Sunday, June 25, 2017

Unusual & Special Work

Over the course of my life some quilts were either change-makers, made for special purpose, or on a track that was not repeated.

The first one was inspired by learning from Barbara Heller how to do batik. I bought a special brush in 'Chinatown' & started to work on foot-square white pieces of cotton broadcloth. I called it Sea Foam. My rule for each square was '3  brush-stroke ideas'.

Actually I did make another of these for Lesley Trivett. And eventually I gave the Sea Foam quilt to Leslie Alexander. By that time it had faded greatly & looked like this.
I have this quilt now.
This next one I called In a Kite Sky. My inspiration were the sky colors I so often saw crossing the Lion's Gate Bridge.
Inspired by a book of tangram figures Anna Banana got me in Holland, I made a quilt by stenciling dancers onto black cloth.
 HenceTangram Dancers.
[Tangrams are made using only 7 shapes: 2 squares, 1 parallelogram, & 4 triangles. The simplest puzzle done with them is creating a square.]

This quilt also faded!
I never got decent photos of the front of the quilt below. I made this one by printing on whole-cloth using acrylic paint & a chopstick for the dots. I was totally in love with Aboriginal Australian work, having been newly introduced to it.
The quilting from the back was so lovely.

This quilt happened because of a confluence. Stephen Denslow used dancing images somewhat like this. I made stampers for heads, hands, lips, eyes & leaves; patterns for pants, shirts, dresses, & trees. I think I also found some sequined stars for the sky. Naomi Wortis was marrying Homer Passi & this was my gift to them. She said they had danced under the sky in Zaire (then) when she was in the Peace Corps there.

Another stencil project, this time while working with indigo dye.
The central blue rectangle is one piece of cloth. The plier stencil was applied first with cassava paste so the pliers are the whitest. The shears where applied after one dying session, hence they are light blue.
The border was an unfortunate artistic decision!
I never got a photo of the whole finished quilt below. This project was done as a farewell gift to a beloved vice-principal when she left Moberly School. Each teacher was given a square piece of paper, good scissors, & hole punches to work with. Our work zone was, over a period of time, in the staff room.  I silk-screened each 'snow flake' onto a cotton square & onto a hand made paper sheet. With the paper a book was made & a page for each participating teacher who could say goodbye to Sandra Philips in his/her own words.

A classroom project with spatter paint & student made butterflies was done in that period. It hung in the staffroom after I left the school.
2 chicken quilts.
#1 inspired by a greeting card with this sort of chicken.

Chicken Quilt #2 done in a hand stitching class with Dorothy Caldwell. Each day I made a different chicken. At then end of the course she had us do an exercise where we sewed with our 'wrong' hand while blindfolded. Hence the chicken track stitching!

Watersnakes filmed off the coast of Madagascar were the thing that really made this quilt take off. The 'background' was a whole-cloth paste-resist dying that included the leaf stencil used 4 times.
(Sorry, I should have cropped away the black. I hung it on a black cloth to photograph it.)
I took apart some Peruvian dolls, because I was curious about what they were made of & how they were assembled. What I discovered gradually was that ancient textiles were being sewn into 'tourista dolls'.  (That's a  bit of a scandal.) Old Textiles, New Text was what I called it. But it was also a new context!

See those super shapes below? Armhole offcuts from Maiwa shirts! (I have a shirt from that cloth.) The color choices came from some marvelous spring bush, hence an overall floral theme.

I include this image below because it so clearly shows what a difference hand-quilting makes.
For a weaving symposium in Vancouver years ago I 'wove up' two sleeves I had. I wove them into some of my hand-dyed cloth. I had treated the sleeves with a roller grid, so they look textured.

I printed with oak leaves of many varieties. Also this one is one my early forays into machine quilting.

Two body quilts: mine (in a still unfinished piece) (& chopstick dots again for an outline) & Lucy's body from several years ago.

I took a photo of her face & enlarged it for embroidery work, so her features are pretty accurate!

As I have been doing these last 3 blog entries, I am reviewing how much fun each of these projects was. That's good because I have been feeling myself to be in somewhat of a non-productive period. What's compelling to re-cognize is how many different inspiration sources there have been in my 60 years of working with cloth.

That's it for now.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Work with Words & Messages

It all began in Maine. I had visited my sister Lynne in Anson. An 'ANTIQUES' sign to a barn gave me my first purchase of a rubber letter set of stampers. New tools breed new possibilities. This must have been leading up to Expo 86 in Vancouver. The original theme was to be Communication & Transportation. Bingo. I carried my camera around under the seat of the car so I could catch Ernie Ruff, a Vancouver character who had made this decor for his truck. People referred to it as the "God Truck." (That's Ernie.)
You can see why: communication on transportation!
It took me a long time to pull this off. Working in 3-D was new. I called it Couver, the Proverbial Van.
I had to find proverbs I liked. And I wanted some international ones. The library helped & friends.
Some of the things I made came by other coincidences like this Mickey Mouse scarf I found in a children's clothing store. It's in the center with a pink border.

I bought another old stamper alphabet. This AIDS quilt for Stephen Denslow happened with his centerpiece painting & his poem about illness stamped around the edge.

I found a wonderful image from a book of American folk craft this Love Knot. So I made one in cloth. True to proverbial form, each saying on the border had the word not or knot in them.

The Montreal Massacre in 1989 inspired me to make
Fourteen More.
       I got the names of all the women & what year they were born.
These two cubes were an outgrowth of the proverb research. The second cube shows of a 3rd stamper set.

This quilt I made for Judy MacIntosh.

Out of the Rain, a show to raise money for homeless people, inspired this work. It was also part of an umbrella theme I chose for a UBC print-making course with Nan Oliver. The umbrella parts came from a "road kill" umbrella. The umbrella had been run over a few times.

My alphabet book started with Alligator airplane, Butterfly banana,  & Calico caterpillar. Lots of fun to do. I cut the stencil images for it too. A long project: a book with denim rag paper & a quilt!

On this quilt, handwritten, is the story "The Meaning of Life" written by Robert Fulgum. It involves a in incident in WWII involving a broken mirror from a German motorcycle.
I did, in the end, two versions of this story. The 2nd one went to Kate Layzer, my niece who is a minister.

Near the end of my teaching career came this: The School of Worries. In 6 rooms teachers speak their worries in teaching.

              This scarf I bought in Filene's Basement circa 1954. 
It was designed by the famous Vera. Mary Beecher was there with me when I bought it. This is a letter of appreciation to her I wrote on it when it wore plum-out & I sent to her all quilted up.
This is my Dear Stephen Harper quilt which got mailed to him. I'm getting ready to replicate the gist of this for Dear Justin Trudeau.

I love the signatures below!!-- even Louis Riel signed. 
How cool is that?
I haven't shown all of them, but it's enough!!
That's it for now.