The trip to teach at AQS Grand Rapids gave me an opportunity to visit friends and family after the show. It left me (kinda sorta) in the vicinity of my hometown about 90 mi southwest of Chicago. I rented a mini-van and put in 1400 miles in four states in 3 days. I was thrilled to be traveling in August when the crops were more mature and the weather warm. As luck would have it, the temps were mild and the humidity low during my stay. I almost made me want to move back, but not quite! I still remember those winters…
There is a subtle beauty to the Midwestern US and I’m not sure how effectively I captured it with my camera:
I love this happy photo! Look at that sky and the robust corn.
I didn’t include this in my post, but I have a video of the wind ruffling the soybeans and it is a beautiful thing, all that undulating green.
I did hit a few spectacular sunsets. The good thing about the plains is that there isn’t much to obscure your view of a sunset. This one was particularly beautiful. I wish you could hear the cicadas. They were shouting everywhere I went. Sadly, no lighting bugs this trip. I had about 3 more driving hours, so this sunset was particularly welcome.
Last landscape shot, wish it did a better job of capturing the beauty. The mist settled in the lower parts of the corn field, just as the sun was rising. It was a quiet and peaceful scene.
I have to share this: road sign on I-80 in Illinois:
Get it? If not, click here.
I did get to do some visiting while I was there:
My Mother’s 93 year-old sister is living a vibrant life. She lives alone and drives, surrounded by many who love and care for her. I come from people who live looooong lives and I assume I will also. There are relatives in Canada that lived into their 100’s. We got out quilts that were made by her Mother, my Gramma:
She called over 2 quilty friends and we all pored over the lovely details of the quilts together. As requested, I brought out a few of my quilts to show. They may have thought my quilts were a little odd for a “quilt”, but I think they enjoyed them. The quilt they are holding is the last one my Gramma quilted herself. My Aunt had me write a label on each and this one said something like “The last quilt Grace made and hand-quilted before retiring from farming and moving to Tuscola”.
I remember an apron being made from that same splochy fabric.
I don’t remember seeing this one before; it was nicely quilted.
What a treat! My Aunt’s son, my cousin, opened up Uncle Bob’s Ice Cream in 1980 at the Heart of Illinois Fair. His son has since taken over the business and it is The Best ice cream, really! Oh my, Black Cherry on an August afternoon – one of the highlights of my trip. My Aunt even made lunch for me. It was such a pleasure to see her.
I also got to visit my hometown and see my childhood friend:
She and her husband have been married I think 45 years? I am guessing that we became friends in 1962-ish. We don’t see each other often, but it felt like I never left. Old friends are like that. Isn’t that a wonderful part of life? I forgot to take a photo of my friend Steve, dang. I had a busy social calendar!
My flight didn’t leave until 6PM from O’Hare so I had a bit of time to kill. We decided to hike a bit in Starved Rock State Park:
Starved Rock is a stone’s throw from my hometown and the most popular tourist spot in Illinois. The park has 18 canyons cutting through sandstone bluffs. It is a super lush green, a contrast to northern California. The park’s name is comes from a Native American legend of a band of Illiniwek who died of starvation atop a sandstone butte. In the winter, the park is home to hundreds of bald eagles.
The vegetation is dense and beautiful. We don’t have this in NorCal!
This is what brings the Bald Eagles to the park, the Illinois River. We were there early, before 9AM and saw maybe 2 other hikers. It was a lovely way to start my travel day.
After the show was over (I’m presenting the events out of order), I drove 6 1/2 hours to Athens, Ohio (home of Ohio University) to see Quilt National. QN is a juried biennial exhibition of the world’s best contemporary art quilts, held on odd-numered years. I never thought I would see QN in person! It was totally out of the way of the rest of my trip, but I HAD to see QN!
QN does not allow photos so I can’t show the amazing,inspiring art. I can’t even begin to describe the variety of high-caliber art quilts I saw. It was inspiring, educational and entertaining. What was odd to me was that this was Quilt. National. The Best of the Best. And the venue was surprisingly located off of a quiet little dead-end road, surrounded by homes. The Dairy Barn is home to QN and yes, it really was a dairy barn. Just go to the bathroom and you will see:
I was also surprised that there were only maybe 10 visitors in the 3 1/2 hrs I was there on a Sunday in August. You’d a thought there would be throngs of visitors.
There was a concurrent exhibit, Quilts for Violeta Parra, a collection of work by Chilean textile artists. Violeta Parra was an iconic Chilean artist who left a significant artistic legacy to her countyr in the visual arts and music.
My Tree for Violeta, Doris Pontigo
World Violeta, Carolina Leiva Pena
Contrast, Loreta Silva Castro.
The tags on the quilts were a bit confusing, apparently translated a bit awkwardly, so I have not include comments. All were a tribute to Violeta Parra and the contributions she made to the Chilean arts.
What a trip, huh? I was gone for 9 days and was ready to see my Hubby and get to work in my studio. I do love to teach and travel. Wait, I may have written that a time or two before.
I’ll be connecting with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.