Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 'Getting Organized Challenge'

Last weekend, I taught various seminars and workshops at Convergence, an International Weaving, Dyeing and Spinning conference that took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

On Sunday, I taught a class on 'Getting Organized (for Fiber Artists)'. Some of my friends would laugh, as they have seen my 'garage'. I know WHAT to do to be organized, it just takes a time commitment to do it.

SO... all members of the class and I took a pledge.. raising our right hands. We are all going to tackle some major organizational project at home, this week. And mine is my garage.

Now, note that I haven't put any photos up... yes, it is that bad.
But I will say, that it is already much better. I have spent about a day out there, and already things are improving.
Thus far..
books have been pulled for donation to libraries
Financial records that are past their IRS audit periods are ready for shredding (Salvation Army offers a service).
Piles are made for donations to the local knitting guild, my students at the college, etc.

SO... who out there has started to tackle their areas that need organization. We are all in this together, and I need to hear from you. Leave a comment please.

If you need some of the tips I gave in class, let me know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Italian Style #2

I LOVE the sense of these. Each one has what I call a 'zinger'.... one element that stands out. I guess I am drawn to anything that is a little different. My younger son would be laughing at me now, and saying... Susaaan...

Here are a couple more examples of Italian Style. Notice how I am not using fashion.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Italian Style #1

Our retreat group had a great discussion on Italian style. So, I am going to post a few examples.

First, meet my landlord, Andrea. He is riding home from work on his bicycle.

Now... witness where the extra 'style' comes in.

Here you see his Italian leather briefcase. I want one just like it!!

When the weather gets hot, the hot get fans...

While in Verona with the friends, Italy experienced a heat wave. We had temperatures of 35 degrees centigrade. Whoa, is the word, and melting was the mode.

So.. what do you do? You visit Wilma, who owns a little gift show on Via Stella in Verona. And, you purchase fans.

Here is Anna and Ruth with their fans.

Later.. at the Stevie Wonder concert (in the Roman Arena, how cool was that!!)

And of course, my photography version of a fan.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Day of Repose… Reading and Writing

In preparation for a lecture I'm preparing for the Handweaver's Guild of America, I have been reading a lot on creativity and inspiration. One of the things I have seen written over and over again, is that in order to increase our creativity, we need to schedule quiet time into our lives. And so, I have been trying to reserve Sunday as a day when I take time to quietly reflect, think, and renew myself after a busy week.

This past Sunday, while still in Verona, I attended a lovely organ concert at San Fermo church, and then, I walked to a park near Castel San Pietre and spent the afternoon reading, writing, and listening to the crickets. I have claimed a 'rock' in this quiet little park, and I have been making regular visits for the past few years.
Here you can see a few images of my 'rock', and the view I have.

So... here is a formula that works for me.

Take a book, a journal, and a pen. Pack up some fresh fruit, and a bottle of water. Bring a hat, and a scarf, and make them colorful. Pray that no one else is on your rock. Then, when you get there, create a nest of sorts, and relax in whatever manner works.

For me this time, I took a book I have been reading and working with. It is called Your Personal Renaissance: 12 Steps to Finding your Life's True Calling by Diane Dreher.

I have been faithfully doing the various exercises by writing in my journal. The good news, is that by Chapter three, I was delighted to realize that I was 'already there'. I am already doing what I need to be doing. How great is that! Yet, I continue with the book and the various chapters which are offering me other ideas on how to best use my time and energies to realize my calling. I like learning about the various Renaissance artists and other historic figures that Dreher discusses as she uses examples to clarify a point.

As you can see, I had my quiet time. I was joined by thousands of crickets who sang in reverie for me.

Fiber and Care Label Humor

As a Professor of Textiles, I am always encouraging my students to read their fiber content and care labels. So, I want to share with you a label I looked at this evening, as I prepared to launder a dress for the first time (no more dry cleaning!!).

This is how the Fiber Content label read..
Garment Contains:
Body: 59% cotton, 28% cupro, 9% silk, 4% polyester
Lining: 100% Polyester

Garment May Soon Contain:
Grass, dirt, oil, paint sweat, tears, rain, mud, etc., but that is up to you.

And the Care Label said:
Washing Instructions (If you Must)
Dry clean.

For the record...
I placed it in a mesh bag to minimize the wear and tear in the washing machine. I laundered it on Gentle cycle with cold/cold wash and rinse. Hang to Dry. It came out fine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Morning Rituals

There is nothing better than starting the morning with a cup of cappucino. And of course the Italians do it in style.
Note the two decorative designs on our cappucino. Here the Retreat group is meeting at Cafe Norris, my regular morning hangout when here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Art Workshop with Giada Floris

Although our workshop is past, I thought it would be fun to share the results of our day with Giada Floris. Giada's art is wonderfully creative, and she shared her talents with us, pushing us to create original pieces of our own.

Via Ponte Pietra, 21
Verona, Italy
Tel. 340 3995595

Here you can see her studio/store.

Cynthia (Cinzia) at work

Maria and Anna

Jackie and Ursula


And our results...

Click to enlarge the one below for a better look.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Window Shopping for Inspiration

Another task given to Retreat Participants, was to walk the streets at night, and take photos of Italian fashions in the store windows. Here you can see Judy and Anna, planning their shot. It is a different experience to walk around and look at fashion with a technical mind; first, to notice the details, then to plan the shot, and then to analyze how to adopt the technique in your own sewing or knitting.

Here is Piazza Erbe in Verona, which was the starting point for our night Window Shopping experience.

Below, you can see several dress designs, and some jewelry.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Design Inspiration: San Zeno

One of the tasks at our Design Retreat, was to look at history and architecture as a source of inspiration. So, this meant a bus trip on the local city buses (and a new skill) to San Zeno, which is a beautiful church here in Verona. Here you can see our group, sitting on the bus, learning the ropes of local transportation.

Below, you can see some of what we saw in San Zeno.
Here is Jackie, taking a photo of the ironwork.

The same pattern of ironwork, now inside the church.

A view of the interior.

The handle on the front door.

Aida in Verona

Here you can see an image of the opera Aida. Our Retreat group went to see it in Verona. It was an amazing production.

Below you can see that we are preparing to have a potluck picnic at our seats (which by they way, are the stone seats of the Roman Arena. The initial construction was 40 AD).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Library Tour Guides

Our retreat group was fortunate to have a tour of the library in Verona. Here are our guides, Giovanni (left) Mirko (right). La Bibliotecca Centrale is a beautiful building, composed of both old and new sections. Some of the older rooms have frescoes on the walls, and you look at fantastic wood shelving.

After our tour, we were allowed to wade through fashion journals, and a collection of fashion plates of traditional ethnic costume plates (hand-painted).

Thank you to Goretta (librarian), Cinzia (audio-visual librarian), and of course, Giovanni and Mirko.

Here is a bit of fresco.

Embroidery at Juliet's House in Verona

Beside the home of Juliet, you will find an embroidery business, where you can have your name embroidered on various items. Below you can see Paolo working the special embroidery machine. It stitches a crewel stitch, and the positioning is manipulated by one's hand (as you can see).

Mary (from our retreat group) had her name embroidered, and then she stood beside the wall of love notes at the Casa di Guilietta for a photo.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Juliet's Balcony in Verona

One cannot come to Verona without visiting the home of Juliet (Guilietta). Here you see the famous balcony.

And here, you see the statue of Juliet. It is good luck to touch one breast and make a wish about 'love'.

This is the entrance to her courtyard. People leave love notes, letters, etc., on the wall, and on the gate as you can see below.

Locks are seen all over Verona, with names of couples written on them.

The following are costumes from the original movie of Romeo and Juliet