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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can't Stop the Serenity 2011

The DH, the delayed-twin (little brother) and I went to the "Can't Stop the Serenity" event Saturday night at the Fox Theater Downtown.

Our Arizona Browncoats group once again put together a terrific and fun evening to benefit "Equality Now" and "Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona". I have to say the new location at the Fox Theater was excellent. I thought it to be a friendly, stylish, historical option with bit more room for the event and displays.

There were a few vendors with a variety of spiffy t-shirts, and Serenity/Firefly or steampunk-esque items for sale/viewing - and a plethora of cunning Jayne Hats all made to benefit the CSTS charities!
(You're not seeing things, the yarn colours are different.
There are a variety of yarns mixed into these 3 hats.)
I knitted/donated the 3 Jayne Hats pictured above.
A friend of mine knitted 2 full-sized and a bag o'mini-Jayne Hats. The Arizona Browncoat shop organizer who picked up the hats I donated had crocheted her own bag o'mini-Jayne Hats for the Browncoat shop!

T'was a grand and lovely evening!

I purchased some raffle tickets but my numbers didn't come up. There were two prizes unclaimed when announced and I found out later another friend of mine (who was part of the Az. Browncoat Crew putting on the event) had the winning tickets for both items! (I think - a Serenity Music package and a Serenity book packet.)

I didn't think there were as many participants in the Costume Fashion Show/Contest as last year, but there were some stellar entrants - who deserved to win as they did.

I understand there was a gaming room downstairs featuring Serenity-based games, but I forgot to go explore to see what it was about. (Durn it!)

We were also treated to some additional pre-show entertainment: 2 episodes of "Voyage Trekkers" had the DH chortling plus we saw an episode of Steam-punk Stylish "Mantecoza" (spiffy!).
Then "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog" was offered  (already a noted favorite of mine), followed by the pre-Serenity videos/messages from Joss Whedon on the excellent point of why we were all there and why you "Can't Stop the Serenity".
The main event "Serenity" on the big screen capped our evening.

And I did something I've never done before.
I got a henna tattoo on the back of my left hand/wrist. The young lady who did the deed, Bridget, indicated she'd been doing henna adornment for quite a few years and is quite particular (Thank you!) about how she creates the henna paste she uses.
She was also dressed a la Kaylee and participated in the Fashion show - after she paused some of her natural exuberant energy to neatly decorate my hand.
(Bridget contact info: bbensonatpowercdotnet. I understand she will bring her henna art to special events. She will also be at the Spring 4th Avenue Street Fair. )

She had me come back after "Dr. Horrible" when the henna was dry and she taped up my arm to allow the paste to stay put for the best possible stain.
As advised, I left it on overnight and took off my slept-in mummy-wrappings the next morning to see how my henna tattoo turned out:
Spiffy, huh? 
It has darkened some over the past few days as she indicated it would:
All in all, I had a great evening and I hope to attend our Tucson "Can't Stop the Serenity" event again next year.
Grateful thanks to the Arizona Browncoats for their fun, generous and entirely Shiny efforts in putting on a stellar CSTS shindig!
Kudos are also offered to the Fox Theater for supporting and hosting this fine event.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SS11 - Weaving Art, Lost-in-Powells, Yarn, and Chocolate

As noted in the 1st SS11 post, I arrived in Portland Tuesday afternoon and had hoped to have enough time after checking into the hotel to visit the...

Museum of Contemporary Craft:
When I had explored the Internet to plot my course through Portland during the Sock Summit, one of the first things I found was something I HAD to do.

The Museum of Contemporary Craft was hosting a Weaving exhibit.
A weaving exhibit of some of the Museum's Artists-in-residence weaving-inspired pieces but primarily featuring a very gifted Portland Weaver, Laurie Herrick.

There is a lot of coverage of this exhibit on the Internet - articles, blogs, flicker photo streams. Interweave Press also had an article on Laurie Herrick.

So much has already been said on this exhibit.
When I search the Internet on Laurie Herrick, the first several pages are links to this exhibit (OK, better than the first 5 pages). I plan to learn more about Laurie Herrick if I can, but here are my thoughts and impressions on the exhibit:

I am a rookie weaver.
For nearly as long as I can remember, there were two crafts to which I have always been drawn.
Knitting and Weaving. Both fascinate me. Knitting has been a bit easier to pursue. It might have something to do with the ease and portability of the equipment.  I am a much more accomplished knitter than I am a weaver. (I intend to do something about that...)

I rather liked the idea of a bit of weaving in the midst of my knitterly SS11 adventure.

The exhibit had been running since March 27th and was only going on until Saturday, July 30th, so I was concerned about finding time to visit the museum around the SS11 events/classes before the exhibit closed. Thusly, I had hoped to make the Museum of Contemporary Craft my first Portland visit.

And I was successful! I was able to hop on the Max, get off on the correct stop - and figure out which direction was West by the location of the sun. {wry grin}
I'm not kidding. The Google directions said head West and I was missing the "due North" symbol on my "cliff-notes" Map so I figured out "West" by the late afternoon sun.

The ladies at the front desk were entirely kind. They gave me the basic info and indicated I was able to take photographs of the exhibit.
And I did.

I have to note, if you're interested in seeing more, and admittedly much better photography, the Museum's Website features stunning photographs - and much more information about the weaving art than you'll find here.

I thought the exhibit was inspiring and imaginative; with striking aspects of clothing design and art-work. Stimulating, amazing, and clever.
Seeing such work makes me mindful of how little I know, how much there is to learn, and how little time there is for the learning.

I have to admit, I think I dashed through the exhibit a bit, being a bit too cognizant of the pending closing time and the lack of food in my traveling schedule for the day.

But, these are the photographs I took:
(Please Click on the photos to enlarge. Information on the art was gleaned from the descriptions provided by the museum as part of the exhibit. 
Unless otherwise noted, art is by Laurie Herrick. 
My grateful thanks to the museum for hosting this exhibit and for enhancing my trip to Portland.)

The lady herself at her loom.
As a matter of fact, I believe this loom.
The above-left: "Drunken Plowman" also known as "Field of Grain", 1989. 
"Mohair, wool and linen; Inlay. 36 x 28 inches" 
The above-right: "Green Valley , c. 1960s" "Modified Basket Weave" 63.5 x 38 inches

Weaving tools - combs and a variety of shuttles.
Apologies - I missed recording the information on this weaving but it had
multiple layers and I love the painted/drawn look it has from this perspective. 

The above is "Hidden Passage", 1971. "Linen, wool and fur; Inlay" 48 x 27.5 inches.
I tried to take a detail shot (above right) since the texture was so striking. 

This is another piece I neglected to collect the artist/art detail, however,
I suspect it might belong to Christy Matson.
Humble apologies if I am misrepresenting this piece.
"Composition in Circles / White" and "/Black" 2011 by Christy Matson, 
Mixed Media 21.5 x 21.5 each 

This one was woven so fine - it seemed translucent. 
The picture surely does not do it justice. 
"Macrogauze 119" by Peter Collingwood. 1974. 
"Linen, metal rods; handwoven" 54.25 x 37 inches

"The River, 1985" Wool; inlay 44 x 28.75 inches

The weaving above was my absolute favorite. I was struck by the colors and subject - note the inspiration photograph in the picture below as well as the artist's notes on the right.

Above left: "Selection of Laurie Herrick's yarns" "Various fibers"
Above right: "Recollect 2, 2011" by Mackenzie Frere "Silk, hemp, plant dyes" 138 x 31 inches

Recollect 2 above was a lovely subtle piece and I remember studying both sides, fascinated. Too fascinated to take a better picture apparently. {sigh} However, the artist, Mackenzie Frere blogs about this weaving here.
"Diedrich Dasenbrock and Patrick O'Neill" created "Corbett View, 2007"
"Oregon black walnut and maple"

Yep, not weaving but I fell in love with this banister. The shading of the wood and smooth flow and shape pulled me away from the bright cones of yarn. (Those of you that know me will understand it is a small feat to distract me from fibre-y stuff.)

Another weaving lacking detail in my notes. But striking and intricate. 
As I recall, the picture on the left shows 2 pieces; related, but in different color schemes. 
The detail picture on the right gives evidence of the intricate pattern. 

I loved the "floating" squares in this weaving. When I begin to consider how it would be done, and the skills involved - admiration abounds.
I have the above recorded as "Patterns Purple, 1974" "Wool; Overshot" 64 x 45 inches. However, 
the name seems to belie the shades in the weaving so I question my notes. 
Yet - in defense of my notes, there is another weaving by Laurie Herrick that cite "Purple..." (see below)
when the color scheme suggests other-than-purple. 

"Polychrome Purple, 1975" "Wool; Summer and Winter Polychrome" 75 x 43 inches
I'm wondering if these were part of a "Purple" series. I should track that down..

This is a SAMPLE - Quarter scale.  Two sides of the same weaving.
"Tree of Life (Quarter Scale), 1969 Sample for First Unitarian Church"
"Wool; Summer and Winter on Opposite" 44.5 x 28 inches

The photo above presents my other favorite piece from this collection. I thought all the coats were especially lovely, but my favorite is on the right - the "Laurie Coat". It is kind of a swing coat - but I loved the drape, cut and simplicity.

Whilst I was on the second floor, I got to meet the museum curator, Namita Gupta Wiggers.
She brought to my attention the copious notes displayed in the garment area - some about the "Laurie Coat" of which I'd just become enamored. The coat was woven with shaping in the design. I have done a little sewing and it was a paradigm shift for me to consider shaping built into the creation of the fabric. 
Again...so much to learn. 

A very art-ful dress and a several spiffy shawls. 
I spoke with the curator for a bit. I'd never met a curator before, although I'd always thought it would be an interesting job. My ignorant stereotypical expectations that a curator would be a tall, elderly gent with a moustache have been quashed.

Ms. Gupta Wiggers was very engaging and most patient - especially considering that she and some other folks were in the midst of setting up the next exhibit that would be opening in just a few days. We talked a bit about blogging, weaving, the examples of the lace-work pottery I'd seen on the website for the next exhibit, and the Sock Summit. She had the ladies downstairs give me her card and I took that as a bit of a compliment. 

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love the idea of the Museum of Contemporary Craft and how much I enjoyed my visit. Looking at the various exhibits they've had for the past few years, I truly envy the people of Portland this treasure. I do intend to return to explore it further on my next Portland adventure. 

Bonus! I also found more examples of Laurie Herrick's work featured on YouTube

I left the museum and headed toward Powells with the intent of visiting the Knit Purl store afterwards...

And here's an example of one of my frequent Oregon "Green" "Shiny" moments. 
In Arizona, we have our own, milder, and sometimes spiney versions of greenery. In my Portland adventure, I couldn't help but have "ooooh-Shiny" moments in admiring the more lush and varied types of greenery in Oregon. 
Reeds or miniature bamboo along a water feature. 

On to Powells.
In my limited experience - this is the ultimate book store. A city block wide and three stories tall.
A near-perfect representation of Jorge Luis Borges' quote "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of Library".

{Happy sigh - Bookstore}

And I found Powells had setup a nifty display in honor of the Sock Summit: 

I had a sandwich and tea from Powell's cafe and  ...  was cured of my vague retirement plan to move into Powells and live there. A crucial part of the plan had been the point that everything I needed was there - food and books - lots of books. (OK, I hadn't yet addressed the profound lack of yarn...). But the sandwich was, uh, well...edible but will not inspire a repeat performance. 
Reality asserts itself in the form of an merely adequate meal and a fantasy dies.

However, I was in Powell's...THE bookstore...and... I, uh, lost track of the time. 
Yeah, SO not a surprise. 

So after I'd wandered through pretty much every part of the store (gleeful smile), I  realized it was now too late to go visit Knit Purl because they had closed for the evening. 
I had also collected a few books to commemorate my visit:
I had a minor Neil Gaiman fit and was tickled to pick up one of the
Emma Bull novels on my to-find list. 

And to purchase it at Powells seems to enhance the find somehow. 

Sooooo - having missed out on my "Yarn" opportunity for the day, I walked over to investigate one of the 3 chocolate shops on my to-visit list - Cacao
I forgot to take pictures, but it's a charming store with bars of chocolates in many many flavors, truffles, and many, many lovely temptations. They have a little seating outside and some inside as well. I purchased some bars of dark chocolate (for me) and some flavored with coffee for the DH. 

My newest chocolate addiction, however, is for the Cacao Drinking Chocolate. 
I had a "shot" - a small cup of warm drinking chocolate flavored with cinnamon - and it was easily the very best "hot chocolate" I've ever had in my life. I am smitten and craving it again with every remembrance. {delighted, wistful sigh}

After that lovely chocolate interlude, I returned to my hotel considering my trip to Mt. St. Helen's the next day - Wednesday. 

Pre-SS11 Portland, weaving, books, and chocolate...t'was a pretty nifty day all in all. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2001 - Where were you?

"A date which will live in infamy." President Franklin D. Roosevelt said those words on December 8th, 1941.

The phrase above came to mind when I tried to think about what I wanted to say today.
Today - September 11, 2011.

It's been 10 years. A decade.

The Twin Towers.
        American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175. 
The Pentagon. 
        American Airlines Flight 77. 
The attack stopped by the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 in the woods of Pennsylvania.

I think the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, are this generation's "Pearl Harbor".

Horrific, surreal, tragic, heroic, poignant, unbelievable, shocking, educational, cruel, life-altering, displays of great hate and greater love..the start of another version of a "World" war. 

Where was I on the morning of September 11, 2001? 

I was waiting for a friend to to meet me for coffee at the Bristol Double-Decker coffee bus.
I had the week off with my husband for his birthday.
I had no idea what was happening. My friend was late and that was unusual.
I called her and she tried to tell me what was happening. I heard something about a plane flying into a building. There had been a few recent instances of small aircraft flying into buildings - it had even happened in Tucson.
I thought that was what she was talking about.

When I began to comprehend a little more of what she was saying - I presumed it was an accident of some sort. I still had no idea of the scope of what was happening.
She definitely wasn't coming for coffee and I definitely felt the need to head for home; calling my husband on the way.
My call woke him and he turned on the TV at my urging.

When I got home, he gave me a little more info...and we watched in disbelief as the towers burned and then collapsed. They collapsed. Imploded. That possibility never occurred to us as we watched the news reports. The cloud of debris looked like a pyroclastic flow rolling through the city.
It was like watching a movie - but with the certain knowledge that it was truly happening...and right then. And that knowledge included the comprehension that people's lives had ended - there - as I stared at a TV screen here.

The memories continue to surface as I see the a variety of television shows and specials reviewing the timeline of that day a decade ago.

My best friend was nearly deployed as medical/psych support. She stayed here as part of our local emergency services to keep watch over us. However, some of her friends and colleagues travelled across the country to help at Ground Zero.

We "civilian"-types, sent funds, stuffed animals, supplies, and wishes and prayers. Anything we could think of to "help".

I don't believe I'd learned how to knit yet, back in 2001.
I didn't listen to podcasts or read blogs.
I didn't know Heather Ordover then - but now I think of her on this day. She was teaching school in New York City on September 11th.  She's an amazing soul. Her 9/11 story is here.

The scope of what happened is still mind boggling.

I would like to ask...
To anyone who was around in December, 1941: Did 9/11 bring back memories and feelings of Pearl Harbor?
Where were you the morning of September 11, 2001?