Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Before and After Challenge

Martha Marshall, owner of the blog "An Artist's Journal", was so kind to show my pictures in her series "Before and After Challenge". I think that spectators very rarely get an insight into the development of a piece of art. In so many cases, this is a journey into the unknown, but in the galery, you just see the final state. Martha Marshall is one of those artists who make this process more transparent. Whereas many of us often forget to document the stages of their work, she shows them continuously. To me, this is very helpful for my work, it has confirmed the necessity of patience -- to keep working on one piece -- and to invite other artists' critical and not only praising voices. With kind permission of the artist, I show two small abstract paintings by her. Thank you so much, Martha!
No 1: Infinity, No 2: Lakeside

Thank you for keeping fingers x-ed

This morning, starting with a gesture of optimism, he was right indeed. They want him, they just aren't sure in which one of their houses. It is a large furniture store with numerous shops around Hamburg. They want him for a leading function. He said, the interview was perfect, friendly and harmonious. Mutual liking. He doesn't have a contract yet, but he's "inside", he said with conviction. "Munich is such a tiny dot on the horizon, getting smaller all the time", he added. -- And off he went to his old job.
The painting beside him is "Tea Tree" by Martin Harms, a German painter who lived and worked in New Zealand for more than 25 years. He is a close friend of my brother and gave me this painting.

Today I finished the chicken shack quilt, and it will be a cushion cover. The circular quilting around each bird has shaped the surface into a hill landscape. Which creates new ideas.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Shopping in St. Georg

On Saturday, we went to St. Georg, a part of Hamburg city. It is an old quarter with small shops which are disappearing fast. But one of them is sure to have a future, that's Policke. This is where we bought a suit for J. It was a lot more crowded than you can see. And between the customers, the shop assistants slipped around like lizards, communicating just with a slight touch on the colleague's shoulder. They ask the customer what occasion the suit will be for, see at first glance which size he's got, pull out 3 or 4 suits from this pending abundance over our heads or from wall stands. J tried -- and took the first one right away. Policke is famous. The most time-saving gents' clothes shopping I can ever remember. And J looks great in this suit! Photo will follow. -- Picture from VSA Verlag Hamburg with kind permission.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Leather Thimbles

I've been thinking about putting this item into my Etsy shop, but how much should I charge it? The fee would be more than the price. So I think I show you how I made it and hereby allow this to be copied. The only trick about it is to sharpen the leather on both ends with a cutter or another kind of very sharp knife, so you can glue the ends closely together and don't have a "step" which would disturb you while working. Take a measure around your middle finger, mark it on the leather and glue the sharpened ends together. And have more fun and no sore finger while sewing!

This German sports teacher Anneliese tortured me so hard on Friday that I was dizzy for 6 hours. I do my gyms every day on the living room rug, looking silly. But it's good. Here you see me using my office chair as a support. J was a little unwilling to take this shot; he seemed to find this position undignified. This may be true and refers to having an aging body in general. I'm not unhappy.

On Monday, he will go to the employment office. Though -- unless we go to Munich -- he will stop working in this job on Sept 30. The office is quite strict about terms. But J will have an application interview on Tuesday. The whole family keep fingers crossed.
Add Image

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A parcel!

Wonderful stash inside. Guess who sent it. And a letter E. This is so fine with tiny stitches! I never thought it would be so miniature when I just knew photos. Is there something I can give in return? But what? Carry coals to Newcastle... Yes, there is something: A leather thimble or two. One of them might fit. Will be on the way on Monday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fun Monday, Good News Tuesday

At last, I decided to see the doc about my back. I spent some of the waiting time in a cafe, might look familiar. I love the colourful chairs. This company has been changing interiors so many times, but this one is top. I had a kind of cheese chapaty for breakfast which was inedible, so I took a walnut muffin which was excellent.
The doctor tried to adjust me, but in spite of myself, I was too tensed. He gave me a prescription of chiropractical gymnastics. -- Such things get paid by my assurance, I just had to add $30 for 6 sessions. --
In the afternoon, I came back for the gymnastics. The practician is a lady who reminds me a lot of German sports teachers. She showed me exercises I have to do and called them my homework. Some things she did with/to me were pleasant, some weren't but seemed helpful. When I went home, I felt symmetrical for a change.
Did my "homework", walked for some time, did the shopping with my caddy. There was another caddy standing in front of the shopping center, one which used to belong to Elvis. I took the photos because of the design (couldn't care less about Elvis) of this amazing car/tank or what. 39 l petrol on 100 km! Oh my God. --
Later, J got a call from a furniture company. He will have an interview on coming Tuesday. It was an unsolicited application. He was in the best of moods. It was different with another application recently; he was sceptical, and they called off. He has quite a good intuition, that guy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Afternoon at my Brother's

Instead of last weekend, we were invited for a little extra birthday coffee. The garden was beautiful as ever. My sister-in-law, a teacher, was very busy writing schoolyear closing reports for her class. In Germany, the very young ones don't get notes like A, B, C or 1,2,3 - 6, as we have them, but they get a report in words.
We had cherry cake and fresh strawberries, had a long talk and a little walk through the garden. These clay sculptures called "tree spirits" were made by my niece (the one who owns my mother's cook book now). She's an artist! She also made these little sculptures. Not by her, but in my brother's possession for a long time: A ceramic troll, now guardian of the fountain.
Here is the back view of the house, a 19th century farm house.

It is tremendously romantic, isn't it? And then, there are the veggie beds in the back of the garden and a little glass house.

As my brother doesn't have a steady job any more, he takes care of the garden and does all the renovation work. He is a specialist for clay walls and finish. And he plants rare sorts of tomatoes and apples.

It was almost nine when I took this picture on the way home. The bright nights are here, and this is the shortest of them, the beginning of summer. Let's celebrate!

Does the word painting come from "pain"?

The colours struck me when I saw red and violet anemones in a scene of "Hannah and her sisters". My husband recorded 4 movies on DVD recently.
I know I can't paint at the moment, but I just had to!
Today we're going out to the country and see my brother. His 3rd grandchild is on the way.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My husband says...

... after hoovering the living room, about my threads: "One square mile around you it looks like an explosion in a spaghetti factory."

Friday, June 19, 2009

New habits!

Since I was lying in bed with the vertigo, my back is out of order. The funniest thing about it: I can walk and stand and lie in bed and sleep okay, but not sit for a long time. This never happened to me. Thank luck I have a rocking office chair.
I was born in the bull year, and I used to be a sitting bull, but at the moment I'm a strolling tiger.
There is a lot of work waiting for me on my computer and embroidery, o hell, and I have to take walks!
This I will. And I guess I have to take photos back.

Update: This helps a lot

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Diane's variegated thread

Diane sent me her hand-dyed floss from her shop cymberrain. I used it to create this pattern, a little puzzling, I admit. I added a few solids (red, turquoise, yellow, green) to this variegated floss.
This one will be a biscornu. A friend of mine ordered three of them -- to my great pleasure. (I can't charge more than 33$, it doesn't cover the working hours, but it is a lot for such a small item).
I sorted my floss stash and wrapped threads on new cards. The old ones were still from my student's times. Some floss still comes from my Granny who gave it to me a few years before she died (1974), when her eyes did not allow her to embroider anymore.

Boy hit by hot meteorite

A schoolboy in the German town Essen was hit by a red hot rock piece which caused a long scratch on his hand. Apart from a tinnitus which lasted for hours, he remained unhurt. A person being hit by a meteorite was reported only once before.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A small painting and a bed weekend

Working on an acrylic painting over a print, a portrait of my husband, some folk stamps and a medieval love poem: "You are mine, I am yours, you should be sure of that. You are locked in my heart, lost is the key, you shall always be inside." Size: 8x12"

On Friday afternoon, I started rotating. An attack of vertigo, my form of Migraene. I tried a tranquilizer, but it did not work more than "I still have the vertigo, but I don't care". My husband took care of me in the best way you can imagine. Shopped, cooked meals. I had to ring my brother whose birthday we wanted to celebrate on Saturday, and call off. We'll be going there another day, maybe next weekend. I was quite disappointed, I missed an opportunity to see my nieces and nephews and grandnieces. WHY JUST NOW?? -- The vertigo was gone last night, I'm okay now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My leather thimble

Can't really work with a thimble! I tried it. Then I created this device: It is a simple ring out of sturdy leather, and it is very helpful. Yes, I'm hand quilting the chickenshack. Hard work, I tell you. Got the needle's eye under my thumbnail once. Oy.

And. I was insanely printing!
Last night, I did these lino prints and more. These were the best. I used old lino print colour I have had in my stash for ages -- actually I did my latest lino print when I was ... ??? ... 18 or so. It's self-archeology as Terry has been doing it recently.
Would you like to get stamps like this custom-made?

Afghanistan: Embroidery Project

Today, I received a Mail from Mrs Goldenberg:


There is a new book out on embroidery, which I have put together: "Fäden verbinden - threads unite." It was published by MARO Verlag in Augsburg, Germany.
It has a square format of 16cm by 16cm with120 pages. It is a paperback edition with over 300 fotos, which I took during my visit in Laghmani and 16 of fotos which show works from the exhibition "Threads unite women" and scanned embroisered squares. The text is in German and English. By September a leaflet in French will be available for those interested. The price is €20.

Through the sale of that book I hope to make a little money for myself, since I continue my voluntary work for the project. Whoever wants to support me, may order the book from me. That way I will get almost the percentage that normally goes to the bookseller. Promoting my book will also be of great help.

So maybe you take the chance to order the book now or by ordering embroisered squares. Or you can find it at the exhibition at the "Gudrun Sjöden" store in Zirndorf, at "Textile Art Berlin" which will start in two weeks, at "Nadel und Faden" in Osnabrück from the 11th to the 13th of September as well as at the Alsace EU-Patchwork meeting, which will take place from the 17th to the 20th of September.

Have a nice summer.

Best wishes,
picasagalerie from project:



So far the mail from Mrs Goldenberg.

The book can be ordered from the German publisher.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Now that I signed in for old people's pension, my business gets going. I have to do a website for a furniture store and for Turkish real estate. Not much time left for art!
I'm quilting the "chicken shack" which is going very slowly, because I can't take more folds on the needle than just one and push it through with the help of the thimble. But I'll have to finish it, I decided.
My husband is having an important talk with his boss today, and he will tell them his conditions about going to Munich. Fortunately he can propose terms, they want him so badly. He will propose to get his office here in Hamburg. This would even save money, because they wouldn't have to rent an extra apartment for him/us.
If he has to handle complaints from all of Germany there, he can just as well do it here. Why do we have the internet?

Update. The boss will not accept his demands, so J will be looking for a job like mad, and he has time until October to find one.

Monday, June 8, 2009


These have come into my home to make me happy. Thank you, Gerda!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Painting finished

When I was working on "Joseph's Colourful Coat", I let this picture stand unfinished for a long time. I just wasn't sure how to go on. A few weeks ago I went on with it and changed the bottom part completely. I cannot tell you what it is, I just shmeared the oils onto it and enjoyed the shades. Then I decided that I did not like the background; a shining kimono in front of a night-blue sky just seemed too pathetic; I dissolved it into blue patches and made the border between the coat and the background less strict. I dimmed down the patches and brightened up the red.

-- The End --

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thimble and more heritage

A thimble is what I need for this tough quilting project! Yes, there is one. I inherited it. Lower left.
Upper left: The turquoise ring that my father brought back to my mother in 1955 from Arizona. She wore it for 35 years, you can see that. She could not remove it another way than cutting it up.
Upper middle: A silver whistle from the Caucasus. More about origin is not known. Lower middle: A brooch which belonged to my granny. Right: A silver note bock with pencil from my grandaunt.
My family had to leave their homecountry in 1939, settled down for just a few years and fled again in 1945. It is a miracle that these things and our photographs have survived.

Dyeing studio

Today I used diluted fabric paints for dyeing the ground fabric. It is a heavy cotton twill. I cut a piece of 16x16" and gave it a shading of blue, violet, and cool caribean swimming pool.
Then I took out my fused things and ironed them onto the ground fabric to get this:

"Stampede in the chicken shack"
Two young black bears -- hardly visible, it is dark -- among the chickens in panic. I decided to use only 3 patterns. My first attempt looked too chaotic, as some of you noted in your comments, and I agree. This is not finished yet, of course. The fences will all be in the same pattern, and there is a gap -- upper right -- where the robbers came in. This will be a cushion cover with a zip. Don't tell all the people, I let our Afghani tailor do the sewing. If I do it, it will look as if he had taken it back from war.

Update. The fusing is finished. But I think I will not do more fusing in in the future than absolutely necessary. Because hand quilting is agony! Not due to the WonderUnder alone, but together with the strong twill, it becomes very difficult. Moreover, the beautiful quilting crincle will probably not appear on the fused parts. So -- should I bother? After all, I started...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hamburg Central Park

A walk in our "Central Park"

It is situated right in the city and is called "Plants and Flowers"

The orange spark in the first picture is a gardener, trimming one of the pines. The fish that was digging in the mud was about 24" long. -- There is a large rose garden, laid out like a baroque garden with small boxwood hedges. Petals are scattered for the visitors -- well, it was the wind on this cool day, and when the rain grew heavier, I had to leave. -- This park is dear to me, because I have known it for 57 years -- no lie! When I was 3, we moved into the city, and instead of a garden, we had this park around the corner where my parents or grandparents took me every day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fils d'Aquitaine

A friend of mine ordered 3 biscornus! Stored away the fusing stuff and started embroidery.

Thinking about Munich

My husband has sent/mailed applications to five companies. In a week, his boss will ask him to tell his decision. In case we go, we'll keep the Hamburg flat for 6 more months and live in a Munich apartment.
The company is in a change at the moment, and they have centralized the customer service, so the dept in Hamburg will be closed. But they urgently want J, he has been in this company for 7 years.
What if I like Munich? The climate is murder. I felt 80 years old when we were there. But this might be something to get used to. The people are more conservative in general -- and racists. Not all of them; we'll stick to the other kind.

The idea of J's boss was that I'll stay in Hamburg, and they will generously pay me a flight every month or so. No, if my husband goes, I will, too.
And the job? To be honest: They want him to repair what went wrong in 7 years. And he told them from the start.
But in a week, we'll know more!
I'll ask the I-Ging.

Update. Tomorrow, J will have a job interview in Hamburg.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A step into the unknown

Very often in a life as an artist we may come to road crossings without sign. A trodden path leads somewhere; we have decided to leave them, but we can never be sure about the meaning of what we do, neither about the result. And this is our choice.
I fused this thing. I can rip off the printed parts and make new compositions; I'm just trying to follow the idea of concentric squares. What do you think can be done to improve -- or rather: save -- this experiment?
I found that for the first time I started struggling with art. I used to drop what did not work. Let me tell you frankly: I don't like this thing at all. It is completely different from what I imagined.

Flowers for the Ladies: Peonies, Poppies, Pansies
We took a walk today. The flowers are overwhelming, all kinds with "p": peonies, pansies, poppies, and piris.