Monday, August 16, 2010

Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, UK, Aug, 2010. First report: getting there.

I'm writing from my Mac laptop Sally in the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, later than I should still be up, on Aug 16, after two days of getting here. Im going to make some typos in writing this blog, so don't bother sending me edit tips, please.  :)  This is how I can get it done and go to bed! Class starts bright and early, and I've had way too little sleep!  I am excited! The Festival of Quilts 2010 is about ready to begin here, and it's my first time ever in England!

This is Jimmy, Marigold, and me in Jimmy's leather shop in the basement, when I was doing my final packing to take off for the airport.

I decided to pack the two GREEN CATS tote bags I had painted for Eleanor Levie's book on making cloth grocery bags. I'll get  a link for that!  ... later!

Jimmy backs away from the very familiar sight of my Obama and Our Family garage door mural.  Goodbye, everybody!

Goodbye for 10 days to all our pretty flowers, including the Turtle Heads in the Moon Garden!

Jimmy and I both get all squishy when one of us is going to leave the other one behind for a few days. It's just what we do.

Here's a gigantic art guitar at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, by my departure gate. It celebrates the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here ... and maybe the Cleveland Zoo?

And another art guiar!  This one may be made of papier mache that's meant to resemble terra cotta clay. Very groovy. I was feelin' all Clevelandy!  I DID live there parttime for a while in Lakewood, after all, being Eva's fancy nanny with a granny pad!

Now I'm in Newark's airport, eating at a sit-down Mexican restaurant with this very cool mural. My waiter was scary, but I dug this mural!

I am normally so afraid of flying over oceans, but this went well, and I'm here to tell you about it! As Eva used to say, when her daddy would pretend he couldn't find her, when she was about a year and a half old, "I right here!"

After the 7 hour flight overnight from Newark to Birmingham, in which I sat next to a young eco-engineer for GE, who's from Hungary and designs sodium cathoid (???) batteries that will revolutionize our battery usage, and in which I watched a cool movie "Backup Plan" with Jennifer Lopez, and couldn't sleep, I got to my hotel room in Birmingham and got onto the internet by noon.   I want to thank the wonderful Middle Eastern man who helped me so much in getting a cab with all my luggage. Thanks for your kindness, Abdul! Sorry I hugged you!

Julian, who's worked with Twisted Thread, the group that makes the Festival of Quilts, has been with them for 7 years of their total 8, I think. He showed me this stand (read as booth in Yank Speak), and said this is my gallery, which will be installed tomorrow with my 21 quilts! The exhibition part of this blowout doesn't start til Thursday, so that overlaps by one day with my 3 day class.

I'll be in Stand #F12 all day Friday and Saturday (except when I give my lectures) and Sunday, selling my Kitchen Tarot decks AND the little cheeky fresh drawings I'm going to make as I sit there. Maybe you need an England Swings Like a Pendulum Do drawing with you in it?????  Come on over! I'm packin' my Rub-a-Dub markers and blue bic pens!

Here's Marlene, Julian, and Rayna, all of us leaving the NEC after a long day of the beginning of the buildup of the Festival of Quilts. It sure is quiet in here ... SO FAR!  They say it'll be crazy crowded soon enough. We set up our studios early tomorrow morning.

This is the main entrance of the NEC, which I think stands for the National Exhibition Center.  See how peaceful it is so far??? ...

Waitin' for supper in the Hilton's bar, with Marlene Cohen and Elizabeth Barton, who's teaching, along with Rayna and me and a bunch of other teachers.  Marlene is Rayna's assistant for her funky silkscreening class.

Ooouuu, I look kinda tired here.  And I have admired and trusted Rayna Gillman for so long ....!

Aiicia Merritt (also a teacher here, and a student in my class) and Hilary Gooding, who's the brains of this whole operation and a star quilter and teacher, probably teaching, but I have to find out for sure, were getting a bit slap happy, and none of us were even having a drink.

After not eating all day, I rather pounced (as the English would say, maybe) on this Melted Swiss hamburger with portabello mushrooms.  This supper is history!

Here's my bed, which I am about to get flat and sleep a long while in, and get up from in about 5 hours. The pillows here are outstanding, made of duck feathers. Thank you, dear duckies!

I hope to write again tomorrow night, but don't hold your breath! This Festival of Quilts is a wonderful thing, ready to blossom up tomorrow and amaze us all!  I'll get pix of Andrew, Anna, Jan, Mic, and the others in the staff, so you can see this international Twisted Thread powerhouse that's the biggest fiber event in all of Europe each year. Did I mention that they did NOT censor my political pieces? I love them!!!!

Jimmy and I, and then Gretchen, Eva, and Mike (GEM) and I had our first real Skype talks tonight on our computers, for free! Yea! I love and miss you all! Glad your new Hello Kitty backpack came on Saturday, Eva, and that you've started packing it up for kindergarten!

Oh, it's bedtime!  Taaaaa!

PS.  I finally posted my massive, final blog entry about my Festival of Quilts adventures, well after I got home to Ohio, on August 28.  Please read that opus, if you have the energy!


  1. It's so wonderful to read of your experiences my Lucky! May magic find you everywhere over there. So inspirational to follow you in this journey. :)

  2. How fun, Susan! I hope you have a great time and keep taking those pics! Makes me feel like I almost went on a trip, too!

  3. ohhhh, this is gonna be a bunch of fun reading! And then we'll get to see it show up in your art, too. Cannot wait. Have a jolly good time, Susan!

  4. looking forward to meeting you at Festival of Quilts!

  5. Me too, I'm going to your lecture!
    Must have been reading Rayna's blog for far too long - I recognised her back before even reading that it was her! Can't wait!

  6. Been missing you Susan, but like always it is always a pleasure when you do show up. Hope you have a wonderful and blessed trip. I'm looking forward to all the pictures and writings from your trip.

  7. I'll see you there. Be up on Thursday through to Sunday. Make sure you get enough sleep, it gets very very busy.

  8. I hope you are having a WONDERFUL time, Susan! Wish I were there to see you and the whole festival...

  9. Great to see you made there in one piece, and to see how things are gearing up : )