Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts

Monday, November 09, 2009

SOFA Chicago, Faust, Family




My husband and I had a wonderful twenty-four hours in Chicago this weekend. We left early enough to see the SOFA (Sculptural Objects, Functional Art) at Navy Pier. This is a large, very pricey art show with galleries from ten countries representing several hundred artists. There's lots of Chihuly-type glass, jewelry, ceramics, and a very small amount of fiber art. Hilde Morin, Carol Shinn, who takes thread painting to a new level, and Lesley Richmond were three of the artists represented. Photos were frowned on, but look at the links. Lesley Richmond uses photographed images which she paints with a resist, removes the negative space fabric, and then paints the fabric remaining, producing a lacy metallic image that is still as flexible as cloth. I particularly loved her work. You might also enjoy looking at the work of Amy Orr, who does mixed media, patchwork-like pieces.

It was a perfect fall day, the kind of day that makes Chicago one of the most beautiful cities anywhere: brilliant blue sky, gleaming buildings, the glorious lake. We walked through Millennium Park and across the new footbridge connecting it with the Art Institute's just completed contemporary wing. That footbridge is made to move, rather disconcerting at first. (The pictures above show the humongous Trump Tower reflecting some smaller buildings, the view of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park from the Millennium Park bridge, and the view of the lake looking down Monroe street from the bridge.) There wasn't much time in the Art Institute, but it will still be there in January when outside isn't so lovely.

In the evening we had dinner and went to the Lyric Opera to see Faust, not a favorite of mine. I hate the women-as-victims opera plots, and the music just seems trite to me.


Sunday morning we drove to see my son and his family. The twins are still adorable. We had quiet time, and then played outside with the leaves, and came home to a still-beautiful day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Saturday I went to the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. This is a high end arts/craft fair. Besides prints, glass, pottery, and jewelry, it was full of fiber arts/wearable art stuff, fascinating for anyone who is interested in that. Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures, so I have to try to remember and describe. There were scarves of every description: painted silk, felted, hand-woven, textured silk, knit. One of the most interesting techniques, which was new to me, was scarves made by felting hand dyed merino wool and silk together so that one side was wool and one silk, and very interesting textures and blends of color developed. I coveted these, but $175 was a bit out of my price range even though they should be very durable and warm, really rather practical. The other new technique was scarves made, I think, by sewing together fabric scraps and bits of fiber on a water soluable stabilizer, so that when the stabilizer was removed there was an open, net-like effect of color and texture. Beautiful, but rather fragile.

There were clothes of all types, hand woven jackets, silk jackets, patchwork looking jackets. Felted sweaters were used for patchwork vests, purses, and jackets. There were hats of all types: fleece, wool, felt, knit. These were very popular because Chicago is of course one place where a hat is almost a necessity. Also I remember from my craft days that women seem unable to resist trying on hats, all the while they say "I'm not a hat person," or "I look so stupid in hats." So I don't know if the hats were really selling--but I bought one! I guess I'm a hat person--

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Chicago Quilt Expo

Yesterday I went to the Chicago Quilt Exposition, a Mancuso show, the Grand Finale of the World Quilt Competition. This show has been in Michigan in the past, and this is the first time it's been in Chicago, I think. They must have been disappointed with the turnout which was pretty slim for what's a good show. What I like about it is that the quilts are not the same ones that keep showing up at shows and in American magazines. The quality may not always be as good as at Paducah or Houston, but the variety is interesting. "Best of the World" was Wrought Iron Roses by Linda M. Roy, which I've seen pictured several times. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture, so you'll just have to take my word for it that the quilting is absolutely phenomenal. Here are some of my favorites, not winners.

First are South African quilts. We were there last year, so I particularly liked the one of South African trees, by Dee Oxborrow (I think), and the one called Zulu Kingdom by Jenny Williamson and Pat Parker. These images seem more "real" to me than the wild animal ones that people expect.



But who can resist a flowered warthog?



I'm so sorry I don't know who did this quilt.

There was a special exhibit by the Professional Art Quilt Alliance on the theme of water. These were fascinating. Here's my favorite, Rain on the Lanai, by Judy L. Clausen. The subtlety of this doesn't show up as well as I wish it did.



Another special exhibit was by Wendy Butler Burns, and this one is a favorite.



Other special exhibits included the Alzheimer's Forgetting Piece by Piece collection; a Hoffman Challenge group, including the dolls, which I've never seen before; a collection of Ann Fahl's quilts featuring her cat Oreo; and an exhibit by the Chicago School of Fusing (Laura Wasilowsi, Frieda Anderson, Melody Johnson and others).

And finally, for no reason except I like pink and yellow: Tivoli, by a New Zeeland quilter named Chris Behersing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We spent Saturday afternoon and evening in downtown Chicago. I didn't take a camera because the forecast was for rain all day, but the rain held off until late evening, so although this made for a wonderful day, I have no pictures. It was a glorious day: blue lake, the bright green grass along the lakeshore, the skyline as wonderful as it always is, the trees full of rust and gold, and because it's been so warm, the fall flowers in Mayor Dailey's please-the-tourists landscaping still in full bloom. And there were lots of tourists to please, many of them in town for the Chicago Marathon. Not us though--much less disciplined and more self-indulgent, we had a delicious dinner at Blackbird, and then saw Deborah Voigt in Salome. Both were memorable. For non-opera fans, (and fans too, I guess) the big news about this performance is that Deborah Voigt, who was fired by London's Covent Garden about two and a half years ago for being too fat for her role, had bariatric surgery and has lost almost 150 pounds. The experience didn't seem to hurt her voice, and she looked wonderful, although maybe a bit haggard. You have to admire the guts of this--it's supposedly tough surgery, she's not young, and the demands of her career must make the experience doubly difficult. But if anything could make it worthwhile, the reception she got Saturday night would do the job. I loved the opera; the story is sordid, if not downright sick, but the music is wonderful. This is one opera you stay awake for, even after a great dinner and a bottle of pinot noir! (It's short too; we drove home in the rain--what a letdown!)