Textiles, travel and Teaching
taking quilting one step further.
A busy day today, I was out in the studio early and finished a few minutes ago. Its time to watch TV, drink coffee and think.
Working on Donkey Diva today, not sure if I've overdone it a bit.

These images are taken directly from my photos of Donkeys in the town of Carrizozo, they will feature as classes at the Southern New Mexico Festival of Quilts.

Sometimes when I'm taking photos, I really have to put a lot of effort in to make them work.....
Then again, I have days when everything works in my favor, light, environment, and the luxury of time.
And so it was the day I visited  Carrizozo.
Some 60 miles from Alamogordo New Mexico, the town of Carrizozo gained notoriety for its links to the notorious "Billy the Kid"
Nestled next to the railroad, the town plays host to huge lumbering freight trains that signal their  arrival with the shrill wheels on metal and the distinguishable sound of the signal. The backdrop of huge mountain ranges rise up from the flat yellow plains to surround the town.
I had visited  before, several years ago and I was looking forward to visiting again, but I was disappointed that the two shops I wanted to see were closed, in fact, one has completely disappeared.
I parked the car in a side street and decided to walk.
It was hot, 92 deg and the reflection of the sun on the pavement felt wonderful after the cool start to Autumn at home.
The light is different there, I think it's at about 4500 feet above sea level. There is a translucent crispness to color at this level and I was always aware of it when I visited... its exciting in fact.

My disappointment turned into sheer delight as I rounded a corner and the subjects of my photos appeared...
I met no one, until I visited the most amazing antique store.... it looked as if it was housed in an old warehouse. The owner was sitting comfortably on a settee just inside the door and she was entertaining a friend.
Blue china from France, colored doors from Mexico,  Relgious Icons
from Mexico or South America. Even a beautifully hand pieced and stitched antique quilt.
I could have stayed for ages but I needed to be in Alamogordo at a certain time.

In the past 99 days I traveled a total of 58,321 miles, slept in 24 beds in 6 different countries and carried 135 lbs of luggage with me. (more on some occasions)
I met 1000's of wonderful people and in doing so I shared my ideas and passions on Textile Art.
Thank you one and all.
And I do it all again in 3 weeks. This time it's a round the world tour. 
Tonight I'm in sit still and contemplate mode and listening to Lent at Ephesus, Benedictines of St Mary as I write this post.

It's 7 days since I've written a blog.
Last week I was at the end of a 3 month tour and I was concentrating hard on giving my students the best that I could and to be honest I just ran out of steam at the end of the day.
I still have more images to put up of the Australasian Quilt Festival but it can wait a few more days.
When I'm in  teaching mode, it occupies my body and soul and  tasks other than food, work and sleep take second place.
My arrival home was joyful and has been filled with a round of social activities and spending time with the Grandies and family.
AND of course setting up my re-vamped studio.
Goodness I've been home 4 days already!!!!!
The floor decoration will take some time... but it will be done soon.
Each time I travel I collect textiles. Its been my joy today to put the last of my acquisitions on display in the studio.
There is a psyche that kicks in as you travel.
I'm one of those card carrying people, country visa's, hotel and fight premium cards and loyalty programs. 
 My cases, are styled for damage prevention, my hand luggage has been tested, refined and tested again, over and over again. However, I've not managed to prevent damage to a ligament in my hand which is still giving me grief.
I still carry 15 lbs of camera equipment on my back around airports and other travel venues.
When I'm home, I prepare for the next trip and do the round of Dr's and Dentists.... 
Uggg I hate that. Its concentrated physical maintenance.

Grandies Lily, Oliver and Oscar doing the squeeze.

What a great day.

Melbourne is a vibrant city with a lot to offer the casual observer. 
We are staying  in the Hilton on the park which is  within walking distance of parks and shopping and despite using the local  trams we still managed to walk about 10 kms.
I'm still in work mode and I honestly don't have a turn off button but I'm working on it.
A lunch time entertainer singing to an appreciative audience on the lawns of the library. The sun shone, the noise of the city was soothed by his singing.

Pamela Irving created Larry LaTrobe in 1992 as part of the Percent for Art Program and Swanston Street redevelopment. He is a life-size dingo-like dog who surveys the activity in City Square. Larry was based looselyon Irving’s dog, Lucy, and on her uncle, Larry. She claims that the dog is conic to Australia, and from the moment it was unveiled, Larry LaTrobe became one of Melbourne’s most loved sculptures. Despite being anchored to the site with 30-centimetre bolts, Larry disappeared in August 1995. Council immediately launched a campaign for his return, but to no avail. On hearing of the theft, Larry’s most ardent admirer, Mr Peter Kolliner, who had owned the foundry where he was cast, offered to produce another one. Irving altered the new Larry’s coloring to affect some individuality (he has a redder tinge), but in all other respects he is the same.
Larry was officially welcomed home on 16 September 1996. Melbourne band Jugularity entertained the crowd with an ode to the sculpture, ‘Larry Come Home – a documentary’, sung to the tune of ‘Advance Australia Fair’.

These shoes are delightful. I love the strong image. of the black and white and the cut flowers trim.
There is an ecletic charm about Melbourne. Its a great place to shop, people watch and explore the arts.Melbourne's awash with high quality cafes and restaurants, so you're guaranteed to get a great meal. Sometimes you want more than a quick bite to eat and in Melbourne, you're in luck. It's simply the best place to be in Australia for a top table experience. 
But we opted for a gourmet hamburger and fries.... (as you do) today we hope to find something special at the market.
A delightful garden shop was a bright spot amongst the grey stone buildings.
In 2010, Melbourne was named by  as one of the best cities in the world for viewing street art and in 2008, its street art and lanes were voted by Lonely Planet readers as Australia's most popular cultural attraction.
We spent quite a bit of time visiting Hosier street.
Once forgotten but now very much on the Melbourne cultural map, Hosier Lane is a small cut through between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, filled with regularly changing graffiti and a series of light boxes that exhibit the work of up and coming contemporary artists.

Here in Melbourne, I'm watching the morning news as I work. 
Its something I do each morning at home so its like joining an  old friend today. Good morning sunrise.
The sun is tipping the horizon promising a beautiful day.
I just want to walk and take photos today. Architecture, Art and People.
Of course the first stop will be Hosier lane. The art began to appear at the turn of the 21st century and changes constantly.
Walking the lanes surrounded by strong images and bands of color is a stimulation for the senses.
Last year we introduced Tilly to the art and she was mesmerized. I can image what its like being a child in a tunnel of color..... magical.

I have written a few blogs recently but they are not finished and time has been of the essence for the past 12 days.
I was pushing myself to the limit of my abilities and I figured I would get back to writing when I had time.
I've traveled thousands of miles, experienced a life time of experiences and shared in the lives of many, it's the journey of a life time.
In a few days I get to go home and be with 'my people'

AQC Challenge 10, 2014

And the winner is: Alison Withers (Victoria) with her quilt '10 together Equals Teamwork'
Only 36 km from the city of Monterrey, on the road that connects with the town of Garcia, is a place where the mystery of nature reveals a striking scene. These are the Caves of Garcia, an imposing mineral artwork  that exists thanks to the miracle of thousands of years of creation. To reach the cave is necessary to climb 80 meters high; you can make this journey by cable car or walking by a long narrow sidewalk. 
Grutas de García remained hidden for thousands of years until 1843. Priest Juan Antonio Sobrevilla discovered the caves during a casual excursion through the mountains.
We chose the cable car. However, there were still 800 steps inside the caves to Navigate.
The caves inside look like a rocky desert landscape . From the entrance two different paths emerge descending 105 meters: one is about 2.5 kilometers and has 16 different chambers; the other is 1 kilometer long with 11 chambers. Like most caves these maintain a temperature around 18°C (65°F).
There was even a small chapel with chandeliers in the cave. It was touching to see the small objects left by families or individuals who shared small tokens with the virgin. Some were tossed on the floor from the barriers and some had been pasted on a board.
It was a wonderful experience.
When I was a little kid, we had this set of children’s encyclopedias, Arthur Mees. Encyclopedias. They were great big books for small hands,  red leather volumes  filled with everything from fairy tales to songs to the instructions on body parts.

 My favorite volume was “Things to Make and Things to Do.”  It had wonderful illustrations on how to make amazing things out of toilet rolls etc.
However, my projects always looked like toilet rolls and sticky tape not the intended project.
The pages were full of promise and excitement and they had a particular 'educated' smell.
I always felt very 'wise' reading them.
They told of far off countries, and had photos of  people in places I could only dream of.
I wish I kept them.... (maybe I do still have them somewhere)

It was my version of todays iPad. Full of inspiration and adventure, as each page unfolded.
I think every family had a set of Encyclopedias on their bookshelf.
As we became a more enlightened family we added the Children's Australian Encyclopedia.
The man who came to the door to sell them to us said that "everyone in the street has bought them'
I still have these and they are so quaint  I  print my illustrations on the pages. !!!!!
But the reason for my post is that the Encyclopedias posed a very different image of Mexico.
As much as I travel I'm still reminded of those images in the encyclopedia. I also admit that at times I have preconceived idea of what a place looks like and when I find my self in a totally different environment than my imagination it's a little starting.
Monterrey Mexico is just that.
It's unlike any place I've traveled to in Mexico. Larger, urban, sprawling and incredibly beautiful surrounded by towering mountains. Where I'm staying and other areas I've visited It feels as if I'm in the expensive areas of Los Angeles.
 My observation of just a few days is that  this is a very cosmopolitan society.
I've never seen so many  multinational factories in one place.
Then on the other hand, the pictures above show a very Mexican side but that was because we traveled an hour out of the city  and these images were taken in a small country town just about to celebrate  its  140th Anniversary. There were modern buildings, but I chose to photograph the older cobblestone streets  with character and I can't remember the name of the town.
The images below portray the color  of the ever present bougainvillea, the boxing ring set up for  the event in the square that evening, the children at the fun fair and their Mums watching carefully and people just sitting in the park enjoying the saturday.
I loved the Mariachi advert on the light pole
I've had a great time being with the quilters of Monterrey and I'm looking forward to the next few days with them. Tomorrow is a bit of a get together, a little site seeing and then we have another 2 day class on Monday and Tuesday.
Our day was filled with wonderful things today, but this is about all I can write tonight.
More tomorrow.
Buttercup yellow, turquoise seats, a red floor, a green and blue roof and my heart just about bursts with expectation as we step onto our floating barge and join a throng of other people  doing the same thing.
It was  my day off and with friends I'm visiting  Xochimilco (pronounced, sochi-milko - in Aztec meaning ‘place of the flowers’) - to many, known as the ‘Floating Gardens’. 
The day was warm and sunny, with very little breeze. Music surrounded us.
 A trajinera, a type of gondola was deftly poled in front of us and it contained a group of  mariachis  in full voice. The cheeks of the trumpeter looked as if they would burst with the pressure and the guitar player played with gusto.
Every boat in the canal was a riot of color with flower designs and named for someone special no doubt. 
Patricia, Sylvia names of lovers or Mothers.
In the past, the boats were decorated with real flowers, but today, due to cost and the fact that the flowers need to be replaced every three days the flowers have given way to interesting designs. I couldn't tell if they were traditional of a figment of the imagination.. but never the less I loved every minute of 
Unaccustomed to drinking that thing called water I've found myself downing several bottles a day. It is the heat and the fact that Mexico City is at about 7000 feet elevation and we didn't have to wait too long to have our thirst quenched as a small  trajinera flat boat came alongside and offered us liquid refreshment.
Soon, a boat with an entire Mariachi band was moving beside us. They asked for a small fee, and then serenaded us with great enthusiasm and evident excitement.
In some boats, the marimba wavered precariously as the performers pounded out a tune unrecognizable to my ears but joy to the ears of my Mexican friends.
Children leaned over the front of the boat and dragged their hands in the water and some pretended to pole the boat.
A woman, standing in her boat and wearing  the traditional apron was selling cool drinks.  In Mexico, these handmade aprons are worn with pride for anything from fiestas to cooking, and even on a boat in the canal it is just part of everyday dressing. She handled that darn big pole with dexterity despite her age.
Like the floating market in Thailand, some of the boats looked forever like floating kitchens, the smoke billowed out as a variety of meats and  other unknown things were being cooked. How on earth they don't burn a hole in the bottom of the boat I don't know.
We sampled corn on the cob which had been boiled in a soup and then dipped in cheese and chili. I was hoping the towel she used to wipe the corn was clean.
Fuss budget you.
It was an amazing experience, they tell me some 2000 boats go out each day.... that's big business on any scale. The they also tell me that people come alongside and rob you.
Charming. At least I wasn't told that until after the event.

Pam Holland Designs and Productions.