Monday, December 30, 2013

Stitching away the holidays!

(Above:  Detail of Stained Glass LV.  Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

December has been a little crazy.  With Mom's 75th and Grandma's 95th birthdays falling immediately after a trip to England, the first part of the month slipped away in a very busy fashion.  Holiday custom picture framing at Mouse House occupied most of my time until Christmas Eve.  On that day, I took down my solo show I Am Not Invisible at the Tapps Art Center.  I spend Christmas happily in my studio listening to "Classical Christmas Radio" on Pandora ... stitching and stitching ... and thinking of the coming year, new resolutions, and the things I want to accomplish in the coming twelve months.

 (Above:  Stained Glass LV.  Framed:  64" x 24"; unframed:  57" x 17".  Polyester stretch velvets and chiffon scarves with previously painted Wonder Under/Bond-a-Web on recycled, black acrylic felt.  Machine stitched and melted with both a soldering iron and a heat gun.)

Since returning from England and Slippery Rock, PA for the birthday parties, Stained Glass LV was completed and framed.  Stained Glass LVI is now being melted.  I also constructed and stitched a large, medium, and small work in my "In Box Series".  Photos are coming! 

(Above:  Stained Glass LV, detail.)

When I traveling, however, I was working on another piece, Appreciate. It is for a group formed by Karen Musgrave called CLAWS.  (Crossing the Line:  Artists at Work.)  Every six months the eighteen or so members create a vertically oriented, 24" x 18" art quilt in response to a given theme.  This is the fourth piece I've made for the group.   

(Above:  Stained Glass LV, detail.)

 The earlier work hasn't been blogged properly.  Why?  Well, this group initially had one of those silly rules prohibiting artists from sharing their creations publicly, especially on the Internet.  The work has been marketed to college and university galleries and hasn't received any significant interest at all.  One of the problems, of course, is that the work HASN'T BEEN SHOWN ELSEWHERE!

One of my hopes for the future of art quilts is for the makers to realize that the wider art world doesn't cling to 19th century ideas of some grand, red-curtained fine art unveiling.  Secrecy no longer heightens the desire for an audience.  More exposure through websites, social media, and public marketing are the norm.  More images in more cyber locations generate excitement!  These are the means to stimulating interest.  Thus, Karen said she'd be lifting the anti-blogging rule for this group, and I am showing my latest piece, Appreciate.  ( ... and I really do "appreciate" this change!)   

(Above:  Appreciate.  Art quilt made in response to the thematic exhibition title:  Twenty Quilts That Could Change Your Life.  24" x 18".  Snippets of embroidered, vintage household textiles with beads and buttons on recycled, white acrylic felt.  Hand stitched.  Click on images to enlarge.)

I stitched on this piece on the plane to and from England, on trains, and in the car while going to and from Slippery Rock.  I loved every stitch.  I especially loved using all these old, neglected linens.  They came from Bill Mishoe's walk-around auction house.  I paid next to nothing.  No one really wants these things.  For me, using each piece is a way to show my appreciation to all the anonymous women who stitched lovely linens meant to adorn their homes and lives.  They are my ancestors, my inspiration, my history.  

(Above:  Appreciate, detail.)

As a young girl, my grandma gave me a handkerchief with the exact little Indian girls on it.  I still have it.  I thought it was the most beautiful and totally unique hankie ever.  It is funny that I now have four more of them ... all exactly alike!  My Dad thought I used some of my Grandma Lenz's linens when he saw the little blue stitched birds.  I have that special piece too ... saved in my cedar chest.  The piece used here was very similar to Grandma Lenz's piece... and similar to many others I now have too.  Some of these old, vintage household linens are actually common, part of our collective memory.  Lots of families had the same patterns and bought the same textiles.  While stitching, I thought about the words "precious" and "rare".  I thought about the threads of family memories and passing time, styles, and fashions.  What makes a keepsake?  Whether these linens are ordinary or utterly unique, I appreciate the hope they represent.  They once were hope for a pretty, happy home.  By transforming them into a contemporary art quilt, they represent my hope that all these stitches (old and new) are treasured for years to come.

(Above:  Appreciate, reverse.  Crayon grave rubbing on vintage household linens.)

For the reverse, I took a slightly damaged doily to my local cemetery.  Letter by letter I made a crayon grave rubbing ... spelling out the title, Appreciate, my name and the date.  I'm very happy with this work.  The other words to be in this collection of art quilts are:  Begin, Imagine, Laugh, Believe, Seek, Play, Trust, Listen, Create, Connect, Touch, Give, Hope, Choose, Pray, Read, Write, Forgive, and Release.  I think this is an excellent collection of thought provoking words and will inspire an equally wonderful group of art quilts.  I look forward to seeing these pieces.

(Above:  Sweet Dreams, art quilt for SAQA's (Studio Art Quilt Associates) 25th anniversary trunk show.  10" x 7".  Crayon on silk grave rubbings.  Free motion and hand embroidery.  Vintage buttons.  Click on image to enlarge.)

While digging into my grave rubbing art quilt supplies, I decided to make a piece for SAQA's upcoming 25th anniversary trunk show.  Each submission for this traveling exhibition is required to be 10" x 7" and be a showcase of the individual artist's artistic expression.  The show will premiere this summer at the 2014 SAQA conference in Washington, DC.  Past SAQA trunk shows have traveled the world fulfilling the organization's mission to educate the public about art quilts and to promote their inclusion in the wider world of fine art.  A sampling from the 2014 trunk show will be chosen by jurors Linda Colsh and Margaret Keeney to become a permanent part of the Paducah, Kentucky National Quilt Museum's collection.

(Above:  Sweet Dreams, reverse.)

I had a good time stitching this quick piece ... thinking about the places it might go and the people who might see it.  What fun!

 (Above:  Holiday lights at Saluda Shoals Park.)

On Christmas night Steve and I went with our friend Dolly Patton and her daughter to Saluda Shoals Park for the annual holiday lights drive.  Dolly is the executive director of the park's non-profit foundation.  We had a great time.

(Above:  Holiday Lights at Saluda Shoals Park.)

I took lots of photos but few turned out.  It was magical nonetheless.  The next day we headed back to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.  Our time earlier in the month with my parents was just too busy and too short. Two more days were needed.

(Above:  The Slippery Rock Area High School Lady Rocket Basketball team.)

This also gave us the opportunity to see Nicole Papley, our niece, play basketball in a local, holiday tournament.

(Above:  #50 Nicole Papley.)

Nicole is #50.  She stands six feet tall, is a senior ...

(Above:  My dad, me, Nicole, Steve, and my Mom after the tournament.)

... and won her team's MVP award for the two-day tournament.  Her team also finished in first place!  Go Rock!

I am updating this blog post for a link to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site to share fiber artwork. 


Wanda said...

Great post! I love the Piece Appreciate. It does exactly what you set out to do. Although I don't remember any of the linens or other work from anyone, I do know that it makes me feel very nostalgic even though I don't have a personal Connection to the individual pieces. But I feel a Connection with the new Piece. It's so cool how you can make this happen. I anxiously await the next installments. The words are wonderful and I know that if anyone can make those word be alive, you can!

Julie said...

Your piece Appreciate really speaks to me. I have a lot of vintage linens from my friend Grace and my Mum and am planning to make something with them to honour both ladies and to conserve the beauty of the stitching and embroidery. Your work is inspirational!

I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you. I'm sure you'll pack so much in and maybe some return trips to the UK. Happy New Year xx

Karen@littlebirdiequilting said...

Lovely work. thankyou for sharing.