Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Crazy Blues in Quarters!
Everything here in Maine at the MacNamara Foundation is wonderful....except that I can't seem to find a place in which to photograph this quilt! I'm not complaining. I'll take the "full view" in November when I can hang it on the gallery wall, light it properly, and enter it into my catalog as a finished work. In the meantime, here are the four quarters. Yes....I put the quilt on the gravel and used the side of a parked truck to brace my camera. Yet, the images are relatively clear, the colors look fine on my laptop screen, and each image can be clicked upon for a closer inspection of the million or so stitches, including the kantha cloth inspired, off white section between the image of Mamie Smith and the crazy quilting.
The center is a xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin of Mamie Smith, the first African American female to record a blues song. The title: Crazy Blues. Hence, this quilt is also called Crazy Blues. The reverse includes handstitching that reads:
Mamie Smith 1920
Susan Lenz 2008
I didn't do any of the tatting or crochet. They are vintage scraps of lace. The material includes scraps of old Austrian dirndl skirts and aprons, a batik I found in Thailand in 1987, part of an old hand stitched quilt top, part of in Indian scarf that my sister Sonya and Vipin got me (but I accidentally ripped it on the car door), and a Japanese handkerchief that my son Mathias brought back after dancing in Sapporo. Some of the trim and buttons were left in my Grandmother's treddle sewing machine which I inherited. There are four blue beads that were a gift from Pat Thornhill. Most of the button are vintage. There are some 19th c. jet beads too. The entire background of the xylene portrait is done in seeding stitch. The portrait itself is stuffed, trapunto style from the reverse. Therefore, the work is very dimensional.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 11:24 PM