Thursday, May 09, 2013

Palmetto Hands and Carl Sandburg ... or what I did last Thursday!

(Above:  Anonymous, a Grave Rubbing Art Quilt.  Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

Palmetto Hands is the very best juried fine craft exhibition in South Carolina.  It is held every year in May during the North Charlestons Arts Festival at the Charleston Convention Center.  I had four pieces accepted this year, two in the category of 3D Mixed Media and two in the category of Fibers.  Artwork can be shipped but I elected to drop my work off in person.  The awards were announced on Friday night.  I wasn't able to attend but later learned that Anonymous won a $250 honorable mention award!  I'm thrilled.

(Above from left to right:  The Book of the Dead; Charles Otis, a Grave Rubbing Art Quilt; and Bundles Of ... .  These were my other pieces in Palmetto Hands 2013.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I really wanted to attend the opening and award announcements because the work is always wonderful.  I know several of the other people who enter every year.  I don't, however, know Matt Wilson.  I've admired his work through the years ... and was able to get a peak at one of his pieces this year.  It was sitting on a nearby table when I dropped off my art.  I seriously love this hilariously excellent masterpiece!  I am totally amused by its perfect title:  One Fish, Two Fish, Glass Fish, Blue Fish.

(Above:  One Fish, Two Fish, Glass Fish, Blue Fish, Matt Wilson's 3D Mixed Media assemblage including a wine carafe, flatware, a sieve, and Richard ... the Blue Fish!  Definitely click on this image to investigate this fabulous piece of art!)

Anne Trabue Nelson, the North Charleston arts coordinator, told me that Matt Wilson lives in the area and would be coming daily to feed Richard, the Blue Fish!  How wonderful!  Living art! 

From North Charleston I drove the back roads north to Lake City and took down The Canopy, my piece in the recent Artfields 10-day festival.  It was a little sad to roll the work and shove it back into the giant plastic bag ... but I've got good news about The Canopy!  It will be displayed at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in a show called Artfields Extended, May 24th - June 4th.  This show will include work by the artists from South Carolina's Midlands accepted into the Artfields 10-day festival. Each artist will display his or her piece from Artfields and one other.  I've selected Handed Down, my "Best of Show" winner from last year's Palmetto Hands show.  I just picked it up after a year in the Palmetto Hands traveling show.  The opening reception is on Friday, May 24th from 5 - 9 but I won't be there.  I'll be in Athens, Ohio for the opening of Quilt National 2013 ... to see Circular Churchyard, my piece accepted there!

(Handed Down, last year's Palmetto Hands "Best of Show" winner ... and the piece that will hang at Artfields Extended later this month.  Click on image to enlarge.)

By the time I returned home, "First Thursday on Main Street" was already in full swing.  Steve and I walked there and back talking.  That night I put the finishing touches/stitches of Carl Sandburg, a Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series piece I started in Galesburg, Illinois at the birthplace of Carl Sandburg. 

(Carl Sandburg, A Grave Rubbing Art Quilt.  47" x 48".  Crayon rubbing and vintage textiles.  Free motion machine embroidery and hand stitching.  Click on image to enlarge.)

This is one of those pieces that I work on over months ... meticulously (or compulsively!) plying a stitch every eighth of a square inch.  It is a labor of love, something on which to work while the television is on or riding in the car, and something to share when asked about my work.  It seems fitting that I'm posting it today, a week after finishing it. 

(Above:  Making the grave rubbings from Remembrance Rock.  Photo by Mathias Dingman.)

Why?  Well, today is my elder Mathias Lenz Dingman's twenty-fifth birthday.  He was with me in Galesburg when I made the rubbings off Remembrance Rock and the stepping stones surrounding it which are the memorial to Carl Sandburg and his final resting place.  I blogged about it HERE

(Above:  Detail from Carl Sandburg.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This piece is something like the 60th on in my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series.  From the start, I didn't want anyone famous.  In fact, I generally avoided capturing any names at all.  Yet, in Galesburg I was given permission to make the rubbings from Remembrance Rock ... a tribute to Carl Sandburg.  I had to think about it.  Did I really WANT to make this art quilt?  How would it fit into a series that conceptually was meant to subtly suggest to viewers their own fates, their own last words?  This series was created in order to communicate universal mortality, the passage of time through generations, personal legacy and the ethereal nature of memory.  How would Carl Sandburg fit into this?

(Above:  Detail of Carl Sandburg, A Grave Rubbing Art Quilt.)

Finally it hit me!  Who better to represent "America", all Americans, than a Carl Sandburg who hopped a train as a young man to go off and experience this country and then write Pultizer Prize winning poetry from the viewpoint of the common worker?  Yes, Carl Sandburg is a perfect choice ... the "Every Man" (or Woman) to represent us all.  From that moment on, this art quilt became a labor of love. 

(Above:  Detail from Carl Sandburg.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I used two vintage tablecloths.  The white one had a handmade crochet edge ... at is over four inches in width.  The tan one was actually more rectangular.  I ripped it with a jagged edge across the middle and pinned it back together, overlapping, to create the size I needed.  Some anonymous woman must have spent hours on the cross stitched pattern.  I know I spent hours doing all the running stitches over the white tablecloth and seeding stitches all over the tan one!  

(Above:  The reverse of Carl Sanburg.  Click on image to enlarge.)

For the reverse, I used a more ordinary, non-embellished white tablecloth.  The edge is entirely buttonhole stitched.  Then, I addeda pretty card table-sized tablecloth with a blue edge and appliqued ladies wearing gowns.  Finally, I added another doily onto which I free motion stitched the title and information.  I spent last Thursday evening stitching through this reverse and into the recycled felt batting ... firmly attaching the back to the front along the interior seams and around the appliques.  I love evenings like this!

(Above:  Detail of the reverse.)

So ... now I've caught up with my blogging through last week.  I'm determined to finally CATCH UP by tomorrow!

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