Monday, April 09, 2012

Narrative Threads ... a new collaboration!

(Above: The Teachings, in progress. Click on any photo in this blog post to enlarge.)

After a week of "catching up" with all the custom picture framing and a day spent sorting and distributing the stashes of two different women, I finally made it back into my studio to work on Easter Sunday. I had a special project to begin. I'd been thinking about it for over a month but it started long before this.

At the reception for my solo show Last Words in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, I met an art quilter. She talked about a quilt organization and a collaborative project pairing quilter with poet. A day or two later, she corresponded with links to PAQA-South and its upcoming show Narrative Threads. I joined immediately. Later I was paired with award winning poet Stephanie Levin. (Click on Stephanie's name to read the poem we are using! It is WONDERFUL!)

Of course, the group is encouraging close collaboration and several of the pairings are selecting fabric together, responding to stitch with additional poetry, and going to lunch together to discuss the progress of their piece. Stephanie and I live too far apart and are much too busy with family, work, and hectic lives to become so involved. Yet, our collaboration is no less important. I would have never thought to make such a piece; Stephanie never envisioned her words in fabric ... but that's what's happening and it is very exciting.

Stephanie gave me permission to use "The Teachings" from Smoke of Her Body. It already had a quilt in it! It is a little "dark" and very thought provoking. It is steeped with memories from the past ... everything I really, really like. Not all the collaborations will include the entire poem written on the art quilt, but ours will! I am truly enjoying the challenge of recreating the feeling her words evoked.

I cut an old, very worn, hand stitched antique quilt into a piece to represent "the quilt". I dug around in my stash of vintage household linens and found a loosely woven white card table size cloth with a hem stitched edge ... to be "the sheet". An old tuck dish towel was turned into a pillowcase, and the remains from a feather pillow was stitched into the pillow. For the backing, I turned the same old quilt upside-down and cut a piece measuring approximately 44" x 30".

I wrote the poem on Mokuba's water soluble stabilizer and applied it to a slightly gray piece of bridal tulle (recycled, of course!) Free motion machine embroidery closed the pencil lines. I washed away the stabilizer. It will be perfect ... but not attached until I stitch the "quilt" and the "sheet" and the pillowcase to the "background quilt. It will also include a row of vintage buttons around the entire edge. Right now, it is all just pinned together. My plan is to mount the entire piece on over-sized foam center board backed with a stretcher bar that can be wired for hanging. This will support the additional weight of the pillow. The last thing to do will be stitching the very sheer tulle to the top of the pillow, allowing it to "float" in front of the work.

(Above: The Teachings, in progress ... pinned and with the overlay of words simply placed over the other fabric.)

Narrative Threads will be exhibited at Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC from June 25th through August 27th with a reception on June 29th!

1 comment:

Judith Glover said...

It is good to hear an account of your collaboration. I think you are the first one to do this, and it is a very interesting read!