“Sonnet” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Poems enter my mind in words and phrases, begging me to concentrate on how to make language sing. April is National Poetry Month. Hon, hope you enjoy the history behind it and a “Spring song.”

National Poetry Month

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. In 2021, the Academy of American Poets looks forward to celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of this annual celebration!

“SONNET” BY ALICE DUNBAR-NELSON

I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 2

 

SEW Busy!

I’ve been meaning to post a mask pattern, but have been busy…you guessed it…sewing. I also decided to tie dye a donated sheet (shout out to Leslie!) and cut it up for masks. While searching in my attic for more fabric, I came across clothes whose styles are out-of-date, but whose fabric could be turned into something else. Hmmm….

Creating masks for essential workers, we’re constantly tweaking our patterns depending on workers needs (comfort being the most important factor). The first pattern we used as part of  The Mask Maker for NJ Workers was put out by Atlantic Health System along with a helpful video. (see below) We worked on another pleated pattern, and are now creating cinched masks with straps that adjust with toggles.

Do you need masks? My daughter, aka my sewing partner, put together a flier with info for people who want to purchase them. We’ve been sewing lightweight, comfy, breathable, washable masks in both pleated and cinched models. In addition to the fabrics on the flier, we now have more choices.  Please email me at bmoreenergy@gmail.com for info.

Pleated Mask Pattern from Atlantic Health System
You can make two sizes: Adult or Child
  1. Cut fabric 9.5″ by 6.5″ for an adult or 7.5″ by 5″ for a child. Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.
  2. Put right sides of fabric together
  3. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner and stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  4. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
  5. Sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put an elastic with the edge out.
  6. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  7. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  8. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  9. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

Related Post:  Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 1

Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 1

Ever since quarantine started and a need for masks became apparent, one of my daughters (shout out to Hannah) and I have spent weekends sewing. With two sewing machines, piles of fabric, elastic, notions, and scraps littering the floor, our dining room has been turned into a sweatshop! We’re working with a group called The Mask Makers for NJ Workers, and we’ve been sewing and donating to local medical workers, restaurants and businesses.

This has been a huge learning experience because, hon, sewing straight lines was the extent of our sewing machine knowledge! Hannah and I have broken many needles, ripped out dozens of seams, made tons of mistake, and required boxes of Bandaids. We’ve spent a lot of time cursing the thread which seems to have a mind of its own.

At first, the group agreed to sew masks with elastic that goes around ears. Then, we switched to four, adjustable straps. And now, we’re working on a cinched version with straps that adjust with toggles. All in the name of comfort. But, since Hannah and I aren’t seamstresses, every time we switch to a new pattern, we need a whole day to get it right. Some days everything hums along nicely, and some days it doesn’t!

Once Hannah started posting our finished products on social media, we received requests to purchase. We bought separate fabric and notions, and only use our own machine (as opposed to the borrowed one) for any sales. Click here to learn about the masks we’re selling. They’re lightweight, breathable, comfy, and washable.

I joined several mask maker Facebook groups, but there’s a proliferation of posts like, “Woohoo, just completed 1,ooo masks!” or “Yay me, I’ve reached my goal of 500 masks!” Those posts put our efforts to shame, so I’m unfollowing them asap because Hannah and I can’t compete and, well, we don’t have to.  She works full-time, and I’m working on my long-term writing goals. Last week, one of The Max Challenge trainers said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I love this quote! Just thinking about the energy and emotion I waste feeling bad comparing myself to others, especially when it comes to my writing journey, is enough to make me weep.

Who knows how long this situation will last, and who knows what it will look like when it’s done?! In the meantime, we’ll continue stitching–ripping out–pleating–pricking fingers–ironing–burning fabric–sewing–dropping pins–and donating and, overall, enjoying the process!

Want to know what patterns we’re using? Check it out in Part 2.

Roof Garden Art, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout

Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.
Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.

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When I visit the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, I try to visit the roof garden. Not only are installations interactive, the view of Central Park is beautiful.

I hope to get to The Met’s current roof garden Installation, The Theater of Disappearance by Adrián Villar Rojas, which in on display until October 29, 2017.

Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout, exhibited in 2014, was created by American artist Dan Graham and Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt. “Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze and part modernist skyscraper façade, set within a specially engineered terrain.” The glass was “both transparent and reflective, creating a changing and visually complex environment for visitors.”

“For decades, Dan Graham has created work that challenges viewers to think in new and thought-provoking ways about the streets and cities they traverse every day,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum.

For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency; it also provides a certain camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.

With this signature material, Graham’s pavilions also transform observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, make them acutely aware of their own viewership.

The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also reminded Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates private property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth. Graham’s collaboration with Günther Vogt further illuminates the site’s multilayered references—historic gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as its pavilion engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror-play.

Glass and steel "pavilion."

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” Emile Zola

Sources:

Click here to link to The Met’s page with a cool video on how the art was installed.

Click Interesting interview with Dan Graham to learn more about Graham’s work.

Beautiful Girl

"Clara" by Jean Philippe Richard
“Clara” by Jean Philippe Richard.

Recognizing art I’d seen in Soho, I was drawn into the BelAirFineArt gallery in Venice. Then I discovered “Clara.” This life-sized bronze sculptor by  Jean Philippe Richard struck me as beautiful and mysterious.

"Clara" by Jean Philippe Richard.
“Clara” by Jean Philippe Richard.

Beautiful is my mom. Mysterious is our time on earth. 

Barbara Ellen, my mom as a toddler.
Barbara Ellen, my mom as a toddler.

Me, my son and my mom.
Me, my son and my mom.

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Icy Compostions

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Nature creates its own composition of Winter ice and Fall leaves.

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The ice magnifies the brick’s texture, creating a pointillist-type palette of colors.

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In my imagination, this piece of ice is the head of an Ice Creature.

IMG_1011The ice is all angles and edges.

IMG_1010Was Mother Nature inspired by Piet Mondrian?

“I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects.”

Mondrian