Jun 04 2014

It’s that time of year! Jump in the car for a road trip to see Barn Quilts.

Much like the Hex Signs posted on barns by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the eastern part of the United States, large plywood cutouts of quilt blocks have become popular sights in rural communities across the country. Placing quilt blocks on the side of barns and sheds, so they can be seen from the road, has brought auto traffic with income to towns otherwise lost to the Interstate Highway System.

Donna Sue Quilt Barn

Donna Sue and her Mother.

While the origin of Hex Signs has been lost, the recent advent of Barn Quilts is directly traceable to one woman, Donna Sue Groves, in Ohio, who bought a farm with her mother and wanted to spruce it up in honor of her mother’s love for quilting. Donna Sue is well known to quilters and Barn Quilt enthusiasts alike, and will be even more famous once a film about her is released. Called, “Pieced Together,” the movie is in production with an anticipated release of early 2015. Filmmaker Julianne Donofrio has been working on the film since 2009 and successfully ran a Kickstarter cloud funding campaign in the fall of 2013. Funds are still being solicited to enhance the final product, BTW, and by going to her Kickstarter post, you can still contribute.

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.08.51 PM

Many states with rural area have now set up Barn Quilt trails along with accompanying brochures to guide visitors on self-directed tours. Michigan has many such trails, offering an on-line PDF to be printed out here. There are many web sites devoted to Barn Quilts now, but one of the most inclusive is Barn Quilts Info, maintained by Suzi Parron, who with Donna Sue Groves wrote the book, Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement. It can be purchased on-line at Amazon and a link is found below.

Whether you make quilts, or just love to look at and sleep under them, the American Quilt Barn movement provides an enriching hobby and a great excuse to enjoy back road America.


Click for a preview


"Forever Tiled" by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs
“Forever Tiled” by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs by SunbonnetSmart

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Tags: , , , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 9:47 pm Comments (0)
Jan 03 2014

The weather reports promised an onslought of snow, Thursday night into Friday.

Although it sounds like it hit hard up north, those of us in the Washington Metropolitan Area got off lightly.

Through the dining room windows.

We woke up to a beautiful morning, white snow and vivid blue skies. I didn’t have to go far for a nice photo, in fact, just out the kitchen window.

Snow with sun. Reminds me of Colorado.

And, while I waited for the coffee to brew, I was able to make my “Photo of the Day” using the iPhone app “Collect,” that I dearly love. BlogHer Laurel Regan shared it on Twitter and I have been mesmerized by the ease of taking a fun photo everyday. A diary in a second, so to speak. Then each day is added to a calender for the month and saved, I guess, forever. And, ever? That Laurel sure is on top of things.

Love the Collect App. Saving a record of
each day for my Presidential Library.

It was energizing. So much so, I was motivated to make an improvement on our living space. But, fixing up the house in some way sounded like WORK, so we decided to fix up a smaller project. The bird restaurant in the backyard was due for a redo.

Our old feeder, squirreled to unuseability.

After the usual discussions of whether to fix up or replace, we decided to replace. But, that was probably influenced by our neighborhood ACE Hardware having a sale on the “Squirrel-Be-Gone Bird Feeder” from PerkyPet.com that caught our eye last week. Such a cute feeder, like a little red barn with a “Whoopsie” bar for squirrels, should they shinny up the metal pole.

The Perky Pet Feeder

Isn’t it CUTE? The roof comes off after the weathervane is turned to release it. And, it’s powder coated so cleaning with a damp cloth, every two weeks the directions say, will maintain its shiny barn-like finish.

 Well, thar she blows!

Perfect viewing distance from the house. I hope my birdie friends will be pleased with the new addition. Having a nice clean feeder will help me with my bird counts when I start up with the Cornell Ornithology Feeder Watch, counting birds coming and going in their migration patterns.

So, check in block for Friday, January 3, 2014. We did something in addition to complaining about the cold. 🙂

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure unsuspecting BlogHer bloggers to her web site, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 4:40 pm Comments (1)
Feb 10 2013

In my next life, I will love crowds. I will spend each New Year’s Eve in New York City at Times Square and each Chinese New Year in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown.

Today is 2013’s Chinese New Year, a year of the Snake. It will be celebrated in fine style, here in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown. If I didn’t mind crowds, I’d be there. Or, if I could use the Popemobile, and be encased in plexiglass while I zoom around, that would be OK as well. But, just being me, I have to enjoy the festivities on TV or YouTube, safely sequestered away from the crowded excitement, but missing out on lots of it. Even so, I’ve got the pitch that celebrating the Chinese New Year in the District of Columbia is a very good time.

A targeted view of the D.C. Dragon Dance winding around.

When we go to the National Gallery of Art, we come home by way of 7th Street, a main north-south artery of the City. The City was carefully planned as the Nation’s Capital by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, appointed by President George Washington in 1791. All of the streets are on a naming system with all of the north-south streets being numbers and all of the east-west streets being letters of the alphabet. When we drive on 7th Street, we cross H Street, passing right by the Friendship Arch signaling the beginning of Chinatown at 7th and H. For those interested in going to Chinatown by subway, there is a convenient Metro stop, Gallery Place/Chinatown.

The Friendship Arch welcomes visitors to Chinatown, D.C.

Washington’s famous Friendship Arch is the world’s largest arch of its kind. It is a “seven roof arch” consisting of three large and four small tiled roofs. The Arch was erected in 1986 to celebrate our friendship with Washington’s sister city of Beijing, China. Designed by local architect, Alfred H. Liu, the arch boasts 272 dragons, reminding the viewer that many Chinese people consider themselves People of the Dragon.

The Washington, D.C. Chinese New Year’s Festival, 2012.

As with all political situations, there are many stories and back stories associated with the Friendship Arch. Many of Washington’s Chinese businessman did not want the Friendship Arch to be built in association with Communist China. As their sympathies aligned with Taiwan, they were intent on building a second arch on the other side of Chinatown to represent what they considered the true government of China. After many years, the funding for the businessman’s Taiwan Arch never materialized and the present Freedom Arch was built in concert with Beijing and the Communist People’s Republic of China.

Making New Year Cake or Nian Gao.

My parents lived near San Fransisco, CA in the early 1950s and were friendly with their Chinese neighbors. My father developed a definite fondness for sweet Bean Paste Cakes which you can study by clicking on the Guide to Chinese Pastries. Whenever I was near any sort of Chinatown with traditional Chinese Bakeries, whether in Los Angeles, New York City or Boston, I would always buy a box of Bean Paste Cakes to insure a happy homecoming and see his big smile. Although the Bean Paste cakes are eaten all year long, the New Year Cakes seen in the video above are special to the Chinese Lunar New Year.

By watching the video above, you can bake them “just like your Chinese grandmother use to make.” Sounds good to me. I LOVE recipe secrets! Happy New Year, everyone!

Tags: , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside,Uncategorized — admin @ 1:10 pm Comments (0)
Jan 20 2013

Sometime last fall, I was talking with Darcie, a BlogHer moderator who lives way north in Canada. She mentioned she likes it when I blog about my travels to Pennsylvania. I asked her if she would be interested in photos from trips into Washington, D.C. and she said, “Yes!” So, Darcie, this little travelogue is for you!

Going down into Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 19, to attend a class at the National Gallery of Art, I was able to enjoy the preparations for Monday’s Inauguration Parade first hand. The National Gallery is located on the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route, so it was obvious something very important will be happening Monday, January 21, 2013, the day we are also celebrating as Dr. Martin Luther King Day. The Inauguration Parade is an American tradition to welcome the newly sworn in President and Vice President.

President Barack Obama, elected to a second term in last November’s elections, will be sworn in on Monday in his official Inauguration Ceremony, although he first was sworn in today at the White House because of a Constitutional Requirement that he assume the office by noon on January 20. On Saturday, the day was sunny and bright and the anticipation of Monday’s events were easily seen. As we drove down Pennsylvania avenue and turned right on 17th Street to go around the the Ellipse, in back of the White House, the excessive numbers of visitors, security police and lines of restraining fences foretold of a coming big event.

The Washington Monument first thing in the morning.

Our classes began at 10:00am, so we had to get up early, leaving the house by 7:30am to get downtown, find a parking garage. We found public parking with an all day rate, cheap at $11.00 and parked the car. We walked a half mile to the East Building of the National Gallery, where the educational classrooms are located.

Reviewing stands on the Pennsylvania Ave Parade Route

On the way, we passed any number of reviewing stands as we walked along, because the main parade route goes along Pennsylvania Avenue, then proceeds on Constitution Avenue after Pennsylvania ends.

A journalist’s delight, The Newseum, is “dressed” for President Obama.

The National Gallery of Art is on Constitution Avenue, both East and West Buildings, so the parade will go right past the National Gallery. Each building along the way is important and they all seemed to know it, decked out in patriotic finery to welcome visitors, as well as the President.

Heading toward the Capitol, still on the Parade Route.

Constitution Avenue goes right up to the Capitol Building where Presidents take the Oath of Office. It was exciting to see the City decked out to greet President Obama. Every building seemed to have stars and stripes on signs and flag bunting.

At the front of the East Building, National Gallery of Art,
with the Canadian Embassy diagonally across Constitution Ave.

I was amazed at the number of people downtown. It seemed like there were many more visitors, noticeably so, for what would be usual for tourists on a Saturday. Everyone walked along laughing, in high spirits, while enjoying themselves on such a festive occasion.

All the lampposts have flags. All the buildings have bunting and signs.

Our art class that began at 10:00 in the morning, didn’t end until 4:00pm, so by the time we were starting home at 5:00pm, the crowds had greatly increased.  While we were indoors all day, American flags had been put on every lamppost, one on either side of a Washington, D.C., District of Columbia flag, for a total of three.  The party atmosphere was in full force as we walked back to the car with the sun going down amidst lots of happy people.

We drove out of Washington, by going through Georgetown, going west on Pennsylvania Avenue, until it became M Street. The heavy traffic and throngs of party goers indicated to us President Obama is well on his way to a successful and happy 2nd Inauguration.

Filed under: Beauty,Outside,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:39 am Comments (0)
Nov 14 2012

When I was a child in 1950s, DisneyLand was a continent away in California and Florida’s DisneyWorld wouldn’t be built until the early 1970s.

We were unconcerned, however, because in Maryland, we had Sugarloaf Mountain, a magic kingdom in and of itself. The mere mention, when I was a child, was an elixir for happiness and untold adventure

Sugarloaf is on the left.

Sugarloaf Mountain is located almost halfway between Washington, D.C. and Frederick, Maryland. As we call it, Sugarloaf is rounded and old, not sharp like those young upstart mountains in the American west, the Rockies.

Looking east toward where the first photo was shot

Sugarloaf Mountain was a favorite spot for picnics and family outings, my Brownie and Girl Scout meetings and later, in college, a great place to go when spring fever hit.

The blue haze is Virginia across the Potomas River.

If unfamiliar with the State of Maryland, one might not know that Maryland has mountain ranges, as stated in, “Mountain Getaways in Maryland,” which offers:
Not often thought of as a mountainous state, Maryland has more than 60 mountain ranges and hills in its western end where it borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This area is steeped in history; the first battle between the Union and the Confederacy took place on Sugarloaf Mountain in September, 1862, according to Maryland State Archives.

Read more: Mountain Getaways in Maryland | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7813416_mountain-getaways-maryland.html#ixzz2CM81vMEV

Not often thought of as a mountainous state, Maryland has more than 60 mountain ranges and hills in its western end where it borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This area is steeped in history; the first battle between the Union and the Confederacy took place on Sugarloaf Mountain in September, 1862, according to Maryland State Archives.

Read more: Mountain Getaways in Maryland | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7813416_mountain-getaways-maryland.html#ixzz2CM81vMEV

Not often thought of as a mountainous state, Maryland has more than 60 mountain ranges and hills in its western end where it borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This area is steeped in history; the first battle between the Union and the Confederacy took place on Sugarloaf Mountain in September, 1862, according to Maryland State Archives.

Read more: Mountain Getaways in Maryland | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7813416_mountain-getaways-maryland.html#ixzz2CM81vMEV

Read more: Mountain Getaways in Maryland | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7813416_mountain-getaways-maryland.html#ixzz2CM81vMEV

 “Maryland has more than 60 mountain ranges and hills in its western end where it borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  This area is steeped in history; the first battle between the Union and Confederacy in Maryland took place on Sugarloaf Mountain in September, 1862.”

For a fascinating brochure on Maryland in the Civil War, click here.

The architecture is Mid-Atlantic Colonial.

In the 1950s, Sugarloaf was beautifully groomed with flowers, and shrubs, Victorian vistas and fancies such as curved benches and rows of trees with expanses of manicured lawns with garden statuary.

The lake at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Now many things remain, but with Sugarloaf being “loved to death” by summer crowds, it’s not quite as regal as it once was. The area is still grand, though, and towering over any other attraction in the center of Maryland.

I hope someday you will visit Sugarloaf Mountain. Give me a call and we’ll have lunch, then some tea in the afternoon.

For more information, click here. For hiking and trails, click here.

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 2:37 pm Comments (0)
Apr 08 2012

Festive holidays always seem to make me thankful.

I spend my time thinking of the excitement of holidays when I was a child in the 1950s. Spending time at both grandmothers’ houses one after the other, morning maternal, afternoon paternal, ensured an never ending array of attention and presents. I was all for that. Still am.

Here’s hoping you enjoy all of the spring time
festivities that are dear to your family.

It’s so wonderful that people feel comfortable expressing themselves nowadays, being true to their heritage and family backgrounds. My mother’s family were pure German, but were never comfortable being who they were. Any smidgen of German tradition was not recognized as they did not want to be thought of as “foreign.” So, when I found Volker Kraft and his 10,000 egg Easter Egg Tree, I was happy to see what, in a more accepting place and time, I could have been enjoying all these years: blowing thousands of yolks out of thousands of eggs, decorating the shells and hanging them in the front yard. Why, it boggles the mind.

Volker Kraft has an Easter Egg Tree that people travel to see.

As if that’s not enough, 10,000 eggs on a tree for all to see, Volker Kraft also has a web site. His family web site will mean all the more if you understand German, but there are English and other language translation buttons at the bottom of the screen.

I just love the Kraft family web site and go to it every year to see what’s new. It’s like a play area for adults. Lots of fun! Why, I think I’ll give a link to you and all the BlogHer peeps.

You know, the Peeps. All those peeple who come to BlogHer, read, Comment and Follow the magnificent posts from the thousands of BlogHer contributors. Peeps with their Comments make the BlogHer world go ’round.

BlogHer Peeps come in all shapes and sizes, ages
and heritages, but a common thread between them
is, “If you want a friend, you have to be one.”  

“If you want a friend, you have to be one.” At least, that’s what they used to tell us in Girl Scouts. And, it seems to work on BlogHer as well. The more you give, the more you get.

Every now and then I see a Comment or Chatter with BlogHers boo-hoo-hooin’ about the fact nobody is coming to their postings or blogs to read them. They are sad because they think no one is reading their thoughts and yet, they just sit there and wait. And wait. And wait.

No! Don’t do it! If this sounds like you, get out of your BlogHer corner and start Commenting on other peeple’s posts.

That’s how you get out and about, to see and be seen. Did you know that every time you Comment, your avatar and the location of you Comment, goes down on the right hand side, under the category, “Recent Comments?” That makes it easy for people to FIND YOU. And, what you think. And, what you like. So, they can feel close to you and start to become your virtual friend.

In other words, become a Peep! Make a point to Follow other Bloghers, love and support them and they, in turn will become a Peep of yours. It’s so easy! It’s so much fun!

Remember, Peeps make the BlogHer world go around.

I LOVE peeps!

  NaBloPoMo April 2012

Tags: , , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 3:05 pm Comments (0)
Mar 20 2012

Nothing is more invigorating than a spring day,
except, maybe, getting a book published!

Many years ago, no wait, many, many, MANY years ago, in the middle 1980s, I was teaching a quilt class. We met once a week at one of the class members’ homes, interrupting our quilting with snacks and hot tea. One of the ladies would haul out a big notebook and read to us. She was transcribing handwritten letters, sent back and forth to her sister-in-law, Bert, in the 1950s. We loved hearing the letters. They were so interesting and the enormity of her task, typing them all without a computer, was impressive.

And so, we spent the winter, hunkered down, quilting and listening to wonderful letters read by one of the original authors. We knew Grace was serious about her letters, because as we quilted and talk through the weeks and months, the stack of typed paper grew. Then, at some point, Grace started mentioning the idea of publishing her letters with Bert as a book. The other quilters and I would try to think about publishing a book, but that was very far away to us. Grace, however, anticipated entering the publishing world someday, without a second thought. Later, I learned that her dreams, with her positive thinking, brought results.

Grace’s book was published in 2000.

The years went by. I moved away and lost touch, got married with a family and often thought of Grace and the quilters, but never quite took action to say, “Hello.” Then, with the immediacy of the Internet, in 2008 or so, I wondered about Grace, did a search on her name and got the surprise of my life. I was directed to Amazon, to a book called, “Dear Bert” by an author named Grace Kull. I was thrilled!

At that, I had to get in touch and reacquaint with one of my favorite people, so I called Grace and we have been in touch ever since. And today, I called Grace again, because today is Grace’s ninetieth birthday. Counting backwards you can figure she became a published, first time author at seventy-eight years of age.

Happy Birthday, Grace, and Many Returns!

Being a first time author was not her only first. Talk about trying new things, Grace opened a bed and breakfast in the 1990s, forging ahead to bring new people into her life. And indeed she did. One of her guests turned out to have connections with a one man publishing house, Jerry Kelly of Xoxox, as one article says, “hard to pronounce, but easy to admire.” The rest is history as Grace’s book came out and delighted everyone who read it.

Grace and her cat, Abner.

Jerry Kelly is a graduate of Kenyon College and an informative article is available by clicking here. While interestingly enough, Jerry is called a literary “midwife” for his birthing of books, Grace is also mentioned in the article:

“More typical, perhaps, is Grace Kull, an octogenarian homemaker from Cooperstown, New York, who came to Kelly through his network of writer friends. In 2000, Kelly published Dear Bert, a collection of letters by Kull to her sister-in-law. In 2003, he brought out Traces: A Soldier Writes Home, a collection of war-time letters by Kull’s brother, John E. Rames, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. In both cases, Kelly was drawn by the personality and humor that shone in the letters, as well as by the way the letters’ mundane details evoked a particular era while innocently touching universal chords.”

Grace’s second book, “Traces: A Soldier Writes Home,” has a heartwarming aftermath as members of the armed forces who knew Grace’s brother in WWII have written her following her book’s publication. But! That’s a good story for another post, so we’ll end by wishing Grace:

The Best of Happy Birthdays!

May each day throughout the next year
bring you all the happiness of today!

NaBloPoMo March 2012

Tags: , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 6:59 pm Comments (0)
Dec 04 2011

Baltimore Oriole from the Cornell Web site

Are you familiar with the
Cornell Lab of Ornithology?

…located in Ithaca, New York?


Northern Cardinal from the Cornell Web site

…the world renown Lab of Ornithology
at Cornell University?

…located on, get this,
Sapsucker Woods Road?

Well, neither was I. I was in the dark about higher level bird study, alone and afraid until my good friend, Wayne Wright, Associate Director of the New York State Historical Association Research Library, told me many years ago about signing up for the Cornell Bird Watch.

Wayne explained that every year, birders all over the United States took time to go out and count birds, listing the number and species of all birds they saw on certain designated days. I signed up and enjoyed participating for many years, feeling like I was contributing in some small way to science, somehow insuring the survival of my bird friends.

Mourning Dove from the Cornell web site

Now, fast forward please, to 2011, where the annual bird watch has expanded, right along with computer access. Now, the watch, rather than occurring on one day, occurs throughout the winter season and is known as Project Feeder Watch. This season began on Saturday, November 12, and will continue until Friday, April 6, 2012. Project Feeder Watch participants, called “Citizen Scientists,” can count birds on two consecutive days each week. They don’t have to be plastered at their windows, watching back yards feeding stations all day long, but rather can keep a casual eye out and record the largest number of a species seen at any one time.

Click here to go to the Cornell Feeder Watch
web site and engage a delightful video about
Project Feeder Watch

If you have a feeder where you can comfortably watch, while you do other things, then you can participate. Just go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web site, found here, to sign up and begin the adventure. You can join at any time!

If you need an identification guide, this is a good one.
Hover your mouse over this link to preview:

The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher


NaBloPoMo 2011

Tags: , , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 3:38 pm Comments (0)
Sep 17 2011

Amish and Mennonite farms present their
fall finery in tempting displays.

It’s always a shock when I wake up and realize summer’s over. It hit me today when I saw the first changing leaves. Tips of color on an otherwise summer-green tree. Sigh. It is so hard to say goodbye. I use to wait to say goodbye until I finally had to quit wearing flip-flops, but now I don’t wear flip-flops in summer and so, the move to autumn is less defined. Now I have to count on the trees to show me that time is passing. And, in that case, there is no denying the transition. It’s not subjective or based on personal preference anymore. I can’t push the envelope. When tree leaves are turning red and orange, the time to move into fall has come.

The very first bits of fall color are noticeable

on Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our drive to Pennsylvania was trying therefore, at  least it was after I noticed the tree with the color. But, putting that to the back of my mind, I had a really great time otherwise. We go to Pennsylvania to save money on food and get the best value for our money.  We buy directly from farmers to get the best food at the lowest price and it is a pleasure that enhances this time of year when winter is coming and the air is just starting to get chilled.

A fall palette of chrysanthemums waits for adoptive gardens.

After we were introduced to the teachings of Weston A. Price in 2007, we started driving to Pennsylvania to get milk, dairy products and organically grown fruits and vegetables off the farms. All of the products were so much better than we could buy at the store and we established personal relationships with the farm families. We quickly learned eating from growers we knew was comforting, because we knew exactly how our food was grown.

It always amazes me how people will fuss about having just the right designer label on their clothing, but stop for fast food to save money. Isn’t what we put into our bodies much more important than what we put on them? Food can build your body up or tear your body down. Learn to choose good, nutrient dense food for you and your family. You’ll find that, in addition to being nutritive, organic food is like medicine. It can restore and heal.

“Larksong” is the name of the organic dairy farm

in Ohio’s Holmes County owned and worked by David

and Elsie Kline with members of their family.

If you have an interest in the organic way of life, consider reviewing this lovely book illustrating the richness of living and eating organically by hovering over the link below:

Letters from Larksong: An Amish Naturalist Explores His Organic Farm

One reader review on Amazon comments:

“One key to sustainable farming, Kline says, is to “romance our children into farming,” and the key to that is to make it both profitable and fun. The Klines have managed that balancing act for generations. It requires deep knowledge of the land. So, for example, they plan their haying to allow bobolinks and vesper sparrows time to build nests, lay eggs, and raise families in the field. “Our goal is to see flying young bobolinks while we’re mowing the field,” Kline reports. They’ve seen as many as 45 singing bobolink males in twelve-acres.”

This is a beautiful book.

Tags: , , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 6:11 pm Comments (0)
Aug 27 2010

My marble sculpture is not at a museum,
but in our rock garden.

Everyone who decides to attend college eventually has to take a course that they wouldn’t have otherwise selected, to fulfill a requirement or an open time slot in their schedule. Colleges want graduates to be well rounded in their field of study, not just proficient in their favorite courses.

So, that’s how I became a sculptor of marble. I was a drawing and painting major working on my studio art degree at the University of Maryland in the early 1970s, and to complete my degree, I was required to take a sculpture class. I had watched a talented sorority sister, also in studio art, sculpt a clay figure with a wire armature inside to support it and that was the class I wanted to take. But, that class was full and so I had to decide whether to wait a semester or go ahead and sign up for the only other sculpture class fitting my schedule, a marble sculpting class. Well, I thought, how hard could it be?

Well, it was really hard. The physicality of marble sculpture is not to be taken lightly. On the first day of class I found myself standing on a HUGE block of marble with a jack hammer trying to hold it steady while I was shaken beyond what I had ever thought possible. Kenneth Campbell, a renown marble sculptor, was the Professor and he insisted we learn the art from start to finish. I did not expect to be hammering off large chucks of marble from the huge block I was standing on, enough for each person in the class, but I had to jump up and take my turn like everyone else.

A sculpting tool kit offered by Sculpture House.

Then I had to learn to sharpen the tools, the chisels and points on a sharpening stone with oil as a lubricant.  Next, I had to learn to hold the tools correctly and hit them with the 2 1/2 pound hammer to flick off a tiny chip of stone. Finally, I had to learn that my hands would be “ringing” with the feeling of the hammer hitting the chisel long after the sculpting session had ended. It was a long and laborious process, my marble sculpture class that semester. One that gave me the highest respect for anyone who completes a marble sculpture. Especially getting it shiny smooth by using the progressively smaller sizes of abrasive grits rubbed over and over on every surface. What I learned that year was, completing a marble sculpture takes nothing short of a miracle.

I wouldn’t know how that miracle happens because my marble sculpture was never finished to that level of perfection. Even so, my scuplture and I spent so much time together that I now display it proudly: as a petunia support and chipmunk watering hole. I feel both petunias and chipmunks should have nothing but the best.

And, every time I go to the University of Maryland and am walking by the Night – Day sculpture created by Professor Campbell and photographed below, I say, “Hi!” to him and wish him well.

Kenneth Campbell (1913 – 1986)

When I was enrolled in Mr. Campbell’s marble sculpture class in 1972, he was installing his Night – Day sculpture on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. Marble sculpture is physically so demanding. I mean these blocks are HEAVY. It is amazing how he was able to balance them so that they are in place today, just as he left them, thirty-eight years ago. (Thirty-eight years ago? I was watching him thirty-eight years ago?…sigh…)

“Night – Day” sculpture resembling Stonehenge along the path between Holzapfel and H. J. Patterson Halls at the University of Maryland, College Park; sculpted by Kenneth Campbell, art professor emeritus, who taught stone carving for fifteen years; created in 1972, the pieces represent the various stages of “enlightenment”

If you are interested in seeing this sculpture listed in D.C. Memorials or view other sculptures in natural settings in the Washington, D.C. area, click here.

“High Class in a Minute”

In this video, we can watch marble sculptress Jill Burkee use both hand tools and power tools as she breaks her sculpture free from a block of marble. While watching Ms. Burkee, you will be listening to Luciano Pavarotti, the world famous tenor opera star, singing Franck’s Panis Angelicus with some Ave Maria at the end for good measure. This is quite a dose of High Class. I hope that if it’s first thing in the morning, you’ve had your coffee.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 6:31 pm Comments (0)

Follow Us!


Recent Posts

Featured on BlogHer.com
Syndicated on BlogHer.com

Flash the badge

<div align="center"><a href="http://sunbonnetsmart.com" title="Sunbonnet Smart"><img src="http://sunbonnetsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/badge125.jpg" alt="Sunbonnet Smart" style="border:solid 1px black;" /></a></div>


About Me

sunbonnetsmart's items Go to sunbonnetsmart's photostream
I'm going to BlogHer '12
BlogHer '13
I'm Going to #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us
I'm Going to #BlogHer16 in Los Angeles!


NaBloPoMo November 2012