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If it's hip and happening in Central Kansas, you'll see it here first.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quilt Blocks Across America

Quilt Blocks Across America
Debra Gabel
© Lydia Lowe  2/25/2012

At first glance, this book is somewhat intimidating.  It's fun to look through but I was a little taken aback by the size and scope of the projects in the book.  That was until I started at the beginning and began to read Debra's instructions.

Debra's style is fun and engaging.  She keeps everything light and to the point.  All the instructions are clear and concise with just a few words.  She breaks down her technique; gives general instructions covering her technique, as well as fusing and embellishments.  Taking the reader and quilter further, she explains how to make the process easier if you need to work with larger pieces.  She offers recommendations for how to make the states that you pick feel more like how you've experienced those states.  There's a section on backgrounds, ways to use specialty fabrics to achieve unique results, how to piece by the numbers, even how to print smaller sections onto fabric.  It's paint by number only with fabric!

But this book goes further.  Debra covers cutting supplies, thread types, needle sizes, sewing machine types, machine embroidery and raw edge sewing techniques, etc.  Walking the quilter step by step through the entire process.  Suddenly, I was no longer intimidated and couldn't wait to get started.

This is one of those pattern books that you'll keep coming back to again and again. There is a wealth of information and Debra encourages you to use your creativity to depict her patterns anyway that you see fit.  I like to do embroidery and I though that these blocks would translate really well into crayon colored blocks on muslin fabric with embroidery outlines.  However you choose to make these blocks, you'll enjoy the process and you definitely need a copy of this in your quilt library.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Boys-a book discussion

Monday Night Book Discussions
(written by Joe Drape)
Salina Public Library
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  2/13/2012
Our Boys . . . I'm not planning on reading this book.  I am just not into small towns and high school teams and all the nonsense.  It's nothing personal against Smith Center, KS or their athletic program or any other small town or any other athletic program.  I'm just not into it.  Not at all. 

This is the Kansas notable book for 2012.  So, check this out, let me know what you think.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Elena Urioste & Michael Brown

The McPherson Opera House
McPherson, KS
© Lydia Lowe  2/11/2012
Elena Urioste and Michael Brown . . . What a concert!  Who would have thought that classical music could be so hip and happening?  After hearing Elena and Michael play, I am now a huge fan of classical music. 

These two performers play with a passion I haven't seen in quite a while.  While they play, they get lost in the music and it's hard to tell the music from the performer.  The two are so tied up together.  The pieces that they chose to play had such a deep emtional quality and I think that the way the performers played them further enhanced those emotional qualities.  At times I could feel the hairs on my arm stand up, or I'd get a chill down my back, or a tear in my eye; and I know when that happens I'm hearing something extraordinary. 

Both these performers are in their 20's but they are so professional, they play with such mastery, that they seem much older, more worldly.  Both Elena and Michael have traveled the world and have been in many competitions, here and abroad.  They've also played with symphonies, big and small; well-known and unknown.

During the interview, before I saw their show, Elena mentioned several ways to bring a younger audience into an appreciation of classical music.  One idea that stood out for me was to have classical music playing in the background at after work mixers at coffee shops or bars, anywhere people gather.  Many times you'll hear rock or jazz or country music playing, why not classical music.  This would be a way to bring classical music to a more diverse audience. 

Definately check out their individual websites and hear them play.  Their websites are listed on the links page.  If you get a chance to hear them, do just that.  You won't be sorry.  They play with depth and feeling.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fanciful Stitches, Colorful Quilts

Fanciful Stitches, Colorful Quilts
Laura Wasilowski
© Lydia Lowe  2/8/2012

I am an embroidery fanatic plus I love fabric and this book combines both of my loves in one volume. 

Random shapes are cut out of a variety of different fabrics, solids and patterns, by hand, and then assembled into projects of your choice.  You can follow the pattern shapes or add and subtract those shapes that you want.  Everything is fused into place and then the fun begins.  Highlighting and accenting the shapes with a variety of different colors of thread and a variety of embroidery stitches. 

This is a great book for a beginner.  It combines detailed instructions on selecting fabrics, color, pattern drafting, fusing, cutting, and embroidery stitches.  Author, Laura Wasilowski recommends that all of us "practice random acts of fusing" everyday!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Andrea Fuhrman

First Thursday Art Rush
Andrea Fuhrman
The Watson Gallery @ The Stiefel Theatre
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  2/2/2012

Andrea Fuhrman's artwork was featured at . . .First Thursday Art Rush, at The Stiefel Theatre in the Watson Room Gallery.  What a delight!  Andrea's work is abstract and draws the reader into each painting, to look around and see what's going on within these canvas worlds.  These aren't paintings that you can just glance at, take away the general idea and then walk away.  These are paintings that you have to stop to look at and then pause to consider what it is that you are seeing.  I would bet that each person who looks at these paintings will take away something different.  The work is fresh to each person's eyes.

"Like A Child"



"Podlettes" and the artist, Andrea Fuhrman
The City of Salina commissioned a digital photo work of Fuhrman's, which has been translated into a 36' x 11' Byzantine smalti glass mosaic mural for the Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park - which opened 2010.  She has been invited to exhibit at Watermark Books and CafĂ© in Wichita in June, and the Sabatini Gallery in
Topeka in 2013.

"Lavender Circles"


Her digital media served as stage and lighting design for "Interior Landscapes" by choreographer Susan Rieger at Lawrence Arts Center. Check out the video!  

If you'd like to see more of Andrea's work and learn more about her, check out the "Links" section on my blog.