. She is a textile conservator and will restore a 17th century woven wallhanging. She will rearrange it, so it doesn't have to bear its own weight any more. This means I will have to sew meters and meters of velcro. Not very creative, but she will pay me. We had tea in her place, the pictures show a corner in her flat and a part of the living room.
Oh, yes. And a photographer's job (1 day) is waiting for me, too, the customer is a friend of mine. Will I be able to blog? Sure. Can't go to bed without reading your postings and hopefully comments, ladies!

A story from the sailors' home

Inspired by the 3rd comment, I'll tell you a little event that happened in the home's chapel.
Two Philippinean sailors were sitting there, and the directress wanted to talk to them, but waited until they would be finished with their prayer. After almost half an hour she approached them. It was spring, the windows were open. She cautiously took up contact to find out if they might have a problem. They replied: "Sssh -- listen -- the birds are singing!" They enjoyed it so much to hear what they never heard for months and years.

Right, they don't care much about the harbour in front of them. But tourists do, and they also can book rooms in this home in times when there are vacancies.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Package Design

Kept me busy for a day: A job. I have to design a package for so called Himalaya Salt -- well, it comes from the Salt Range in Pakistan, to be precise. In this case I cannot show any pictures of what I do, of course this is confidential. Only the product photos are public.

This is the white, pink or apricot coloured salt: salt lumps, white crystals, and ground salt. For many years I have designed packages for this customer every now and then.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Like in a poor country

This morning we woke up and didn't have water supply. So we took what we still had in bottles and the water can, and my husband was able to wash and clean teeth. He was pi... off.
I made it worse with my good mood, and when Jan Delay was on the radio, I turned it loud and danced. "Wir machen das klar" -- "We'll fix it!"

The husband went to work. I'm still waiting. The caretaker said, a pipe was broken, now they are working on it. I'll have to wait until 10 a.m., he said.

Thinking that I could go to the pond to get some water. Thinking about the places where people don't have access to clean water... I'd have to go to the creek and make tea with what I scoop out of it. What a feeling.

An hour later

I tried to get water and almost fell into the creek. The muddy banks are very slippery. The water looks quite clean if not stirred; in emergency, I would not hesitate to cook it. The creek is so shallow that I could have scooped 1/10 of the bucket. I gave up and went to the supermarket and got 3 big bottles of water, 0.25 $ each. When I came home at 10:30, the water was there. Good.

Wir machen das klar!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Turning cards

Two different ways to lay out 4 cards of 2x2". They fit into every position. I invented this as a closing work for my first year in the Hamburg Art Academy (you never heard of this one; it is justified). First, I tried a deck of cards in vibrant tones. Red, green and ultramarine blue seemed to create the greatest tension. I did this in 1970 when colour tv was still new and we did not have one. Of course not. So I did my own RGB technology. Then I found it was getting boring soon and thought of simplifying the patterns to give them more significance.
I did it in 3D on wood cubes in red and white. 50 cubes x 6 sides: 300 squares to paint. It was a hell of a job! The pieces show that I had lost interest in the end and painted very sloppily. Typical me. Now, 40 years later, I did the 4 samples on top of this posting. More orderly, different colours. But back to the roots.

On Request

The fabric shows african combs. There is another with fruit baskets. I think, what is left is less than a fat quarter each. Thanks for your interest!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Graphic programms are a tool to produce abstract art in breathtaking speed. Some doodling around with squares, and you have new designs. But funny: I easily get bored with the computer, whereas this hardly ever happens when I create with gouache paints or water colour.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fused and quilted

I feel great in this "new" piece. My husband took the photo. He says Hello to all the kind ladies in the blogosphere. And off he dashed into the Marvel world. -- Yes, our living room is raspberry red.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Revival of a blue linnen jacket

Out for an adventure! This blue linnen jacket will always get vertical creases down the front and horizontal ones on the back when worn. After half an hour wearing, it looks like pulled from an old clothes collection.
Possible solution: I'll try to fuse some of this old African indigo onto it and quilt it. I'll let it stand half the way down like a shawl. Not the full width, this is just to show the beauty of the cloth my mother gave me when I was about twenty. I sewed an awful blouse, my work then was trial and error method, mostly error.

It is a "spoil it or save it".

With two cotton patches after fusing. I'll treat the sleeve cuffs in the same way, just have to get more Wonder Under, I used it up to the last scrap.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flying Carpet

New possibilities. Overcoming gravity. Spreading the coloured message into the dark clouds. All colours united in a quilt of harmony.
Gouache on paper, 5,2x5,5"

I guess I could use a flying carpet soon. We just learnt that my husband will have to work in a 3 hours distance from home for at least 3 weeks, taking care of company trainees and teaching them all they have to know for this complicated job. Like before we started living together, it will be a weekend relationship with long phone calls.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Congratulations! It is fascinating to see how the new president is welcomed everywhere. I'm thrilled by this uprise of hope and iniative all over the USA. It reminds me of the days when the communist regime in East Germany gave up and people flocked out of the land and other people into it. There was such a relief to be freed from the burden of constant menace.
I do hope that this change will have a mutual effect. That confidence will replace paranoia. And looking over to Washington: Now -- in contrary to my feelings during the past years -- I wish I was among these singing and cheering people.
Okay, in last summer, when the candidate visited Berlin, we knew: In Germany, Obama was elected already then.

Inauguration tea party: We watched it at 6 p.m., while having tea and cookies, barley coffee and soy milk. Looks a bit messy, I admit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Out in the sun

Today I took the opportunity to photograph the piece outside in good light. Just a few parts of the sleeves and parts of the right edge need fusing. Small gaps between the patches will be filled with wool embroidery.

The pink frame is to suggest that the patch inside is a picture. Well, it is an abstract picture. I want the spectator to see each patch as a possible picture, although many of them were created by an artist named Serendipity. There are two real pockets left in about the middle. They are open on the back and very helpful while quilting the parts in the center region of the piece. I bet you sometimes sighed "If only there was an opening closer to the middle". Okay, I did that on purpose.
I wish I could have seen snooker last night. How O'Sullivan beat Selby. Hope they will replay it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stag Party and Heavenly Body

Last night I was a grass widow. My husband had gone to a stag party. The last bachelor in his "gang" is going to get married to a very nice and lovely polish girl. So I had a quiet evening at home and used my new paint. What a pleasure! I painted for 5 hours without looking up. First I finished the picture "Pink Bridges" -- can't show it, because it is meant to be a surprise. Then I made a small painting named "Heavenly Body" for my husband. 4,6x6,2". Gouache on cardboard. It reminds of Sonia Delaunay, I think. Can I only imitate? My husband likes it. He was very sensible last night and did not drink much.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Young goats and a puddle of blood

Joseph's brothers took the blood-stained coat back as an evicence of his death. They killed a young goat for the purpose. Here, the chosen goat rests by a water with a weird colour, taken from a fabric in Japanese style.
I cut a paper stencil for the goat and tried to transfer acrylic paint on the cloth. That was not all that satisfying. So I cut out another silhouette and fused it to the red background. This cloth turned out to be very fringy, even when fused. So the result is not quite what I wanted it to be.

This morning, my little parcel came, containing my Windsor & Newton Gouaches. And the bill. 42 Euro = about 56 $. Outch. But the pink and purple are very close to the desired shades. And there is gold, a beautiful spring green, deep cool blue, black, red. Another boxing day!
I'll start saving from now on. Because my mind is eased.

Olive tree from Tuscany, I took this picture in 2002 in Pieve d'Elici near Lucca. Hello, Darlene, this one is for you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Website on the Joseph-Project

This afternoon I created a little website for the Joseph-Project on which I show the paintings and the history of the fiber art object connected to the story in Moses 1,37.

For the collectors of cobblestones

An old cobblestone path in the outskirts of Hamburg which leads from the former farmhouse to the village. Since 1600, the farmhouse was used as a guest house for visitors to the Hamburg Government. Probably the cobblestones were put in place already then.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What I found today

A lively wash-up

More quilting on Joseph's coat

One of the Pharao's dreams were the cows. I surrounded it by fanatic quilting. Fusing saves time, I put it into quilting. Also the wheat spikes are surrounded by straw-like structures. The calligraphy is a little pathetic, it says: "Time will not undo guilt. Expiation can never end unless the guilt is forgiven. Only victims and their heirs can forgive. Guilt is not inherited, but responsibility continues the ties between the heirs of the criminals and the heirs of the victims." (schuld wird nicht durch zeit gesühnt, nur vergebung hebt sie auf. vergebung wird nur gewährt durch den, der die tat erlitt - oder seine erben. nicht schuld erben die nachfahren der schuldigen, aber doch verantwortung. so bleiben sie gebunden bis zur vergebung)
This criticizes a specific German point of view because too many people in our country like to say: "There has to be an end to remembering at last -- forgiven and forgotten..." But they don't have the moral high ground to say so.

I added a fused and appliquéed image. The lion attacks a man. The field behind them will be filled red. This looks much better than the painted parts, I'll go on with this technique in the future. Although it takes quite some work. I found the lion on an Egyptian stone carving and added a human shape like I thought it might fit, from my own imagination, made a drawing on paper, perforated the lines and used a little powder bag with blue pigment to copy the lines onto the cloth, made the drawing complete with a fine brush pen, ironed Wonder Under onto the cloth, cut the silhouette -- yes, I cut the paper, Melody, sorry! -- and fused it on. Then I fixed the outline with small stitches. -- I demonstrated the method on white cloth, but initially carried it out on the orange material.

Monday, January 12, 2009

To be considered -- and: A glimpse of my drawer

A great posting on clothes, waste of material and poverty in the world

If I'd walk around with documents, I'd like to use a document container like this.

Hoping to find...

... a gouache in a brilliant magenta or purple. Whenever you visit an art material shop, you find the paints from a German company who rule the scene. Dull colours! Dulldull. In a jam jar I kept some brilliant purple, I don't remember who produced it, but it proves it can be done. I sent a sample to a South German company who trade English gouaches, asking them to pick the right colour from their scale.
The most popular German gouache is produced along with a line of printing colours for industrial printing. They don't stick to Pantone, they have their own system.
German designers obviously don't need bright tones. I yearn for them. English gouache is not for sale all over Northern Germany! I just couldn't believe it, I searched in virtual and physical shops for months. The sad truth: You cannot obtain brighter colours by blending them. They are like chemical elements. You have them, or you don't. You can't produce them. My hope is that the young generation of designers will demand brighter shades.

Another sad truth: You can't buy crewel wool in Germany. I bought brightly dyed sock wool, cut it up and untwisted the thread to obtain crewel wool. I bought all kinds of old stocks from a fine embroidery wool which they stopped producing 10-15 years ago. Now I got a whole drawer full of these beautifully strong dyed wool skeins. I love and use them. I hope to be using them until I have to give up embroidering, hopefully in the distant future. It is ridiculous, I act like those people who experienced two wars. "Keep it! You never know what you may need it for!"
It is fun to go shopping. But shopping doesn't make sense if the drawers are full! Very helpful and a guarantee to have this kind of fun in the future: I keep forgetting what I bought in the past. I open my drawer, and to my great pleasure and surprise find many nice things. I call this occupation "self-archaeology".

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fusing is great

Today I tried the fusing method. Very helpful! Melody gives so much advice on her blog how to do these things. I cannot look back on years of quilting experience, as many of you can. To you, this must be looking like a kid's work. But this is how I feel: Playful and full of joy about my experiments. I put it out on the corridor to take the photo. I'm doing all the quilting by hand, because Joseph's sister did not have a sewing machine. Well, she did not have Wonder Under either.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't allow conventions to ...

New Gouache painting: "Don't Allow Conventions to...", 8x12"

Once again I cut gouache-painted paper into small squares, glued them to a black cardboard and added some painting. The spectator is kindly requested to finish the sentence.

What I found

African print cloth in pre-cut squares
Wonderful house facades

(to be continued)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Eye and Star

New patches on the colourful coat. I don't know what these hieroglyphs say when combined, I just looked up the single meaning of the signs. A well; crying; a captive; take away; Egypt; grain.
And there is the delicate symbol through which I mean to say: We have betrayed our brothers so many times. "Sold down the river."

The gaps between the patches will be filled with smaller scraps or with wool embroidery.
The acrylic paint makes it rather stiff, and it is not easy to push the needle through. But I insist on hand quilting. Joseph's sister did not have a sewing machine.
And I insisted on using materials I already have in store, not to buy anything for the project, no dyes either. Anyway the stuff you can buy in Germany is desperate.
I don't find the coat "beautiful", I just want the spectator to start imagining. It is to be an album of memories and visions. The sleeves have to be done, then I will put it up with spread arms on a stick that will hang from transparent strings -- in case it will be in an exhibition some day.

This was me during my first marriage 1994.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Extreme cold

A very cold morning, we must have had about -8 or -10° C which is 14-18° Fahrenheit. Smoke from some houses heated with log fire crept away from the roofs, but won't rise.

A woodpecker climbed the tree.

I have good sewing light for working on Joseph's coat.

Yesterday I cleared my material case and sorted out things to be stored in the cellar. Shouldn't I throw away what I haven't used for 2 years, because this proves that I won't need it anyway? Not really.
I work in phases, for example put away my easle for 5 years, but started painting again recently. Couldn't I just stick to one discipline? Sorry, this does not inspire me. Are you as flighty as I am?