Monthly Archives: September 2009



More photos from Italy – these are from Cinque Terre, a steep and rugged portion of the Italian Riviera comprised of five villages, Monterossa, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomagiorre.  The coastline here is absolutely gorgeous, and you can take the train from one village to the next or you can hike the trails.  We love hiking so there was no question about our mode of transport.  We had read that the hike from Monterossa to Vernazza can be strenuous, and it was – maybe more strenuous than the hiking we did last year at Zion and Bryce Canyon, Utah.  After being revived by lunch in Vernazza, we decided to do the hike from Vernazza to Corniglia.  This was supposed to be less strenuous and it was, but not by much!  All the hiking  was of course worth the effort because we were rewarded with such stunning views.  Photographs can’t really capture the true grandeur, but here are a few anyway…

Vernazza 1view from the trail between Monterossa and Vernazza, photo by Wayne

Vernazza 2view from the trail between Monterossa and Vernazza, photo by Wayne

Steps 1a small fraction of the steps we climbed, photo by Shelley Brucar.  Italy is quite hilly, and although I know we must have been going downhill sometimes, it seemed like we were always going UPHILL!  As a result, I am in better shape that I was before the trip.  I have almost doubled my time on the stairmaster – in spite of all the pasta, wine and gelato – which are too wonderful for words!  

Vernazza from above 1Vernazza from above, photo by Shelley Brucar

Vernazza from above 2Vernazza from above, photo by Shelley Brucar

I really love Cinque Terre and  definitely want to go back there to do more hiking.  We also had planned to do a boat trip in PortoVenere, but it got cancelled due to rain, and we were leaving for Sorrento the next day.  So we must return to do that as well.

We stayed in Levanto, which I think is a good base for exploring this area.  It is the town just north of Monterossa, easy to get to by train, very cute and charming, and lots of good food.  One recommendation for dinner is Ristorante Da Rino, wonderful food and very nice owner who welcomed us back the second time we ate there with smiles and after-dinner linomcello, a tasty discovery.

The topic of dinner brings me to one of my observations about Italy that actually relates to stress management.  Meals in Italy are obviously meant to be SAVORED, not rushed through as is often the case in the US.  You choose as many courses as you want from several options: antipasto, zuppe (soup), primi piatti (pasta), secondi piatti (entree), insalata (salad), dolce (dessert), and of course finishing with cappaccino.  And vino – really good vino – accompanies every meal.  The expectation is that, once seated for dinner,  you will be there all night, no pressure to turn over tables as we are used to in America.  Servers take your order, deliver the food (one slow course at a time), then leave you alone to enjoy your meal and your company.  You don’t get your bill until you ask for it (il conto, per favore).  Of course Italian food deserves savoring! And that’s true of much American food as well.

Try eating your next meal, whether out or at home, more slowly.  Really taste what you’re eating and enjoy every bite – time to give up the fast-food-in-the-car habit!


Filed under Art Stuff, travel



Just returned from Italy where we spent time in Florence, Sorrento and Cinque Terre.  What a beautiful country!   I get inspiration from beautiful scenery, and here are some  photos from Florence:

Florence 1View from Pazzale Michelangelo, photo by Wayne

Florence 2 (2)View from Pazzale Michelangelo, photo by Wayne

Florence 3at the Arno, photo by Wayne

Florence 4at the Arno, photo by Wayne

Arno Reflections 1Arno reflections, photo by Shelley Brucar

Arno Reflections 2Arno reflections, photo by Shelley Brucar

Arno GrafittiGrafitti everywhere!   Photo by Shelley Brucar

Duomo 1Duomo, photo by Shelley Brucar

David copyDavid copy, photo by Shelley Brucar.  You find copies of David all over Florence.  The original is at Galleria Academia where the lives are quite long if you don’t make an advance reseervation.

Tourist CrowdTourists, photo by Shelley Brucar.  Downtown Florence is overrun with tourists and very crowded.  South of the Arno is residential and much more quiet and serene.

PadlocksPadlocks,  photo by Shelley Brucar.  This is an interesting tradition in Italy, for which I have found 2 meanings.  I believe, originally, closing a padlock and throwing the key into the river was a popular tradition followed by militarymen who had completed their compulsory service.  Now however, couples write their names on padlocks, attach them to a guard rail, and throw the keys into the sea, symbolizing love forever.

Italy offers everything from big city to calm and beautiful country.  More photos from Cinque Terre,  Sorrento, Capri, Pompei and Amalfi Coast to follow.

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Filed under Art Stuff, travel


Yesterday, I was notified that 3 of my pieces have been selected for inclusion in the new book, 1000 Artisan Textiles, due to be published May, 2010.  I don’t know which pieces yet, but will post when I find out.  Meanwhile, watch the 1000 Artisan Textiles website or for updates and pre-sales.

REMINDER:  SAQA AUCTION to begin Thursday, Sept 10, 2pm Eastern time.  SAQA is a wonderful art quilt network that promotes fiber art through education, exhibits, website and various publications.  SAQA represents some of the best artists in the field, and  I am honored to be a member of this group.   There are 234 Benefit Auction quilts donated by our members. Last year’s Benefit Auction raised $41,775. The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA’s exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs.

How the Auction works:

The Auction is run in three sections (Section 1 – Pages 1a and 1b; Section 2 – Pages 2a and 2b; Section 3 – Pages 3a and 3b).

On the first day of each section’s auction, the price for all pieces in that section is $750. The next day (at 2:00 Eastern), the price drops to $550. The third day, it drops to $350, then $250, then $150, and finally $75.

The first section will begin September 10th at 2:00 Eastern.
The second section will begin September 17th at 2:00 Eastern.
The third section will begin September 24th at 2:00 Eastern.

Prices by day:
Section 1 – September 10th at 2:00 Eastern – $750
Section 1 – September 11th at 2:00 Eastern – $550
Section 1 – September 12th at 2:00 Eastern – $350
Section 1 – September 13th at 2:00 Eastern – $250
Section 1 – September 14th at 2:00 Eastern – $150
Section 1 – September 15th at 2:00 Eastern – $75

Section 2 – September 17th at 2:00 Eastern – $750
Section 2 – September 18th at 2:00 Eastern – $550
Section 2 – September 19th at 2:00 Eastern – $350
Section 2 – September 20th at 2:00 Eastern – $250
Section 2 – September 21st at 2:00 Eastern – $150
Section 2 – September 22nd at 2:00 Eastern – $75

Section 3 – September 24th at 2:00 Eastern – $750
Section 3 – September 25th at 2:00 Eastern – $550
Section 3 – September 26th at 2:00 Eastern – $350
Section 3 – September 27th at 2:00 Eastern – $250
Section 3 – September 28th at 2:00 Eastern – $150
Section 3 – September 29th at 2:00 Eastern – $75

You bid by filling out the online bid form. You can bid on up to 7 pieces at a time. First bid on each piece wins. We will then ship the artwork to the winning bidder by insured USPS Priority Mail.

Pieces go fast, so if you have your heart set on something, bid quickly!   This is a great chance to pick up pieces from your favorite artists that you might not otherwise be able to afford. 

I’m leaving for Italy now, so expect many inspirational and peaceful photos at the end of the month.

(Disclaimer:  SAQA auction info is shamelessly copied from Tracy‘s blog!   Thanks, Tracy.)

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Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art


Here are two more fun blogs to check out:

Jeanne Raffer Beck –   Jeanne taught a workshop for my needle arts guild this week, and I had the opportunity to spend some extra time with her.  She is bright, funny, talented, creative and a total pleasure to be with.  Her blog is informational and inspirational.

Cathy Mendola –   I just met Cathy at above-mentioned workshop.  Her blog is fun to look at and has something really extra – great music.

Here are some of the pieces I started in Jeanne’s workshop this week.  One exciting outcome for me (beyond experimenting with new techniques) was moving outside my comfort zone to work with a different color palette.

BeckWkshp1Layering to build up texture.


BeckWkshp3This is painted wonder-under layered over a piece of my screened fabric.  OK, there is alot of my old standby, orange, but there is no blue!

BeckWkshp4I love texture.

I don’t know what will happen with these pieces, but hopefully one or two will become something wonderful.  Experimenting is just so much fun!

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Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art, thermofax screens


Yesterday I saw a prevew of Barbara Schneider’s solo show which runs September 1 through September 29 at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park.  Of course I did not have a camera with me, but I was with mixed media/fiber artist, Jeanne Raffer Beck who is prepared and did have her camera.  Click on Jeanne’s name and you will be able to see a preview of Barbara’s extraordinary show, read Jeanne’s wonderful blog and see her website.  If you can get to Crystal Lake this month, see the exhibit it in person.  Artist reception is Sept 20, 3:00-5.

These foresty-looking screened/discharged pieces are currently up on my design wall, waiting for something to happen:

Screened forest1

Screened forest2


Filed under Art Stuff, digital photo printing on fabric, discharge dyeing, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing, thermofax screens