I actively look for calls-for-entry, chances to submit my work for consideration in juried shows. I don't generally MAKE WORK to suit any particular "call"; I'm generally looking for upcoming shows into which my existing work might stand a chance. One of the places I regularly look for "calls" is SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association). I'm a PAM (Professional Art Member) of SAQA. The organization's mission to promote art quilts is one I whole-heartedly support. I was thrilled that an upcoming call-for entry was for a show called Metaphors on Aging. To me, almost all my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts could qualify. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to write a brief statement linking "aging" with "death". The end of "aging" is "death". No problem.
(Above: Menopause, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)
But ... I had a problem!
My gut reaction to the exhibition title Metaphors on Aging isn't death or dying or a grave rubbing art quilt. My true response is much more immediate, personal, and the artwork was already in existence. I couldn't shake the idea of using it ... of using Menopause. The stitched words are still appropriate to my ideas about aging: I never thought I'd miss that time of month. Aging is bittersweet. These tampons really were the ones still under my bathroom sink after they were no longer needed. This piece was PERFECT!
Problem: It wasn't an art quilt.
SAQA's new definition of an art quilt is: The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure. I like this new definition but I also know that more people understand "layers" as a quilt top, batting, and a backing material ... that's THREE layers held together with stitch. My original Menopause was really just ONE layer with tampon embellishments. It was stitched onto a piece of mat board and framed. By adding the layer of Maxipads and a felt backing, the work became a legitimate art quilt. The piece also increased in size and is unframed. Frankly, it is much better now that ever before.
(Above: Menopause, reverse. Click on image to enlarge.)
While making the recycled felt sleeve for a hanging rod, I decided to add my "label" in a unique fashion ... using an old girdle. It, too, just seemed PERFECT!
(Above: Carole Mullis donating vintage fashions, including an old flapper styled dress, to my "stash". The blue holiday bag on the counter is full of old bras and girdles, probably from the 1960s because "spandex" is listed on some of the labels. "Spandex", an anagram of "expands", was invented in 1959 ... the year I was born and Mattel's Barbie was first on the market.)
I don't think I would have added the girdle to the reverse had it not recently come into my "stash". Carol Mullis recently donated a pile vintage garments, including several old bras and girdles. I thought about these uncomfortable undergarments while stitching Menopause. I thought about the horrible sanitary napkin belts I've been given in my youth. Although getting older is bittersweet, there are definitely many things about younger years that I'll never miss. Thus, the girdle on the reverse was free motion stitched with my name, date and the following sentence: There are some things about aging and youth that I'll never miss.
I don't know if this piece will be accepted or not, but it is ready to be entered. It also inspired me to use one of the girdles. That action was the catalyst for yet another piece, Lift and Tuck ... which I started immediately after Menopause and stitched while riding in the car to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania for a holiday visit to my parents' log home. It will be finished later this week and posted. It will be entered into the same Metaphors on Aging exhibition. I almost can't believe that I've made two pieces specifically for one call-for-entry!
To end this blog post, I'd like to share a few thoughts about this year's holiday week. Steve and I went to more parties than ever and enjoyed each one immensely! One was held by the Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association. This is our neighborhood, a place where the most unusual Christmas tree is on display!
(Above: Chuck and Jeremy with their upside down Christmas tree.)
Chuck and Jeremy live a block down Park Street from us. Their hand prints are on my recent Til Death Do Us Part art quilt. When purchasing a live Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, the tree dealer was throwing out a tree that was deemed "too dry". They "recycled" it into a giant ornament, complete with lights ... an upside-down Christmas tree and quite beautiful! Our neighborhood rocks!
(Above: Steve shoveling snow at Lenzelhof, my parent's log home outside Slippery Rock, PA.)
On Christmas Day Steve and I traveled to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania ... in time for dinner and before the big winter storm Euclid dropped nine inches of snow. We went for a walk around part of the frozen lake and took photos which I posted on a Flickr! set. Later, more snow fell. We almost got stuck in the accumulation that now measures fourteen inches!
(Above: My Dad and his "gator" ... shoveling the driveway.)
Thankfully, my Dad and Steve worked hard to keep the long driveway passable.
(Above: Clearing the driveway!)