Saturday, March 29, 2008

On the Road Again

My daughter Allie and I went on a road trip to Portland last week, and I feel like I'm barely catching up with myself. We had a great trip. It's about a 7 hour drive, and we went to visit an art school there where she's been offered admission for next year. Here we are having lunch downtown. Doesn't she already look like an art student? Next week she's going to New York, where she's also been accepted at the art school of her dreams. I'm glad she liked Portland and the school there. It's a serious contender, and we'll see how her dream school looks to her in the flesh.

Portland is a beautiful city. I tell my kids that it reminds me of San Francisco, my home town, but it's clean, whereas SF has gone the way of a lot of big cities in the cleanliness department.
While we were there we stayed with my friend Bernadette and her husband Adrian. We had a wonderful visit. Bernie and I are old friends: we met in college and were roommates once upon a time when we were single gals and she was in law school.
Another benefit of visiting Portland is I got to have a lovely visit and breakfast with Allie Aller. We met in person when I went to Portland two years ago after becoming virtual friends. She counts as an old friend now too. She shared a wonderful bag of old lace with me and one of her gorgeous floral photo transfers. We got to talk about our work and do show-and-tell in real time and face-to-face. What a treat!

In spite of traveling, I'm making progress on my Jacobean Chile 12x12. Here's the finished motif. I am inspired by Erica Wilson's work on Jacobean embroidery from the 1960s, but where she emphasizes its formal aspect, I want to emphasize its folkloric qualities. I developed this design by studying Wilson's Jacobean work, and botanical drawings of chile plants. I worked the design on a piece of vintage shirting fabric. I agonized about adding text. I went back and forth on what text to add and where to place it. An email chat with JoWynn gave me the encouragement I needed to try it out and not worry about it so much.

The piece looks miserable in this photo, but it shows I added the text by writing it on water-soluble stabilizer with permanent pen and then stitched through the whole thing. Next time I'll remember to let the ink dry completely.
The line of text I picked is from a very well-known Mexican folk song, "La Llorona" (The Weeping Woman). The line is "Yo soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso," which translates, "I am like the green chile, spicy, but delicious." To me the line underscores the earthy part of Jacobean design.

I'm hand quilting this piece and I will bead it as well. I hope your weekend is full of creativity and relaxation.


Rian said...

I know it would be nice to have Allie close by in Portland, but New York! That would be top drawer for an artist.

Allie is lovely, and yes she does look like an artist. She needs one of those lively scarves like the other Allie has. Isn't it a gas to meet up with our blogfriends in person?

Deb H said...

It's funny, when I looked at the first picture of your design, I didn't notice the background print, until you added the lettering. It'e really lovely.

It must've been fun to see Allie again. One of these days I will meet her in the flesh too, I just KNOW it. We have too many connections to not. Both from the same area originally, & both living in the NW now, & more. I'd love to meet you too some day!

Sue in western Washington, USA said...

Either one side of the country or the other for college eh? I hope whichever one she chooses works out well for her :- )

Love the wzy your embroidery is developing!

Judy S. said...

Isn't Portland the best? I hope you were able to squeeze in some shopping!

I love your embroidery piece, and it brought back fond memories of working on some of Erica Wilson's designs many years ago...crewel is so beautiful. Your piece reminds me a bit of embroidery work we saw in Hungary with the omnipresent paprika.

Looks like your daughter has 2 great choices!

Allison Ann Aller said...

It was truly fine, Barbara...I hope your daughter decides on Portland.......!!!

Debra Spincic said...

I love your embroidery work! It has such personality--yours! very cool.

It's hard to let a kid go away to school across the country. How are you staying unbiased?

Catherine Arnold said...

Ohh...I think this might means Parsons for Allie--how exciting! Tell her congratulations for me!
love, Catherine

JoWynn Johns said...

What a beautiful woman your daughter is! And your Jacobean embroidery is exquisite. The lettering is perfect, as you've included it in the design. Just lovely.