Friday, October 24, 2014

in other news

Artwork by Erwin Wurm. Love his name.
Wouldn't this make an awesome Halloween costume? I am in love with this idea. I mean, I don't know how you would actually see out of it, or how you would get anywhere in it, but still!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Last week I went to Philadelphia for two days. In the past I've flown into it and driven past it, but never really seen it as a proper visitor. I'm not sure that two days constitutes a proper visit, but I was still able to see some interesting stuff while I was there.

We stayed in the city center, at the Loews Hotel, which was quite nice. The first morning I even roused my lazy butt sufficiently to use the lap pool. In the afternoon I walked a couple blocks over to the Fabric Workshop and Museum.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect at FWM. I suppose I thought it would be like going to the Cooper Hewitt. Fabric swatches or samples on walls, a lot of explanatory text, some archival photos. There was definitely an element of that, but a lot more and overall, one of the more memorable museum experiences I've had in a while.

The entrance is marked by a bright pink, orange and red sign (so awesome). Upon entering you are greeted by an attendant at a desk who asks for your name and zip code. No admission fee, only a donation jar. I assumed I would be able to roam the museum at will, but was informed that no, I would be given a guide. There wasn't a guide immediately available (this seemed crazy to me - that each visitor had an individual guide - I could only assume that they didn't have so very many visitors?) so instead I joined a tour in progress (consisting of two women).
The first two rooms held a video installation about a master indigo dyer (maybe someday this sort of thing will interest me, but as of right now, snore) and a series of blueprint renderings of Japanese furniture with tiny, spotlit reproductions of them on a shelf. And by tiny, I mean thumbnail scale. I wasn't able to linger long enough to figure out what that was all about though, because we were moving on to the next exhibition. We exited the entrance I had just entered and walked down the block to the next storefront. Our guide unlocked a door and we were in a new exhibition. This was a room with a "Shaker-inspired" exhibit. Paintings were cradled in these odd hook things that hung off pegs in the wall. A very cool braided rug dominated the front area, and, if one was so inclined, one could crawl through the fireplace opening to a second room, which had a configuration of branches hanging from the ceiling and strobe lights going off. It was like a tiny, weird, woodland disco.
Pretty sure Shakers didn't really decorate their walls, but, interesting.
Look at that rug! Love it.
This is when the other ladies departed, having seen the rest of the museum's offerings, and I had our guide to myself. Unfortunately my guide had only started working there 3 days prior, so she hadn't much to share in terms of insights about the work. I collected the printed info on display as we made our rounds thinking I'd read it later (still haven't, ahem).

We returned to the part of the building where we had started and took the elevator up several floors. The first stop was on a floor featuring the work of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. There were a couple fabric designs I really loved - the first was a reproduction of a tablecloth fabric used by somebody's grandmother with a double black line overprinted in a tossed pattern on top. It was the quintessential 1980's MTV looking sort of thing. The second was a riff on those old black and white composition school book covers.
These 2 images are not mine, for the record.

The next floor displayed fabric screen printed by student apprentices at the Museum (thus, the workshop portion of the name) and a video documentary of them in action. The final exhibit was a video installation exploring Black male identity. Oh yeah, there were also a couple rooms somewhere in there with work by Philadelphia photographers. So, yeah, not nearly what I had anticipated in terms of, you know, looking at fabric. But, still, cool overall. Would recommend.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Dying Cat is making me sad. She's here by my elbow as I type this on my laptop in bed. Dying cat has a lot of problems, though they all pale in comparison, of course, to the fact that she's dying. She has anemia and ringworm at present, having recovered from the upper respiratory and eye infections she arrived with. But mostly what she has is FIP, an incurable, always fatal sickness.

She's been here about 6 weeks. She arrived while I was on a road trip with my sister. I was only gone for 2 weeks on that trip, but a lot happened on the foster cat front in my absence. One whole cat came and went. This cat was a Russian Blue, the same as our very first beloved cat, Milos (rest in peace). My husband felt a little sad to let her go, so Eva (the woman from the rescue group we work with) pulled another gray cat from the Animal Control kill list to replace her. Steve bonded with this new gray cat as well. New gray cat (aka Dying Cat, aka Violet) initially seemed mostly just very underfed. Skinny as hell, and with the already mentioned health problems, but not anything that love, devotion and food couldn't fix.

But after a couple weeks she wasn't putting on any weight. She seemed, in fact, to actually be losing weight. Petting her was like stroking a steel folding chair. All sharp angles and hard edges.

I took her to the vet. Then I took her to another vet. Long story short: Feline infectious peritonitis.

According to her shelter record, she was owner surrendered. My guess is that her owner knew she was sick and couldn't or wouldn't deal with it.

When we first decided to foster cats, I knew that practicing detachment would be key. Providing affection and care, of course, but with a constant understanding that they would be temporary boarders. That we would function as a conduit - a happy in-between place. And understanding, as well, that there would always be more. Always more. As soon as one cat went out the door, another could come in.

But Violet will stay, for however long she has left. And I try not to be sad, because being sad is useless.

It is rainy and gray today, truly chilly for the first time this season. The sun is setting earlier and earlier and I try not to take it personally.