Sunday, June 30, 2013

!!!News Flash!!!

My daughter and her family went for ten days to Egypt to visit family. [That's not the News Flash.] They came back Saturday the 29th. We were uneasy. It was close. She told a harrowing story.

Extreme gasoline shortages plague Cairo, which meant hours spent in long lines in the hopes of finding gas once at the pump. To make matters worse, some areas in Egypt experience several hours of electrical power outages every day, to say nothing of the high unemployment and a disintegrating economy.

Therefore, because of severe mismanagement of the Egyptian government by the current ruling religious party, massive demonstrations were called for June 30th, the one-year anniversary of the first elected president. Protesters hope to "persuade" the President and his cabinet to step down. Preparations  near Tahrir Square a few days ago:
Interesting graffiti covers walls in the region of Tahrir Square (where the Revolution took place two years ago) in central Cairo.
"No to the Constitution," "Bloodshed brings bloodshed," 
"Down with Morsi [the president]."
Grafitti also covers the blockades near the presidential palace.
"No to the pharoah [who is]unjust--leave." "Dictatorship leads to disaster."
"Killers", "We won't forget," "Down with military rule," "Freedom." 

You get the point. People started rallying several days early and by the 29th, hundreds of thousands of people were out in the streets. My daughter got to the airport early and said it was like a war zone. Military personnel were everywhere and panicked people were trying to get away before the chaos set in. 

Today's demonstrations remain peaceful, however, there appears to be at least one pro-government rally. The Tunisian news is following events closely to see how far they will go. A question hangs in the air: Will Tunisians answer the call to throw off an incompetent and illegitimate government?

Friday, June 28, 2013

An Intriguing Museum Visit, 2

As mentioned previously, a friend from the States came to visit and we went to the Carthage Museum. After wandering around the ruins we went into the building where we thought we would find an exhibit, however, it had ended. As nobody was there and the door was open, we poked around and found the exhibit had not yet been removed. I looked at some interesting Roman items, took some pictures and then noticed a group of amazing antique chests at the end of the room...hardly Roman.
I find decorative painting interesting, especially in this part of the world, and I see that the tole painting that my mother produced shares certain basic principles.
Sometimes I don't pay attention to the signs 
because the work demands unmitigated admiration.
 These two chests appear to be by the same artisan. 
Then I looked at the sign--curiouser and curiouser. The chests dated from the 18th-19th centuries and orignated in Genoa, Italy.
This rooster caught my eye--the contrast between the dark background and white elements is striking.
Even the inside of the lids were painted.
This lid pleases me because of the intricacies of the design.
And then there was an interesting nailed design.

My favorite chest, probably because of the pinks and warm colors.

While my friend continued to study the Roman items, I went back to the beginning. And then, suddenly this Chinese horse made me gasp: standing about two feet tall and three feet wide, it was entirely made in JADE ! Dating from the 19th century, I wondered what this piece was doing in this collection and then I paid attention to the sign.

No, then I really paid attention to the sign and gasped again. Understanding hit me--this was an exhibit of a few of the precious objects recovered from the homes of the ex-dictator and his family. I went back to the chests. Sure enough, they were from the Hammamet palace of one of the dictator's sons-in-law. 

Suddenly, this museum visit became really intriguing...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

An Intriguing Museum Visit, 1

A friend from the States came to visit so we went to the Carthage Museum, which sits on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean and Carthage, now a suburb of Tunis.

We saw the usual ruins (not as good as Uthina, in my opinion)
and the usual Roman statues. 

Having a vested interest in fabric, I was rather taken by the carved draped clothing and the embroidery in marble.

Inevitably, however, my eye stopped at the mosaics.

Such remarkable designs and borders!
Now who wouldn't see a quilt design here?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Birthdays and Bartering

Sometimes one must outdo oneself when it comes to planning birthday parties for grandkids. It's not that a party has to be more expensive or bigger and better. It's rather that an interesting touch is required, something different that becomes memorable, legendary even.
I had been racking my brains for weeks while I stitched away on White. Friends would follow along and comment over on MulticoloredSnippets, watching my s-l-o-w stitching progress. When I announced that I was going to slice White, there was an uproar and I could tell that one friend in particular might like this piece--intact, that is.
This got me to thinking...she made something that I really wanted and that I had no intention of learning how to do. So I called her for a little bartering session and she was amenable to my proposal.

I finished White (28"x15"/71cm x 38cm). 

My friend intends to hang it between glass (fine by me, it's a dusty country) with a light behind it. And I know that she will give it a good home.

In return, the double birthday party for GD1 (first granddaughter, now 11 years old) and my daughter was a smashing success--thanks to my friend's creation.
Yup. A topsy-turvy cake that cannot be gotten anyplace in Tunisia. I told her to decorate it however she wanted (with an 11-year-old in mind)--just dazzle me.
And dazzled I was. She hand made all the butterflies and flowers and spent more time on this cake than she had on any other. Everyone at the party was dazzled as well and nobody wanted to cut into the cake. However, the birthday girls finally did the job and we all admired the construction. Of course, it tasted divine.

My friend says she's getting the better deal. I say it was a fair deal because I couldn't have had this super-duper birthday party without that fancy cake--it was the legendary touch.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

He Went to Work Every Day

I remember when my grandfathers retired. Then I saw my father and his friends retire. After that, my husband and his friends began to retire. After years of observation, I can only conclude that retirement is difficult for men.

Having restrained, constrained, and contained myself for the last few months, a pressing idea burst forth--despite my lengthy To-Do-List.
I cut strips from men's shirts for the background which serves as a metaphor for life. However this looked a bit too blah. Life does have fiery moments, after all. 

I don't throw out much, but rather reincorporate bits and pieces from previous projects. Leftover constructed fabrics from Color Theme & Variations II (1998) added some pizzazz.
And a gray strip from the background of Pink-Red Minimal (work in progress) found its way into the strips.

A definite curve developed which will stay. I couldn't have done better if I had planned it. Life does not proceed in a straight line after all. A happy accident.
The temptation to simply stitch into the background strips tickled my fancy.
Yet, ultimately, the background exists for the five men's shirts, one for each business day. Only pinned for the moment, these shirts will disintegrate when I cut into them and do needle turn appliqué (and no, I have no idea how I'm going to do that). The collars and some of the cuffs will remain, a few buttons and labels here and there. The title He Went to Work Every Day...and then Retired whispers of the frustrations and yet the possibility of the liberation from constraints, a desire to fly away.

The owner of the shirts:

Here is my question: what would be the title for the women's version? She Worked Every Day of the Week (Including Weekends)...And Never Retired?

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."