Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Weekend

I love Labor Day Weekend. I love any three-day weekend or even a good two-day weekend completely spent within the sacred walls of my studio. Sure, I did get out a bit. I enjoyed leisure breakfasts over crossword puzzles and a couple hours at Nickelodeon Theater seeing “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, which was fantastic film. Yet, most of my attentions were on my archeology project. I am deep into the work and loving every second of it.

The project has taken on a life of its own. It has invaded Mouse House, my every waking thought, and all my future plans. I am totally and happily obsessed. In fact, I decided that I ought to “excavate” all my older pieces.

I haven’t a single work of art created in the twentieth century since I only began producing in the year 2000. That was six full years ago! A lifetime. I have one piece called Olympia. I called it that after Olympia Dowd, an amazingly beautiful dancer on her way to Kirov during the summer that Mathias was deciding between the National Ballet School of Canada and the Kirov.

Olympia was breath-taking to look at and even more stunning when she danced. One could not help but to gaze upon her. I’ve frequently wondered where she dances now. Still, I stitched this piece so long ago that it wasn’t even in my inventory. Too much has happened since then. I’ve gotten much, much better. I was just tired of looking at older pieces. So, I took down over fifty. Steve gutted them. I adjusted (or added) the pieces in the inventory. Most had their prices lowered. Alex did the shrink-wrapping. Steve fitted several of the frames with mirrors. I will put antique botanicals or other images into the rest of the old frames. It was a cleansing project and also one that added to the stash of growing “relics” for the archeology project.

I also rummaged through a container in my studio and found four old passports. Two were mine. God, did I look younger! Of course, I WAS younger. One had been Steve’s and the other had been Alex’s first passport. The stamps, covers, and even the photos will be worked into art. I also found a quilt.

The quilt brought back a rush of memories. It was almost complete. More than half of it had been machine stitched together. It survived our house fire. It was still incomplete. It reminded me why I’ll never be a traditional quilter. I had started quilting by paper-piecing but even when I started this quilt I’d given up on the paper. I had made nine “blocks” and put in a border sash, but it was the random “crazy-quilt” style, one foot wide edge that I had enjoyed making. I forced myself to pin it together with the finest cotton batting. I forced myself to “stitch in a ditch” most of the quilt. I knew that it wasn’t quite flat and the angles weren’t perfect. I couldn’t forced myself into that expected level of perfection. Finally, I just couldn’t force myself to work when I already knew the outcome, the pattern, the result. I quit.

Yet, Mathias wrote to us about the red sheets he purchased for his apartment. It was the only color available in double-bed size at the flea market. This African print inspired quilt would love fine with red sheets even though, of course, it is too small and too square for the bed. I decided to finish it. It only took a couple of hours.

Archeology is a good thing when it forces you to finish a project from your own “dark ages”!

Although I accomplished this quilting, it was really all my “relics” I loved stitching this weekend. Then, it occurred to me, that these were all quilts. Almost every one has the required three layers! These are, in fact, miniature ART quilts. I’m producing them like mad. Nothing is being FORCED. It just flows out of me. The unconventional is evidently just ME!

At the end of today, I took photos of the first forty pieces. I’m thrilled but this is not enough. My archeology vision is of three antique suitcases filled with the following:
90 textiles
180 paper pieces
6 altered/artist books
72 3-D misc. “things”
MINIMUM.

There! I’ve said it. I’ve put my goals into writing. It is a large order but even as I say the numbers I’d like twice as many! Time in the studio is all that is required!

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