Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Sister & Me

So... while Miss. Kim was at the races, her mom (my sister, Allison) and I were off to the Dali museum, the Chihuly Glass museum and the Florida Aquarium.  We were unable to take any photos at the museums as photography was "strictly prohibited."  Nevertheless, we spent many hours wondering the beautiful galleries.
Our first stop was the Salvador Dali Museum which holds one of the world's largest collections of his work. We stood before paintings of strange landscapes in awe of his imagination only to find out that not all of the landscapes were born of his imagination but were real landscapes from his boyhood home of Cadaques and Port Lligat.  We marveled at the beautiful colors, pure and true and his ability to capture light. 

Soon after leaving the halls of surrealism, we drove for a couple of minutes in pouring rain and arrived at the Chihuly Glass Museum.  As I was unable to use my camera I brought out my trusty sketch book and made some quick sketches of my impressions of the glass art.

The gallery was not very big but the color was intense and although I would be afraid to own any of the pieces, God knows I would break it, it was all very beautiful.
Our last stop was the Florida Aquarium.  The oceans have always made me pause in awe.  I was once a diver and my deepest dive was 65 feet.  That was an experience!   
We saw jelly fish, and star fish, sand dollars and turtles.

  Of course the highlight was the Leafy Sea Dragon and the Rosette Spoonbill.
Allison and the Jew fish
I caught my sister hanging out with the largest Jew fish I have ever seen.  The best part of all of this though, was the time we spent together.  We did a lot of laughing and talking about things both great and small, our mom and dad who we miss very much and of my five year old nephew, Mark who is into anything with wheels.  We had the best time ever!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dragon Boats Racing


The Studio has been quiet these past few weeks as my sister and my niece were visiting.  They timed their visit to coincide with the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) race meeting in Tampa, Florida, as my niece, aka, Miss. Kim, is a dragon boat racer/paddler. We are a family with roots that spread across all five continents.

Legend has it, that my grandfather Howai (Miss. Kim's great-grandfather) left Guangdong Province in southern China, the birth place of dragon boat racing, on a ship bound for Trinidad. He was only 14.  He started working for the Chinese Association in San Fernando as a cook and then married my grandmother, the daughter of a white English overseer on the Caroni Estate and a mulatto woman.  Five children were born of that union, my father Robert Man Choy Howai was one of them.

China was once called Middle Kingdom and it is said that if you have one drop of Chinese blood you will always belong to Middle Kingdom.  Is it this "drop" that now pulls Howai's great-granddaughter to the wonderful tradition of dragon boat racing?

Dragon boat racing is part of the annual celebration of the summer solstice which coincides with the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month and the veneration of the water deity which dates back almost 2,000 years.  The Chinese dragons are believed to be the rulers of water, i.e. rivers, lakes, seas; so too do they dominate the clouds, mists and rain.  Veneration of the dragon water deity sought protection from drought and disease due to a lack of rainfall and water. One other legend commemorates the suicide of the great Chinese poet, Qu Yuan whose odes expressing his love for his country can be found in Chuci or "Songs of the South".

Although Miss. Kim did not actively participate as a paddler (due to university class schedule) she was able to be with her team in a supportive role, hold the keys, money, lip gloss and cheer them on as they cross the finish line.  The Trinidad and Tobago team went on to win 20 medals, 5 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze. Congratulation to the T&T Dragon Boat Racing Team for a job well done!  Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Friendship and Travel

This commissioned quilt is a celebration of friendship and travel.  The quilt measures 106.5" x 73.5".  It consists of 60 10" log cabin blocks and at the heart of each block is a photograph that was printed on inkjet printable fabric sheets.  Working on this quilt was such an adventure for me, from the Canadian Rockies to the Step Pyramid of Egypt, I traveled with this couple to places I have never been to in the photographs they gave me.   Each photograph was machined appliqued to the block using a satin stitch.
Trapunto initials were done in the center of the quilt and a quote of friendship was machine embroidered on the top border.  To further emphasize the initials I used color pencils to deepen the color and sealed it with fabric medium.  The quilt was machine quilted by Perdiricci Quilting Services, Inc., and hand bound by me. I enjoy hand binding quilts, its a time of reflection and bonding with the quilt whether it's great or small.  
The colors of the quilt reflect the blue of the oceans as most of the travel is/was done on ships, the cream the various countries.  The back of the quilt is a floral pattern.   Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It Ain't Black & White

If you remember a few posts back, I made these black and white blocks but was not certain what I would do with them.  After putting the blocks together, I was not very enthusiastic with what lay before me - it needed something more - a spot of red. Once the red circles were hand appliqued to each of the blocks, I found that playing circles against squares, against rectangles proved to be interesting, yet it needed something else. 
I have an overwhelming stock of bits and pieces.  Drawers and drawers of bling, beads, pearls, shiny objects great and small, did I mention magpie!  I found the Graphic 45, Timely Point of View scrapbook paper in one of those drawers, cut out a different time piece and machined appliqued them to the blocks.  The three circles on the white panel is is the glue side of Wonder Under that was painted with acrylic paint.  I first pained the Wonder Under then I used one of my small die cuts to create the circles which was then fused in place.  Red Swarov crystals were hot fixed to the blocks

Gears (by Tim Holtz) were then added to turn the wheels of time and the lizard was introduced to bring about the energy for change.  Time and change go hand-in-hand. The quilting was stitch-in-the-ditch and for emphasis I quilted a circle around the focal elements.

My thought now is to give this mini quilt to my guild so that it may be auctioned to raise funds for the guild.