Friday, July 17, 2009

The Sears Tower: I was number 11

It was a cold, rainy day in 1973 when the skydeck of Chicago's Sears Tower—the iconic 110-story skyscraper and still North America's tallest building—was opened to the public. I know this because my mom packed my brother and me into the family station wagon, drove us downtown via underground Wacker Drive to get in line outside the Sears Tower to board the elevator "to the top."

I remember a spry, wiry man in line behind us as we hugged the side of this architectural masterpiece to buffer our faces from the wind and rain. For an opening event, the line was quite short by today's standards. Possibly only the architecture fanatics and Chicago history and trivia buffs decided to brave the inclement weather, or the excitement of a little girl with only 10 people ahead of her in line had clouded my perception of how long the line really was.

From the skydeck, the view through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows was [predictably] spectacular! We located our house, our grandparent's house, our neighborhhood park, other prestigious buildings and city landmarks as well as locales of a more personal nature. We would have quite the story to tell grandma upon our return.

This week, the Sears Tower was renamed. Although its original tenant, Sears Roebuck and Co., vacated the offices in the early 90s, the familiar name of this must-see city landmark remained—until now. The rebranding ceremony took place with Chicago's Mayor Daley (the son of the first Mayor Daley during whose term in office the building was erected and in whose neighborhood we lived) and top personnel from the London-based insurance broker, the Willis Group, to unveil the "Willis Tower" signage. Knowing how die-hard Chicagoans can be, I can imagine the rumblings and grumblings over this news. So here, I too, add my posting to the other on-line editorials, websites and blogs which no doubt run the gamut of emotions, responses and recollections.

For a long time, the red, No. 0000011 ticket stub, the accordion-folded brochure of building stats and diagrams, was in a scrapbook along with other childhood collectibles. Alas, the book's location is unknown to me now, but my memory of that blustery, rainy morning and being the 11th person to go to the top of the Sears Tower remains.

The task of changing the name on the various and sundry reference materials will hopefully generate revenue for printers, designers, sign painters, mapmakers and the like. However, this rose by any other name will still be "Sears Tower" to me . . . and I dare say it will for many Chicagoans for quite some time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mystery Quilts revealed

I created and taught a 6-month Mystery Quilt class at my fiber arts studio, Stone Light Studio, this year. Each month, the students received a "clue" for assembling various patchwork units. They also learned and mastered dimensional piecing techniques. The final quilt was revealed during the Mystery Quilt's "group solve" session (see pics here )—complete with dark and stormy skies, a fierce rainstorm and the electric lights going out a couple of times at the studio. Eeek! Just like in the mystery novels. (I couldn't have planned a more appropriate backdrop if Sherlock, Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlet had been present themselves.)

Here are results from some of the participants. They all expressed having a wonderful time in the class and were very pleased with their final quilt tops. Each top is so distinctive and unique. I think they did a fantastic job and appreciate each one's willingness to brave the unknown of a Mystery Quilt class!

This one is the class sample. The name of the pattern is "All Points Bulletin." It is my design.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Daylillies—they bloom for a day and are gone

In the past few weeks, the TV, radio and internet news have had an influx of stories about the passing of celebrities—some surprising, others somewhat anticipated. Pop stars, talk show hosts, actresses, actors, TV personalities... Listening to the retrospectives of their careers prompts a stroll down the proverbial Memory Lane: where we were when we first heard their music, who our friends were when their TV show was popular, how their TV show became part of our nightly or weekly routine, or the guy/girl we were dating when the celebrity’s song/show/album/etc. first topped the charts. We recall the people and experiences that touched our lives, made their marks and hold fondly the memories they have left with us. It seems like it was just yesterday...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

ATC swaps

I host a monthly ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap. The June trade was yesterday and the cards just get better and better! We've started a series using the theme, The Elements, with the first month featuring “Air.”

I am always amazed at the variety of interpretations of our themes—insightful, imaginative, fanciful, endearing and humorous—all captured on a mere 2.5” x 3.5” card. The techniques and materials used are just as diverse: stamping, painting, sun printing, ink jet printing, digital photo collage and stitching on cotton, silk, and paper with embellishments of feathers, beads, sequins and thread. It is best to view these up close and in person, so this will have to suffice here. For their size, these little cards have a huge WOW factor!Below is how one artist (#7 above) created her set of cards. Each trader received a section of the larger composition.
We welcome new ATC traders all the time! So, if you'd like to participate in an ATC swap, e-mail me at I'll get you signed up for the next trade.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...