Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Let it Rain!

It's a rainy morning here on the big island, and perhaps only the tourists are disappointed with the weather. We've had a drought for a couple of months and everything is parched. The hills are brown and vulnerable to brush fires, there is a coating of dust on windows and cars, and the water cisterns are running low.

Unless you live in the center of town, most houses here collect rain water in massive tanks called cisterns. It gets purified and turned into tap water for cooking, showering, etc. When the cistern runs low and there is no rain, people call in the water trucks to replenish the cisterns. We've been seeing those water trucks everywhere and at all hours. I spotted one near Cane Bay on Sunday night at about 9:30 p.m.

We've been checking our cisterns periodically, and as we watch the levels drop, we're keeping our fingers crossed that the rains will come soon. When I say we, I mean just about every home owner on the island. So today there is a bit of relief across St. Croix and the hope that this rain cloud will linger for a good long spell.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

St Patrick's Day with a Tropical Twist

Last Saturday we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a parade that over the years has become one of the most popular events among continentals here in St. Croix.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. sharp and it winds its way up about 4 blocks of Company Street before it turns the corner at Market Square and marches down the same distance on Kings Street. It is very small and quite short, but it makes up in size with a huge amount of good, goofy fun. The crowd is an eager participant wearing green, sometimes outrageous outfits, brandishing water guns and drinking massive amounts of beer. Here are some shots:

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

To Frame or Not to Frame

As anticipated, the art show at the Botanical Garden this past weekend proved to have great Public Relations exposure. The Art in Bloom exhibit was well received and I got a lot of great feedback. And this morning I found out that a picture of my quilt was featured in The Daily News (one of the local papers).

One surprising bit of feedback I received came from a fellow exhibiting artist. She suggested that I frame my quilts. Her reasoning was that most people think "bedspread" with the word quilt, and therefore, framing my work would let people know instantly that it is art. I've given her suggestion a bit of thought and even went out to buy a frame to test the idea. The result was a more traditional art look, but putting my quilt inside a box took away the textural element that gives quilts in general such sensorial appeal. And this appeal is a major reason why I chose to quilt rather than paint.

This whole exercise reminded me how new the concept of an art quilt really is. As far as I can tell, I'm the only artist actively creating art quilts here in St. Croix, and possibly in all of the Virgin Islands. Across the county, those of us creating art quilts are still a very small group of misfits. We are not yet fully recognized by the traditional art world (although many museums are discovering that quilt exhibits draw large crowds), and we don't exactly fit or follow all the established conventions of traditional quilters. It's alright in the end. I don't mind having to swim against the current because the pleasure of creating art quilts makes it all worthwhile.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Art in Bloom!

Last night was the opening reception for the Flower and Fine Art Festival at the St. George Botanical Garden and I was happy to be there for my second exhibit. For this show I created 2 new pieces with a botanical theme: Century at Sunset and Unfurling (check them out at my new website: www.calypsoartquilts.com).

But what really made my heart sing last night was my participation in the Art in Bloom exhibit. Here floral designers interpret the work of select artists. My big quilt, Poseidon's Garden was interpreted by Beatrice Ramos, owner of Wild Orchid. There was another fabric piece by my friend Cindy Male and interpreted by Carole Pappas. There was also work by the late Maria Henle, interpreted by David Hamada (Horticultural Director at the Botanical Garden). And Judy Smith interpreted her own work. Here are pictures (in the order just mentioned) of the Art in Bloom exhibit:

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My New Website

For someone with a marketing background, I've been dragging my feet about putting together a cohesive business and marketing plan, much to my husband's chagrin. My excuse is that I've been too busy actually creating quilts to get to the business end of things.

I thought I'd take a break after the St. George Botanical Garden exhibit this coming weekend and really really focus on the business side of quilting. But then yesterday I spoke with Therese from Maufe Gallery and she offered me the opportunity to have my first one woman show this April. Yes, 3 weeks away! But how could I refuse?

So the business plan will have to wait a little longer while I prepare for the April show, but in the meantime, my dear husband, a web programmer, has been helping out with my website, so here it is: www.calypsoartquilts.com.

PS: Happy Birthday, Bobbow!!


Monday, March 05, 2007

Limin' on Cane Bay

Sunday is definitely Fun Day here on St. Croix. Although I spent the morning finishing a new quilt for the upcoming exhibit at the St. George Botanical Garden, I was ready to come out and play in the afternoon. Here's my husband Bob's account of our visit to Cane Bay, as e-mailed to our friend Rich G.:

"Things are lovely on STX. We spent the afternoon limin' on Cane Bay Beach. We brought books to read, but it was so interesting watching people, and listening to live bar bands, and vehicular sound systems, that we just sat and enjoyed the sights and sounds. We were planning to check out Off The Wall for dinner. It was closed for many months and just re-opened. But then a waiter from Spratnet, a restaurant way over on the west end of the beach, walked over and asked us if we needed anything, so we said, 'How 'bout a pig roast dinner?' and he said, 'Sure,' so he brought that over and we never had to get out of our chairs."

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