Friday, July 24, 2020

Little Things Make a Big Difference

(Above:  Oswald Home Laundry, a mini art quilt.  9 3/4" x 13 3/4". Digital image printed on cotton fabric with free motion stitching, hand beading, and button hole stitched binding.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The original image is tiny, less than three inches in width, but it speaks volume to me. This was my great grandmother Linnie Rose Oswald in the 1920s.  I knew her.  She didn't die until I was in college.  It still amazes me just how short a time has passed since women fought for the right to vote.  This small snapshot reminds me how recent the history of feminism really is, and how little things can make a big, lasting difference.

I used a digital scan of the original image to create a large piece.  (CLICK HERE to access.)  Yet, I wanted to also stitch something that more exactly looked like the photograph.  Spoonflower printed the scan on cotton.  I free-motion stitched it and added the suggestion of halo with a few beads.

(Above:  Oswald Home Laundry, a mini art quilt, detail.)

The figure itself was stuffed from the reverse.  This is a technique known as trapunto.  It adds a dimensional quality.

 (Above:  Oswald Home Laundry, a mini art quilt, reverse.)

My great grandmother was a quilter.  The few quilts I know she made included lots of pink fabric. Thus, I used a scrap of a pink bedspread for the reverse.  The title and my signature were stitched on a delicate, shadow stitched coaster featuring the initial B.  Because I couldn't think of an appropriate title for the piece starting with B, I hide most of the letter with a couple artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters.  

(Above:  Nails.  Approximately 8" x 8" and matted to 16" x 16".  Handmade paper with wrapped rusted nails and beads. $60.) 

Some times, little things inspire me.  Nails have always inspired me.  Symbolically, a nail is most often associated with Christ's crucifixion and with construction.  In both cases, there is a bittersweet truth.  Christ's crucifixion is salvation for Christians but it is also a horrible way to die.  In construction, nails are pounded into planks of wood to build a structure but from that moment on, neither piece will ever be pristine again.  Such little things!  Nails!  I love them.

(Above:  Someone Struggled, 3 1/2" x 5 3/4".  Antique photographs cut and stitched together with collaged quotation by Susan B. Anthony.)

Another "little thing" I made this past week is Someone Struggled.  It was created from two larger, sepia toned photographs on thick, heavy mounting board.  I made this piece for Bonnie Smith who is putting together an artist book called She Votes.  (The linked page does not include the extended deadline for receiving the donated submissions which isn't until July 31st ... so I made it in!)  When I think about it, there will be plenty of other artworks by all sorts of female artists going into this book.  Each one is just a "little thing" but collectively, the book will make a big difference.  How do I know this?  Well ... the connection got me to join the Women's Caucus for Art.  This organization is currently forming a Carolinas chapter and I'm going to be part of it!  One new member for a bigger mission!

No comments: