Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Inspiration behind The Inspiration

Back in May I blogged here about a quilt I was working on that was made up of 1600 2-inch squares. At that time the top was finished, but hadn't been quilted. I finished the quilt, but never got around to posting pictures of it here. And meanwhile, just the other day I learned something very interesting that really enhanced -- for me -- the meaning of this quilt.

To recap: Last summer I saw this graphic that was to be used as the logo for my professional association during the 2010/2011 year:

To put it simply, I fell in love with it and became obsessed with using it as the basis for a quilt. I received permission from AALL to exhibit any quilt I would make (as long as they received credit) and they went so far as to ask me to bring it to Philadelphia last weekend for our annual meeting. Ouch. That meant I had a deadline. I worked like a dog for 6 weeks from Easter through the first week of June to finish it.

Here is the finished quilt. You can see that I tweaked the design a little by making it square and reversing the colors so it would read (left to right) hot to cold.

My quilt was displayed for 3 days in the back of the Hospitality Booth. The picture isn't perfect, so click on it to see the large version. See how nicely it blends in? I was delighted, to put it mildly. My ego was well and truly stroked as I received one compliment after another.

I have to say I got quite a kick out of seeing the graphic behind the logo displayed everywhere in the convention center. The signage, banners, ID badges, and publications were all plastered with the graphic.

AALL's graphic was designed in-house. While I was at the conference, a conversation with an AALL member from Philadelphia revealed that the designer was directly inspired by the mosaics that decorate the Market St. train station downtown. I made a point of catching my train to the airport from this station so I could snap some pictures. I was amazed to discover that many of the colors that appear in these mosaics are very similar to those that appear in the logo and, of course, my quilt. The logo designer did a fabulous job.

You've got to love a city that believes in art in public places. And see how art inspires more art?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TBR Day. Cupboard Kisses / Barbara Metzger. 1989

This month's TBR theme is "fairy tales." I was pawing through my TBR pile and I couldn't find anything that would match the theme. So I went with this very early Barbara Metzger book (her 4th I believe) that I have wanted to read for some time.

So, according to this entry at Wikipedia, the title of the book refers to kisses that are given in order to receive a reward. It's an apt title as the book is a farce featuring a series of misunderstandings where the heroine is mistaken for a courtesan. Cristabel Swann is a well-bred orphan who has spent the last several years teaching at a school near Bath. She learns that her uncle has died and she goes to London expecting to claim an inheritance that would allow her to live independently. Meanwhile, before his death her uncle had lost everything he owns to Captain Kenley Chase, a naval hero who has recently returned home to step into a Viscountancy (is that the right word?) that he inherited when his older brother died. Captain Chase/Lord Winstoke is living in the uncle's home when Cristabel arrives in London.

When Cristabel meets Captain Chase, his eyes are covered in bandages as he's recovering from having shrapnel removed from his head. So he doesn't see her, he can only hear her. Because of the bandages, she doesn't get a good look at his face. They immediately get into a disagreement about what is owed her, so neither is impressed with the other. Feeling some sort of obligation to her, eventually he offers her a job managing a boardinghouse which was one of the properties her uncle had left behind.

Because this is a farce, naturally it turns out that the boardinghouse is really a bordello, managed by a Major MacDermott and his sidekick, Nick Blass. Together the men conspire to hide the true purpose of the boardinghouse from Cristabel and for a couple of weeks she's oblivious to their deceit. Meanwhile Cristabel meets Lord Winstoke. Neither recognizes the other. As Lord Winstoke he's taken by Cristabel and wants to become her protector. Cristabel, being naive, has dreams of marriage.

Eventually Cristabel catches on and everything is sorted out. As a farce, this is a funny book with a handful of laugh-out-loud moments. As a romance, you can tell that this is one of Metzger's earlier books. Cristabel and Kenley do not spend very much time together (maybe less than 15-20% of the book), so it's not particularly satisfying from that end. But there is some wonderful dialogue that would become Metzger's trademark. You can see flashes here of the kind of writing that would make Metzger a popular author of the short, traditional Regencies.

Quite a few of Metzger's old trads have been digitized. While I enjoyed this one (which does not appear to be available as an ebook, so you'd have to find a paper copy), I highly recommend some of her other trads that have been digitized, such as Lady SparrowLord Heartless, An Affair of Interest, or Father Christmas, to name but a few.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Purse

I've been a bad blogger the last few months. I have plenty of excuses. One of them is this purse that I just finished making. Technically, it's not quilted. Fabric is wrapped around stiff weaving strips and sewn in place. It took me about 2 weeks to make it in my spare time. The pattern is called Breezy Weave Bag by Aunties Two of Portland, ME. If you like totes, bags, purses, and baskets, check out their website. They have some very cool stuff.

I'm going to go read a book now. Maybe I'll blog about it some day.