a blog about creating (meaning)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Blog is Moving

By going through a proxy server I will be able to continue to post from China, but I am not able to add photos, so I am moving the blog to http://alichtenstein.typepad.com/alone_in_the_studio/

I've posted a couple night photos taken from my new, and radically different, "studio."

Let's hope that typepad stays online and unblocked!

Greetings from China!

It's taken me several days to figure out my way around the "great firewall of China" (as it's called in the blogging and internet world) to be able to post this. I don't know if I'll be able to consistently access my blog, in part, because I'm not exactly sure how I finally got in (broke in?) to begin with. It's a learning process, and I'm a novice at navigating censored or blocked sites.

It seems all blogspot and wordpress sites are blocked to users in China, unless you have an additional anonymous server, which is how I finally figured out a way to login (with help from friends in the states who were able to get online and do some research). I can view my blog, and other blocked blogs, but it took me some time to find a way to get to the dashboard to post this, and I'm not confident I'll be able to get back. Consider this a test--of the system and my skills.

Hopefully I'll be up and on my way soon. Today I intend to purchase an iron. Until then (and for the past few days) I've been making little felt people to give to children I meet along the way in this beautiful country.

Some of the bells and whistles are different (for instance, there's no "view all" record of previous labels to use for posts, so I'll have to recreate them) so please bear with me.

More soon! I hope!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers to Quilting for a Cause in the New Year

I read an article in American Patchwork and Quilting (February 2011--yes, I know, it's till 2010 here in northeastern U.S.--the issue arrived in the mail yesterday) about a nonprofit organization called "Quilts for Kids."  I just sent for their kit to make a quilt for a child in need.  The kit comes in one to two weeks, so I'll be in China when it arrives, but it will be here waiting for me when I return. I need projects with a purpose, and because I'm still in a cast (week twelve begins Monday...) this seems like a great focus for a couple days. The organization asks that, for every kit you receive, you make a second quilt of your own fabric to return with the first quilt.  You can read more on their site.  The url is included in this post or you can click the link under the sidebar, "Giving Back."

One of my New Year's resolutions is a commitment to what I call "Art Activism" on my website or "Sewing for a Cause" in my new, soon-to-be started, blog of the same name ("art activism" was not available).


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lined Fabric Envelopes

I've been experimenting...  Once I make another one, and have a slightly better idea of what I'm doing, I'll post instructions!  This was fun to make and looks okay, but I made several mistakes and had to do some altering to make it work.  

This envelope became "gift wrap" for this little yellow angel. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

No galvanized hardware, please!*

Hand rusted muslin, machine pieced and quilted.  7.5 x 9.5
Finished!  This is my contribution to the New England Quilt Museum's shop to sell as a fundraiser.  New England SAQA called for members to contribute in support of the museum and their generous hosting of the New England SAQA exhibit, "No Holds Barred," beginning at the end of January, 2011.

I'll add "How to Rust" instructions here soon. It's fun and easy (but a bit smelly).

* Galvanized steel does not rust!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blue Sky at Dusk

5:00 pm -- I'm amazed by this marine blue winter sky. It's 18 degrees  F.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quilting for a Cause

The first quilt is a donation to my local "100 Nights Shelter" (see link under "Giving Back"); it will be given to a homeless boy to keep as his own when he leaves the shelter. The second quilt was going to be a donation to fulfill my promise to a local childcare center to donate a quilt to their annual spring auction, but now I think I'll also give it to 100 Nights to gift to a child, and I'll make another one for the children's center auction.
Cotton, Warm and Natural batting, 64" x 76"


Cottons, Warm and Natural Batting. 46" x 54"


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Burnt Orange Wool

Orange wool, Wam and Natural batting, free-stitched on machine, 5" x 7" matted to 11" x 14"

This small art quilt did not photograph well.  The thread--both color and quantity-- is muted and understated, but the contrast is greater than shown here.  The process was fast--an intuitive choosing of color and design that developed as I machine stitched.  This may become my SAQA donation for the New England Quilt Museum in honor of the SAQA exhibit, "No Holds Barred" starting in January 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing with Scraps

I do have a major* project in the works, which I'm documenting by taking photos and notes (see "I Took the Process Pledge" button for more info), but it won't appear here until it's finished (it's a gift). That said, I put some of the scraps to use by weaving, fusing, and stitching them to form a small rectangle. 

I'm not sure what I'll do with this--make it into a journal cover, perhaps, or maybe an insert for a pillow. I'll take a picture of the stitching when I get my camera back--it's on loan for a few days to help document the Veteran's for Peace protest against the ongoing war in Afghanistan.  The peaceful demonstration is occurring at the White House today--even as I write this. 

* Major for me--it's all relative!

a stitch in dye: Cathy's Ocean Revisited

Check out this beautiful embroidered art quilt by Malka Dubrawsky. Really--now!

Here's the link:

a stitch in dye: Cathy's Ocean Revisited

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Potato Meditation

It's not unusual to see distinct shapes in potatoes, but these hearts brought me up short for  a minute, and made my own heart catch in a moment of simple gratitude. 

Then I wondered if I was just getting a bit batty after so many days stuck in the house, as in, "wow--look! see the cool hearts in this potato I just sliced--awesome, take a picture!" but grateful in any case. Not for being stuck in the house--this is week nine in a cast and on crutches, making this camper very unhappy and more-than-a-little stir-crazy--but for being warm, for having shelter and food when so many don't, and mostly for the good hearts of my family and friends. There are many, many good hearts in this world.

Monday, December 13, 2010


The star is one of several I hang across the back windows during Hanukkah .

A tree-house behind the house, built years ago.

Quilting Arts Series

Although I'm absolutely a visual and kinesthetic learner, I'm still not much of a T.V. viewer, even for a good contemporary quilting show like this (see below). This offer is tempting me, however, especially as we head into the short, cold days of winter--as true in Beijing as in Marlborough. Should I go for it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chinese Fiber Arts in Lowell, Massachusetts

This exhibit is very high on my to do list--I'm hoping to get there in the next week or two, with or without cast and crutches! 

Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art
October 23, 2009 through March 14, 2010
The American Textile History Museum presents the first exhibition of contemporary Chinese fiber art ever to travel to the United States.  Organized by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, this exhibit celebrates virtuosity of technique and profound cultural and artistic expression.
Exhibit: Changing LandscapesExhibit: Textile Revolution
Changing Landscapes was co-curated by Ni Yue-Hong, a professor at the Fiber Arts Institute of Tsinghua University in Beijin, and Deborah Corsini, curator of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. The artworks shown have been drawn from the past five Lausanne to Beijing International Fiber Art Biennale exhibitions.  This selection offers two-dimensional tapestries as well as sculptural work by emerging, mid-career, and master artists who study or teach at institutions of higher education throughout China.  All together, the work is a snapshot of how three generations of artists working in fiber media are documenting, navigating, and responding to the tremendous economic, political, and social changes that have transformed the Chinese landscape over the past decade.  The featured artists also delve into our collective human experience, commenting upon such universal themes as nature, our relation to the past, the meaning of home, and the power of artistic expression.
The Lausanne to Beijing International Fiber Art Biennales began in 2000 as a continuation of the work of the Lausanne Biennale exhibitions held from 1962 to 1992 in Switzerland.  Professor Lin Lecheng of Tsinghua University, himself an exhibitor at Lausanne, led the effort to develop this prestigious international exhibition in China.  In each year since the biennale began, the exhibition has grown and includes artworks gathered from artists in more and more countries around the world.
In developing Changing Landscapes, the tapestry Floating House by co-curator Professor Ni Yue-Hong was identified as an extremely important award-winning work that serves as the signature piece for the exhibition.  According to Jane Przybysz, Executive Director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and Corsini, Floating House “masterfully depicts an architectural structure in monochromatic tones precariously tilted—as if literally at sea under a night sky—in an ocean of shifting saturated colors. . . . It successfully captured the sense of uncertainty that—not just foreigners living in China—but many Chinese people and particularly Chinese artists had experienced in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, during which time tradition was deemed anti-revolutionary and much historical art was destroyed.”