Monday, July 23, 2012

First & Last

For quite a few years I have been working on my numbers & quilts project. This project didn't make it into my two most likely galleries, but I've heard that competition for show places has really gone up.

No matter, I am plowing on and although this blog is called first & last that is only because I have finished the cover 'page' & the colophon of the series. Really I have one more I am doing a lot of thinking about: The Look of Numbers. That would be the ways numbers are treated by graphic artists.

One night George and I played a magnificent game of other sensory ways of thinking about numbers: the sound, the taste, the smell, the tactile feel of numbers.... all of the was hugely entertaining, but I'm not sure if it's quilt-worthy!

The quilt list
a white quilt about zero
a 'spiritual' [also mostly white] one about 1
double double is about the powers of two
a my torso body-print for 3 [I expect questions]
4 is about my 4 usual ways of thinking about numbers [derived from the children's book I wrote but didn't publish]
5 is about what follows from tying a knot from transparent ribbon just so
6 is about hexominoes
7 is about my birthday 7/7
8 is about symmetric numbers [point & line symmetric]
9 is about patterns hidden in the times table
10 is about my hands & feet [fingers & toes]
11 is about eleven-point stars [in the pentagram, hexagram, octogram sequence]
12 is about clocks
13 is about cards
And there is one quilt about fractions which is basically a pure math lecture from a book I studied from twice.

So my First, which will be first when I show it, which I completed in April.... detail....

You can shift the screen so you can read/see the whole thing.


... nearly finished [when I took this photo].. just the last 2 inches to do the quilting.... and, yes, the lopsidedness becomes unnoticeable to all but the QP [there are such people, believe me, Quilt Police].  This one also has a dedication on the back: for all my children: biological, pedagogical & magical. I don't think I have a photo of that yet.

And today I finished my Last, the Colophon Quilt. The colophon in a hand printed, artisan printing pressed book is where the artist gets to tell some of the story of the fonts, the paper, the binding type, & maybe even the history of the book making.

You can shift the screen so you can read the text.

I have had so much fun with this project and now have 3 or 4 new reading books in my house about numbers, mathematics, & mathematicians. I have for sure reclaimed that part of myself. It feels just fine. Oh, & I watch Vi Hart videos & the British math-geeks who do Numberphile videos on Youtube.

I have no idea yet how I'll pull this together for A Show, but I will.

Working to get the Cuisenaire rods onto the quilt was a bitch, frankly. I really got messed up with measurement & unevenness problems. But in the end I do believe in the forgiving eye, within limits, and this Colophon Quilt really tested me. Much had to be redone to allow even my eye to not get caught up in non-perfection. Lots of problem-solving!

That's it for today.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Starting in the spring there have been 5 deaths of people I knew.
Is this a season of death? My time of life? A coincidence of grouped occurrences?

The first of the cluster was Tim Whyte, George's house renovator in Lively. He had a sparkling personality, raised a passel of 5 smart children, had a marvelous singing voice [I surmised] & was a staunch church-goer in Lancaster, Virginia's black community. He was a brilliant problem-solver when it came to building, and we adored him. Cancer of the stomach.

Then was Rick Bunning, our realtor for selling 3675 & buying 101-426. I blogged about him before. He died in May.

The next was a woman I met in the context of Imagination Market. She was radiant, funny & beautiful, Les Senesac. She worked for Imagination Market after I bowed out of running it. She died of a brain tumor. I hadn't seen her in years, but a bright star went out, that's for sure.

After that my mother's oldest living friend, Ruth Emerson Cooke, passed away at 101. Faith, my mother, & Ruth went to Vienna together in 1932. They studied modern dance with Mary Wigman & hung out from time to time with the Olympic American hockey team. Faith's brother, John Garrison, was on the team. Ruth married Alistair Cooke, & divorced him circa 1945. John, her son, was my classmate at Putney. Ruth spent her lifetime devoted to liberal education in a variety of institutions. She was a frequent visitor in my life, in many phases.

Finally, Eloise Feigal. Ellie married my uncle Gene & was a fixture of my life in Maui. She had been failing with worsening atrial fibrillation over the past 3 years or so. She died on July 17 of a stroke, having just been diagnosed with kidney cancer. She found a better, less painful way out. Ellie was an accomplished pianist, a mother of 5, married to two doctors [in sequence], was an avid reader, knew braille & worked with it professionally, & was a travel agent, back in those days when we had such things.

And Ellie was radiantly beautiful, even at the end of her life.

Good bye, my dear. I'll miss you & I love you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2 Birthdays & 1 visit from Alan Thompson

Alan has been with us for 10 days. He had been on an Alaskan cruise, so he was in the neighborhood, so to speak, & stopped by.

We've been to many parties & have thrown a few of our own. Great food, great friends & lots of talk & laughter.

Our house looks a bit like a flowershop.

You get the idea!!

The double birthday party on July 6th was with a cake for 2: 72 + 78 = 150.

George in delicious grey & winning smile.....

The other birthday person on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thanks to Velma & Leigh, Leslie, Sal & Jobst, Tom & Louise, Joanie & Randy, Gail & Ian & Tehya, Tim & Lynn, Erica & Lesley & Jay, Max & Reed for a wonderful 10 days. 
We've had a good time with Alan & you all helped to make that happen.
Many thanks for that.

That's it for now.