Monday, August 07, 2006

I spent the entire weekend immersed in beauty and art. Well, not the entire weekend. But it was more then enough.

Saturday was our local Art in the Garden Tour. I know they have these in other communities, but if you aren't familiar with the concept, a group (in this case it's our local county art council and the Monticola Club, I think), gets 6-8 people to offer their gardens, hopefully unique or special in some way, for people to tour, like a home tour. Then they set up different artisans in each of the gardens, as well as different food stations. To take the tour you buy a ticket and they give you a map so you can spend the day going from garden to garden.

In our small community, it's not only a chance to see lots of art and flowers, but also a chance to see "that house on the hill I've always wondered about" and an opportunity to bump into lots of friends and social acquaintances. Also, a lot of my mom's friends and acquainances. She moved away from town two years ago and I still get asked "How's your mom!?" at least a half dozen times at activities like this.

This year's gardens, the theme seemed to be - amazing water features. One rambling garden had 4-5 different water features - waterfalls, ponds, fountains, scattered across an acre of different garden "rooms". I think that one was my favorite.

Another home, you had to climb up a very steep mountain driveway. Honestly, I thought the beauty wasn't worth the fact that they were living directly in the forest - lots of atmosphere but no defensible space against the inevitable forest fires we have in this part of the country. Their gardens were every child's fantasy playground. The family that lived there though, all the children were grown and the grounds were designed with grandchildren in mind. Wouldn't you love to have enough money to be able to indulge your grown families! My favorite part of that garden however, was a little surprise encounter with a ribbon snake in their vegetable garden.

Yet another home had one gigantic pond with waterfalls, "streams" and landscaping all around it. The rest of the yard was nothing more then sweeping green lawns. I guess that's all you really need however, when the lawns toe up to a completely wild valley and sweeping mountain peaks devoid of any other buildings. I overheard the owner explaining to another guest "this is why we bought this place" as she swept her arm across the view.

Yesterday I went up to Chester, a pretty mountain town nestled on the northern edge of Lake Almanor. It's one of those towns where the population more then doubles in the summer, when wealthy city folks come up to their second homes, settling into a smaller, closed-up-for-the-winter, locals only mentality when the snows fall. It was bursting at the seams with people yesterday however, as it was their annual Art in the Pines art and craft show, and the local guild's biannual quilt show.

I was very proud of myself, I didn't bring home a single piece of art or kitschy knick knack. I did spend a long time chatting about a lot of beautiful art with the artisans, but I explained that I couldn't buy anything as I didn't have "a single surface, horizontal or vertical, left in my house to display anything". It was surprising how many people rolled their eyes and laughed, admitting to the same problem. I also explained that I was "in the process of redefining my space". I didn't know I was going to use that term, it just sort of popped out and I realized that was exactly what I was doing. I could also say I'm "reclaiming my space", as that touches more on the feel of almost having to battle for every square inch. But as I keep going, it's feeling less like a war and more like an art project in and of itself, so redefining works. It certainly sounds better then "I'm getting rid of all my crap."

That doesn't mean, however, I came home from the fair package free. Alas, I was rather indulgent. But I ended up only purchasing practical things that I had already had on a mental list to find and use. Only, instead of finding ordinary versions of them, I found wonderful artsy versions! I bought myself some kitchen glasses and a cup. I posted photos over at Beach Treasure. Go, see. They're wonderful. At least I think so. I have a rather.... odd..... sense of humor. I also bought some raspberry vinegar and a jar of jalapeno/olive relish. Yum. Last but not least, I bought a hanging hammock chair for the back yard and another swinging hammock that I don't have a spot for right now but the price was right so I'll save it for some future spot.

The quilt show was very nice. Not a lot of vendors, which was fine, it's not like I need any more fabric. I bought a half yard of a hand dyed and three FQ's. There were over two hundred quilts. Mostly traditional quilts, although they were nicely done and a few of them were really lovely colors or were special in some small way. There were a generous sprinkling of wall hangings and art quilts. I took photos but, dang, my camera just does not do well in low light conditions. Here's a few of my favorites, blurred or not:

Probably my favorite - it was made for a challenge, I didn't catch the challenge theme. The quilter used gross grain ribbon for the top straps of the flip flops. Don't they look 3-D, as if they're gonna just fall off the quilt at you!?

This was stunning. It looked like stained glass. Here's another close up of it below:

This was a simple four patch with sashing and posts, but I really loved it. The sashing, as you can see in the close up below, gave it a wonderful whimsical mood.

Because this art quilt has black sashing and binding, and is hung against a black background, it's hard to see that it's not rectangular in shape. I want to do something like this. But with a different theme. My "sea" themed fabrics? My halloween fabrics? Even my fabrics similar to the ones used in this quilt. Hmmmm, the mind is a-churnin'.

The card on this one (my one criticism of the show, the cards were displayed very haphazardly, sometimes almost completely covering some of the smaller quilts!) said it was inspired by a banner used in a scene from the Lord of the Rings movie. Pretty, yes.

I walked up to this one and said to myself "Hey, that looks like Heceta Lighthouse!" Reading the description card, yep, that's what it is. One of my favorite spots on the Oregon coast.


Janet said...

The quilts are beautiful. I like the stained glass one and the one with the black background and bright colors.

:-D eirdre said...

Laume I love you but please read the damn manual!

kristen said...

i love love love the flip flop quilt. it DOES look 3D and like the thongs are about to fall off. what fun! and manuel is very nice *beam*

Jaye said...

The quilts of which you took photos were fabulous. I am enamoured of the red 4 patch. The simplicity is wonderful. I think it is the variety of fabric.