Friday, March 31, 2006

Zawadi & Calabash Adinkra Dyeing Stamps

Today was the last day at my job. My staff took me to breakfast and my co-workers took me to lunch. It's been one of those weirdly wonderful days. It's always a little funny feeling after you leave a job, like, "Oooo...I have no idea what to expect next, but darn I'm looking forward to it!"

The U Street/Shaw area is a historic, vibrant neighborhood here in D.C. where my grandmother hung out in high school and remembers as "Black Broadway." In the 1920s-40s, it was known as the epicenter of Black life here in D.C. Performers such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway were regulars here. Now it is filled with shops, clubs, lounges and restaurants. I love it.

In my happy giddy state on this beautiful warm day, I visited a favorite store named Zawadi, at 1524 U St. They specialize in African goods such as jewelry, home accessories and more. I got into a great conversation with the owner, Irene, about my favorite African country--Senegal--where I stayed for a month back in 2001 and where she regularly shops for her goods.

When I told her I was an art quilter, she pulled out a basket of African fabric remnants! The one above is from Mali, and it still has the threads in it from the resist stitch method the dyers used! They used a fine small running stitch. I also was tickled to find a calabash gourd stamp used to create adinkra fabrics in Ghana! My stamp's symbol is "Hye wo nhye"/"Unburnability", "toughness and imperishability of self." If you're ever in D.C., stop through! I'm sure you'll find something beautiful!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Woo-Hoo! Book 3!

Woo-hoo! Going crazy for two weeks paid off!

My short story "Flight", will be in the third installment of the Dark Dreams anthology series! Yay!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

D.C. Artist Sam Gilliam

top: From Shiraz and bottom, Day to Night, by Sam Gilliam

I was reading a local magazine and they talked about prominent Washington D.C. artist Sam Gilliam. Part of a movement called the Washington Color School, his beautiful works are so vibrant and many of his paintings have canvases that are draped and seem to "flow". Something about his work reminds me so much of the textiles that many of us on AQ create. Enjoy!

Monday, March 27, 2006

On Mythology and Legend

DebR, are you watching this?! SciFi's showing a miniseries version of Ring of the Nibelungs. They're calling it Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King. I'm really enjoying it.

I love mythology. I love epic tales. I love fantasy and scifi stories. There's something about them that just takes you to another place. I've always enjoyed reading the myths of cultures from all over the world. One thing that you end up finding it that despite the geographic differences, there are similiarities all over the world in the legends that we tell. Wonderful.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Website Updated!

I thought I'd update my official website and add some of my new pieces. Spring cleaning, LOL!

There's always a regular thread of debate on the QA listserv about whether to call yourself a quilter/art quilter/fiber artist or textile artist. I went with "Textile Arts" for the site because I will eventually include other textile pursuits on it such as handbags, accessories and maybe even garments, and I want that option open to me in the future. Other than that, I usually refer to myself as an "art quilter" or "textile artist."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

iPod Magic 8-Ball Meme

Yup. That's the back of my iPod with its Maria Callas quote. I bought this almost 2 years ago now. I don't know what I'd do without it, lol.

Thought I'd break out the iPod and try Diane's meme: Essentially, you go to "shuffle songs" and see which random songs answer your questions. Here goes:

How does the world see me?
Dreams by The Game

Will I have a happy life?
Think Twice by Erykah Badu

What do my friends really think of me?
Fool of Me by Me'Shell Ndegeocello
Oh my...

Do people secretly lust after me?
Fear Not of Man by Mos Def
I don't know what to say about that

How can I make myself happy?
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Ella Fitzgerald
Or this one either, LOL

What should I do with my life?
Start from Scratch by The Game
LOL! I'm trying!

Will I ever have children?
Don't Cry by Seal

What is some good advice for me?
I Still Believe by Mariah Carey

How will I be remembered?
Don't Quit on Me by Ruben Studdard

What is my signature dance song?
Danger Zone by Gwen Stefani

What do I think my current theme song is?
Free by Destiny's Child

What song will play at my funeral?
Never Too Much by Luther Vandross

What type of men do I like?
The One by Prince

What is my day going to be like?
Oh No by the Commodores

Friday, March 24, 2006

Off Deadline...Whew!

Yup. That's me in my "home clothes" of a sweater (I'm always cold), tank top and ripped jeans. Why am I so happy? I've been working on my story for the Dark Dreams anthology series. If accepted, this will be my third one. The second book comes out next month and I'm pretty excited. I showed the first one to my cousin while at Border's and she said, "COOL! You have a book--in a bookstore!" Yeah, I think it's pretty darn cool too.

The first one I wrote for my editor he didn't seem to dig, so I wrote a brand new one called "Flight"--about a French Jesuit missionary expedition gone wrong in 1660s Illinois and what happens to a former slave "freed" by this. I enjoyed writing it, but I'm glad it's done, LOL.

Whew. I am done. Time for a new project or in my case, wrapping up some old ones.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spring Means Starting Fresh

I resigned my job on the first day of Spring on Monday and it felt so right. It was time for a change. I am going to a brand new gig as a communications and development person for a vocal arts organization and I'm very excited about it. I'll be back in my field again and they're really excited about having me.

There's just something about Spring, isn't it? It's still cold here in D.C., but it's the whole prospect of the world waking up that got me on the ball to wake myself up too, you know? I needed a fresh start for myself. I'm going to try to get as many unfinished projects done as possible, rearrange things at home, get myself right healthwise by exercising more and take better care of myself.

Spring seems like the perfect excuse to get cracking.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MAQF Goodies

For days, I've been thinking that the slowness of my internet was due to some weirdness from my computer post-crash. One little email to Comcast asking about their servers being overloaded or anything and all of a sudden it's working like magic... Shhh...I might not want to complain too loudly or they might make it work slowly again. I am so rolling my eyes.

FINALLY I get to post the coooooolest threads I've ever bought and the other goodies I got at the MAQF show! I got a sashiko sampler to try. I couldn't resist the little chickies pattern. I also bought threads from Superior threads. Ooooooo... For participating in the machine demo, I got this cool, sturdy bag from Bernina (my name is freemotioned from the demo on the other side) and a cool Hmong Pa nDau square. It is beautifully appliqued with these teeensy tiny stitches.


Friday, March 17, 2006

My Computer Sucks

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you all! Here's my annual pic that I'll probably use for forever, lol.

I would just like to say that my computer sucks. It just hasn't been right since that crash the other week. I was going to post my cool threads and stuff I got at MAQF, but noooooo, it had other ideas, LOL.

I am two seconds from getting a Mac. I had one in the past and loved it. I mean, I loved Macs at a time when there was no software for it and the computer guys literally laughed when I went to CompUSA and asked for some. It was really slim pickins then.

Now, I'm ready to chuck this PC I've got and call it a day.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Writer's Block from Beyond

Sorry it's been a while. I'm on deadline for that short story and I've got a vicious case of writer's block. Instead of rewriting, I decided to give my editor a brand, spankin' new one by the 24th. What was I thinking? Can we say "Elle, that's just darn crazy?!" LOL. It'll get done though (arrrgh).

In the meantime, I've had to put quilting on the backburner until that story's done. And I've got such an itch to do this sashiko thing-y I picked up at MAQF. My next quilt's going to be the "Grandma" one. You know, I never did post what I scored while at the show. I think you'll all enjoy it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Awww. Darn. AGAIN.

Arrgh. This time Starbirth: Keyhole Nebula #2 didn't make SPUN. I almost want to just start saving my money by not entering these things already, LOL! Getting rejected twice in one week is more than a Sew Chick can take, LOL. As always, on to the next one.

I would like to give a warm "Congrats" to fellow AQ'er Rayna on her two pieces, one of which was chosen as the image of the exhibit!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gordon Parks

I was talking to my best friend and lamenting my short story and my quilt being rejected all in the same day. She said, "Don't worry. You can write, you can draw, you can quilt. You're multitalented and versatile." On my end, I laughed and said, "Yeah, that's me--the female Gordon Parks."

Later on that evening I found out that Gordon Parks had just passed away.

Who was he? Photographer. Author. Director. Poet. Composer. He was all of these things. Some know him for making the movie "Shaft", others--"The Learning Tree", which made him the first major African American director in Hollywood. He was also the first African American photographer to work for both Vogue and Life magazines and is considered one of the best photographers of the 20th century.

For me, he was an inspiration. Proof that being able to be successful in many creative disciplines was not only possible, but very real. He was the embodiment of the concept that the creative mind is only limited by oneself...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Awww. Darn.

Well, it wasn't meant to be. I didn't see my name on the ARTQUILTSimages selection list. Rejected! Booooooo.

I guess "Just Me Being Negative" didn't work for 'em. That really sucks!

On to the next show for it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Biting One's Nails

I just read the prospectus for ARTQUILTSimages and they're posting the participants on the website tomorrow. I hope mine gets picked! Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Break Time

Took a week off from quilting after the frenzy that was prepping for entering those shows last week. I was looking at the "Grandma" quilt and thinking, "Hmm...I need to finish that." So I think that I will. I don't know how I feel about the starkness of that white. The original had a brocaded curtain behind her. Any suggestions for recreating the pattern?