Thursday, March 05, 2020

Sue's Environmental To Do List

(Above:  Sue's Environmental To Do List, 70" x 126".  Vintage quilt blocks altered with hand embroidered calls-for-action phrases presented in 14" wooden hoops.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The image above was only possible because of a fabulously productive art residency with the Springfield Park Association in Illinois where I stitched phrases onto the vintage quilt blocks and because the 701 Center for Contemporary Art here in Columbia, SC allowed me to use a very large, empty white wall to photograph it.  Of course, I am totally in debt to my great grandmother, Lizzie Oswald, who probably stitched the quilt top I used.  (To read a blog post from Illinois that illustrated me taking apart the quilt top and stitching the phrases, CLICK HERE.)

 (Above:  Photographing the collection at 701 CCA.)

Since returning from Illinois, I cut forty black mat board circles ... each approximately 14" in diameter.  One circle was glued to the inner hoop.  Over this, I stretched the block ... pulling the extra material to the back and taping it down.  Some of the blocks required me to add strips of unbleached muslin because they weren't all square or significantly larger than the fourteen inches.  Then, I put on the outer hoop, tightened it, and carefully hot glued another mat board circle to the back ... just along the wooden hoop's edge.

The result is an acid-free, permanent presentation.  The pieces stack easily.  They all have labels on the reverse.  The black mat board also masks the carry threads on the back of the fabric ... the space between each letter.

The hanging arrangement only uses nineteen of the twenty pieces, but I took photos switching out "Adopt a Plant Rich Life" for "Reduce Food Waste".

The phrases are:

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

Now that I have photos, I can look for opportunities through which to share these important calls-for-action!


Shannon said...

I love this project so much! Sunbonnet Sue used to represent all the reasons I wasn't a traditional quilter, but over the years I've loved how she's been modernized! And maybe realizing that she didn't need to be modernized at all- just a girl out there in whatever time, doing the work! And now, this IS the important work- your messages are great. Really successful imo.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

totally awesome - a small message with a big impact - and as you've noted they will stack well, so if you had only a small wall space - you could change out the expressions regularly...

I could imagine having one by the door you leave home by - a bit like looking in a mirror to see if you've got your lippy on properly (I don't wear lipstick) - which will remind you about something awesome you could do that day...

Susan Lenz said...

Thank you ... both Shannon and Catherine for reading my blog and especially for leaving a comment. I truly understand why this extraordinarily traditional block would represent every reason NOT to be a traditional quilter, and honestly I never before liked this design because of the conservative dress and bonnet! (Also, I never like being called "Sue". I'm "Susan" and always have been!) But you are right, Shannon. This is just a girl out there doing the work. I also really like the idea that these words ought to be hung beside a door as a reminder that every day can be one during which something awesome can be done! Thanks so much! Susan