Saturday, August 28, 2010

Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, UK, Aug, 2010. Last report: What it was!

This is going to be a really, really long blog entry about my Festival of Quilts adventures, because, in spite of all my noble intentions, I never got around to writing another post the whole time I was in England, once my teaching started there!

I had made a first UK report blog, a shorter one, on August 16th, late PM, but since then it's just too crazy busy, but a real blast!  Hard work, great fun!  How it ought to be!  I flew home on Tuesday, Aug 24, and today is Saturday, August 28th.  So there you are!  I think my energy's back, and the good news is that I DID edit my tons of pictures all along, and have now transferred them from my laptop to my desktop and re-edited the ones I wanted for this blog post. So here we go!

This is where I taught my "Time Capsule Story Quilts" class, and I think this billboard for Mint Cuisine is always above this meeting room. Check out my cool blue doors with those funky handles!  Two and three day Masterclasses were being taught from Aug 17-19 by teachers like Sandra Meech, Rayna Gillman, Lisa Walton, and me.

Here's the big deal I was waiting for!  On Tuesday morning, Aug 17, I finally got to meet Andrew Salmon, the director of Twisted Thread and Creative Exhibitions, whom I'd been emailing and phoning with for almost two years, without ever seeing what he looked like. He appeared Tuesday morning and asked if I needed anything to help set up my classroom. I said I needed two ironing boards, but of course, someone else could get them. But then he showed up like this, toting two ironing boards, with a big smile on his face.  That's Andrew, always trying to do whatever it takes to make things work well and fast.  Imagine a VERY suave English voice, low and gentlemanly, full of courteous expressions of kindness and making everything all better.  Very, very, very tall!  He was even way better in person than in all our conversations before we met.  I give him a 10!  :)  Sweet as Kidney Pie.  OH, wait.  I suppose that's not very sweet!  Very English, but no, not sweet.  Let's try again!  Sweet as Honey Pie!
You can read tons and see tons of pix and videos of the Festival of Quilts 2010 on their Facebook page, including the video of an interview with me about my show.  :)

My class began that Tuesday morning, Aug 17, and would go through the 19th, with nine students from England, the Channel Islands, Sweden, and Norway.  After we all settled in and had introductions, we had the usual "library time" in my classes, when everyone is quiet and draws and writes in their sketchbooks for 10 minutes. Then we made a list of themes for the three days, lots of theme ideas, and chose SHOES for the first day's theme.  Above is my drawing on cloth with a Rub-a-Dub marker, of Shoe Fly Pie with a Cheeky Pigeon (but it can also be that bird toy that wears a hat and dips its beak in a glass of water and keeps dipping and swinging up and down) and Big Ben, and me, and a pie (for the 4 and 20 blackbirds...) and a heifer, because I'll end up finishing this piece into a small quilt to donate to the Heifer International benefit auction for this Nov 6th. The piece is a fat quarter of white cotton to start with, so that's about 18"h x 22"w or so, since I don't measure, usually. It may be slightly larger when quilted, after I write all over it, probably with some history of Heifer International, my England trip, or whatever else is going on during the time I'm writing on the piece for the auction.

Here are Ros Crouch and Susan Rowley, working on their shoe ideas. Ros has the start of a Crocs piece! (And I was told the English hate Crocs!  :)  )

After lunch on that first day, I began to demo how I paint with my Jacquard Textile Colors fabric paints. Janet Raine and Synnove Vanar are beside me here.

For the first two days of my class, my gallery looked like this, as it awaited the magic of Liz Cooper's installation team, who were very busy hanging many other shows during that time.

The two boxes of 21 of my art quilts I'd packed at home and sent ahead of me waited quietly in my gallery, while the hundreds of stands for shows and vendors at Festival went up around them.

Julian stopped by to see how I was doing with my class and walked me through the Festival halls, so I could find my stand (before there was much to serve as landmarks on the way to find it.) Here he's showing me a big pile of dirt that would magically disappear before the expo opened to the public the next day!

It was a good idea to take time to study this map on the way between the hotel and the NEC, so you didn't get lost. Vast and industrial are good adjectives for this complex!  Don't wanna get lost, now do you????! The very large Hilton is the black building to the left of the hand, and the National Exposition Center is the sprawling red vastness, of which this picture only shows parts. Be very impressed and intimidated by its sprawl!

This path between the Hilton and the NEC was a real delight of Nature, especially when we were spending so much of our time inside of massive buildings.  I love nature paths anywhere, and this one just was long enough to give you a really refreshing surge of Earthness, before you got spit out into cityness again!

I was starting to really enjoy the British culture, and on Aug 17, got the thrill of going to a Tesco grocery store in Solihull, the nearest town to the Festival, with Rayna and Marlene, when we were on our way to an indian restaurant there. The magazine rack is full of such different things than at home in the US!  And Solihull!  Well, it's where they made Triumph motorcycles and still make Land Rovers.  Oh, and Cadbury Chocolates.  Just check Solihull on Wikipedia, and you'll be happily impressed!

Oh, and look at the very different boxes of wine they have in England, sold in Tesco!  So different from the ones in my store at home.  I bought the Australian Red Wine, middle row, far left.  Tasted close enough to Merlot to suit me, and got me through the rest of my time in the UK, with box wine to spare, and I hope the cleaning ladies drank it!  Helped me get to sleep!

On the morning of the second day of my class, Aug 18, I got lost while trying to find a better entryway into the huge NEC. I was going to class over an hour early, to set up my airpens, but ended up losing 45 minutes to being lost, just walking around the perimeter of this massive conglomerate of buildings!

The view above is of nearing the end of walking on a huge skywalk, whose moving sidewalks and escalators were turned off, in order to get unlost. It must have been close to a mile of walking in that gray continuum of nothingness, after a nice stranger pointed me in the right direction to get to Hall #7, where I needed to be for FoQ!

Here's my Shoe Fly Pie in progress on our second day of class, Wednesday, August 18th, when I was also giving my students their one-on-one lessons  in how to use the airpen, so they could write on their work, after painting it.

This is my very first "Engaland Swings" drawing, made with a Rub-a-Dub black marker and a blue ink Bic pen, along with a little crayon, on a 5.5"h x 8.5"w piece of card-weight paper.  It's a drawing made after my class painting of the Shoe Fly Pie with Cheeky Pigeon.  Sarah bought it right away, so I was encouraged to continue my study of English culture!  :)  All during my time in the UK then, I kept on making Engaland Swings drawings, some of which will soon be for sale, and I'll let you know when I have good scans of them up.  They'll each be $150. plus shipping.

Here's Sarah starting to work with the airpen, which I've shown her the parts of, how to hold, and how to cover the little air hole, in order to control the paint flow. I'm still figuring out new "helpful hints" for how to operate, clean, and fill the airpen, after starting to work with it in 2002.  If you want to learn to use this tool with fabric paint, so you can apply thin lines of rich paint to your fabric, it's a good idea to study with me, because I've invented a lot of wheels with it!  You can see the little fish tank air pump in the foreground.  That's what pushes out the paint, so you don't have to wreck your hands in squeezing paint out.  Very useful!

My student Alicia Merrett was off and running with her painting of a shopper and clerk in a shoe store.  Alicia was teaching several shorter classes during the Festival, after our class.

Catarina Bitkover made vignettes of her favorite, comfy shoes.

Ros and Susan were busy, painting away!

Student Kate Crossley was doing an Alice in Wonderland thing, when the rabbit hole turned into a giant eye, possibly influenced by all the eyes Kate had just seen in my show-and-tell pieces.

Mary Horton and Janet Raine came up from Jersey in the Channel Islands, to take my class and do the Festival. They had a four hour ferry ride, plus land travel to get here!

Sarah Fincken made a painting about her daughter's love of shoes.

Synnove created a very good self portrait in her shoe piece.

Here's my "Shoe Fly Pie with Cheeky Pigeon," before I started any writing on it.

I'd pop into the Organizer's Office for Twisted Thread / Creative Exhibitions off and on each day, and this time I caught Anna Baptiste, the Festival's coordinator of all the classes, such the several Masterclass in the Art Academy. Anna always had a smile and a quick solution for any issues that came up. Like Andrew, I'd been really curious about meeting her, and her gentle, kind ways and happy face were even better than I'd hoped! She's wonderful!

When Liz and her crew got my show up, before my class ended on its second day, I was so thrilled. This piece "The Potluck / World," hungs on one of my gallery's outside walls. It's the one Hay House used a detail of for the cover of the Kitchen Tarot deck's box and book. Thanks to Jan Westwood for his dedication of time and skill, in designing my show for FoQ.  When my show was up on Aug 18 and I saw it for the first time, I jumped up and down, since I've never seen a show of this many of my new style of large pieces hung together before.  This could be addictive!!!!!!!
Watch FoQ's video interview of me and my show, which they named "This American Life," on FoQ's Facebook page.  (It wasn't MY idea to give that name to my show, but I am very flattered, even though the NPR radio show of the same name, hosted by Ira Glass, may not appreciate it.  Still, that's in the US and THIS is England!  Jolly good!!!!)

These photos are my first of the show, once it was up, but before they put up the signage, and before my display table was set up.

My students walked through it with me, on our way out of the expo center for the day, and I enjoyed seeing their first reactions to my work in person.

This shot shows Susan looking at work, while behind her are my three "Obamaland" pieces from 2009-2010, and on the left, my "Garden of Haiti" piece of 2010.

One piece, my "Obama REI" about the 2008 presidential election, remained on the table to hang on one wall of the center walls. You can see large images and long statements about all of the quilts here, if you go into the Gallery index page on my site and then into the 2005 to 2010 gallery pages there.

Here's a close-up detail of my piece "Wilma (Peace Voodoo)," which was hanging on one of the outside walls of my show stand, along with four other pieces.  They all got missed in the videos made of my show, because they weren't inside the space.  Anyhow, you can see how the writing looks up close here, except that this is a 2005 piece, the earliest in the show, and the writing got smaller and smaller, until in 2010, I can't read it very well!  I need to start writing a little larger again!

Kate Crossley, one of my students, then took us to look at the three pieces she has in the FoQ competition exhibition.  This was Kate's first time EVER to enter her art into art quilt shows, and she was thrilled, as were the rest of us.  This piece is all about her family, and she took the time to tell us about the many meanings in the stories on the piece.

And THIS is Kate's amazing 3-D quilt, an entire cabinet hand made by her with foam core and fabric and batting, including working drawers and lots of detailed dimensional objects.  All hand made!  It's called "Love Conquers All."  Kate has a studio art degree from Oxford, by the way.  Look for her!!!

The next morning, Thursday, August 19, was my last day of class and the first day the big Festival was open to the public.  Hilary Gooding gave me a ride that day, but we had to park a long ways off and walk in, so here's the main entrance.  This part of the NEC looks like something from a World's Fair, tho the rest of the outside of it looks like a huge science fiction city designed by the Yellow Submarine guy, Peter Maxx!

Inside the main entry is this big atrium with catwalks and tons of skylights, that sound wild when it rains!

Check out the fancy skylights here, above the Starbucks, across from the Festival entrance.  Hmmm, I never did go check to see if Starbucks had wifi, which the Festival did not.  Nowhere I went had wifi, so my iPhone remained a calculator and alarm clock for 10 days, as I worked to keep AT&T from being able to charge me one penny for overseas useage!  (I skyped and used email on my laptop, to communicate with home.)

Here you are!  You have arrived at the grand entryway!  Remember that I was there for two days of watching it all go up, before this stuff got here. It all looked like it had always been there, but no!  It was like a circus had come to town, and hundreds of people built this expo up from the cement and open ways, into carpet, walls, signs, lights, etc!  But now, Thursday, August 19, the Festival of Quilts is officially open, and the hordes of mad quilters are beginning to swarm upon us!  We want that, for sure, but it is a little scary, after all that quiet time!  I read that the Festival had 34,000 visitors this year, breaking all their records!!!

Back inside my quiet classroom on that last day of class, Aug 19, I showed my students my "Astrology Tablecloth," which I made in 2003, when I was first writing on my painted art quilts with my airpen. The forms are airbrushed, then the writing comes into this instructional piece, which I sometimes lay out when I'm giving an astrology lesson at my Turtle Art Camps at my home studios in Wooster, Ohio.  This is a giant sized table cover that's a primer for learning astrology.  I was surprised at how huge that airpen writing of seven years ago looks to me now.  No wonder the writing is taking me longer and longer now, because I'm writing smaller and smaller, as I get more comfortable with the airpen!

This last class day, everyone's working hard. Some are still painting, some are quilting, as I've already demonstrated how I do my funky quilting processes that are so different from everyone else's.

This is when I really am contented in a class: when the students are at ease enough with the airpens to sit down and use them on their paintings that they've been working so hard on.  Catarina, Alicia, and Synnove were all calm and busy, putting beautiful painted-line writing on their artworks.  Yea!!!!

In our final show-and-tell at the end of the class: Kate has made a piece about her beautiful city of Oxford, England, and she's so happy, she's wrapping up in the painting, that's now ready to be quilted my way. She plans to write on it with airpen later, after the quilting.

Here's Catarina's woman who's always making endless lists of chores, a painting now pinned together with batting and backing, ready to quilt. She plans to continue this List Woman series. The bathtub came out of our second day of class's theme: Bathtubs.  (Our third day's theme was Cooking, but nobody really got around to a third painting!  Everyone was busy finishing their first two paintings and quilting one.)

Since I was putting most of my time into teaching, I didn't get a chance to make a Bathtub painting.  But during the evening of the second class night, I made this drawing, the second of my "Engaland Swings" series.  It's Twiggy in the Bathtub with her Cat Peter Sellers.  :)  This isn't a very good image of it, but I'll let you know when I put up my scans of the drawings I'll have for sale soon.  It'll look a lot better when scanned, instead of being photoed.

Here's all the work we made in the "Time Capsule Story Quilts" 3-day class at FoQ 2010.  Mostly shoes and bathtubs of various interpretations, as varied as the artists who drew, painted, and quilted (some of them.)  We took the ariel pix like this while standing on the table and got yelled at for it by some passing village idiot.  :)  But we all seemed to like being notorious, and we really bonded sweetly in our three days together!  I miss my students!

Here's my "Engaland Swings #3: Twiggy and her Peace Purse," in which Big Ben has some lovely Peace graffiti drawn by Twiggy on him, and the Peace Kitty visits England, too.  This one is for sale and will be in my scanned images soon.  Stay tuned!

Now it was Friday, August 20, my first day to be in the Festival, since my class was now over.  Christine Bell came to my first lecture, and then bought my "Root Chakra Buddha Girl" art quilt, which is one of the last pieces I have for sale that combine all that hand stitching and the "new" airpen work.  She had bought a painting I did on canvas early this year, from the HeART for Haiti benefit at Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster, Ohio, my hometown, to raise money for Haiti after the earthquake.  Christine's purchase then helped feed a lot of people in Haiti for a long time!  And it was a true honor and delight to meet her in England!  Thank you so much, Christine!!!

Marlis Egger, a quilt artist from Switzerland, also came to my first lecture on the 20th. She and I had been writing back and forth on FB and regular email before the festival, and it was really nice to meet her in person. It was her birthday the day before, and she usually celebrates it at FoQ!

I think Marlis looks a lot like the women in my family, on my mother's side, and it makes sense, since Mom's Mennonite and Amish ancestors came from Switzerland. Those groups stayed pretty insular, choosing members of their own faith and ancestry to marry, for many generations.

Back to my Engaland Swings drawings, but this one is a commission I did for Marlene, after she and Rayna and I ate at that nice Indian place, The Lloyds, in Solihull.  Marlene had told me that she wanted one of my drawings, but not with Twiggy in it.  She wanted herself instead, which really made me happy!  Check out the waiter, who REALLY said to us, "You are making me very confused!!!"  Say that with a charming and musical Indian accent.  :)

And this is another "Engaland Swings" drawing, about a L'Oreal ad I saw on the telly, the night I didn't go to the International Gala for FoQ, coz I was too worn out.  I LOVED listening to the tv shows and ads, while I did my email, etc.  But this ad stopped me in my tracks, and I knew I had to draw it!  So funky and edgy, compared to US television.  My girl in the ad is probably Anna Baptiste of FoQ, not the long haired brunette in the real ad.  All of the "Engaland Swings" drawings are for sale for $150. each, except the two that sold.  I'll post them all on my Facebook page for Turtle Moon Studios.  There are four left right now.

This "Engaland Swings" piece is about their soap opera: Coronation Street, in which all these women are preggy and freaking out, for various reasons. Yes, I sort of watched it that same night, Friday night.   I've decided that English society is more sophistocated and reasonable than ours, and if not for my kids, I might drag Jimmy over there to live. Nah, he'd never go.  The food's no good and the fly fishing's too expensive, and QE2 owns all the trout and salmon!  (Good way to protect them tho. Very practical, those Brits!)

This is Karen, who's buying this piece, "The Compost Pot / Death: Card #13 in the Kitchen Tarot."  I had about half of the Kitchen Tarot quilted paintings in this solo show.

I'll be doing a new photoshoot of this piece with my new camera, before it goes to live in London.

I was standing outside of the Hilton when this wonderful little taxi pulled up, with its ads that include a shopping bag! A bunch of people scrambled out and a bunch of quilters staying at the hotel piled in, and off they went.  I want that car!

Now it's the very last day of the Festival, and my dear friend, artist Rita Scannell had come over from Ireland and was staying two nights with me. She and I popped out into the expo a little and went to visit dear friends. Here's my fave new friend art quilter, Pauline Burbidge of the Scottish borderlands, who Rita told me was the first ever art quilter to use an industrial longarm sewing machine on her quilts.  She blazed the trail that led to big companies making longarm sewing machines just to sell to quilters, but hers was something like a mattress-sewing longarm.  Pauline is like a little Tinkerbell sprite, only way more brilliant mentally than Tink, who was just in love with Peter Pan!  I met Pauline at Festival this year, and she has part of my heart. These are her newest works on the walls.  You can watch her FoQ 2010 video now!

Heike Stoll-Weber and Marla Hattabaugh vended at Heide Stoll-Weber's stand of her insanely beautiful hand-dyed fabrics and quilts.  Heike is holding one of my decks of Kitchen Tarot cards, in which I've made her a little simple Engaland Swings drawing, inside the box cover.  Marla is a dear old friend from Arizona, whom I've known since the late 1980s, through Art Quilt Network.  She hand quilts Nancy Crow's quilts.  AND she makes her own brilliant art quilts, too!

Here's Heide Stoll-Weber (who looks a lot like my Grandma Shie, when she was young) and Phoebe, who was vending with Laura Wasilowski at Artfabrik, where I bought lots of Laura's hand dyed #5 perle cotton threads, for sewing around the borders of my art quilts. And Rita!  I didn't get a picture of Laura, so let me see if I can go swipe one yet tongiht, off of her own site ...

OK, I didn't find a photo of Laura herself, but here's a pic she had on her blog of her stand at the Festival of Quilts. You can see all of her perle cotton I bought, in the middle of this picture!  :)

After our class was over, Catarina and I were able to spend a little more time together.  I wanted to just go home with her or have her come home with me!  You know how it feels, when you meet somebody you just want to hang out with every week, as good friends!

When Rita came over, she arranged my display table in my gallery, so that the Kitchen Tarot decks, etc, became much more civilized. And my sweet student Kate stopped in and gave me this gummy alphabet candy, which Rita sprinkled out on the table, to add more delights!

Andrew had told me that there would be Quilt Angels to take care of my show stand when I was teaching all day, the first day of Festival, which was also the last day of my masterclass! And he said Quilt Angels would watch my stand when I had to go on a break or go to look at the rest of the shows and booths.  So here are my two and only Quilt Angels: Sarah and Rob Edwards, who volunteered to take care of me!  They did an amazing job of giving me breaks, finding me, when I forgot a meeting at my show with a French magazine editor, who was patiently waiting for me, and of watching my show that whole day when I was teaching!  They are like godparents!  Sarah is a quilter, and Rob is retired and very kindly going along with Sarah on this volunteer work I couldn't have done without!  Thank you both so much, Sarah and Rob!!!!!

That Sunday, the last day of Festival, was Andrew Salmon's birthday!!!  I found out mid afternoon from Jan King, his partner in directing the Festival, so I made a card on my "Engaland Swings" paper.  Of course, it was Andrew bringing me the ironing boards!

Jan finally got Andrew over to my stand, which was a real feat, as everyone wants both of their time, as soon as they're spotted! Happy Birthday, Andrew!  And thanks so much to both of you for everything magical that you did for all of us!!!!

Rita, Ros, and I decided we must pose with President Obama one more time in the show, before it got taken down! These two women helped me immensely in so many ways!  Both are wonderful artists, by the way!!!!!

Hilary Gooding, in charge of the quilt exhibitions in general, was still smiling after trying to keep me out of trouble all week!  Thank you Hilary, for your endless compassion!  Another artist!!

At last I'm taller than Andrew!  Life is good!  This was right before time for Teardown, when the circus comes down in something like two hours, as opposed to the days it took to put up!  We stood outside my gallery, in front of my favorite piece, "The Potluck / World: Card #21 in the Kitchen Tarot."  Please send good vibes: a very sweet and interesting woman from Denmark, whom I didn't get a picture of, is thinking of buying this piece.

Then they announced that the Festival of Quilts was closing, and then it was quiet for a few minutes, and then the teardown crews got busy!  My show came down in about five minutes, even though they had to undo wood screws that held all the quilt rods to the walls.  They left the quilts folded all over the floor, and then Rita and I began packing them back into their boxes.

Then my first friend from Twisted Thread, Julian stopped by to talk, and that kept us delightfully away from the packing a little longer!

Rita and I packed quilts into specific-order bags with inventory sheets in each, then into specific order of bags into each box.  I packed the leftover Kitchen Tarot decks in between the quilts, for getting them home NOT in my baggage!  We worked for at least an hour doing that, and it woulda been more like three hours, I swear, if she hadn't been there.

This is the drawing I made on the inside of Rita's deck of KT cards. It has us as Avon ladies at the hotel, since there was a real convention of thousands of Avon ladies there, after the Festival people left.  I had been drawing little pix much like this inside of all the decks I sold, and put Big Ben in all of them.  I really have to google Big Ben and find out what he really looks like!

And THEN Rita brought around the rent-a-car she'd just gone off and got, and whisked me and my bags off to the hotel again.  I think we were about two of the last to leave the hall!

Ah, a glass of Guinness for dear Rita at the Little Owl pub later that night!
Well done!  That night Rita told me that she wanted me to go with her the next day, Monday, Aug 23, on a surprise trip to do a little sightseeing in England! This was great, as Solihull was as far as I'd been, and I'd only seen the grocery store and Indian restaurant there!

Off we went, and the surprise was:  Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare's hometown!  We had a blast.  Here's the Jestor or the Fool, who is also, by the way, the first card in the Tarot deck - the Colander in my deck!

Then I wanted to pose with this great, lifesized statue!  When I put my arm on his shoulder, the statue's arm came up around me, and I honestly thought it was a moving statue.  My bad eyes!  Of course it was a real man behind all that silver paint!  He was great!  People tell me they do this all the time, and they don't have permits so they take off after standing at one place a while, so they don't get arrested.  No, don't arrest sweet Statue Man!

Stratford was full of these tudor style houses, made of wood and plaster, with really close together beams, like mattress ticking! Oh and it rained on us.  Very English!  These 800 year old houses were all over the place, already 400 years old when Shakespeare showed up on the scene!

This is me in front of the house Shakespeare was born in!  Never thought I would be there.  Never even thought about it, but still, pretty wild!

Because of the rain, we ducked into this doorway, to find it was an amazing  international buffet, that had great food and was very affordable. Great big clean bathrooms, too.  Indian, Chinese, Middle-Eastern, American, Italian foods. Didn't see no kidney pie though.  huh.  We ate gleefully!

OK, all that Olde English stuff, and then a dollar store!  Wish we'd gone in, but we were exiting, stage right, for the church where Shakespeare's buried INSIDE OF the church.  Honest!

OK, as promised: Where Shakespeare is buried, right in the middle of the church, along with a bunch of other Lay Sextons, or whatever the guy told me that Shakespeare was.  They hold regular services in this church and also allow tourists to come in and take pix. You have to pay to go into the sanctum sanctorium where Willy's grave is, so I took the picture from here. Close enough.  Very beautiful church, I might add.

This was the afternoon view of Pendigo Lake, a view from my hotel room window that I hadn't seen before in the afternoon light, since I'd never been there in the afternoon til that last day.  Rita said she'd walked around it before, in earlier visits to the Festival of Quilts.  So that's one goal: to walk around it with Rita the next time I go over the pond!
In case you're curious about the weather, it was about 10 degrees warmer at home in Ohio all week, where we were having a heat wave.  England was pretty nice, averaging about 70 degrees for a high each day, with rain here and there, but very bearable.  I had a window that would open in my hotel room and kept it open all the time, as the AC didn't work, just the fan.  Didn't get any cheeky pigeons in my window, happily.  I was well warned about cheeky pigeons!  I liked that term a lot and am using it in my art, as you saw here.  :)

After staying up all night, except for two hours of sleep, it was Ta-Ta to Merry Olde bright and early Tuesday morning, August 24th.  Here my plane is rising over Birmingham, or more likely over Solihull, around 7 AM UK time, 2 AM my Ohio time.  I can't find the NEC's massive structures on the ground in this picture, but this view is really pretty anyway!  Wonder what that big green field with one tree in it is all about???  I spent my flights home trying to sleep and working on my next drawing in my new Kitchen Tarot series: "The Salt and Pepper / Magician: Card #1."  But there are enough pictures in this blog now, so you can see it later!

I got home on Tuesday, Aug 24, about 3:30 PM, Ohio time.  Here's my sweetie pie Jimmy Bear, meeting me at the Cleveland airport!  Yea!!!!