Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sue's Environmental To Do List

(Above:  Part of Sue's Environmental To Do List hanging in the small bedroom at the Enos Park Residency Program, part of the Springfield Art Association in Springfield, Illinois.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

All twenty blocks from the vintage Sue Bonnet Sue quilt top have been embroidered with environmental call-to-action phrases.  I can't actually complete their intended presentation because I need my "circle mat cutter".  It's at home in my custom picture framing shop.  Once I cut a total of forty fourteen-inch acid-free mat board circles, I can permanently mount them in the hoops.  (This was how I finished my Feminist To Do List which is currently at the Muscatine Art Center, a regional museum in Iowa.  To see how I did this, click HERE.  The black mat boards will disguise any hint of the dark navy thread carrying over from letter to letter on the block's reverse. They will also provide a firm backing that will prevent any sagging.)

So instead of mounting these blocks, I decided to erect a clothesline in the small bedroom.  I used existing room features to hang yellow machine zigzag cording I brought with me.  After all, this is an art residency apartment.  Artists just can't be nailing things into walls and woodwork!  It worked!

I probably won't keep them hanging in the bedroom because soon I'll be making the items I envisioned for the clothesline.  These will be made from vintage clothing and household linens as well as pillowcases I once legally salvaged from the South Carolina State Mental Hospital (a facility which closed in the late 1980s.) 

I've already sorted through two large tubs of vintage materials and identified the fabrics I want to use for "hand prints".  The hand prints will be fused to the items.  Why?  Well, hand prints are symbolic of anything "made by or done by" HAND!  Hanging laundry is such a task. If the vintage table runners and doilies could talk, what stories they would tell of the many hands who used them?  My ideas swirl around the notion that we are now living in a society with so many conveniences that we sometimes forget the value of doing something without the many contraptions and machines that use so much energy and are often wasteful.  Dryers are the biggest suck of household energy.  Air drying laundry is one of the many, simple ways to conserve energy and appreciate a hand done task.  Check back to this blog soon ... as I'm starting this new phase of work here in Enos Park.  

 (Above:  Lincoln's home.)

In the meantime, I visited Lincoln's home.  It is held by the National Park System. There is no entry fee.  The movie was excellent.  The gift shop was nice. The volunteer tour guide was fabulous and truly conveyed his admiration for the entire family and mid-19th century neighborhood.  The Harriet Dean house (literally across the street) held excellent dioramas of changes made to the house by the Lincolns.  Another building focused on preservation efforts to the various buildings on the property.
(Above:  The parlor.)

But ... it is Lincoln's house, the only one he ever owned, that is the jewel.  I was most impressed by the inclusion of reproduction images from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.  The edition was published on March 9, 1861.  It was through these pictures that most of America's citizens learned about Abraham Lincoln.  Believe it or not, he wasn't that well known outside legal and Illinois circles when nominated by the then new Republican party.  So, these pictures informed the public about their brand new president.  Now, these same illustrations were used to furnish the same rooms!  Everything really looked just like the mid-19th century pictures!

Much of the furniture is original.  The bed above isn't ... but the one in which Lincoln slept was extra long like this one!

A scrap of the original, imported French wallpaper was found and reproduced for both Lincoln's bedroom ...

... and the adjoining room in which Mary Todd Lincoln slept.

The house made it obvious that the Lincoln family lived a comfortable, upper middle class life but without the conveniences of running water or inside toilets.  The stories told were charming ... like the fact that Lincoln generally sat in the evenings on the floor when with his family.  These were not ostentatious people.  Mary Lincoln so loved her kitchen stove that she wanted to take it with her to Washington.  Her husband explained that the White House probably had a good stove ... just like this one he purchased for $15 and had installed for $10 ...

...which is the same amount of money he paid for a stereoscope for family entertainment.  Stereoscopes were a new invention, a novelty item.  I found it charming that Lincoln indulged in one.  I had no idea that Lincoln had a lifetime fascination with all mechanical things. I also learned that he is the only US President to hold a patent!  (CLICK HERE for a page on his patent for a device to lift a boat over a shoal.  The machine was never actually built ... but that doesn't matter!  Lincoln, the inventor!  How grand!)


Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

awesome idea with "sun bonnet Sue" - love the messages - looking forward to seeing the statement completed...

Caryquilter said...

I love the Sun Bonnet Sue to do list. Tanks for sharing your tour of the Lincoln home.