Monday, August 15, 2011

Artists and Their Work

 Here's the backyard taken from the Throne Room this morning.  (Remember I told you the best view is from our uh, 'porcelain seat' in the bathroom?  We're not so good at planning our landscaping;  if we wanted the best view of the garden, all we have to do is move the garden over about 40' to the east.  On second thought, it would be way easier to move the house.

We were gone all day Sunday and most of the day on Saturday, so it was good to take a look around the garden again this morning.  The garden we ignored for two days.  The garden I even forgot I had for a little while. 

So, yes, you heard it here.  We were goofing off this weekend.  Even with the weather (mid-70's, be still my heart!) being suitable for rock-moving perfection itself, Carl and I were everywhere and anywhere but in our garden.  We helped a friend move on Saturday for a few hours and had a family reunion and attended a garden party on Sunday.  Somewhere in the middle of all that frantic activity, we spent part of one day rummaging around at plant nurseries where we bought a 'Blue Star' juniper on a stick (yes, that's my technical term for a shrub top-grafted onto a standard). 
We had a gift certificate and the tree was on sale!
 I don't know why I like Shrubbery on Sticks, I just do.  And yes, it does look like something out of Dr. Suess but I like to look at the shrub's foliage up close and personal (without bending over, lol) and a second plus is that the snow has to get really high to bury them in the wintertime.  And the wintertime is long around here.  If you look closely, behind the juniper on a stick, there's a blue spruce on a stick planted right by our back door. you detect a theme?  I'm guessing maybe I ought to stop collecting them since I could do a post on just the Trees on Sticks around here and bore you to tears.  I think I have a problem. But I will address that addiction on another day.

After the nursery we then went poking around in an antique store.  (Oooops, Addiction #2 for this post.)  I  was looking around in a booth when I saw a pile of what looked like lace lying on the floor in a heap with a few odds and ends tossed on top of it.  What a novel way to display something, I thought.  When I'm in a store and I see clothing knocked off a hanger or a towel off a shelf, I always pick it up.  It's not that I'm a neat freak (oh, far from it) but I always think of the poor clerks who have to run around tidying up and like to lend a helping hand.  And, not that I think inanimate objects have 'feelings' but the merchandise looks so forlorn when it's out of place.  So, me being me,  I picked up this pile of lace and was amazed by the heft of the lace in my hands.  And then I looked more closely:
 Not lace, but crochet.  I couldn't take my eyes off of it.   My late aunt used to crochet such things of beauty as does my good friend, Nancy, and this tablecloth  reminds me of both of these wonderful ladies.  It was a much bigger than I thought and the more I thought about it, I knew it had to come home with me.  I pictured the person sitting for hundreds of hours painstakingly building this gorgeous tablecloth and for some reason, I teared up in the antique store.  Oh, good golly, how goofy, but here it had been plopped on the floor! of all places, and it's a masterpiece.  I gingerly looked at the price tag dangling from a flower.  $35.  I don't know much about the value of vintage tablecloths, but just the thought of how much work went into this made me think I have a bargain here.  Home it came.

 Here it is, hanging on the wash line this morning.  I handwashed it in Woolite (oh, it was SO dirty!) and then hung it out to dry in the sun.  I actually had it spread across all five lines so it wouldn't stress the piece too much,  butI took it down like this to show the size of it. 

Like I said, I don't know a thing about crocheting.  Or knitting.  I do sew and love counted cross-stitch and embroidery, but never learned the intricate knot-making that constructed this.  Carl didn't think it was hand-made, but if you really look closely,  every flower has a tiny bit different stitch to it.  The artist was that good.
Unknown artist, but whoever they were, my hat is off to them.

My friend Nancy makes things like this all the time.  She is one of the most talented artists I know.  Look at the bookmark she made for me years and years ago:
She had the ribbon tied much more nicely when she gave it to me; I use this bookmark all the time and I'm afraid I've messed up the bow.
Talk about intricate!  I have visited with her and have watched her crochet; she doesn't seem to have to think about her work (though I know that's simply due to her expertise) and can chat while she crochets.  Look at how delicate and fine the work is.  Every time I see this bookmark, I think of Nancy and smile.  We get together several times a year and that's not enough.  We only live three miles apart--Nancy, if you're reading this, it's time to do lunch again! 

If you haven't figured it out yet, my interior decorating skills are rather, shall we say, Early American Hodge Podge?  (Yes, that's right, I interior decorate like I exterior decorate, Mishily Mashily.)   So here's a picture of the new/old table cloth on the table.  I know it could use a pressing, but wanted to see how it looked, since it's now dry.
I  keep thinking about making EACH and EVERY one of those stitches.  I wonder how many hours are really in this piece?

And here's another gift from another dear friend, Ione.  (I'm so blessed with wonderful friends)  Ione made the table runner for me this spring and it is one of my favorites.  She does all of her quilting by hand (no sewing machine work at all!) and has won many awards for her gorgeous quilts.  She is in her 80's now and is the sweetest lady I know (next to my own dear mother). 

 I like the way the table runner and the table cloth look together. 
 Ione did something very important with her table runner:
She signed and dated it.

I am so happy she signed her work.  This is something every one who makes a thing of beauty should do for posterity.  After all, you never know when the work you do will end up in a pile on the floor of an antique store.

My hat is off to all the ladies (and gentlemen) Artists out there who quietly create fantastic pieces of artwork in their own homes.  My thanks to the unknown artist who made my tablecloth, too.

I will give it a good home.


Alison said...

You found quite an amazing work of art there! It is really beautiful, especially now that you have cleaned it up. You have some very talented friends too. Like you, I sew, but my sister crochets and is very good at it. I have never been able to figure out either crocheting or knitting, so I have a lot of respect for people who do this kind of work.

You know, in that picture of the tablecloth and runner, there is another amazing work of art! That stained glass lamp shade hanging over the table. I bet you and Carl made that, didn't you? You are talented artists in your own right, and my hat is off to you.

Sandy said...

Such beautiful work in that table cloth.. you know, both my mom and sister do this kind of crochet.. my mom left me two tablecloths and numerous table scarves that are scattered around my home.. and my sister has 8 grandchildren, she is now on the last set of table runners (sets of 5) for each grandchild, to be presented to them the day of their marriage...Each set is wrapped in acid free paper and signed... amazing!
I'm so glad to hear you and the hubby both got away from the garden for the weekend.. although it's beautiful it's good for you both to put your mind on some fun...
Ok,, back to work! (lol)

Peonies & Magnolias said...

What a gorgeous tablecloth you found, my Mom crochets and you truly did get a great bargain. I've tried to crochet and never could get the hang of it. Love that runner and lamp also.

Have a great week.


FlowerLady said...

Oh Karen ~ What a beauty and it most definitely is hand crocheted and took many, many hours to complete. I crochet, knit, and embroider, it all takes time.

This piece looks lovely on your table with the sweet runner made by Ione. Both are treasures as is that wonderful stained glass piece over it all. You and Carl are artists yourselves, in several different mediums.

Your garden view from the throne room is fantastic, worthy of a painting.

Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

Beth said...

Karen, Your tablecloth is gorgeous! I love it!
Have a wonderful week, dear sweet lady and it's OK to forget the garden for a day or two!
Blessings, Beth

Sue said...

I think you really scored with that tablecloth.
It cleaned up beautifully-you have yourself a very nice piece. Congrats!

Rosemary said...

Karen ..good to take a break from your labour of love. Made me smile at your garden center find ,so much enjoyment wandering thru garden centers one never get bored going thru seeing what they have. You certainly got a great looking tree on a stick! But then you topped it off with that absolutely amazing find in the antique shop. What a beautiful cloth must be hand made to be so heavy otherwise would be thin. Your setting with the new cloth the quilted runner and your tiffany lamp I think is perfect decorating ... best of all you have wonderful memories of each item... Sounds like a fantastic weekend....

africanaussie said...

Your garden is stunning - I cant believe how lovely that curved bed is - I remember when you planted it. I remember being taught crochet and tatting at the knee of my great aunt. I hope it doesn't become a lost art. Your lampshade is beautiful above that table - could you showcase more of the stained glass you have done?

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, that lace work is gorgeous. It is a lost art. My mother had several handmade doilies all over the house, on tables, on backs of chairs, etc.


Darla said...

Since my knee and hip ailments of late I have been crocheting again. Haven't done it since high school. I've been making scarves, and with the new yarn that's available you can really make some nice things. I love this table cloth here!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was laughing about your shrub on a stick because I have a neighbor whose garden is almost all shrubs on a stick. Some day if I get the nerve, I will show his gardens. They are all varieties, shapes, sizes and colors.

Plus, my rear garden's best view from indoors is from the powder room. The window is actually at standing height and that is where I take all my bird and squirrel photos. The powder room juts out from the home, past the kitchen and dining room, so that is how it ended up with the best view in all directions.

The tablecloth is beautiful. I have one that looks very similar that was passed down through the family, and like you I admire the time it took to complete and the amazing artistry. But I never used mine or put it out. The cats would have a field day with it and my dogs might have too. It does seem a shame not to show such a fine piece. You have some wonderful friends, generous and talented.

Junebug said...

Wow, what a find! The hours that went into that tablecloth! I really like the table runner on it also. Now the garden, what a great picture from the throne! No other words come to mind except beautiful!!!!! Hugs

Autumn Belle said...

The garden picture look like a beautiful postcard and the handicraft items are artworks of beauty. I love crocheting too.

Sall's Country Life said...

It takes an artist to appreciate good art! That tablecloth literally fell into the hands of it's rightful owner! Glad you had a fun outing and found some true treasures!

Cally said...

What a particularly wonderful piece of crochet. Probably good that it was dirty, stopped other lazier people from snapping it up first. If I'd been there we'd have been hair pulling on the floor to get it!

Anonymous said...

Pretty insightful. Thanks!

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