Sunday, July 23, 2017

Homestead National Monument, Day Six

 (Above:  Hunter Hendricks showing off his first Junior Ranger badge.)

Today was my sixth full day as an artist-in-residence at Homestead National Monument in Nebraska.  As promised, I'm blogging every day ... first sharing something about this unique place and then following up on the artwork on which I'm working.

So ... did you know that most National Parks have a Junior Ranger program?  Well, they do!  Typically participants are between the ages of 5 - 13, though anyone can get involved.  CLICK HERE for more information and a complete list of the parks.  Homestead National Monument is among them and today I got to witness one of the newest Junior Rangers pledging her oath to "Explore, Learn, and Protect" (which is the motto).

Hunter Hendricks officiated and then presented the young lady with her pin.  It's a big deal.  Hunter even showed off his very first Junior Ranger pin.  The experience lead him to his current job ... which included a telephone interview with me several months ago while I was vetted for this artist-in-residence opportunity.

Well ... Homestead National Monument hasn't forgotten about "Not-So-Junior" visitors. This is Carol Fettin, a talented art quilter from Omaha, and her husband Mark with the thirteen page program book for adults.  If finished, participants get a pin too.  I picked up a copy and will begin tomorrow.  I'll let you know if I earn my pin!  There are LOTS of fill-in-the-blank questions, a crossword puzzle, a drawing exercise, and a page to practice penmanship!

Carol Fettin and her husband drove all the way from Omaha to visit.  Frankly, I'm impressed.  Sure, I'd drive two hours to meet a visiting art quilter ... but it sure feels special when it's me someone else is driving to see.  I'm touched, honored, and had a great time!  Thank you, Carol (and Mark for actually doing the driving!)

 (Above:  Waste Not Fresh Tears IV.  14" x 18".  Xylene photo transfer on printmaking paper fused to fabric.  Accented with water soluble crayons.  Buttons.  Hand stitched.)

Among the things I shared with Carol was Waste Not Fresh Tears IV.  This is shaping up to be a little series and I'm very much enjoying it.

 (Above:  Waste Not Fresh Tears IV, detail.)

I truly love playing with the buttons, deciding which ones go where, and stitching them all down.

 (Above:  Palmer-Epard Log Cabin, in progress.)

Today I also finished the seed stitching in the sky portion of my Palmer-Epard Log Cabin

(Above:  Detail of the seed stitched sky area on the Palmer-Epard Log Cabin.)

I tried to make the stitches ever so slightly larger and less dense toward the top ... to give some sense of distance.  It's hard.  I seem to have a naturally small stitch tendency and an innate desire to have them very close together.

 (Above:  The Palmer-Epard Log Cabin trimmed, blocked, and checked for being "square".)

One of the reasons I like to stitch while the work is stapled to a wooden stretcher bar is to prevent it from getting skewed.  The material isn't getting pulled in various directions as the stitching is plied.  It was very easy for me to trim the piece on the edge of the digital image and iron it.  I trimmed using a pair of scissors, not a rotary cutter.  The only thing I used the cutting pad for was to check whether it was square.  It was.

 So ... now the yellow buttons.  You'll have to check back to see how this goes!  I'm sure the art quilt will be finished by this time tomorrow night!  I'm excited.

 (Above:  Staking Her Claim, another art quilt in progress.)

I stapled this piece to the stretcher bar.  The lower half is already free-motion stitched.  The public domain image depicts a California woman receiving the deed to her proven homestead.  Yes!  Women, former slaves, and other marginalized groups were welcomed as homesteaders!  A month before I came, I had this (and the other digital images) printed on fabric by Spoonflower.  I knew I wanted to stitch this piece ... because it shows a female ... and because I figured that I'd find the perfect quotation to stitch into the otherwise empty sky once I arrived on site.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a great phrase.  Almost everything used the word "man" ... as in "to elevate the condition of men" (Abraham Lincoln) or "a farm free to any man who wanted to put a plow into unbroken sod" (Carl Sandburg) or "a man with a stake in his own land is a free man" (Gerald Ford and others) or "If a man owns land, the land owns him" (Ralph Waldo Emerson ... and the last quote in the movie played in the Homestead Visitor's Center.

Finally I asked one of the rangers ... a nice woman ... who showed me a book in the gift shop.  I had to look no further than the title:  Staking Her Claim!  I can't wait to get started!

I'll be stitching again tomorrow.  This was this evening's sunset!  Wow!

Because it has been so very hot here, I've been walking the trails early in the morning and at dusk.  In addition to a beautiful sunset, I could also see the lights in the distance ... I think this is the nearby fertilizer company ... as in a mile away.  Views here in Nebraska stretch out to a faraway horizon under a big, big sky.


Norma Schlager said...

You must be an incredibly fast stitcher. I can't wait to see the yellow buttons on that log cabin piece.

susan hemann said...

enjoying your posts