Quilt Festival 2015 Report

Houston had a Quilt Festival, and it was awesome!

So many wonderful works of art. The special exhibits were amazing. I took a lot of photos, some of which were more impressive than others. (Turns out it’s hard to tell the photo is blurry on the tiny screen of my camera.)

Big Love, modern quilt design based on sound wave pattern of the word LoveThis one is a modern quilt based on the wavelength of the spoken word “love”. I really did not expect to enjoy the modern quilt section as much as I did. The whole idea of traditional piecing is not terribly appealing to me, but I can see how the modern quilt movement uses geometric piecing to create new, innovative designs that feature different patterns of quilting. Exciting! photo of an art quilt featuring lotus flowers and koi fish
This one uses an intriguing layering technique to create the illusion of depth in the water where the koi fish are swimming. It’s a great visual trick.

photo of quilt designed to resemble Hokusai's Wave made with tiny square pieces
Tiny squares seemed to be the order of the day, although the traditional hexagons were still in heavy rotation. The pixelated look is very ‘in’. This was one of the most appealing of the pixel-y ones.

There are several hundred photos in the Flickr set. Go get lost in them. I’ll wait.

It’s All in the Dress: Star Wars Costumes at the EMP

During our family trip to Seattle in September, we visited the Experience Music Project while they were hosting the Smithsonian’s Star Wars: The Power of Costume exhibition. I am a huge Star Wars nerd, of course, although my obsession pales in comparison to a few folks I know. Having so many Star Wars friends, though, means that I regularly get to discuss things like the philosophy of the Jedi, the world building of the six films, comparisons of characterizations in novels and novelizations, and many other very exciting tidbits. Feel free to ask Star Wars questions to get us started on a discussion.

Sleeve Detail, Yellow Handmaiden gownSleeve detail, Packing dressThe exhibit features a LOT of costumes for Padme Amidala, of course. The prequels were full of her costumes, and those of her handmaidens. Interestingly, there were also a lot of photographs and notes about the influences for those costumes. Mongolia and Japan are two very obvious influences that are discussed in the exhibit, but tons of other images and concept art are included, too. I became very interested in the Royal and handmaid costumes, especially the sleeves. They are very elaborate, with multiple layers, and often extravagant embroidery.

 

Jedi Knight in combatAt a certain point in the exhibition, you’ve seen a dozen or so standard humanoid male Jedi outfits, and you wonder how in the heck anybody fights in those draperies. Such sleeves, such robes! Seriously, learning how to fight with a lightsaber must involve a lot of Force-manipulation of fabric, or every Jedi would end up slicing his outer robes to ribbons in a duel. The outer robes often come off, in the films, to reveal the Jedi battle clothes, which are many soft layers of tight-fitting linen-type fabrics. They’re very nubby textured in person, and the layers fit over and under each other in a very elaborate manner. Even Darth Maul’s Sith robes are rich with tiny pleats to make the “skirts” of his robe flare when he does his spinning stuff.   Battling Jedi and Sith  

The Evolution of PalpatineOne of the interesting set-ups at this exhibit was the progression of Palpatine from Senator to Chancellor to Emperor. The mannequins change their posture, even, to reflect his increasing Evil. His clothes become more tent-like and stiff as he progresses through the prequels, layers and layers of brocades, but by the time of A New Hope, many things have been streamlined and simplified, including his plain black robes. They are very reminiscent of Jedi robes, in a way that his Prequel costumes were not, perhaps a reflection of his conviction that the Sith ways of the Force were now reigning supreme? It’s hard to consider the films’ influence on each other going backwards, but there is definitely a feeling expressed in the exhibition text that the starkness and uniformity of fashion and uniform in the Empire is a deliberate contrast to the almost ridiculous variety and richness and intricacy of Late Republican fashions. The details in some of the other costumes are great, too – from bounty hunters to sand people, every inch of costume had somebody thinking about it. I highly recommend this exhibit if anybody is going anywhere near it. And I’d love to go see it again, maybe in a larger venue where they will show more of the available costumes.   Untitled

 

There are two cool books out (that I covet, of course, but the Library is a beautiful tool) about Star Wars costumes:
      
(Yes, those are affiliate links.)

San Antonio Album

Erin and I spent last weekend in San Antonio. We toured Mission Trail, taking pictures and painting. I got a couple of great paintings out of it.

I’ve got some great photos up now, including this one of the mission cat at Espada.

Arches and Columns

RMC

I love Rice campus architecture. Getting a chance to just walk around on a sunny day and take pictures is a perk of the job.