Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lost and Found

 (Above:  Shadow on the Satenella tutu borrowed from Boston Ballet for Mathias' partner's competition wardrobe in 2006.)

It's been three weeks since my last blog post.  I can't remember the last time I've let so much time lapse between posting.  Of course, this means I've been busy.  I've been to Birmingham, England and to the Festival of Quilts and I've faced an amazing amount of work and a few difficult days upon my return.

First, Steve and I had the difficult decision to make regarding our beloved, thirteen year old cat, Shadow.  Shadow was the ideal "shop cat", allowing even toddlers to pet her hard in the face without scratching them.  She never met a stranger and didn't have enough sense to be afraid of dogs.  She was a fluffy love.  Her symptoms came on fast.  It was likely lung cancer.

 (Above:  Moments before the final injection.)

I held Shadow while a tearful nurse administered the injection that gently put Shadow to sleep.  We buried Shadow in the backyard, the part we call the Pet Cemetery.  She's under an indigo blue Virginia Scotchie pottery shard that our son Alex picked up from the trash outside the University of South Carolina's art department over a decade ago.  (This is the only Virginia Scotchie I'll ever own ... as I can't afford the "unbroken" works! LOL!)  We stayed rather stunned all day yesterday ... feeling the loss.

 (Above:  View from the second floor to the backyard.)

We also lost the 100+ year old pecan tree in our backyard.  This is the tree that was struck by lightening nine summer's ago.  At that time, we were advised to chop it down.  I asked why and was told, "It might die inside of five years".  My response, "I might die inside of five years too."  Unfortunately, limb by limb the tree did start dying.  It was at the point that leaves were smaller and any more deterioration would have meant more danger to those trying to remove it. 

(Above:  My mentor Stephen Chesley selecting two sections for possible sculpture.)

Steve called a few people ... trying to see if anyone wanted part of the tree for artistic purposes (or any purpose ... just "come and get it").  Only my mentor Stephen Chesley came.  He's carved several unique pieces in the past and it will be nice to see part of the old pecan tree as art.

(Above:  Hauling away the tree.)

It took the crew four days to bring the tree down, cut it into sections, and haul it all away.  I will miss the tree.  I will miss the bumper crop of pecans that the tree produced every other year.  (It produced pecan every year ... but every other year was AMAZING!  The squirrels just couldn't keep up!)

A sad as these losses are, there were several incidents of "found objects" and renewal!

 (Above:  Two sections of an antique crazy quilt.  The one on the left has been densely stitched.  Click on image to enlarge.)

While traveling I took along one of the sections of an antique crazy quilt.  I bought three sections at Bill Mishoe's auction earlier in the summer.  This poor crazy quilt had been cut into 30" x 20" pieces, glued to a backing board and framed, and was generally falling apart.  I used one of the sections for a piece called The Nature of Memory.  (This blog post also has a photo of two of the pieces in the frames.)

(Above:  Dense running stitches on the antique crazy quilt section.)

I used several different threads:  wool yarn, cotton crochet thread, and DMC floss ... or whatever else I had on hand.  Dense running stitches hold all the damaged material together.  I used a piece of recycled black acrylic felt on the reverse.  

(Above:  Dense running stitches on antique crazy quilt section.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I love the resulting texture.  I love just pulling thread through layers of fabric ... keeping a trace of a memory alive ... finding something new in something very, very old.  I love working while waiting in an airport too!  I plan on using these two sections to flank some of my own work ... like a triptych.  I'm working on the third section now.

(Above:  Package from The Sands Family.)

Stitching together the unraveling material of an antique crazy quilt is very much like "finding" something.  Yet, I found a lot more "stuff" in the past few weeks.  In addition to a package from Lynn Cohen (which I blogged about earlier in the month), I received another box of goodies!  The box above came from The Sands Family.  I don't know them.  They saw The Canopy while it hung in the 10-day Artfields Festival last spring and simply mailed a pile of doilies, napkins, and lots of thread to me!  How wonderful!  Thank you!

(Above:  Four giant bags of assorted yarn.)

I also got a package from my sister Sonya ... more goodies including keys!  Plus, someone left these four giant bags on our front porch.  They left them while I was in England ... and when Steve took a quick trip to Washington, DC to consign a car load of antiquarian prints to a specialty auction house.  Our neighbor Jerry called Steve's cell.  He was worried that some homeless people were camping out while we were gone.  Steve called my mentor Stephen Chesley.  Stephen came to investigate ... and found more yarn than a person probably ought to have in one stash!  BUT THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE!


Julie said...

I was wondering if you were ok as things were a bit quiet after FOQ so I'm glad you are fine but sorry to hear about your poor cat. She will be missed by many.

I enjoyed seeing your stitched crazy quilt having seen it as a work in progress in Birmingham. It's always sad, I think, to see a tree come down but, like us, they have a life time. It would be lovely to see it continue in another form as a sculpture.

Sandy said...

Glad to hear you are okay. I wasn't sure how long you were spending here with your son.

Sorry about your dear friend Shadow. I still miss my dog Pepper so much.

and we lost a tree at the back of our garden this year, too. It was on public ground and I was gutted because there was really nothing wrong with it. 'It had a spit in the trunk', says they. Well, yes, it was 2 trees that grew together, so it would have a place where they began to join.
Anyway. I hope you begin to find your way back into some work and maybe to capture those two lost things.
Thanks again for your help.

Wanda said...

I missed this post yesterday. Maybe I subconsciously missed it because it is so sad. Not all of it, of course. The tree was a part of your house, like the front porch pillars. I too am sorry it is gone. But maybe there won't be so many bugs now. Oh...you mean there are that many bugs no matter where you are in SC? ha ha How absolutely wonderful that people are trusting you with things from their past. Unknown people leaving things and mailing things to you has a very deep meaning I think. They couldn't bring themselves to throw the contents away. They knew that it shouldn't be thrown away but they didn't know what to do. And then you appeared in their lives and, through YOU, the treasures in the bags can find their places. It's awesome. I haven't sent you anything...sorry. I just don't have that big of a stash. I would absolutely love to go through yours though!!! ha ha Give yourself time where Shadow is concerned.