Sunday, January 19, 2020

Enos Park Residency ... I've arrived!

(Above: The art residency duplex for the Enos Park Residency Program.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I have arrived in Springfield, Illinois for four-weeks with the Enos Park Residency program.  As promised, I will be blogging the coming experiences at least twice a week. The coming posts will include local attractions and personalities, the hosting organization, and especially the project on which I will be working.  So ... what am I doing?  My proposal called for a "creative clothesline" that would speak to the benefits of line drying, household energy conservation, and how conveniences shape our lives (but don't have to!)

(Above:  At the Heart of Georgia Quilt Guild.)

I came to Illinois via a trunk show presentation at the Heart of Georgia Quilt Guild in Macon.  Their meetings start at 10:00 AM. So, I was on the road at 6:00 PM last Thursday.  It was a great time sharing but a long drive thereafter.  I spent the night outside Paducah, Kentucky and beat Friday afternoon's freezing rain the next morning.  So ... I'm in President Lincoln's city ... at the start of what promises to be a most productive art residency!

 So ... here's a tour of the residency's spacious accommodations! I'm on the top floor of the duplex. The image above shows most of the living room ...

... but in the other direction is a nice desk, just off the staircase from the front porch.

 Here's the main bedroom ....

... which is beside the nice bathroom ...

... and down the hallway ...

... from a spare bedroom.  I have so much space that I can't even imagine using this room!

After getting the key, I parked my van near the garage and hauled my things up the back steps ...

... through the well equipped kitchen ...

... past the kitchen table ...

... and into the dining room.  This is the space where I'll be working.  It has lots of natural light and plenty of room for me to move around. 

It wasn't long before I was ready to get to work!

I didn't jump right into making the clothesline.  This will begin more organically ... as the concepts evolve in my mind and get translated into pieces needing clothespins.  To start, I wanted to work more obviously with environmental issues.  Thankfully, I had the perfect thing to use!

I found this Sun Bonnet Sue quilt top in my own closet!  It has been hanging there for years. I'd totally forgotten about it.  Even when stitching my Feminist To Do List out of two, donated Sun Flower Sue quilt tops, I didn't remember owning this blue-and-pink sashed, vintage piece.  I think it was made by my great grandmother (but I'm not precisely sure).  Perhaps a bit of serendipity was involved.  Perhaps I forgot about this quilt top until just recently, just when I needed it most!  Had I remembered, I might have stitched more feminist call-for-action phrases on it ... trying to make the blocks of this quilt top work with those now hanging at the Muscatine Art Center in Iowa.  When I happened to find this quilt top in my closet (about two months ago), I couldn't help myself.  I envisioned call-for-action phrases stitched on the block ... but this time, the issues would relate to my clothesline proposal, to the environment and to efforts an individual might do in support.

(Above:  Sun Bonnet Sue, a dismantled quilt top ready to be transformed)

It took hours with a seam ripper to carefully dismantle the very well crafted quilt top. It was entirely stitched by hand.  Every sash and block was ripped along the warp and weft, not cut with scissors.  I thought about my great grandmother and the time she must have spent on all those little stitches.  I hope she is pleased that instead of a finished quilt, ART is being made.

(My Great-Grandma, Linnie Oswald ... though everyone just called her "Mom".  She lived ninety-eight years ... didn't die until I was in college!)

Frankly, I think my great grandmother would be pleased ... because she was raised in a very large family, lived through the depression, had her own laundry business, and would never have imagined a world where people wasted food, threw away perfectly good clothing, drove when walking was an option, and didn't "reduce, reuse, recycle".  "Saving for a rainy day" was the norm. Single use plastics weren't invented until later in her life. She knew that everything didn't come with so much throw-away packaging. In my great grandmother's world, many of our modern conveniences were unimaginable luxuries.  My entire residency proposal is to make work that reminds others of things my great grandmother already knew!

All twenty of the quilt blocks have been "freed" from the pink-and-blue sashing and have been ironed.  I've penciled the following call-for-action phrases on them and have begun stitching.  Below are the phrases:

Make energy efficient choices
Plant a tree
Drive less - Walk More
Champion environmental education
Avoid single use plastics
Shop with your own reusable bag
Start composting
Use mass transit
Don't buy fast fashion
Conserve water
Adopt a plant-rich diet
Reduce food water
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Cut greenhouse emissions
Vote for environmental leaders
Use clean, safe, renewable energy
Replace incandescent bulbs
Protect vulnerable ecosystems
Pick up litter
Express your concerns to others



Robbie said...

Look forward to your posts!!! And your creativity!!

Nalgene said...

I loved reading your account. Your project is fantastic. The topic is really closed to my heart too. I’m pretty sure your great grand-ma would be proud to feature in your work!

Ann Scott said...

That looks like a great place to work and your project sounds like a very thoughtful and thought provoking one. As always, I really enjoyed your post and I'm looking forward to seeing and reading more. Thank you.