Saturday, August 23, 2014

meeting William Wegman

I love books, and have a whole collection of quilt books. Another very special part of my book collection is a stack of William Wegman books, inscribed with drawings.

only one of these books is not inscribed
Some of the inscriptions are personal, such as the covered wagon with Oregon on the side. Bill did that one inside My Town when he learned I was moving to Oregon.

Mom goes to church with Bill's sister, Pam, in Rangeley, Maine. Many of his great photos in rustic and natural settings were taken in Rangeley. One of the photo shoots for Little Red Riding Hood was done at my parents' location because there was a small cottage with red shutters, or maybe it was a tool shed. :)

One day I stopped by a photo shoot for The Hardly Boys. A dog was on a tall stool dressed like a gas station attendant, but he would not pay attention to direction. I think it was Chip, and he was sniffing a lot. Bill realized the dog wanted the rotisserie chicken from inside, so someone was immediately sent to get chicken.

As soon as there was chicken involved, the dog perked up for the camera, a large format box camera with the capacity to hold the big Polaroid 20" x 24" prints. There was a truck on site to develop the photos, and several assistants. It was fun to watch.

Bill sometimes did book signings at the local book shop in the summer, and Mom would get books to give me at Christmas. Almost every year for several years.

The first time I met Bill was at Rhode Island School of Design in the 1980s. He was exhibiting in the Benson Hall gallery at RISD, and much of the work was his early Man Ray work. Later, I met him again in Rangeley, at Orgonon of all places.

There was a tag sale every summer at Orgonon, the former home and laboratory of the infamous Wilhelm Reich. Bill was looking for props and clothing to dress up the dogs for photos. I have always enjoyed his quirky sense of humor. If you look through his books, you are likely to see items he bought at the Orgonon tag sale.

We knew Bill before he had the gig with Sesame Street, which introduced the dogs to a very broad audience. Every so often there would be a litter, a new generation of dogs. From Man Ray to Fay, to Battina, Crooky, Chundo and Chip. The dogs were all a riot, very smart, a little sneaky, and extremely photogenic.

Bill has done very well, and the dogs have always been treated like royalty. At Rangeley Lake, they would run around, off the end of the dock to fetch whatever was tossed in the lake. They were good swimmers and loved the water. I enjoy having so many of these books with the great drawings to remember meeting William Wegman and his famous Weimaraners. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

nice threads!

vintage chart, thread held behind cut-out windows
I have a little obsession with swatch books and samples lately, and found a couple neat vintage thread samples on eBay last week. They arrived the other day, and I have been enjoying looking at them. Both samples appear to be from the 1960s or 70s. The one from Conso Products is a small chart. The other, from American Thread, is a book with several pages held together by two metal rings. Each page has its own group of colors.

Look! Turkey Red!
They needed this chart on Project Runway last night. Emerald, not Hunt Green!!
I'm not sure what I'll do with these samples, other than share them and keep them out of the sun. It would be interesting to know if anyone remembers using these threads back in the day. Did you use any of these threads for sewing projects? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Quilt! Knit! Stitch!"

"Plain and Fancy" by Kristin Shields
"Quilt! Knit! Stitch!" took place last week at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. What a treat it was to have such a great show in town. The show is part of the repertoire of Quilts, Inc., which annually runs the big show in Houston and a few other shows around the country. Last year, Quilts, Inc., came to Portland after ending its run in Long Beach, and all of us in Portland hope the show keeps coming back here.

The show included vendors and several special exhibits. I went especially to see the MQX Showcase because Janet-Lee Santeusanio was giving a walking tour of the exhibit each day. It was stellar group of quilts showing the possibilities of machine quilting today.

"A Truly Feathered Star" by Karen Sievert
"Gentle Journey" by Vicki Ibison
"Marie's Poppies" by Carolyn Rider
"Tuscan Sun" by Gina Perkes
"Just Call Me Modern" by Judi Madsen
"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" by Janet-Lee Santeusanio
There were several other exhibits, such as the Robert Kaufman Modern Metallics and Modern Glitz Challenges, as well as a group of several past winners from the Houston show.

"Golden Geese" by Kristin Shields
"Organic" by Jade Prosser
"Metallic Bonding" by AnnMarie Cowley 
It was a treat to see so many quilts from fellow members of Portland Modern Quilt Guild in the Modern Glitz Challenge. Those were some interesting fabrics, offering a good challenge. Kudos, guildmates!! Here are a few...

"Criss Cross Xs" by MaryAnn Morsette
"Glitzy Dots" by Cath Hall 
"Superfly Mini" by Michelle Freedman
"Half Life" by Anne Whiting
"Deco Glitz" by Kelly Cole
The rest of the show was also wonderful, and included some of the quilts from last year's Houston show. It was great to see them in person after admiring photos online.

"Quilt Noir" by Shirley Gisi 
"Illinois Album" by Jane Sassaman - one of my favorites!
"Illinois Album" (detail) by Jane Sassaman
"Brown Planet a Collaboration" by Norma Schlager and Kathy Loomis
"Gorsuch Family Quilt c. 1840 Revisited" by Margo Hardie
It was fun to see so many familiar quilts in person, and also many familiar names and faces. I didn't spend as much time looking at the quilts as I should have, but it was a busy week. The introduction for my book is almost done, and various other projects are in the works. It was nice to take a break, with a 15-minute drive leading to such a wonderful display of quilts!

Volckening Collection - Facebook Cover Photos

Check it out! I have been updating the Volckening Collection Facebook page with cover photos of quilts from my collection. One of the quilts in the screen shot (above) is now part of the collection of the DAR Museum in Washington, DC. All the others are still part of the collection. There are albums with groups of quilts, and the cover photos are partly quilts from those albums but mostly other quilts in the collection. A very diverse, exuberant group, if I do say so myself!

Go to the page and click the "Like" button! To visit the Volckening Collection Facebook page, click here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Rules? What rules?

quirky vintage quilt from eBay, dimensions: 68" x 86"

This fun 1970s quilt came from an eBay seller in Texas, and I love how it breaks the rules. It appears to have started as a star quilt, with 20 blocks of eight-pointed stars constructed of diamond shaped patches, as well as solid color green sashing and yellow cornerstones.

Some of the seams have come apart. Should be a fairly easy fix. Most of the quilt is in very good condition. An array of fabrics was used, and some held up better than others. The quilt is mostly cotton, but also includes polyester double knit, mostly in the bow tie blocks.

The quilt was completed with bow tie blocks on the bottom and right side. The borders are also quirky. On three sides there is patchwork fabric in red, blue, yellow and white. On the left side, the border is made of the green sashing and yellow cornerstones.

The quilt is approximately 68" x 86" and is hand quilted with fans, sometimes called Baptist fans or elbow quilting. The curved lines of the quilting work nicely with the geometric piecework. It's one of those quilts that makes you wonder what the maker was thinking. An oddball, for sure, but that's what I like about it.