Monday, May 29, 2017

Democracy Happening At the Capitol

My activism days paid off recently when I went to the state Capitol and had a blast! Our state legislative session was supposed to end on May 22 at midnight, but they didn't get everything done and had to go long. So one evening I went to observe, hoping to meet with some others who were driving separately.

the Capitol at dusk, and lights on for late-night meetings

When I got there, both the House and the Senate were in recess, and no one knew when they would be called back in. Many people were just walking around the capitol, looking at loose ends (lobbyists and other visitors). I wandered around and didn't find my friends, so decided to sit in the House Gallery and wait for them to come back to work. After a while a Representative that I recognized (Rep. Hansen) walked by. I asked him a quick question, and he invited me to go observe a committee meeting with him.

It was a tax bill discussion, not exactly my cup of tea, so I was a little bored, but suddenly in burst a group of protestors. They chanted loudly, marched in with their signs, and read a statement, until security came and ushered them away.

The tax meeting only lasted a few more minutes, so then we went looking for anything else to observe... we ran into the mayor from the city where my daughter lives. Talked with her for a while, then ran into the mayor from the city that Rep. Hansen lives in. He joined us, along with one other constituent, so the four of us were looking for some action. We went outside with our flashlights to "look for some good legislation."

Didn't find any (haha), so we went back inside and then bumped into this crowd. What was happening? The majority leader was holding an impromptu press conference.

That was interesting (even though I couldn't hear what they were saying). Then, Rep. Hansen decided to see if he could get us into the recess room. It's kind of famous around here, because a comment was made during a debate one time about the "100% white male" group playing cards in the recess room while women of color were giving impassioned speeches and thereby being ignored. There was quite a flap about that by certain individuals. Anyway, we waltzed into the recess room, so I got to see the famous room. And in there was another Rep. of whom I am a big fan. (She is one of the women who had been making a good speech and being ignored by the card-playing fools.) Oops. Did I really say that? Anyway, I was excited to meet her, and get my picture taken with her.

After all this observation of democracy in action and meeting some "famous" people, I was totally excited and star-struck. I hit the jackpot with my visit that night, even though I never got to watch either house discussing bills. They were going to reconvene but not for another hour, and it was already late, so I went home and watched it on TV.

What a fun and funny night I had! The session did finally end 3-4 days after it was supposed to, but the governor is still debating about whether to sign or veto some of the bills they sent him... like we were doing with our flashlights, the governor, too, was hoping for something better which is why he has to weigh his response. (And a veto would mean another special session.. my opinion is.. veto them. The bills have some bad stuff in them.)

I never knew I'd be so interested in and excited about politics until this year when I turned into an activist. Who would have dreamed this? I've learned a lot and had fun doing so.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review: Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon, The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

This is a look at an important part of our history that most of us have never heard of. As we all know, Indians were forced off their lands, and many of them were shoved into Oklahoma, whether they wanted to be there or not. One group, the Osage, discovered oil on their lands and become very wealthy as a result. Predators swooped in and did everything they could to grab the wealth out of the hands of the Osage, including many, many murders with coerced or forged wills that left the oil rights to the murderers.

It's a fascinating look at this saga, and includes the "birth of the FBI." J. Edgar Hoover was new in his role as Bureau Chief; he pushed his investigators to solve the murders and help grow his department.

The book is very well-researched by the author of another fascinating book, The City of Z.

my son reading The Boys in the Boat last summer at Itasca State Park

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rosalie Dace!

We were lucky to get Rosalie Dace to come to our guild and do two classes and two lectures. I am not taking her classes, but I attended one lecture last night and will do another one later this week. Rosalie Dace is from South Africa, so getting her to Minneapolis was quite a coup. She stopped here on her way from Point A to Point C; we became Point B. Lucky us!

Some of her works are on display at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.

I took the first couple photos before I decided I should also photograph her description of the work.

This one, below, is my favorite. I believe the inspiration is relating to voting. In many countries they vote by writing an X on a piece of paper. I believe that's what this represents.

This one is in the classroom and didn't have a statement with it. I think it's a sample for teaching purposes. After this follows a group of photos of students' work after one day of a two-day class. So interesting! I wish I had taken this class. (I guess I only photographed two student works; I thought I'd captured more than that.)

Next I show you some pictures I took of her slides. The first is the oldest known surviving pair of pants on earth. These were made in China about 3,000 years ago.
This is an example of the Tent Makers of Egypt's work. They do all this by hand! It's hand applique, and it's all made by men. She says they are coming to the USA this year (or next year)? I shall have to do a search and see if I can see their work in person!
The next one is a student's quilt; the student died shortly after taking Dace's class; she shows it to honor her student. And, of course, because it's lovely.
Then there are examples of work done by various groups. I can't remember who they all are/were. The third one down is made of.... can you guess? Not fabric. It's made from beer bottle caps (or some part of a beer container that the maker collects and has kids gather for her.. they're pieces of metal).

Can you guess what this one is made from? Rosalie just loves this one. She is in awe of it. The maker is unknown! She attributes it to a woman, but who knows? It probably was; it currently hangs in someone's office in a ... museum or something? I can't recall, but the piece is well loved and well regarded by them. Look below the picture where I tell you what it's made of.
It is made of safety pins! Thousands of them!

This one recently won "Best of Show" at a quilt show in New Zealand. Rosalie was one of the judges. She said some people were shocked that a piece based on graffiti would win. But.. it's based on a cultural phenomenon that is becoming not just graffiti but art, and the piece is technically superior, she said. And anyway, why not??

These slides are of Rosalie's own work. Most of them are the piece and then a detail, either beside the piece or in the next photo.

This is Rosalie Dace herself. She is interesting and entertaining, though she kept hoping we weren't falling asleep - heavens! We were enthralled! If nothing else, her accent is so cute. I look forward to attending her next lecture in a couple days.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I Miss my Sewing Machine!

My preferred sewing machine, Juki, is in being serviced. It takes two weeks. It's the longest two weeks of my life. I have been using my Featherweight, which I love, but it is limited. I made this bag today. There are some finishing touches that I can't do until I get my Juki back.

I have a couple of quilts that need bindings, but I'll wait for my Juki for that.

My small group met and had a fun Show and Tell -- dyed wool, a beautiful series, and a quilt made out of ties:

I learned about these little Crinkle toys for babies. They are super easy to make, and I can see why babies love them. I love them! A couple friends and I are going to order the crinkle papers for these and share the cost. These were made by my friend, K:
Are you familiar with Crinkle toys?

I made one so far. For the crinkly innard I used the bag from a box of cereal. It's OK, but I like the "real" crinkle paper better. Here is the front and back. I will do decorative stitches like K. did when I am reunited with Juki. I quilted those little squares in the middle, but those are not necessary.

Can't wait to get Juki back home. One more week... Meanwhile, I am headed to a class on Maintaining Your Featherweight.