Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 15/ Posy Patch

     A posy patch in process............
 A new bag ..........Private embroidered by me onto a vintage doily

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 16/ Spirituality

     One of the books in my collection of music literature is entitled The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers by Patrick Kavanaugh.  It consists of 12 chapters, each a researched essay about the spiritual beliefs of a particular composer.   A few selected are Beethoven, Dvorak, Bach and Ives.
     It is difficult to know what was in the heart of each of these men, but the author seems to do a pretty good job of discovering their beliefs by studying personal letters/journals and accounts given by contemporaries.  There are many footnoted references that are interesting to read.
     I turned to the chapter on Beethoven in reviewing the book for this post, and I have been reminded of  his love of God, a desire to do good and frequent battles with opposition, all of which are reflected in his music.  I think his life reflects great irony, the most apparent being the birth of his most masterful compositions while deaf.  This leaves me not only in awe of Beethoven, but wondering how he possibly could have continued without faith in a loving God....and what faith he must have exercised!!
   Sometimes I wonder if he would have composed as well if he had been able to hear.  I think not.  At the very least, deafness affected the character of his music.  His late works simply would not have sounded the same without the deafness.  
    In the end he was victorious as a musician under extraordinary conditions, and I think he must have struggled and endured spiritually as well.

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 15/ Mysterious

     Vacations from school were usually visits to my extended family in Fort Wayne.  My sister and I would spend part of those trips with my school teacher aunts, one of whom had an art studio in the backyard of my grandparents' home.  It was a one-room, small white ranch house by the back alley.  The room was divided down the middle by a counter with storage underneath.  A large picture window faced my grandfather's huge vegetable garden which occupied the empty lot next to their house.  Her studio was called the Castle (see Childhood Castles post).
     My sister and I spent a lot of time there.  We drew, painted, played with clay, and learned how to make copper enameled jewelry.  We explored the many books and materials that were there.
     I was propelled back to my aunt's studio a few years ago during a visit to one of my favorite places in Milwaukee,  Artasia (http://www.artasiagallery.com/indexold.html).
     This dark and mysterious shop is full of Asian relics, works of art, clothing, furniture, jade pendants, and more. One never knows what interesting and exotic objects might be hiding in a corner; one often does not even know what they are!  I love going there and just exploring.  I check out everything from large, beautifully carved pieces of furniture to huge statues of warriors to paintings of every size to jewelry.  It's a visual and sensual feast.
     A few years ago Artasia expanded.  My husband and I visited when the upper level was in the process of becoming an art gallery featuring the works by family members of the owner, all of whom are artists (I think).
     We stopped by on a gloomy November day.  After exploring the shop we walked upstairs and entered a large room full of light, quite a contrast to what was below.  Walls and tables were covered with works of art, many pleasantly quirky, and some not completed.  Things were in disarray.  It seemed like such a happy place, with bright, cheerful colors and, oh my, the smell...it was just like that of my aunt's studio, paint and clay!  Memories began to surface.  Oh, I loved this experience; I did not want to leave!  It felt so good, especially in contrast to the gloominess below and outside.
     That experience fed my thoughts for some time.  It is amazing to me that an aroma can evoke so many memories.  It is interesting to me that I, not an artist, can walk into an art studio of strangers and feel so at home.
      I enjoy the book The Artist's Way, which is a course in how to unblock creativity.  One of the recommendations is to take an artist field trip each week.  One of my places to do this is Artasia.  If you are like Asian art and are near Milwaukee,  it is a great place to go!



     
     
    


 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 15/ Auditions

     Well, it's Friday.  Nothing serious this week....I have musical burn-out today!  As I have written before, I enjoy some of the comedic skits performed by Igudesman and Joo.    Go here for their take on auditions.....ha ha.....  http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/saic/2011/04/06/become-a-winner-by-losing---igudesman-and-joo-guide-to-auditions/.   

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dashees Garden 14/ A Bit of Vintage

     I am still making drawstring bags, and having lots of fun!  I hope to begin adding them to my Etsy shop tomorrow.  Below is my new favorite. A vintage doily was attached to the front after I embroidered the word "private".
      One more....the morning glory bag...


Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 14/ The Plight

     Recently I was reminded of the state of symphony orchestras in our economic climate.  It is not good.  Symphonies are losing funding, losing conductors, reducing seasons, and musicians are taking cuts in pay.  It seems to be happening everywhere, both in smaller community groups and major symphony orchestras.  Here is a link to a brief but good article about this plight from a year ago, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2837750/the_plight_of_symphony_orchestras_in_pg2.html?cat=33.
     There are various reactions to this, from apathy to outrage to ignorance.  I have been pondering the state of our society and  I just don't "get it".  Why do we spend so much money and time on rock music, what I often term junk music or fast food music, and let the classical musicians starve in comparison?!  I have no problem with some rock; I enjoy it just as I love an occasional  Twinkie, Ding Dong, Big Mac, or Burger King breakfast.  Yum.....but not a steady diet!!  I think most of us would appreciate a gourmet meal well-prepared and  would acknowledge that there is no comparison between it and fast food.
     I suppose the roots of this problem are deep and complex, involving a need and desire for better music education.  And now the money crunch, which means arts programs get cut.  I get so tired of hearing about how wonderful and necessary sports programs are and we just can't allow them to be reduced!!  If these programs are cut, I think many neighborhoods and parents will organize non-school groups and sports will continue to some extent.  Sports are popular and they will go on.  On the other hand, what would happen to music groups? Definitely not the same reaction in most places......!!
     Without school support many music groups just die.  And they don't seem to come back.  I am thinking of my hometown schools which lost their string program many years ago.  It's fate was sealed when all of the string instruments were sold. It has never been the same. So sad and shameful.
     Meanwhile orchestral musicians make music in some way.  We love what we do.  Somehow things must work out!
      


    

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday/ 13

     Well, I am back after two weeks of computer challenges and lots of sewing!  I will be adding some bags to my Etsy shop in the next few weeks.  They are lined drawstring bags.  Sizes vary, the most common being about 12" wide/ 14" long.  Most are lined and finished with French seams.  So far all are cotton.
      I have had lots of fun making these!
      Below are some photos.  The first is a bag that will not be in my shop because some of the patchwork is upside down.  I did not discover it until I was finished, and it is too much work to change.  There will be a similar patchwork bag in my shop.
     The patchwork bags are lined but not quilted.  Each patch has been topstitched to give strength to the fabric.
     Most of my bags are sewn with a seam up the back and another across the bottom, rather than only sides and bottom.  This allows the opening to bloom like a flower when the bag is closed and hung up.  Like the bag below, some have another color along the inside of the top.
The next two bags will be in my shop soon.  The red toile bag has a strip of vintage trim on the inside of the opening; that bag is also narrow and longer than most.










Sunday, May 1, 2011

In the Lighthouse

     In a former post I mentioned my enjoyment of the author Rosemary Wells and her three book series called Voyage to the Bunny Planet.  My favorite story of these is The Island Light.  Felix bunny is having a horrible day.  The Bunny Queen whisks him off to "the day that should have been", one spent with his father meeting the mailboat, getting apples, milk and flour, and escaping a storm by going to their lighthouse home.  Once there they build a fire, dry-out, make apple pancakes, and play gin rummy while the rain pounds and the wind howls.  Later they share a piece of gingerbread and play a final game with Felix in bed and his dad sitting on it.  Felix falls asleep holding his father's hand, safe and warm.
     The message and picture are charming.  I savor this trip to the lighthouse.  It is very sweet and tender.  Sometimes I need to read it to find those feelings again.  Maybe I am trying to connect with my inner child, who knows.
     I have been pondering the Scriptural admonition to be like a child.  Now this, of course, does not mean to be like a child in every way; it means to cultivate the childlike attributes of humility, meekness, being quick to forgive, loving, and so forth.  I am thinking of my own children when they were young and my church class which covers ages 5-7 (6-7 now).  It is not easy in a world which takes pride in sophistication and cynicism.
     As I read this little book this evening I realized that I have an escape to a home like that of Felix.  My father is my Father in heaven, and my lighthouse is my active membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Holy Ghost guides me and is my Comforter, and the means by which my hand is held during the storms of life, the time when the fire is stoked.  I get to help make pancakes, and sometimes there is a type of gingerbread and games.  Things work out.
     Don't we all need this sometimes?!  Oh, such a lovely book.



Finally!


     My computer has had problems and they have been resolved.  Finally!
     It is spring in Wisconsin, after a long, wet cool April.  Finally!
     Sunshine.  Finally!
     Don Juan next week. Finally!
     The finches are here.  Mowers are out.   Finally!
     Time to plant and dig.  Finally!
      Enough....hopefully my rejuvinated computer will allow me to do my weekly posts!

     Below are a few photos showing our April scenery.  Spring has been slow to come this year!!
                                  Is it spring or fall?!
                                  Juxtaposition
                                  At last, some greening....
                                  And some posies!
                                  Aren't these cute!!
                                  A beautiful April sunset...








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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.