Saturday, March 28, 2020

Aprons for the Clothesline Installation

(Above:  The Clothesline, an installation in progress.  Vintage household linens and aprons with found fabric hand prints fused and zigzag stitched to both sides.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

It is hard to fathom that on this absolutely beautiful spring day the world is in crisis ... but it is.  Tonight at midnight, Columbia, South Carolina goes under a total shut down of non-essential businesses ... which means Mouse House, my home-based business, is shutting the doors for at least two weeks.  We aren't supposed to go out except for groceries, food and beverage curbside pick-up orders, trips to the drug store, and for real emergencies.  No longer are we to gather in groups of just three even while maintaining social distancing of six feet from one another.

(The Clothesline, full of aprons donated by local mother and daughter friends Yolanda and Sandra Wardlaw.  THANKS so much!)

For the past two or so weeks, Mouse House has been open ... because it's been years since more than three people ever came at the same time!  Steve has been disinfecting the doorknob and the sales counter ... but that is going to cease.  We will be closed ... non-essential.  At first, I was mildly depressed.  All my upcoming art opportunities were canceled or postponed (mostly "indefinitely").  Now, however, I'm experiencing this unique period in time as if an unintentional art residency in my own home!  Productivity, creative ideas, and a sense of time "standing momentarily still" are replacing my normal schedule. 

Serendipity is also at an all time high.  Just after finishing the last pieces for my Clothesline Installation, I got a message from mother and daughter local friends Yolanda and Sandra Wardlaw.  They had a box of vintage linens to donate.  Inside was an amazing collection of vintage aprons, several yellow fabric placemats, and a few other items.  I adore aprons!  Aprons are subtle, visual reminders of PEOPLE.  These are exactly what my Clothesline Installation needed!

One of the donated embroidered table runners reminded me that I had similar pieces in my cedar chest.  Surprise, surprise!  I also found a dish towel I stitched in the early 1980s when teaching myself embroidery from the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework.  Why was I keeping it?  Because it was too "precious" to use?   How silly!  Especially since I've presented an entire TEDx talk called Precious: Making a Plan for Your Precious Possessions.  There was no hesitation.  A found fabric hand print was fused to the reverse.  Like all these hand prints, I zigzag stitched around the entire outline ... so that the edge of image is shown on the opposite side.  After all, a clothesline is seen from two sides, not just one. 

Each piece for The Clothesline Installation was carefully designed so that it would look good from both sides.  This is especially apparent on the sheer fabrics used for many of these aprons.

Today Steve and I took all the finished aprons and assorted linens outside for their photo-op.  Birds were singing ... loudly ... because the city traffic is so minimal as to not drown their melodies.  The dogwood trees are in full bloom. Azalea adds lots of color.  Our yard looks wonderful.  Hopefully, this sense of slowing down, appreciating the natural surroundings, and doing things BY HAND will be repeated in the future when the Clothesline Installation gets an opportunity to hang someplace in public.  Until then ... I'm going back to my studio to stitch, stitch, stitch!

1 comment:

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

and your "hands" continue on...awesome work. What will Steve be doing when he's not pegging fabric on the clothesline?