Category Archives: Travel

Needlework Exhibit

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This past weekend Mr. M and I made one of our trips out to Pittsburgh to visit with Nora.  She is staying there this summer as she is working as a TA for an Organic Chemistry class as well as continuing her job at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center as a research assistant. Since she won’t be able to travel back to New Jersey until August, we celebrated Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and our wedding anniversary (39 years) at one time.

We had a great time visiting and even got to attend the Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday.  Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Dollar Bank, this is a 10-day music and arts festival in downtown Pittsburgh with free music, theater, dance, public art installations, gallery exhibitions, a visual artist market, creative activities, and food. There are well over 200 exhibitors over the course of the 10 days – many local artists/artisans but many from as far away as California. The Festival takes place every year starting on the first Friday in June.

While there we came across one vendor, Silk Handmade Embroidery Arts out of Depew, NY, selling silk embroidered art that was absolutely amazing. You may have seen them at the Morristown Craft Fair. We did purchase one piece for Nora’s apartment.

Needlework

Irises and Butterflies

On our drive back on Sunday we stopped at the Fort Hunter Museum & Mansion in Harrisburg to visit the Needle Art Exhibit presented by the Apple Needlepoint Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild, and the Molly Pitcher StitchersSusquehanna, Nittany ValleyYork White Rose and Lancaster Red Rose chapters of the Embroiderers Guild of America. There were more than 50 pieces of needlework, including painted and counted canvas, pulled/drawn thread, Japanese embroidery, Rozashi, counted cross stitch, and hardanger. The pieces were placed in several rooms throughout the mansion, which itself was a treat. I was not able to take pictures of the pieces but there were a number that I recognized, including a few that I have either completed or are in my collection for “someday”. There were even a few pieces for sale. Congratulations to the ANG and EGA chapters for mounting this wonderful exhibit, and to their members on such spectacular stitching!

The Needle Art Exhibit runs through next Sunday (June 17). ANG and EGA members held demonstrations on Saturdays.

There are four antique samplers on view as part of the collection, and quite a bit of clothing worn by Helen Reily, one of the owners of the property (think Gilded Age). The property is quite extensive with several buildings and gardens, but the weather was not cooperative. The mansion is beautifully maintained and well-worth a visit if you are in the area.

Happy Stitching!

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Woodlawn Report

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At last I have a few moments to write about our trip to the 55th Annual Needlework Show & Sale at Woodlawn.  The last few days have been quite an adventure – no power until Monday morning, followed by a scheduled loss of power Monday night into Tuesday morning, and then yet another storm!

We drove down on Friday through the nor’easter that pummeled the East Coast.  It was slow going along the New Jersey and Delaware Turnpikes with pelting rain and, at time, some wet snow.  We finally caught a break in Maryland when the precipitation stopped but by then the winds had picked up and we were buffeted as we drove, particularly on the bridges.

We stopped in Falls Church for lunch at the Mad Fox Brewing Company.  They have quite a variety of sandwiches and salads, and Mr. M enjoyed the beer. And, it is only 15 minutes from Waste Knot Needlepoint in Arlington. I had emailed Lori, the owner, before our trip to get some threads I needed.  Of course, Mr. M managed to pick out two new canvases to add to the inventory!  So I now have Santa’s Workshop from CH Designs and Easter Bunny from Robbyn’s Nest Designs to add to my list.

Waste Knot Needlepoint has a wonderful inventory of canvases and threads, and they are always a pleasure to visit. The shop will be moving this month – their last day at the current location is March 17 and they are hoping to reopen at their new location on April 2. They will be just around the corner at 2100 N. Glebe Road in Arlington.  I’m already looking forward to visiting!

We arranged to meet Nora in Bethesda on Friday evening (she took the bus from Pittsburgh). I made a wrong turn heading from the hotel in Alexandria to Bethesda and had quite the time getting corrected. The Nav System didn’t know about the winds and all the downed trees/closed roads, so I had to keep diverting off the route. Usually we get to the drop-off location about 40 minutes early but the diversions resulted in us arriving at about the time the bus was due (7:15 pm). Wouldn’t you know – the bus was actually 30 minutes early! Fortunately the bus waited for all the students to meet their rides.

Saturday was clear but windy and chilly. Our first order of business was to head over to Woodlawn for the exhibit. This year there are a few local artisans set up in the reception area, which made for a nice entrance. There are about 410 entries this year (not 660 as I previously reported as the numbering started from 100 and not 1, and numbers were skipped). I found last year’s program and it looks like there were about 390 entries, so a slight increase.

As usual the pieces were outstanding. I think there are less samplers this year and more stumpwork, but that may just be how everything is displayed.  I was disappointed that all of our Feuilles d’Ananas arenot displayed together but that may be because two of the four are finished as pillows.  There are a few exhibitors from other areas who submitted the same piece with a completely different center! It would have been interesting to see all of the pieces together.

I was very pleased to see five of the 19 entries from NJNA earned awards! While we all know that NJNA is home to outstanding stitchers it is gratifying to know that the judges recognize our members’ skills.

In addition to the submitted pieces one can wander through “exhibits within the Exhibit”. One room contains absolutely stunning Japanese embroidery pieces, entitled “Exploring the Art of Japanese Embroidery”, which showcases pieces by Antonia Evans, an instructor from Silver Spring, and her students. I was awestruck by the beauty of these pieces.

A second exhibit entitled “Snakes & Ladders” includes embroidered photographs of Dawn Whitmore, a Virginia-based documentary photographer and visual artist. According to the program, the pieces are “a modern musing based on her fear of snakes.”

The third exhibit includes the works of Mary Duckworth, who was a longstanding member of Nelly’s Needlers as well as a designer, teacher, judge, and shop owner. Many of the pieces that she designed and stitched are exhibited along with some of the awards she received. Interestingly, one stitcher submitted two pieces based on a Mary Duckworth design for this year’s Exhibit. The exhibit includes the original piece as well as the later interpretations. Make sure you take a look at Mary’s Survival Kit!

I urge all of you to visit Woodlawn if you have the chance. There are so many wonderful stitchers who share their work. And, let’s continue to show NJNA’s support for this wonderful Exhibit.

 

 

One person’s eclipse story

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Staying in Asheville for the eclipse the day following the end of the seminar seemed like a good plan, but after the banquet on the last night there were many distressing stories.  Our plan–Jill and myself–was to leave our hotel after breakfast for the hotel in downtown Asheville where we would spend Monday evening.  Then we would wander through the shops during the day and ending at the designated eclipse park in downtown Asheville.  When we were leaving the banquet, we were told that downtown Asheville would be closed on Monday.  Now what.  We postponed any decision until Monday.  There was nothing on the internet about shops closing so we left before nine expecting lots of traffic.  There was very little.  We got to the hotel, parked, sat in the lobby with a cup of coffee and layed out our walking route before setting forth.  Almost all the shops were open but there was virtually no foot traffic in these stores.  It seems that most people were staying away from the area.  About one we walked towards the Pack Park where the downtown event was being held.  As we walked we saw more and more people headed in the same direction.  The park is small and had a number of families set up on blankets. There was music as well as activities going on for the youngsters.  We found a place across the street with trees for shade and a low wall for sitting where we waited and watched.  At that time there were some clouds in the sky but it was easy to see the moon “eating” the sun using our eclipse glasses–thanks to the library for supplying them.  As the time for the maximum coverage approached, larger and larger clouds appeared and we were concerned that we would not be able to see it.  Watching constantly was difficult because you needed to crane your neck.  One diligent woman kept us all posted and shouted out when the sun was visible!  The clouds broke open for about a five minute window with the maximum coverage right in the middle of the window!  As we waited the sky got dark enough for the street lights to come on.  The maximum darkness was similar to the time right after sunset in Asheville where the coverage was 99%.  It was a great experience and fun enjoying it with friendly strangers appreciating the same event.


 

Thursday in Asheville

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I arrived in the beautiful city of Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on Tuesday.  Yesterday, Jill and I spent the day at the Biltmore Estate.  What an amazing place!

But the most ingesting was the kitchen and servants’ quarters – evoking memories of Downton Abbey!

Today was the start of my class, Dusting of Snow by Gail Stafford. Although I was in class for a full day, you can see how little was done – just a couple of trees, half a shrub, and a tiny bit of sky.


Tonight we went to the Grove Park Inn for dinner.  We were joined by Cathy and Lynn from New York.

What a feast!  What an amazing place – a historic hotel with a view that is beyond words!


Jill and I were so glad to be able to enjoy such a wonderful evening!


More from the happy campers tomorrow!

Touring Biltmore House

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Today Carol and I went on a tour of the Biltmore Estate, the Vanderbilt home in Asheville that has been open to the public since the 1930s. The day included a self-guided audio tour of the interior of the house (think Downton Abbey), a little stroll through some of the gardens, a buffet lunch at a restaurant in a building that used to be the cowsheds, and then a visit to the Biltmore Winery for some wine-tasting and, of course, some wine purchases.


The views from the house are spectacular, across acres of forest to the Blue Ridge. We were told how Mr. Vanderbilt had a large scaffold constructed in the precise spot where the house would be to determine if the views were going to be captured as he wanted…I think he succeeded!


My favorite part of the tour (aside from the view) was the basement–the kitchens and pantries, laundry rooms and so forth, where the work of keeping the house running was done. It was easy to imagine all the servants bustling around keeping things on an even keel, enabling the Vanderbilts and their guests to live the life of ease that they did.