From the emails and voicemails:
Every so often, The Bee’s obituaries will include a person who reached the top of a craft, but one so specialized that only others involved in or totally aware of might appreciate.
Such was the case with Modesto resident Yvonne Porcella, who died Feb. 12 at 79. Her area of expertise? Porcella was one of the best quilters in the world. She created works of art, not bedspreads. Her creations were intricate, detailed, imaginative and drew acclaim from far and wide. Her works are, or have been, on display in the Smithsonian, in museums in New York, Atlanta, Stanford University, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as locally. They also were shown in France, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Poland and Japan.
She taught quilting workshops in Japan and Germany.
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When Turlock’s Carnegie Arts Center reopened after a devastating fire, her show in 2012 was one of the first two to make money for the center. The other? A collection of photos by renowned photographer Ansel Adams.
She also made hand-stitched kimonos and wrote numerous books on textile arts.
Porcella, according to a 2012 Bee story, began sewing at age 6, and as a married mother of four in the early 1960s she attended a hand weavers display in Modesto’s McHenry Village. She became a self-taught weaver and published her first crafts book in 1977. She created her first quilt in 1980, titled “Takoage,” that in 2001 went to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.
“I thought I would never in my life see that happen,” she told McClatchy Washington bureau reporter Michael Doyle at the time. “I never set out to do this. I just started out as the wife of a doctor, from a family of farmers, and here I am, having made my art out of a need to make art.”
She created another for an exhibit in Poland, and it later sold for $25,000.
Porcella was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in Marion, Ind.
MISLEADING SIGNS – Reader Gary Vaccaro sent me an email slugged, “You can’t get there from here,” accompanied by a photo of road signs posted north of Oakdale, where 26-Mile Road tees into Highway 120. He added, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
Pretty much everything that matters if you are a newcomer to the area or a local with a lousy sense of direction. The road ends at the highway. Turn left, according to the sign, and you’re just seven miles from Escalon. Turn right, and you’re just two miles from Oakdale.
Somebody’s GPS must have been on the fritz. Or there must have been one heck of an earthquake no one felt.
From that point and facing the direction where the signs point the way, Oakdale is two miles to the left, Escalon seven miles to the right, and that, Vaccaro accurately points out, is what’s wrong with that picture.
I called Caltrans, which had been unaware of the mistake. Spokesman Skip Allum said crews went out to investigate Monday. They discovered that a crew placed the sign at the wrong intersection. It was supposed to go where the frontage road approaches the highway from the south, near the intersection of Valley Home Road, where Oakdale really is two miles to the right and Escalon is seven miles to the left. The crew apparently saw the worn, faded sign at 26 Mile Road and accidentally replaced it with the new sign on Jan. 16. A month passed before anyone noticed or reported it. It seems folks who regularly drive 26 Mile already know how to get to Oakdale and Escalon. Sign? They don’t need no stinkin’ sign.
The crew is looking for the old sign to repost until a new one is made and installed, Allum said.
HONESTLY, TED ... – Earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz apologized for claims made by his campaign that competitor Ben Carson had dropped out of the race on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, when in fact he had not. Carson’s people called it dirty pool and worse, saying it was aimed at damaging the doctor’s (already sagging) polling numbers. Now, Cruz’s campaigners are apologizing to candidate Marco Rubio for claiming Rubio “dismissed the Bible” in an obvious attempt to outpander Rubio to the evangelicals. More dirty politics in one of the most acrimonious campaigns America has witnessed in the modern media era.
Since everybody seems to be getting in on the demanding apologies act from Cruz, I want one, too. He sent me one of those dubious mailings bearing the words “Check Enclosed” on the outside of the envelope. I opened it out of curiosity, and found a check, all right: Made out to him from me for 45 bucks, noting that my campaign contribution would be matched by some unnamed entity.
“You can trust me to advance your values every single time,” his letter read.
Only if my values were as delusional as his. Sorry, Ted. Sincere folks open doors and then walk through. They don’t ooze or slither under them.